Former SEC chair Mary Jo White returns to Debevoise & Plimpton

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Mary Jo White

Mary Jo White.

Former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White has returned to Debevoise & Plimpton.

The firm announced in a Wednesday press release that White would assume the role of senior chair of the firm. White had previously served as litigation chair from 2002 to 2013, joining the firm after nearly a decade as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She left the firm upon her confirmation as SEC chair under President Barack Obama. According to the firm, White’s new role will be to advise corporate boards and clients on governmental and regulatory matters, and will also have a hand in firm management.

White told Bloomberg Law that she continued to perform her tasks as SEC chair up until the end of the Obama Administration and hadn’t given much to her future until Debevoise’s presiding partner Michael Blair and his deputy, Bruce Yannett, called her to see if she wanted to come back.

“Pretty quickly, within a couple of days, I decided I wanted to practice law and wanted to do that full-time,” she told Bloomberg. “Then, the decision was easy to come back to Debevoise. It has one of the preeminent white collar defense practices. It’s the core of what I do.” White added that she would not be involved in day-to-day management of the firm.

“Simply put, Mary Jo is a giant in the legal profession,” Blair said in a statement. “Few, if any, other lawyers have garnered the respect and admiration that Mary Jo has throughout her distinguished career. Mary Jo’s leadership and accomplishments are truly extraordinary, and her experience and judgment will be a tremendous asset to our clients and the firm.”

White is the second major SEC official to return to the firm this year. In January, Andrew Ceresney, who served under White at the SEC as director of the Division of Enforcement, came back to the firm as co-chair of the litigation department.

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