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Margaret Meyers maintains a broad litigation practice representing institutions and individuals in government and internal investigations, regulatory proceedings, civil litigations, and white-collar criminal matters.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released new guidance announcing several policy changes to further strengthen and clarify its approach to prosecuting corporate crime. The guidance, released through a memorandum by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco (the Monaco Memo), instructs prosecutors about factors to consider when evaluating corporate cooperation and compliance programs in the context of potential criminal resolutions.

Notably, the Monaco Memo advises that “prosecutors should consider whether the corporation has implemented effective policies and procedures governing the use of personal devices and third-party messaging platforms to ensure that business-related electronic data and communications are preserved.” This guidance is applicable to all third-party text and social media messaging platforms, and it is especially significant given the recent proliferation of business use of ephemeral messaging applications that provide an option to have messages automatically disappear from a recipient’s conversation history.

Companies would be wise to promptly review their business communications policies and procedures, in light of both possible DOJ oversight, as well as emerging privacy, security, and employment law scrutiny.Continue Reading Recent DOJ Guidance on Personal Devices and Third-Party Messaging Applications Applies to Any Company DOJ May Scrutinize

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is putting some muscle behind Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI). On June 16, 2022, nearly two years after Reg BI went into effect, the SEC filed its first federal lawsuit to enforce the rule against a broker-dealer and its registered representatives.

The SEC sued Western International Securities, Inc. (Western), a dually registered broker-dealer and investment advisor, along with five of its registered representatives, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for allegedly violating Reg BI’s care obligation; the defendants allegedly recommended certain high-risk, speculative bonds to retail customers without themselves fully understanding the associated asset risks and without establishing how the investments served the customers’ best interests. The SEC also charged Western with violating its compliance obligation under Reg BI for allegedly failing to maintain adequate policies and procedures and other controls.

The fact that the SEC sued registered representatives — notwithstanding allegations that their firm had inadequate internal controls and policies —  is a strong statement that individuals must use their best judgment to make their own independent inquiries and determinations about the products they recommend to their clients. Registered representatives cannot hide behind their firm’s guidance and control failures to escape primary liability under Reg BI.Continue Reading SEC’s First Reg BI Lawsuit Takes Strong Position on Individual Liability

Perkins Coie LLP White Collar & Investigations partners Lee Richards and Margaret Meyers are joined by the Hon. Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to discuss litigating in the federal district and appellate courts. Informed by his 26 years of federal experience, Judge Chin shares some best practices for attorneys appearing in the district and appellate courts, describes his experience sentencing white-collar criminal defendants under the post-Booker guidelines, and reflects on the importance of diversity in the legal profession.
Continue Reading Discussion with the Honorable Denny Chin