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Law Firm Bulks Up With Ex-Finra Lawyers

By Alex Padalka December 6, 2018

The international law firm King & Spalding has hired away three senior attorneys from self-regulator Finra, the company says.

Russell Johnston, Richard Margolies and Michael Watling join as partners in the firm’s Government Matters practice and its Securities Enforcement and Regulation team in New York, according to a press release from the company.

Johnston has served as the lead attorney on various Finra cases related to anti-money laundering violations, sales practices and penalties and restitutions resulting from the Puerto Rico bonds crisis, King & Spalding says. He also served as counsel on some of the regulator’s fintech-related cases, according to the press release.

Margolies served as lead counsel on Finra cases involving securities fraud, outside business activities, suitability, anti-money laundering and customer protection rules, among others, the company says. Watling was lead counsel on Finra cases related to securities fraud, programmatic anti-money laundering and supervision failures and sales practice violations, among others, according to the press release.

Additionally, the law firm also hired Mirella deRose from an unnamed private practice as a partner in the same unit, King & Spalding says. She was counsel at Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss from 2016 to October 2018, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was principal counsel in Finra’s Department of Enforcement from 2014 to 2016, serving as the primary attorney in its high-risk broker unit, according to the press release.

Prior to that, deRose spent eight years as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, King & Spalding says. She has also represented clients including the CFO and CCO of a broker-dealer and other firms and individuals in Finra and other white-collar legal actions, according to the press release.

“We are thrilled to welcome these four new partners who bolster our securities regulation capabilities while also supplementing our investigations and compliance expertise,” Wick Sollers, head of the Government Matters practice group, says in the press release. “Their insights and experience dealing with Finra rules, FinTech, cryptocurrency, anti-money laundering and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues will be a huge asset to the firm and our clients.”