This paper shows that the door between the SEC and the plaintiffs’ bar does not revolve. Among other things, I show that none of the ten leading plaintiffs’-side firms employ anyone with recent SEC experience doing plaintiffs’ side litigation; none of the enforcement attorneys I identified as working for the agency in 2015 left to do plaintiffs’ side litigation; none of the current upper- and middle-managers in the SEC’s enforcement division have any prior plaintiffs’ side experience; and only five of the enforcement attorneys I identified as working for the agency in 2019 had prior plaintiffs’ side experience.
This “non-revolving door” between the SEC and the plaintiffs bar is an intriguing, overlooked feature of the securities enforcement in the United States. Among other things, it raises the prospect that SEC attorneys might have come to embrace the defense bar’s hostile and skeptical view of the social value of securities class action litigation, with significant consequences for the securities enforcement landscape.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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