FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Lawrence A. West

Latham & Watkins LLP
Washington, DC, USA

Lawrence A. West

Lawrence A. West is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins. His practice focuses on representing individuals and entities in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and other securities-related enforcement matters, conducting internal investigations and counseling corporations and their officers regarding disclosure and corporate compliance issues.

Before joining Latham in 2006, Mr. West was an Associate Director of the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he worked for 12 years. At the SEC he was responsible for supervising a broad range of enforcement activities, including investigations involving issuer accounting fraud and other disclosure violations, audit failures, insider trading, market manipulation and broker-dealer misconduct. During his tenure at the SEC, Mr. West oversaw numerous cases in a wide variety of areas, including actions involving financial fraud at WorldCom (which resulted in a $750 million SEC penalty, the largest penalty to date), Critical Path, Peregrine Systems and other public companies. He supervised the Commission's investigations into Ponzi schemes run by investment advisers David Mobley and Jay Goldinger and was the lead investigator on the Commission's municipal securities yield-burning cases, which resulted in 21 securities firms paying a total of $195 million to resolve charges of illegal mark-ups on government securities.

Mr. West also led the SEC investigation in the US and Italy resulting in the filing of a civil action against Parmalat for fraudulently offering and selling bonds in the US during the largest accounting fraud in European history. In addition, he supervised SEC staff working on the Enron investigation, on the Commission's risk-based investigations of pension accounting at public companies and practices in the auction-rate securities market and on a major Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation. In 2002, Mr. West was awarded the SEC's Stanley Sporkin Award, which recognizes those who have made "exceptionally tenacious and insightful contributions" to the enforcement of the securities laws.

Mr. West's experience includes:

- Representation of the CEO of a large multi-national technology corporation in a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency investigation involving possible violations of law in  connection with the backdating of employee stock options.  
- Representation of a major United States-based accounting firm and several of its partners and employees in a PCAOB investigation involving possible violations of professional standards in connection with audits of the financial statements of a foreign private issuer.
- Representation of an individual associated with a major United States-based accounting firm in a PCAOB investigation involving possible non-cooperation with a Board investigation.
- Representation of the audit committee of a New York Stock Exchange listed company in an internal investigation into wrongdoing by a financial officer of a subsidiary of the company.    
- Representation of the audit committee of a NASDAQ listed company in an internal investigation into possible violations of law in connection with payments made by  the company on behalf of company officers.   
- Representation of several directors and officers of New York Stock Exchange listed companies in SEC insider trading investigations.   
- Representation of several employees of a major broker-dealer in SEC investigations into trading practices and possible failures to supervise.   
- Representation of several employees of a major New York Stock Exchange listed company in an SEC investigation into possible disclosure deficiencies.   
Counseled and helped design a resolution strategy for Fannie Mae, which was facing an array of government investigations as a result of a multibillion dollar accounting restatement, culminating in a comprehensive settlement among Fannie Mae, the SEC and Fannie Mae's principal regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO).

Bar Qualifications
- District of Columbia
- Maryland

- JD, Yale Law School, 1991
- AB, Harvard College, 1988


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