Cadwalader adds Steptoe securities, corporate governance leader

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REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

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  • Philip Khinda joins Cadwalader's D.C. office after more than decade with Steptoe
  • The pandemic has created "pent-up" enforcement risks, Khinda says

(Reuters) - Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft said Wednesday that it brought on a leading securities litigator and corporate advisor in New York and Washington, D.C., tapping Steptoe & Johnson partner and practice leader Philip Khinda.

Khinda led Steptoe's corporate governance and crisis management practices and served as co-head of its securities enforcement practice. He is joining Cadwalader as a partner in its white collar defense and investigation group.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of something extraordinarily special, part of something that is at the very top," Khinda said, citing the firm's work with leading financial institutions.

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A former senior counsel with the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement, Khinda joined Steptoe in 2008 from Ropes & Gray.

News outlets in 2015 reported that Khinda was under consideration by the Obama White House to fill one of the expected vacancies created by the departures of then-SEC commissioners Daniel Gallagher, a Republican, and Luis Aguilar, a Democrat. The White House ultimately nominated Democrat Lisa Fairfax and Republican Hester Peirce.

Over the course of his career, Khinda has represented companies, company boards, and senior executives in securities investigations and litigation involving Credit Suisse Group AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Rite Aid Corp, Enron Corp, Time Warner Inc and Yahoo! Inc.

"With his experience in SEC matters and corporate crises and internal investigations, Phil is the kind of go-to lawyer that the leaders of financial institutions, funds and corporations want and need on their team," Cadwalader managing partner Pat Quinn said in a statement.

A representative for Steptoe did not respond to a request for comment.

Khinda said law firms and their corporate clients are preparing for an increase in government scrutiny at the state, federal and international levels, adding that there is a lot of "pent-up interest."

"The government hasn’t interviewed anyone in person for over a year," he said.

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.