Merri Jo Gillette regularly represents financial services firms, public companies, and their officers and boards of directors in SEC and other enforcement investigations. These matters have included a wide range of subject matters, including financial reporting, insider trading, regulatory compliance, market structure, complex financial instruments, and municipal securities. Co-leader of the firm’s securities enforcement and litigation practice, Merri Jo also counsels regulated entities during SEC examinations, conducts internal investigations, and advises on compliance and corporate governance issues.
Merri Jo’s experience extends across the full range of SEC enforcement and compliance issues. She has handled matters for reporting companies and securities industry firms such as broker-dealers, underwriters, investment advisers, investment companies, hedge funds, private equity funds, and clearing agencies. She also counsels boards of directors, corporations, and financial institutions on risk and crisis management, cybersecurity, and the development of effective compliance programs.
Prior to joining the firm, Merri Jo spent more than 27 years at the SEC, where she won national awards for her leadership in securities law enforcement. From 2004 to 2013, she was regional director of the SEC’s Chicago office, which has jurisdiction over nine Midwestern states. Under her leadership, the Chicago office brought many high-profile enforcement cases that required extensive coordination with other regulators and criminal authorities. She also oversaw the SEC’s examination program for broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment companies, transfer agents, and clearing agencies located throughout the Midwest.
Immediately prior to her tenure in the SEC’s Chicago office, Merri Jo was associate director in charge of enforcement in the SEC’s Philadelphia office where she worked for 18 years. During that time, she investigated, litigated, and supervised hundreds of enforcement cases and was responsible for a number of litigated matters with precedent-setting decisions.
Merri Jo frequently speaks on financial services regulatory and SEC enforcement topics at both industry conferences and continuing legal education programs.
Northwestern University, 1979, Ph.B.
Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, 1982, J.D.
Awards and Affiliations
Noted in The US Legal 500 for Securities: Shareholder Litigation (2014)
Chair, Midwest Interagency Task Force (2008–2011)
SEC's Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor the agency bestows on an individual (2007)
SEC's Stanley Sporkin Award, recognizing SEC staff who have made exceptionally tenacious and insightful contributions to the enforcement of the federal securities laws (2011)
SEC & NTEU Labor Management Relations Award for commitment to harmonious labor-management relations in context of OCIE restructuring (2011)