- Securities Litigation & Enforcement
- White Collar Litigation & Government Investigations
- Public Companies
- Financial Services Litigation
- Investment Advisers
- Registered Investment Companies
- Investment Management
- Corporate Governance
- Securities Regulation
honors + 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)
Merri Jo Gillette is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Litigation Practice and leader of the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Practice. Ms. Gillette's practice focuses on representing financial institutions, public companies, and their officers and directors in regulatory examinations, investigations, enforcement actions, and other proceedings before U.S. and foreign regulators, with emphasis on representing clients in high-stakes Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations across the country. She also counsels boards of directors, corporations, and financial institutions on internal investigations, risk and crisis management, the development of effective compliance programs, and corporate governance issues.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Gillette spent more than 27 years at the SEC, where she won national awards for her leadership in securities law enforcement and was a champion for advancing inclusion and diversity issues within the workplace. Most recently, from 2004 to 2013, she served as Director of the SEC's Chicago regional office. In that role, she managed a staff of 250 lawyers, accountants, and other professionals and was responsible for overseeing the SEC's enforcement and examination programs in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Under her leadership, the Chicago office brought numerous high-profile enforcement cases, many involving extensive coordination with other regulators and criminal authorities.
Ms. Gillette also served in several national leadership roles, providing counsel to agency leaders on securities regulation policy and working with senior SEC staff nationwide. She played a significant role in the recent reorganizations of both the Division of Enforcement and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. Her experience extends across the full range of SEC enforcement matters, including public company disclosure and reporting, insider trading, investment companies (mutual funds), investment advisers, hedge funds, private equity funds, broker-dealers, clearing agencies, market structure, structured products, and municipal securities. Immediately prior to heading the SEC's Chicago office, Ms. Gillette was Associate Director for Enforcement in the SEC's Philadelphia office. She worked in the Philadelphia office from 1986 to 2004, during which time she held several positions in which she investigated, litigated, and supervised hundreds of enforcement matters and was responsible for a number of litigated matters with precedent-setting outcomes.
Ms. Gillette frequently speaks on financial services regulatory and SEC enforcement topics at both industry conferences and continuing legal education programs.
Ms. Gillette earned her J.D. from Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, in 1982 and her Ph.B. from Northwestern University in 1979.
- Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, 1982, J.D.
- Northwestern University, 1979, Ph.B.