Steven (Steve) S. Scholes is the global head of McDermott’s Litigation Practice Group. His practice focuses on SEC investigations, shareholder litigation, including class and derivative actions, and internal investigations. Steve is an experienced trial lawyer, and he has tried civil, criminal and administrative cases in federal and state courts. He regularly represents clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission, state securities regulators and self-regulatory organizations, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and stock, options and futures exchanges. He has served as the global operations partner for the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group and the partner-in-charge of both the Chicago Trial Department and the Firm’s SEC Defense Group.
Steve has substantial experience in securities class and derivative actions, including cases alleging accounting irregularities, illegal trading and breaches of fiduciary duty. He regularly represents public companies and their officers and directors in merger and acquisition litigation, including class and derivative actions, across the country. He has significant experience in conducting internal investigations in numerous industries, including the real estate investment trust, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and higher education industries, among others. He has also represented audit firms and corporate officers and directors in internal investigations.
A former attorney in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Steve has been appointed by three different federal judges in Chicago to serve as receiver in SEC civil enforcement proceedings. In this role, he conducted fraud investigations, prosecuted fraudulent conveyance claims, enforced judgments, marshaled and liquidated assets, and developed and implemented plans of distribution. Stemming from his work as a receiver, Steve has extensive experience in prosecuting and in defending a wide variety of fraudulent conveyance claims.
Steve frequently speaks on securities litigation and enforcement topics. He has appeared numerous times in the press and has authored various materials concerning the federal securities laws.
Represents Allstate Corporation in a securities class action concerning auto insurance claims frequency information
Represents Premier, Inc. in shareholder derivative litigation in Delaware state court arising out of certain corporate transactions
Represents former senior management of PG&E Corporation in shareholder derivative and shareholder class litigation arising out of the 2017 North Bay Fires and 2018 Camp Fire
Represents the former Chief Legal Officer of First Energy Corporation in shareholder derivative litigation, a shareholder class action, and government investigations arising out of an alleged scheme to bribe the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the State of Ohio
Represents the former Chief Financial Officer of a major international engineering compnay in an SEC investigation arising out of a restatement
Represented Baxter International, Inc. in an SEC investigation relating to the accounting for foreign exchange transactions affecting reported net income and retained earnings
Represented senior management of PG&E Corporation in shareholder derivative litigation arising out of the San Bruno pipeline rupture
Represented a former partner in a private equity firm in an SEC investigation concerning related party transactions the firm entered into with its advisory clients
Represented a private equity firm in an SEC investigation concerning the firm’s fees and expenses
Represented a special committee of the board of directors of a publicly traded company in conducting an internal investigation regarding potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations
Represented a family office in an SEC insider trading investigation
Represented the co-representatives of the Estate of Donald Flynn in an action by the bankruptcy trustee for Emerald Casino, Inc., concerning Donald Flynn’s alleged breaches of fiduciary duty as a director of Emerald Casino, Inc., in connection with various alleged violations of Illinois Gaming Board Rules and Regulations
Represented the former CFO of Diebold, Inc., in several securities-related actions, including a derivative case, a securities class action and an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class action; in the SEC action, negotiated a highly favorable settlement that did not involve any injunction against any future violations of the federal securities laws
Represented the Special Litigation Committee of the Inland American Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc., at the time the largest non-publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT), in connection with an independent investigation of various facts and circumstances raised in derivative demands, a filed derivative action, various books and records actions, and an SEC investigation
Served as counsel to the board of directors of Strong Financial Corporation in connection with the liquidation of the company as a result of the mutual fund market timing controversy; advised the board as to their fiduciary duties during the extended liquidation process
Chicago Bar Association, past co-chair of the Securities Law Committee (2001-2002) and of the Securities Law Committee’s Subcommittee on SEC Litigation and Enforcement (1999-2000), as well as member of the Futures Law and the Financial and Investment Services committees
Board of Advisers of the SEC Historical Society, member
Chicago Mercantile Exchange, served on the Business Conduct Committee
Law360, former member of the editorial board for the Securities section
National Institute of Trial Advocacy, served as a faculty member
Practising Law Institute, serves as co-chairman of the national program on internal investigations
Securities Industry Association, Compliance and Legal Division
University of Illinois College of Law, served on the Board of Visitors
US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
US District Court for the Central District of Illinois
US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (trial bar)
US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
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