Mary Jo White is a litigation partner and Senior Chair at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and leader of the firm’s Strategic Crisis Response and Solutions Group where she counsels boards of directors and represents clients on significant, high-profile matters, including crises involving multi-faceted government investigations and cases.
Ms. White also has a distinguished record of public service, having just completed a nearly four-year term as Chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and previously serving as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the nation’s premier U.S. Attorney’s Office, for almost nine years.
Under her leadership as SEC Chair, from 2013-2017, the Commission significantly enhanced its enforcement program and strengthened protections for investors and the markets through a range of transformative initiatives to address a wide range of issues exposed by the financial crisis. During her tenure, the Commission initiated more than 2,850 enforcement actions and achieved record financial recoveries.
As the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 to 2002, Ms. White became the only woman to hold the top position in that office’s more than 200-year history. Ms. White oversaw major prosecutions of white collar crime, organized crime and international terrorism. Her work in terrorism included the successful prosecutions of those responsible for the1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Day of Terror Plot, the Manila Air Plot and the prosecutions of those responsible for the 1998 East African embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, which included the indictment of Osama bin Laden.
Ms. White has also gained prominence as a premiere white collar lawyer at Debevoise, where she also served as a litigation partner from 1983 to 1990, Chair of the Litigation Department from 2002-2013. Having recently returned to Debevoise, she has resumed assisting clients with their most critical matters.
Ms. White has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of “50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America,” and is a recipient of numerous honors, including the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Distinction in Public Service, the George W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism, the Magnificent 7 Award of the Business and Professional Women/USA and the Women of Power and Influence Award from the National Organization of Women. She has also been named to the Forbes “Power Women List.”
Ms. White graduated from William & Mary, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Psychology, The New School for Social Research with an M.A. in Psychology and Columbia Law School with a J.D., where she was an officer of the Law Review.