Deborah R. MeshulamPartner
Deborah Meshulam is one of the leaders of DLA Piper’s Securities Enforcement practice. She is an experienced trial lawyer and strategic counselor who has more than two decades of experience defending and trying the full range of cases arising from allegations of securities law violations, including FCPA and accounting fraud claims, and related breaches of fiduciary duty. She represents multinational corporations, board committees, regulated entities and individuals in high-stakes investigations and litigation conducted by the SEC and DOJ. She also represents clients in CFTC, FINRA, PCAOB investigations as well as those conducted by state securities authorities. She conducts cross-border internal and independent investigations and regularly advises clients on facing potential civil and criminal inquiries related to securities and accounting fraud, claims of FCPA violations, insider trading, employee misconduct and other violations. She also advises clients on litigation avoidance and compliance, including insider trading policies and procedures. She also counsels clients on a wide range of corporate governance and regulatory matters, including those related to the application of securities laws to digital assets and blockchain platforms. She has written on securities law and compliance issues and is a frequent speaker at professional programs on these topics. Deborah has been repeatedly recognized by legal industry publications including most recently in Chambers USA 2022 for Securities Litigation, Global Investigations Review - Who's Who Legal Global Leader, Investigations, and The Legal 500 for her work in Fintech and Securities Litigation-Defense. She is a past recipient of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement, run in alliance with the Law Library of Congress. She is also recognized as a Washington DC Super Lawyer in Securities Litigation.
Prior to joining DLA Piper, Ms. Meshulam served for seven years as Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, a senior level position. As lead trial counsel, she prosecuted securities enforcement cases, including jury trials, involving complex financial fraud, accounting, corruption, market manipulation, insider trading, sales practice fraud, Ponzi schemes and public offering fraud and disclosure issues.
At DLA Piper, Ms. Meshulam represents and has successfully defended individual and corporate clients in SEC and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations relating to claims of securities law and FCPA violations. She counsels clients on compliance, regulatory and corporate governance matters, including issues relating to auditor independence requirements. She also counsels clients on Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd Frank whistleblower matters. Ms. Meshulam regularly conducts investigations on behalf of multinational companies or their audit committees, often relating to FCPA questions, accounting issues, alleged securities law violations and employee misconduct. She also represents clients in investigations conducted by Congress, state securities authorities, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), FINRA and Exchanges.
In her investigations practice, Ms. Meshulam leads and conducts investigations, including cross border investigations, involving a variety of industries and sectors including financial services, defense, energy, consumer, real estate, and healthcare. She has conducted and led investigations involving market manipulation claims, FCPA allegations and accounting fraud claims in China, India, Kazakhstan and Kuwait as well as in Europe. Ms. Meshulam has obtained SEC no-action and DOJ declination decisions in several such matters. In one of her recent matters, she persuaded the SEC to close an accounting fraud investigation against a global corporation with no action. In another recent matter she successfully resolved an SEC investigation involving complex financial products and a number of affiliated financial services companies.
Ms. Meshulam’s regulatory counselling practice includes advising clients on a wide range of corporate governance and regulatory matters, including financial reporting and disclosure issues, design and implementation of compliance programs under the securities laws and the FCPA as well as issues faced by brokers/dealers, investment advisers and other regulated entities. She also represents clients in rulemaking proceedings and in SEC inquiries from the Divisions of Corporate Finance and Trading and Markets, the Office of Chief Accountant and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.
She is an Audit Committee Member of the non-profit organization, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.
- Representation of companies facing DOJ/SEC investigations related to cryptocurrency and token issues.
- Advise cryptocurrency exchange regarding application of securities laws to digital assets
- Representation of financial services companies, including investment advisers, broker dealers and their associated persons in an SEC investigation related to use of quantitative models and related disclosures.
- Representations of multi-national companies in DOJ/SEC investigations of possible FCPA issues, including companies in the defense, technology, extractive and transportation industries.
- Representation of audit committee conducting independent investigation of possible Ethics Code violations and related issues.
- Representations of China based issuers and their executives in SEC investigations and related private securities fraud class actions and derivative lawsuits, including companies in the manufacturing, and natural resource development industries.
- Representation of corporation in securities class actions and shareholder derivative class actions arising from restatement of financial statements. All cases dismissed.
- Representation of public companies, audit committees and independent auditors regarding compliance with requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley.
- Representation of government (at request of the SEC) as Receiver locating and collecting assets of an individual who committed securities fraud.
