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“Defense Attorneys Speak Out About Grewal’s Get-Tough Tactics at the SEC”

Phillips & Cohen partner Sean McKessy provides his perspective as a former SEC Whistleblower Program insider to New Jersey Law Journal’s coverage of SEC enforcement chief Gurbir Grewal’s tough approach.

Sean McKessy, a former SEC staff attorney who also established and ran the agency’s whistleblower program, welcomed Grewal’s new approach to enforcement. McKessy, who now  represents SEC whistleblowers with Phillips & Cohen in Washington, D.C., concedes that the higher penalties will translate to more money for his clients and his firm.

But McKessy said higher penalties would cause defendant companies to view violations of securities law as something that could threaten their ongoing survival, rather than merely pay up as a cost of doing business. He hailed Grewal for coming to the job as “an approach and a thought process that says ‘I’m here now, let’s question some of the premises that we operate under.’ I think it’s interesting and refreshing that he’s come out of the gate swinging.”

Litigating as opposed to settling is an acceptable trade-off, according to McKessy. “All the benefits of a pro-enforcement, high-penalty environment offsets any concerns that some cases may take longer and go to litigation instead of settle,” he said.

Read the entire article, “Defense Attorneys Speak Out About Grewal’s Get-Tough Tactics at the SEC,” on The New Jersey Law Journal’s website. 

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