William R. Baker, III is a partner in the Washington office of Latham & Watkins. For almost three decades, first as a senior officer at the SEC, and then at Latham, Mr. Baker has worked on some of the most significant securities regulatory and corporate governance matters. Today, he represents financial institutions, corporations, auditing and other professional firms 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, he served as Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement where 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 and investment adviser misconduct. Mr. Baker led numerous high-profile investigations that resulted in several landmark enforcement actions, including the SEC'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 leading securities lawyer by Chambers USA and The Legal 500 US and is listed as one of the Best Lawyers in Washington by Washingtonian magazine. In 2017, he was named to BTI Consulting Group’s “Client Service All-Star List,” which recognizes national leaders in superior client service identified directly by corporate counsel and executives. He 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 was named to the Securities Docket 2017 "Enforcement 40" list, which lists the forty leading securities enforcement defense attorneys.
Mr. Baker is a Trustee of the SEC Historical Society. Previously, he was an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School, where he taught Securities Regulation. He is a frequent author, 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, SIFMA, the Justice Department's National Advocacy Center, the Practicing Law Institute, Georgetown University Law Center and Stanford Law School.