Lee S. Richards III is a founding partner of the firm. He concentrates in white collar criminal defense, securities enforcement defense, regulatory proceedings, internal investigations, and complex commercial litigations. He has extensive trial experience and regularly represents investment banks, hedge funds, public companies, investment advisers, corporate officers and directors, and other professionals in investigations and proceedings by the DOJ, SEC, FINRA, and other governmental entities and SROs. He also represents companies and senior executives in commercial litigations, class action and derivative cases, and arbitrations relating to a variety of disputes.
In addition, Mr. Richards advises companies and directors on governance issues and has served as SEC Special Compliance Counsel, Receiver and Trustee in the liquidation of five securities firms, including Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, Westgate Capital Management, LLC, and three major insider trading cases. He was appointed as the Independent Examiner in United States v. Computer Associates International, Inc. Some notable representations include:
Mr. Richards served for 15 years as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Fordham Law School. He is President Emeritus of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court, and a former member of the American Inns of Court Board of Trustees. In addition, he is a regular speaker and writer on topics relating to criminal and securities law issues, internal investigations, corporate governance and compliance procedures. He is also a member of the American Jazz Foundation's Board of Directors.
He was recognized by Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com as one of the top ten white collar lawyers in New York. Chambers USA has ranked Mr. Richards as a leading individual in Litigation – White Collar & Government Investigations for seven consecutive years. He was also ranked as a leading individual in Securities Regulation - Enforcement by Chambers USA annually from 2011 to 2014. Mr. Richards has also been identified as one of the nation's "Leading Lawyers" by The Legal 500 and as a “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics Media, Inc. In addition, The Best Lawyers in America® has named him on both the Best Lawyers in New York and the Best Lawyers in America lists.
From 1977 to 1983, Mr. Richards was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he handled major prosecutions of insider trading and securities fraud, including the first successful criminal prosecution of an insider trading case in U.S. history. In United States v. Newman, he conceived the misappropriation theory of insider trading still prevalent today. An account of Mr. Richards’ use of his pioneering theory, as an Assistant United States Attorney (S.D.N.Y.), occupies a chapter of The Prosecutors: Inside the Offices of the Government’s Most Powerful Lawyers, by Pulitzer Prize winner James Stewart. Mr. Richards is a recipient of the Department of Justice’s Award for Superior Performance.