Defending An SEC Investigation

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Course Information

Time 60 Minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Securities enforcement has recently seen many new developments, from technical modifications such as those implemented in response to COVID-19 shelter-in-place requirements, to substantive refocusing of enforcement efforts on novel issues such as cryptocurrencies and SBA loan frauds, and renewed attention on traditional frauds such as foreign corrupt practices act violations and insider trading. Increasingly, clients who may never before have had any expectation of being involved with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are now finding themselves caught up in SEC investigations. In this current environment, it is important for attorneys to have a sense of how to handle a modern SEC investigation.

In this program, Jason Pickholz, founder of The Pickholz Law Offices LLC, a securities attorney with 25 years of experience handling SEC investigations and an author of the two-volume treatise Securities Crimes, and Seth T. Taube, a partner of Baker Botts LLP and a former Branch Chief of Enforcement, New York Office of the SEC and Special Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, will walk attorneys through the handling of an SEC investigation from inception through conclusion.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the different sources from which an SEC investigation might be instituted
  2. Review some key first steps that a securities attorney should consider
  3. Evaluate “best practices” for responding to SEC requests for client documents and testimony
  4. Navigate conflict of interest and multiple representations
  5. Consider cases involving, or potentially involving, parallel proceedings by other agencies or regulators
  6. Analyze unique aspects of international investigations

Credit Information

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Jason Pickholz

The Pickholz Law Offices LLC

Jason Pickholz was one of the first attorneys to win an SEC whistleblower award for a client, and the first lawyer ever to win an award for a client on appeal to the Commission. This was the first time that the Commission overruled an adverse Preliminary Determination by its Claims Review Staff. Inside Counsel Magazine named this as one of the “Five milestones in the Dodd-Frank whistleblower reward program”. It is still one of only two times that the Commission has overruled an award denial by its Claims Review Staff in the eight-year history of the SEC whistleblower program.

Mr. Pickholz is a co-author of the two-volume book Securities Crimes, published by Thomson Reuters, and is the sole author of the book’s 115-page chapter on the SEC whistleblower program. He is also the creator of www.secwhistleblowerinformation.com, a free on-line encyclopedia for SEC whistleblowers and SEC whistleblower lawyers.

Mr. Pickholz has appeared on Fox Business News, BBC News, and Bloomberg Radio. He has been quoted by the print media numerous times, spoken on many panels and programs, and written several articles for the New York Law Journal, Securities Regulation Law Journal, Journal of Financial Crime (Cambridge University, England), Law 360, and various other publications.

In recognition of Mr. Pickholz’s achievements, he was elected by his peers to be a Fellow of The New York Bar Foundation, an honor that is granted to just 1% of the 74,000 lawyers in the New York State Bar Association.

Mr. Pickholz’s SEC whistleblower clients have included employees, officers, directors, and others in cases involving broker-dealers, investment advisors, financial institutions, and public companies listed in the Fortune Top 10, Top 20, Top 50, Top 100, Top 500, and the Forbes Global 2000.

In addition to SEC whistleblowers, Mr. Pickholz has represented clients in investigations conducted by the SEC, U.S. Attorney’s offices, the U.S. Department of Justice, state authorities including the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the New York Attorney General’s office, FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations, FinCen (the U.S. Treasury Department), the Internal Revenue Service, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Among his other notable cases, Mr. Pickholz was counsel in the first anti-money laundering case brought by FinCen and the NYSE together against an NYSE member firm, was counsel in the first disciplinary case brought by FINRA, and was counsel in two cases that Crain’s New York Business referred to as among the largest stock fraud cases of the early 21st century involving New York-based companies.

Seth T. Taube

Baker Botts LLP

Seth Taube, a former federal prosecutor and SEC official with over forty years of trial experience, handles securities and commercial litigation, SEC and state attorney general defense, corporate governance, and white-collar criminal defense matters in federal and state courts. He has also handled bankruptcy litigation and energy disputes.

Mr. Taube has defended both the New York Stock Exchange and self-regulator FINRA in SEC matters, as well as senior executives, investment bankers, and financial services institutions in SEC, state attorney general, and DOJ inquiries; acted as liquidator's lead counsel for a significant hedge fund collapse; has defended senior management of a leading stock research company in SEC investigations; and has handled financial restatement cases, FCPA inquiries, option backdating investigations, mortgage-backed securities matters and inquiries of major mutual funds and their senior executives by the SEC and state attorneys general. Mr. Taube has extensive experience in international litigation and inquiries, securities-related regulatory and internal investigations as well as securities and international arbitrations.

Mr. Taube served as Branch Chief of Enforcement at the New York Regional Office of the SEC. He was awarded the Manuel Cohen Distinguished Lawyer Award by the Commissioners in 1982 and served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Securities Crime Unit of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Taube is currently teaching International Trade Law at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and has taught courses on mergers, acquisitions, and corporate litigation at Seton Hall Law School. He was also general counsel of an investment bank.