Ex-SEC enforcement chief joins Kirkland, will reportedly be paid over $5M a year

A former top Wall Street watchdog will be focusing on corporate compliance from a different perspective after joining Kirkland & Ellis as a partner.

Appointed in 2009 as the SEC’s director of enforcement, Robert Khuzami will now split his time between the New York and Washington, D.C., offices of Kirkland & Ellis. He will be paid more than $5 million per year, with a two-year guaranteer, reports the New York Times’ DealBook blog (reg. req.) and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), both relying on unidentified sources for the compensation information.

“It’s both aggressive enforcement and vigorous defense that are critical to justice and fairness,” Khuzami, a former federal prosecutor, told the Times, responding to criticism by some observers that he is switching sides.

“I hope to identify trouble before it strikes,” he told Reuters.

He will be joined at Kirkland, where he expects to start work around Labor Day, by one of his lieutenants at the SEC, Kenneth R. Lench. He formerly headed the structured and new products unit at the SEC in his final post during a 23-year career there.

A law firm press release provides further details.

The Am Law Daily also has a story.

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