MorganChase buys protection against SEC actions

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J.P. Morgan Names Cutler Counsel

By Peter Lattman
The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stephen M. Cutler, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP and a former enforcement chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission, was named general counsel for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Mr. Cutler, who plans to join the company in February, will also head the bank's legal and compliance activities worldwide. He succeeds Joan Guggenheimer, who died this year.

The 45-year-old securities lawyer leaves WilmerHale, where he co-headed the firm's securities practice out of its Washington office. He joined the law firm in 2005 from the SEC, where he led the agency's enforcement division during a wave of financial fraud and presided over some of the biggest cases in the agency's history, including a $750 million settlement with WorldCom Inc. and a $1.4 billion settlement with Wall Street firms over conflicts of interest involving stock research.

Prior to joining the SEC in 1999, Mr. Cutler was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington. (Wilmer, Cutler and Boston's Hale & Dorr merged in 2004. Mr. Cutler is no relation to founding partner Lloyd Cutler.)

The Cutler news comes amid several other partner departures in WilmerHale's securities practice. Yesterday, law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP announced Charles Davidow will join as a partner in the firm's litigation department in Washington. Mr. Davidow has been a partner at WilmerHale for about 20 years.

Last week, investment bank Cowen Group Inc. announced J. Kevin McCarthy will become its general counsel. Mr. McCarthy joined WilmerHale in 2004 after spending nine years at Credit Suisse Group's then-named Credit Suisse First Boston, where he headed up that bank's litigation department.

Paul Eckert left the firm this month to work for President Bush in the White House Counsel's office. This summer, Andrew Vollmer left WilmerHale to serve as deputy general counsel of the SEC.

William McLucas, the co-chair of WilmerHale's securities practice, said that because of the group's prominence, it often loses top lawyers to government and financial-services industry posts.

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