The Securities and Exchange Commission announced this week three new high-level appointments.
Jason S. Patil began work at the agency on Monday as an administrative law judge; Rhea Kemble Dignam has been named senior counsel to the director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations; and Liban Jama has been named director of the Atlanta Regional Office.
The SEC announced in July that it had hired Administrative Law Judge James Grimes and three law clerks. The addition of Patil nearly doubles the staff of the Office of Administrative Law Judges, which the SEC says received more than 200 assignments to conduct public hearings and issued 34 initial decisions in fiscal 2013.
Patil began his legal career at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked from 1998 to mid-2012. He started as an attorney in the Executive Office for Immigration Review, assisting administrative law judges in cases involving asylum, detention, and other matters. He became a trial attorney in 2002 and spent more than 10 years litigating civil cases, including litigation involving the anthrax letter attacks and the World Trade Center disaster site. In August 2012, he was seconded for two years to the Multinational Force in Egypt, where he provided legal advice on its operations in the Sinai and supervised criminal investigations and contract matters.
Patil received his Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in political science in 1995 from Stanford University and was captain of the Stanford Debate Society. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1998 and received his L.L.M, also with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center in 2009.
Dignam will begin her new position when her successor, Jama, takes his spot as the regional director of the SEC’s Atlanta office later this fall.
Dignam joined the SEC as the Atlanta Regional Office director in March 2010.
Prior to joining the SEC in 2010, Dignam was a principal with Ernst & Young LLP, a vice president and deputy general counsel at New York Life Insurance Co., executive deputy comptroller of New York City, chief assistant district attorney in Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, and served in several roles in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, including as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, chief of the Public Corruption Unit, chief of the Narcotics Unit and a member of the Securities and Commodities Frauds Unit.
She began her legal career as an associate at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, and holds a B.A. from Wellesley College (Phi Beta Kappa) and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
As director of the SEC’s Atlanta office, Jama will oversee enforcement and examinations in a region covering five states.
Jama currently serves as senior advisor to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White, and before that he served as counsel to Commissioner Luis Aguilar. In those capacities, he provided advice and counsel on many major regulatory and enforcement matters before the Commission.
From 2005 to 2011, Jama served as senior counsel in the enforcement division, where he handled enforcement investigations in a variety of areas ranging from insider trading to disclosure fraud, and was a member of the division’s specialized unit devoted to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Jama received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Before joining the SEC, Jama was a corporate and securities attorney in private practice.
Check out New Hire Roundup: SEC Adds 2 Judges, 3 Attorneys on ThinkAdvisor.