Clients turn to David Kornblau, co-chair of the firm’s Securities Enforcement practice group, to represent them in sensitive and complex investigations, related litigation, and internal investigations. His clients include investment banks, public companies, stock exchanges, asset management firms, senior executives, portfolio managers, and traders.
As a former senior SEC Enforcement official and SEC trial lawyer, Mr. Kornblau uses his in-depth knowledge of the agency’s internal workings and personnel to help clients successfully navigate potentially damaging investigations. And as a former senior member of a sophisticated in-house legal department, he knows the importance of handling matters cost-effectively, communicating clearly and concisely, and keeping a keen eye on the client’s key strategic objectives.
Mr. Kornblau is ranked as one of the nation’s leading practitioners in securities enforcement by Chambers USA, which highlighted client praise as "good at rolling up his sleeves and coming up with creative approaches." In 2013, he won the Burton Award for Legal Achievement for co-authoring “Market Manipulation and Algorithmic Trading: The Next Wave of Regulatory Enforcement?” A frequent writer and speaker on current securities enforcement topics, Mr. Kornblau is regularly cited as an authority by the national news media.
Before joining Covington in 2009, Mr. Kornblau was a Managing Director and the Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Merrill Lynch, where he oversaw the firm’s responses to all regulatory and law-enforcement investigations. From 2000 to 2005, he served as Chief Litigation Counsel of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement during the “Enron Era” of large-scale corporate investigations and heightened enforcement activity. From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Kornblau tried numerous cases as an SEC trial attorney. He also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in a criminal securities fraud prosecution.
- Achieved a highly favorable settlement for the New York Stock Exchange in a widely reported SEC action involving the exchange’s dissemination of market data. No fraud or intentional wrongdoing was alleged, and no individuals were charged.
- Handled a novel and cost-effective settlement of an emergency SEC administrative action against a public company to deregister its stock based on its failure to file quarterly and annual reports. The settlement, achieved in eight days, allowed trading of the company’s stock to resume immediately and relieved the company of any obligation to cure its past filing deficiencies.
- Significantly reduced the severity of SEC sanctions against two asset managers accused of breaching their fiduciary duties.
- Represented a large regional bank in an SEC inquiry concerning its mortgage loan repurchase reserve. The SEC took no action against our client.
- Represented a global technology company in an SEC investigation of its revenue recognition practices. The SEC took no action against our client.
- Defending swaps traders in an ongoing CFTC investigation of potential manipulation of an interest-rate benchmark.
- Representing FX traders in the global investigations of possible manipulation of foreign currency exchange markets.
- Represented a major investment bank in CFTC, SEC, and CBOE inquiries arising from the "flash crash" on May 6, 2010. The SEC took no action against our client.
- Negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of a major investment bank in a FINRA investigation of alleged large proprietary wash sales.
- Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a financial services firm into an alleged retaliatory discharge by its chief compliance officer.
- Represented a head subprime mortgage trader and other mortgage trading desk employees of several major investment banks in investigations by the SEC, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the New York Attorney General’s Office, and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. No charges were brought against any of our clients.
Honors and Rankings
- Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers, Securities/Regulation/Enforcement (2012-2014)
- Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2013)
- New York Super Lawyers, Securities Litigation (2013)
- Legal 500 US, Financial Services: Litigation (2014) and Litigation: Securities and White-Collar Criminal Defense (2012)
- Co-lead counsel for the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania in a federal court action seeking to stop the unconstitutional treatment of mentally ill prisoners in Pennsylvania state correctional institutions.
Publications and Speeches