- Representation of a charitable organization in connection with SEC/FINRA/NYSE rulemaking proceedings related to travel and entertainment rules for regulated entities and persons. Successfully persuaded regulators to address issues raised by client in proposed rule.
- Representation of a senior corporate officer in a Freddie Mac SEC enforcement investigation and related shareholder derivative action and ERISA class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty. Favorable resolution of all matters.
- Representation of foreign nationals in SEC market manipulation investigation. After SEC froze clients US accounts, persuaded SEC to unfreeze the accounts and allow clients to repatriate their funds with no SEC action against them.
- Representation of the former CEO of the UK subsidiary of a US company in an SEC enforcement investigation relating earnings restatement. After SEC threatened to sue, persuaded them to bring no claim against client.
- Representation of accounting firm and its partners in PCAOB investigation. Favorable resolution with no sanctions imposed on individual partners.
- Representation of financial services provider in SEC enforcement investigation regarding alleged improper sales practices, inadequate reporting, and inadequate recordkeeping. Successfully persuaded SEC that client's revised procedures (designed by Ms. Meshulam) resolved any issues. SEC closed the matter with no action.
- Representation of WorldCom/MCI Inc. in private securities class actions, DOJ investigation and state securities enforcement investigations, and select bankruptcy proceedings arising from 2002 earnings restatement.
- Defense of former Enron chairman, Ken Lay, before Congress and in SEC enforcement investigation.
- Representation of non-profit corporation directors sued by association members for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. After defeating a motion for preliminary injunction, won dismissal of the case with prejudice.
- J.D., Columbia University School of Law 1981
Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
- B.A., University of Virginia 1978
magna cum laude
- Chambers USA
- 2022 – Band 2, District of Columbia, Litigation: Securities
Chambers comments: "Deborah is a passionate advocate who is committed to getting the best outcome for her client;" "She regularly provides on-point, commercially aware input on a variety of questions, aligning her suggestions with international best practices in the field."
- 2022 – Band 2, District of Columbia, Litigation: Securities
- Global Investigations Review, Who’s Who Legal
- 2022: Thought Leader in Investigations
- 2020 – 2022: Global Leader, Investigations
- Client and Peer Comments 2022: "I'm most impressed by her extensive knowledge, ability to ask extremely good questions and the ability to get to the heart of an issue;" "She has strong expertise and is an effective advocate;" "she has an exceptional ability to understand complex issues and explain them in a way that’s comprehensible to anyone."
- 2022: Thought Leader in Investigations
- The Legal 500 United States
- 2020 - Recommended, Fintech
- 2019 - Recommended, Securities Litigation – Defense
In 2011, Deborah won the Burton Award for Legal Achievement for her article, "Lessons from the Credit Crisis: Can Market Participants Bear the Risk," published in Business Law Today. The Burton Award, run in alliance with the Law Library of Congress, is dedicated to rewarding effective legal writing.
Deborah is also a Washington DC Super Lawyer, recognized most recently in 2022.
- Co-author, "DeFi participants must prepare for potential bankruptcies," Law360, August 9, 2022
- Co-author, "Real Estate Transactions Are FinCEN Targets: Far-Reaching Impact of Two Proposed Rules," The Banking Law Journal, Volume 139 Number 5, May 2022
- Co-editor and co-author, "Cryptocurrency and Digital Asset Regulation: A Practical Guide for Multinational Counsel and Transactional Lawyers," American Bar Association Publications, April 2022
- Lead Author, Securities & Related Investigations: USA, Global Investigations Review Know How; GIR Insight: Know-how - Securities & Related Investigations: USA (globalinvestigationsreview.com) March 2, 2021
- Co-author, "Climate Activism: Status Check and Opportunities for Public Companies," Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, January 16, 2021 and The Corporate Governance Advisor, March/April 2021
- Author, "Digital Asset Regulation and Enforcement: Don’t Forget the States, Chapter 10," Course Materials Practicing Law Institute Hedge Fund and Private Equity Enforcement & Regulatory Developments 2020 Conference, July 31, 2020
