The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the leadership of the agency’s trial unit.  Bridget Fitzpatrick has been named Chief Litigation Counsel of the SEC and David Gottesman will continue to serve as the agency’s Deputy Chief Litigation Counsel.

Since December 2016, Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Gottesman have served as Co-Acting Chief Litigation Counsel.  In that role, they were jointly responsible for supervising the trial unit at the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters as well as coordinating with litigators in the SEC’s 11 regional offices around the country.  In her new role, Ms. Fitzpatrick will oversee the agency’s national litigation program and, as Deputy, Mr. Gottesman’s responsibilities will include oversight of all trial lawyers in the SEC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Ms. Fitzpatrick previously served as a supervisor and a trial lawyer in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, where she supervised the litigation of several successful cases and tried highly complex matters such as the Commission’s charges against the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Michaels Stores, Samuel and Charles Wyly, and former Goldman Sachs banker Fabrice Tourre.  In recognition of her contributions to the SEC’s litigation program, she has twice received the Chairman’s Award for Excellence, and also received the Arthur F. Flemming Award for excellence in public service for her role as lead trial counsel in the Commission’s action against the Wyly brothers. 

As Deputy Chief Litigation Counsel, Mr. Gottesman has managed and advised the agency’s nationwide trial unit on litigation strategies and trial preparation.  He previously served as a supervisor and a trial lawyer in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, where he litigated cases involving accounting and disclosure fraud, market manipulation, offering frauds, and insider trading.

“The combination of Bridget’s impressive track record and strong judgment on litigation and trial strategy will serve the Division’s national litigation program well,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.  “And I am pleased that David is going to substantially broaden his role by overseeing more than 40 trial lawyers and continuing to bring his significant securities expertise and judgment to our litigation program.”

Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, added, “Bridget is well respected within both the Division and the agency, and her leadership of the program will be well complemented by David’s expertise and strong management experience.”

Ms. Fitzpatrick said, “I am honored to have been chosen to lead the SEC’s trial program and look forward to working with David and the SEC’s talented trial lawyers nationwide to continue our fight to protect investors from wrongdoers.”

Mr. Gottesman said, “I look forward to working with Bridget to continue to build upon the successes of our strong litigation program, and look forward to leading the agency’s Washington, D.C.-based trial lawyers to success in the agency’s litigation against wrongdoers.”

Before joining the SEC staff, Ms. Fitzpatrick served as a federal prosecutor for more than five years.  She served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where she tried 30 cases to verdict, including 15 jury trials, and obtained felony convictions against a sitting City Council member in Washington, D.C., for the embezzlement of more than $350,000 in public funds earmarked for youth and against an accounting manager who stole money from a woman’s shelter and an international charity.  Prior to her work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Fitzpatrick worked in private practice.  Ms. Fitzpatrick received her bachelor’s degree with distinction in all subjects from Cornell University and her law degree with honors from Georgetown University, where she was a member of the American Criminal Law Review.

Before joining the SEC staff, Mr. Gottesman was a trial attorney in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Prior to his work at the Department of Justice, he worked in private practice.  Mr. Gottesman received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Minnesota.