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Expect More SEC Scrutiny of Defense Attorney Conduct

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is stepping up its efforts to target attorneys who purportedly obstruct enforcement investigations. In particular, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement is threatening to refer cases to the SEC’s Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) when defense counsel, in the Enforcement Division’s opinion, cross the line in defending clients. The punishment for such an offense could be revocation of the defense counsel’s very ability to practice before the commission, a remedy that the OGC is empowered to seek under Rule 102(e) of the SEC’s Rules of Practice.

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