- Co-author, "Emerging Markets Companies Face Increased US Scrutiny," Law360, June 16, 2020
- Co-author, "My Brother's Keeper: SEC Enforcement Against COOs and In-House Counsel, Practicing Law Institute Course Handbook: Storming the Gatekeepers: When Compliance Officers and In-House Lawyers Are at Risk, June 11, 2019
- Contributor, "Cryptocurrency and its impact on insolvency and restructuring," INSOL International, May 2019
- Co-author, "Crypto Regulation: SEC Suggests Possible Path from Security to Non-Security," New York Law Journal, April 24, 2019
- Co-author, "Despite TurnKey, SEC Will Try To Regulate Most Digital Assets," Law360, April 15, 2019
- Co-author, "US and Australia Tackle Fintech Regulation Together," Law360, January 23, 2019
- Co-author, "US Securities Laws Can Be Used to Prosecute ICO Fraud," New York Law Journal, September 19, 2018
- Co-author, "First Judicial Finding that Digital Tokens Are Securities," Law360, July 11, 2018
- Co-author, "2017-2018 SEC Whistleblowing Review: Insights and Trends," Journal of Investment Compliance, Volume 19, Issue 1, July 10, 2018
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Rules SEC ALJs Unconstitutionally Appointed," June 27, 2018
- Co-author, "The Rise of the 'Crypto Czar,' the Fall of a 'Blockchain Evangelist'," New York Law Journal, June 2018, This article has been widely reprinted in such outlets as the National Law Journal, ThinkAdvisor, Corporate Counsel and Coin News King
- Co-author, "The Rise of the 'Crypto Czar,' the Fall of a 'Blockchain Evangelist'," Yahoo! Finance, June 2018
- Co-author, "How One New York Court Is Shaping the Future of Crypto Enforcement," Law360, May 2018
- Co-author, "Crypto Industry Sweep: ICOs Under Increasing Scrutiny by U.S. Regulators," New York Law Journal, April 2018
- Co-author, "Defending Parallel Proceedings, Key Considerations and Best Practices," The Journal Securities Litigation and Enforcement, October 2016
- Co-author with Rachel Cowen and Ross Eberly, "Federal Agencies Attach Employment Agreements and What to Do About It: Eight Steps to Consider," Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 41, No.2, Autumn 2015
- Author, "Significant Recent Securities Litigation Cases and Their Impacts," Inside the Minds: New Developments in Securities Litigation, Aspatore/Thomson Reuters, June 2015
- Panel Speaker "Protecting Investors and Consumers in the Age of Digital Assets," North American Securities Administrators Association Fall Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, September 19, 2022
- Speaker, "Looking Ahead: the Regulatory Landscape for Financial Services in 2020," DLA Piper Client Webinar, December 2, 2021
- Moderator, "Whistleblowers 2021: What the SEC, CFTC and States Are Doing to Encourage Tips," DC Bar virtual panel presentation, April 27, 2021
- Moderator, "The SEC's New Investment Adviser Marketing Rule: Impact on Firms and Investors," DC Bar Program, February 17, 2021
- Moderator/Panel Speaker, "Emerging Technology—Crypto Assets, Big and New Forms of Data and Regulatory Issues," Practicing Law Institute Conference (via Zoom): Hedge Fund and Private Equity Enforcement & Regulatory Developments 2020, September 29, 2020
- Speaker, "SEC Enforcement Update-2020, "Washington DC Compliance Roundtable Webinar, September 24, 2020
- Panel Speaker, "What the Government Expects of a "Gatekeeper"," Practicing Law Institute Conference (via Zoom): Storming the Gatekeepers: When Compliance Officers and In-House Lawyers Are at Risk, September 2, 2020
- Moderator, "Disclosure Issues During COVID-19," DC Bar Association Webinar, June 15, 2020
- Speaker/Panel Moderator, "Emerging Technology—Crypto Assets, Big and New Forms of Data, and Regulatory Issues," Practicing Law Institute Conference: Hedge Fund and Private Equity Enforcement & Regulatory Developments, New York, New York, October 1, 2019
- Speaker, "The Responsibilities of In House Counsel and Compliance Personnel," Practicing Law Institute Conference: Storming the Gatekeepers: When Compliance Officers and In-House Lawyers are at Risk, New York, New York, September 4, 2019
- Speaker, "Getting Ready for Reg BI," Southeastern Women in Financial Services Lunch and Learn, Tampa, Florida, August 13, 2019
- Panelist, "Digital Asset Regulation: What the SEC Is Doing and why It Matters," West Legal/Celesq Webinar, June 18, 2019
- Speaker, "The Securities Fraud Landscape: Recent Trends and Developments and Their Implications for the Year Ahead," The Knowledge Group, Webinar, October 30, 2018
