Dechert’s litigation and enforcement team has the expertise and experience to handle the most critical and complex litigation and regulatory matters. With dedicated partners in six U.S. offices from coast to coast — and a global financial services practice throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East — our litigators have the multi-jurisdictional capabilities, experience, skills and judgment to assist clients through regulatory and litigation disputes arising anywhere in the world.
Our fund litigators are involved in all of the strategic legal issues currently affecting the industry, representing many of the country’s leading fund complexes and boards, hedge funds and banking institutions as well as working closely with industry organizations.
For more than a decade, Dechert has defended fund industry clients in high-stakes class actions and derivative litigation in state and federal courts, as well as in enforcement proceedings before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and state agencies, that have challenged core practices of the fund industry. Our litigators remain at the forefront today, representing clients in the new wave of bankruptcy “clawback” litigation claims being pursued against fund complexes and other financial service providers.
We systematically track developments in courts across the country to remain current on important developments and anticipate significant outcomes that may benefit our clients. Dechert has been retained by the Investment Company Institute to serve as a legal voice of the fund industry in several precedent-setting lawsuits. Our depth of experience, regulatory knowledge and commitment to the fund industry help us to defend funds, independent directors, investment advisers and related entities in these types of actions.
Banking and Financial Institutions
We defend banks, thrifts and other financial institutions as well as officers, directors and professionals in civil and administrative litigation brought under federal and state banking, consumer and securities laws and regulations.
When situations turn adversarial, we provide comprehensive representation before the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Justice (DOJ), National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and similar federal agencies, as well as states where we have experience in dealing with attorneys general and bank regulators. Our enforcement experience ranges from mounting a proactive defense to preventing charges from being filed to pretrial and trial advocacy. We have handled parallel civil, criminal and administrative proceedings involving alleged lending improprieties, accounting irregularities, mortgage servicing, money laundering and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) violations, insider trading, unsafe and unsound conditions, abusive sales and trading practices, fair lending and other consumer protection law violations, and disclosure, internal control and governance issues.
Since the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, corporate board and audit committee oversight has heightened significantly. We handle internal investigations on behalf of companies and their boards of directors relating to regulatory violations, disclosure issues, whistleblower matters, money laundering, insider transactions, financial statement irregularities, regulatory filings, market timing and insider trading issues.
Failed Bank Receiverships
As government officials, our lawyers were involved in the seizure and receivership of hundreds of failed banks. With this background, and as counsel over the years to many companies regarding Federal Savings and Loan Corporation (FSLIC), Resolution Trust Corp. (RTC) and FDIC receivership issues, we are regularly called upon to advise on investor, borrower and related claims in FDIC bank receiverships, as well as on related claims and litigation arising from the bankruptcy of holding companies. We also have extensive knowledge of FDIC receivership rules and their impact on the various claims and cross-claims that may be brought in a federal bankruptcy proceeding when the parent holding company files for bankruptcy.
We have extensive experience in fair lending matters, having represented financial institutions in a number of investigations and proceedings pursued by bank regulatory agencies and the DOJ. Our lawyers authored The Fair Lending Guide, a two-volume comprehensive review of fair lending legal principles and governmental and private actions.
While in government service, our lawyers handled hundreds of federal bank receiverships and developed the federal policies relating to receivership actions against directors, officers and third parties. This experience has been an asset in helping officers, directors and professionals of failed financial institutions better understand and defend themselves against FDIC and Inspector General investigations and civil, criminal and administrative litigation. We also defend D&Os in derivative suits and class actions involving usurpation of corporate opportunity, governance and controlling shareholder issues, as well as in bondholder and creditor matters.
We represent both major and regional broker-dealers in disputes with customers predominantly in arbitration firms, and in controversies between member firms over issues such as the departure of registered representatives.
Commodities and Derivatives
Our litigators have successfully handled many high stakes, complex litigation matters involving collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other derivative instruments. Seasoned trial lawyers in our New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Princeton offices have litigated or resolved disputes across the country for some of the largest financial institutions and investment firms in the world, arising from the sale, use and performance of a wide spectrum of derivative products. We have resolved claims involving a range of contractual, tort and statutory liability theories, including claims alleging improper or fraudulent valuations, risk disclosures and collateral descriptions.
Our litigators work together with our commodities and derivatives colleagues, themselves industry leaders in the creation and regulation of derivative products encompassing all commodities and asset classes, to help clients resolve derivative-related disputes. We also have extensive experience defending class claims alleging market manipulation under the Commodity Exchange Act.
Global Regulatory Enforcement
Dechert’s securities enforcement lawyers represent clients in matters before the SEC, FINRA and state agencies covering a wide range of issues arising from the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, state securities laws and the SEC, Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO), the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board rules and the array of new matters arising out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation. Our team includes a dozen former federal prosecutors and officials from the SEC and FINRA. The group and several of our partners are consistently recognized among the top tier by Chambers, Benchmark Litigation, The Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal – The International Who’s Who of Business Crime Lawyers.
With more than 300 litigators worldwide, we have leveraged our significant profile in the U.S. to expand our team with several first-rate additions in London, Moscow and Hong Kong. Dechert is one of a handful of firms capable of providing high-end services to these markets in multiple jurisdictions, and we are increasingly called upon to work with law firms outside the United States on internal and government investigations with potential ramifications in multiple jurisdictions.
Hedge fund litigation is an integral part of our practice. We represents hedge funds and their officers and directors in a wide range of litigation and enforcement matters, including government investigations and actions brought by the DOJ, SEC, FINRA and state attorneys general, as well as securities class action litigation in state and federal courts.
Dechert represents financial services companies, primary insurers, reinsurers and insurance brokers, as well as their officers and directors, in a wide range of litigation and enforcement matters, including securities class action litigation in state and federal courts; government investigations and actions brought by the DOJ, SEC, FINRA and state attorneys general; and internal investigations and related class actions and criminal litigation involving insurance brokerage commissions and allegations of bid rigging.
Our insurance litigation capabilities are complemented by the expertise of our colleagues outside Dechert’s litigation practice who regularly represent clients in the insurance industry. We are one of the few law firms in the country that has a substantial variable products practice, while our insurance products and insurance funds groups represent numerous mutual funds that underlie insurance products and broker-dealers that distribute such products.
Noteworthy clients represented by our financial services and investment management litigators include:
- Abigail Adams Bank
- AIG Financial Products
- American Independence Funds
- American Savings Bank
- Anchor Bank
- Bank of America
- BAWAG P.S.K.
- Bayou Hedge Funds
- Commerce Bank/Harrisburg, NA
- DFCU Financial
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle
- Franklin Templeton
- Independence Federal Bank
- Investment Company Institute
- J. Ezra Merkin, Head of Gabriel Capital Corporation
- John Hancock Advisors
- Lincoln National Funds
- Lord, Abbett & Co.
- MassMutual Funds
- Munder Capital Management, Inc.
- OppenheimerFunds, Inc.
- Pacific Life
- R&G Financial Inc.
- Russell Investments
- Rydex Investments
- Schwab Investments
- Sun Capital Advisors
- T. Rowe Price
- Third Point LLC
- TierOne Bank
- Whitney Bank NA