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Former Obama Counsel Williams Joins Kirkland & Ellis Reg Practice

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President Barack Obama’s former special assistant and associate counsel, Erica Williams, has become a partner in Kirkland & Ellis’s Government, Regulatory & Internal Investigations Practice Group in Washington.

Williams advised Obama and his senior advisors on legal and constitutional issues involving economic policy, financial regulation and reform, financial technology, trade, intellectual property and data protection and privacy.

Marian Fowler, former Senior Special Counsel to the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Investment Management, has also become a Kirkland partner in the firm’s Investment Funds Group. 

“Erica and Marian are extraordinarily talented lawyers who possess deep institutional knowledge about the SEC and have been leaders in shaping the agency’s work over the past several years, both in the Chairman’s Office and in the Division of Investment Management,” said Jeffrey Hammes, Chairman of Kirkland’s Global Management Executive Committee, in a statement.

“They will significantly expand the breadth and depth of the regulatory service available to clients on our rapidly growing investment funds platform.”

Norm Champ, partner in the Investment Funds Group, and former head of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, added that Williams and Fowler’s “superb legal skills will assist our clients in navigating the regulatory environment in the United States.”

Kirkland’s investment funds regulatory practice advises clients on sophisticated and complex fund formation and operations issues, preparing clients for and advising clients regarding examinations by the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and other regulators, and providing advice on novel issues arising under the Investment Company Act of 1940. 

Williams spent 11 years at the SEC, serving as deputy chief of staff under Chairs Mary Jo White, Elisse Walter and Mary Schapiro, and enforcement counsel to Schapiro.

Earlier in her career, she served as assistant chief litigation counsel in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Trial Unit where she is credited with leading a number of successful prosecutions, including cases involving insider trading, accounting fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and financial reporting.

Fowler, who will allso be located in Kirkland’s Washington office, was a key advisor to SEC’s IM division director — including Champ, who held the post from 2012-2015 — on all division projects and priorities and also served as the primary liaison between the division and the chairman’s office and commissioners’ offices. Previously, Fowler was senior counsel in the Investment Company Rulemaking Office.

Fowler earned a law degree at Georgetown University Law Center, a master’s of public policy from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon.

Williams holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.


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