- Moderator, "Chief Compliance Officers in Financial Services," National Association of Women Lawyers Panel Discussion, New York, New York, September 27, 2018
- Moderator, "A Discussion of Regulation Best Interest and the SEC's Interpretation of Advisers' Fiduciary Duties," DC Bar, Washington, DC, June 19, 2018
- Moderator, "Enforcement Mid-Year Review," DC Bar, Washington, DC, June 14, 2018
- Speaker, "Dealing with Whistleblowers: What Employers Need to Know in 2018 and Beyond," The Knowledge Group, Webinar, February 14, 2018
- Speaker, "SEC Investigations, Accounting and Disclosure Fraud: Significant Issues for 2017," The Knowledge Group, Webinar, November 8, 2017
- Speaker, "The Revamped SEC Administrative Enforcement Process: Balancing Out a Lopsided Warfare," The Knowledge Group, Webinar, March 1, 2017
- Moderator, "Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Disciplinary Hearings," DC Bar Association Washington DC, January 19, 2016
- Speaker, "Dodd-Frank Act's Rule 21F-17: Enforcement Actions Against Whistleblower Protection Violations in 2016," The Knowledge Group, Webinar, January 13, 2016
- Panelist, "A View From the Top: Compliance and the C-Suite," Global Legal Confex, New York, New York, October 28, 2015
- Speaker, "Whistleblowers: What Companies Are Doing Now," Webinar, TheCorporateCounsel.net, September 17, 2015
- Speaker, "FCPA Enforcement: Trends Facing Energy Companies," Webinar, DLA Piper CLE series: Lighting the Way-Navigating Obstacles in the Energy Markets, June 3, 2015
- Panelist, "Disclosure, Cooperation & Counsel Pitches--Defense Counsel Perspectives," 8th Annual White Collar Crime & Corporate Governance Conference, Chicago, Illinois, April 16, 2015
- "The Other Anti-Bribery Litigation: Understanding Risk & Exposure Under the False Claims Act," TRACE Anti-Bribery Specialist Accreditation, November 12, 2014
- Speaker, "Shareholder Class Action Lawsuits under The New Companies Act, 2013: Lessons Learned from the US Experience," ABA Section of International Law Joint Conference with Society of Indian Law Firms, New Delhi, India, February 14, 2014
- Speaker, "Good Corporate Governance Makes Good Sense Ethical Behavior and Effective Compliance, " ABA Section of International Law Joint Conference with Society of Indian Law Firms, New Delhi, India, February 14, 2014
- "Will the FTX Collapse Lead to Better Cryptocurrency Regulation," The New Yorker Magazine, November 23, 2022
- "FinCen Kicks Off New Error of AML Compliance for Real Estate," Law360, October 4, 2022
- "Emerging Markets Companies Face Increased US Scrutiny," Law360, June 16, 2020
- "SEC May Soon Require Human Capital Reporting," SHRM, October 21, 2019
- Quoted in "SEC Puts Crypto Exchanges On Notice With First Settlement," Law360, November 8, 2018
- Quoted in "What Dr. Seuss Can Teach Us About Bringing Cybersecurity Onto The Blockchain," Forbes, November 2, 2018
- Quoted in "SEC's Post-Lucia Case Rehearings Largely For Show," Law360, August 31, 2018
- Quoted in "SEC to target more individual advisers in 2018," InvestmentNews, November 20, 2017
- Quoted in ''SEC's In-House Courts Safe For Now After 2nd Circ. Win,'' Law360, June 1, 2016
- Quoted in "SEC's 7th Circ. Win Won't End War On Admin Courts," Law360, August 31, 2015
- Quoted in "Pay-To-Play Ruling Sticks Advisers With Tough-To-Follow Rule," Law360, August 25, 2015
- Quoted in "Federal Bank-Diversity Standards Are Weak: House Dems, Activists," American Banker, June 22, 2015
- "Halted SEC Case To Spark More In-House Court Challenges," Law360, June 9, 2015
- "S&P Nears Settlement on Real-Estate Bond Ratings," The Wall Street Journal, December 25, 2014
- "SEC investigating claims of unequal distribution of market moving data," Global Investigations Review, October 30, 2014
- "Some Expect to See SEC Lean Away From Courts Following Judge's Criticism," BDWeek, January 16, 2012
Before coming to DLA Piper, Deborah served as Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel of the SEC's Enforcement Division, a senior-level position. As lead trial counsel, she prosecuted a number of securities enforcement cases, involving complex financial fraud, accounting, market manipulation, insider trading, sales practice fraud, and public offering fraud and disclosure issues.
My latest insights
Banking sector volatility increases government enforcement risks across multiple...
16 March 2023 .11 minute read
PCAOB staff warns investors (and auditors) about proof of crypto reserve reports
13 March 2023 .6 minute read