William R. Baker III is a partner in the Washington office of Latham & Watkins where he serves as Global Co-Chair of the firm's Securities Litigation and Professional Liability Practice Group. Mr. Baker's practice includes a broad range of business regulatory and corporate governance matters, including representing corporations, auditing and other professional firms, investment banks and other financial institutions in SEC and other regulatory enforcement proceedings. In addition, Mr. Baker conducts internal investigations on behalf of management and boards of directors. He regularly counsels clients on SEC reporting, disclosure, compliance and corporate governance requirements.
Prior to joining Latham & Watkins, Mr. Baker was Associate Director of the Division of Enforcement at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, where he worked for 15 years. In that capacity, he was responsible for supervising all types of SEC enforcement activities, including investigations involving issuer accounting fraud and other disclosure violations, insider trading, market manipulation and broker dealer misconduct. During his tenure as Associate Director Mr. Baker lead numerous high-profile investigations that resulted in several landmark enforcement actions including the global settlement in 2000 involving the Commission, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Association of Securities Dealers, and 21 securities firms that resulted in those firms paying a total of $195 million to resolve claims that the firms charged excessive mark-ups on government securities, and the Commission's action against WorldCom Inc., involving one of the largest financial frauds in history. While at the Commission he was a recipient of the SEC's Stanley Sporkin Award, awarded by the Chairman of the SEC in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Enforcement program, and of the Commission's Law and Policy Award.
Mr. Baker is consistently recognized as a leader securities litigation lawyer by Chambers USA and Legal 500. A recent edition of Legal 500 noted that Mr. Baker "has an impressive track record of winning high-stakes securities cases."
Mr. Baker is the co-author of Corporate Internal Investigations after Sarbanes-Oxley published in Volume II of THE PRACTITIONER'S GUIDE TO THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT (American Bar Association 2005) and is a contributor to SECURITIES LAW TECHNIQUES (Matthew Bender). He is co-chair of the Sub-Committee on SEC Enforcement and Civil Litigation of the American Bar Association Business Law Section and serves on the Advisory Council of the SEC Historical Society. From 2001-2004, Mr. Baker was an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School, where he taught Securities Regulation. He is a frequent speaker and panelist on securities law issues at programs organized by a wide variety of groups, including the American Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Securities Industry Association, The Bond Market Association, the Justice Department's National Advocacy Center, the Practicing Law Institute, Georgetown University Law Center and Stanford Law School.
A 1983 graduate of Georgetown University Law School, Mr. Baker clerked for the Hon. Douglas W. Hillman, United States District Judge for the Western District of Michigan.