SEC to Heighten Its Focus on Counsel’s Conduct

December 22, 2011Articles Westlaw News & Insight Securities Blog

In what has become a familiar refrain from the SEC, Associate Enforcement Director Stephen Cohen recently commented that the conduct of defense counsel is becoming of increasing concern to the SEC. He stated that the SEC is "very focused on what we view as alarming conduct by counsel on many investigations."

Cohen noted, among other things, that the SEC perceives as improper law firms who represent multiple witnesses, as well as lawyer interference during investigations. According to Cohen, the problem the SEC is seeing with multiple representations is that a number of witnesses are coming up with the same version of events. These witnesses are answering in the same manner to the same questions. What Cohen does not acknowledge is the possibility that witnesses may actually all be telling the truth even if their version of events are similar.

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