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Former SEC Chair Mary Jo White Returns to Debevoise

She follows former SEC colleague Andrew Ceresney in rejoining the law firm.

  • Sheila Dang

Mary Jo White, who stepped down as chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in January, is returning to Debevoise & Plimpton to become the law firm’s senior chair.

At Debevoise, White will focus on counseling boards of directors and representing clients, including companies affected by government investigations, according to a statement Wednesday from the law firm. White chaired its litigation department from 2002 to 2013 before being nominated by former President Obama to head the SEC.

“Simply put, Mary Jo is a giant in the legal profession,” Michael W. Blair, Debevoise’s presiding partner, says in the statement. “Few, if any, other lawyers have garnered the respect and admiration that Mary Jo has throughout her distinguished career.”

In nearly four years as chair of the SEC, White is one of the longest-serving leaders of the agency. During her tenure, the SEC added more protection for mutual fund investors and brought more enforcement actions than any other three-year period in SEC history. Before joining Debevoise in 2002, White served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the only woman to have held the post.

Her return makes her the second former SEC official to return to Debevoise this year. In January, the law firm said that Andrew Ceresney, who served under White as director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, was rejoining the law firm to become co-chair of the litigation department.