Deborah R. Meshulam

Partner
About

Deborah Meshulam is one of the leaders of DLA Piper’s Securities Enforcement practice. She 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 conducts cross-border internal and independent investigations for multinational corporations and regularly advises clients on compliance matters and litigation avoidance. 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.

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaNew York
CourtsUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of New YorkUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of MarylandUnited States District Court for the District of ColumbiaUnited States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitSupreme Court of the United States

EXPERIENCE

SAMPLE REPRESENTATIONS
  • 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.
Languages
  • French
Education
  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law 1981
    Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
  • B.A., University of Virginia 1978
    magna cum laude

Awards

  • 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."
  • 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."
  • 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.

Publications

Seminars

  • 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

Media Mentions

  • "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

Prior Experience

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.

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