Four Partners Join King & Spalding with Regulatory Expertise from FINRA

NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- King & Spalding today announced that Mirella deRose, Russell Johnston, Richard Margolies and Michael Watling joined as partners in the Government Matters practice and the Securities Enforcement and Regulation team in the New York office. All four partners served as senior attorneys with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Department of Enforcement.

Johnston, Margolies and Watling joined King & Spalding directly from FINRA, while deRose joined from private practice. Following the return of former FINRA senior vice president and deputy chief of Enforcement Russ Ryan in September, their arrival brings the number of former senior FINRA Enforcement officials at the firm to five.

“Financial regulatory examinations, investigations and enforcement proceedings have always been a core strength of King & Spalding’s Government Matters practice,” said Wick Sollers, head of the Government Matters practice group, of which the Securities Enforcement and Regulation team is a part. “We are thrilled to welcome these four new partners who bolster our securities regulation capabilities while also supplementing our investigations and compliance expertise. Their insights and experience dealing with FINRA rules, FinTech, cryptocurrency, anti-money laundering and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues will be a huge asset to the firm and our clients.”

“Mirella, Russell, Richard and Michael will provide tremendous value to our clients in New York and all over the world,” said Ed Kehoe, managing partner of the New York office. “They follow more than a dozen partners and other lawyers who have joined our New York office since January, and who will expand our offerings to our clients.”

Mirella deRose
deRose, an experienced prosecutor, regulator, and private practice attorney, has successfully represented individuals in FINRA and other white-collar actions, including the CFO and CCO of a broker-dealer; employees of major financial institutions both in the United States and Latin America during internal and government investigations; and large Brazilian companies involved in U.S. Department of Justice corruption probes. In addition, she has advised clients in Turkey and Latvia regarding financial crimes compliance and white-collar investigations. Conversant in Spanish, deRose has extensive experience in handling matters emanating from Latin America. 

From 2014 to 2016, deRose served as principal counsel in FINRA’s Department of Enforcement, where she was the primary attorney assigned to the High Risk Broker Unit. She successfully led over 30 investigations of broker-dealers and associated individuals involving securities fraud, money laundering, conversion and supervisory failures. From 2006 to 2014, deRose served as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where she investigated and prosecuted a variety of white-collar crime matters and garnered extensive grand jury, hearing and trial experience. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Russell Johnston
Johnston, who has broad compliance expertise, served as the lead attorney on some of FINRA’s most complex matters, including historic enforcement actions regarding anti-money laundering violations, sales practice supervision issues, and the most significant penalties and restitution programs emanating from the Puerto Rico debt crisis. In addition, he served as counsel on several of FINRA’s earliest FinTech-related matters, including serving as the primary counsel to FINRA’s funding portal examination program. Johnston also served as counsel on matters addressing corporate finance and advertising regulations for public and private securities offerings.

Prior to FINRA, Johnston represented multinational corporations across a wide range of sectors on financial crime compliance matters. He led worldwide internal investigations, assisted clients in cooperating with regulatory inquiries, conducted due diligence on M&A transactions, and prepared corporate officers for congressional hearings. He also provided compliance training, best practices and policy formation to clients and fellow attorneys, and prepared a witness for the UK Parliament Select Committee drafting the UK Bribery Act. Prior to practicing law, he worked at Deutsche Bank. Johnston received his undergraduate degree from Villanova University and his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

Richard Margolies
Margolies, a seasoned securities lawyer, served as lead counsel on numerous complex FINRA investigations and enforcement proceedings concerning securities fraud, conversion, market manipulation, unlicensed sale of securities, private securities transactions, outside business activities, suitability, Regulation S-P, anti-money laundering, corporate finance, advertising regulations and customer protection rules. Margolies also served as lead counsel for Enforcement in a litigated matter involving novel issues pertaining to foreign investment through the United States EB-5 program.

Before joining FINRA, Margolies spent 13 years in private practice where he litigated, both in state and federal courts, numerous complex class actions in the fields of securities, consumer financial services, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. During that time, Margolies served as lead counsel in matters involving violations of the federal securities laws, breaches of fiduciary duty, insider trading, market manipulation, improper financial reporting and accounting fraud. Prior to practicing law, Margolies worked at Fimat Futures USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Société Générale Group, and Bankers Trust New York Corporation. He received his undergraduate degree from Lehigh University, his J.D. from New York Law School, and his M.B.A. in finance from New York University. 

Michael Watling
Watling, a career trial attorney, has acted as lead counsel in many of FINRA’s most complex and programmatically significant litigated matters, including representing FINRA as appellate counsel before the organization’s National Adjudicatory Council. In this role, he led dozens of matters from investigation through contested disciplinary proceedings concerning, among other things, securities fraud, market manipulation, programmatic anti-money laundering and supervision failures, and a wide range of sales practice violations. Watling also served as FINRA’s Enforcement Department liaison to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

Prior to joining FINRA, Watling served for over six years as a federal prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Tax Division. While at the DOJ, Watling acted as lead trial counsel in matters concerning tax fraud, mortgage fraud, money laundering and other white-collar offenses. In 2012, Watling served as deputy associate counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel during the Administration of President Barack Obama. While at the White House, he vetted presidential appointees and counseled the president and vice president on tax-related matters. Watling started his career as an assistant district attorney in Queens County, New York. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and his J.D. from Hofstra University.

“The combination of King & Spalding’s regulatory prowess, the ability to join as a team, and the firm’s culture of collaboration made this an easy choice for us,” said Margolies. “With our civil and criminal regulatory investigations expertise, our team will add immediate support to our new securities enforcement and white-collar defense and commercial litigation colleagues. We are excited to expand the firm’s services to broker-dealer and financial institution clients.”

About King & Spalding
Celebrating more than 130 years of service, King & Spalding is an international law firm that represents a broad array of clients, including half of the Fortune Global 100, with 1,000 lawyers in 20 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm has handled matters in over 160 countries on six continents and is consistently recognized for the results it obtains, uncompromising commitment to quality, and dedication to understanding the business and culture of its clients. More information is available at

Luis Mocete

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

deRose Mirella Johnston Russell Margolies Richard Watling Mike