David Kornblau

David L. Kornblau


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Covington & Burling LLP
The New York Times Building
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018-1405
Tel: +1 212 841 1084



  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1986
    • cum laude
    • Harvard Law Review, Member, Board of Editors
  • Princeton University, A.B., 1983
    • cum laude
    • Physics

Judicial Clerkship

  • Hon. Charles Merrill, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1986-1987

Bar Admissions

  • New York

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 has been ranked as one of the nation’s leading practitioners in securities enforcement for several years by Chambers USA, which in 2015 highlighted a client’s comment that he is "particularly adept at analyzing the weakness of a case through the prism of litigation and casting his clients' interests in the best possible light."  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.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended a senior executive of a public company and a former senior portfolio manager of a large hedge fund in separate SEC insider trading investigations. Neither client was charged.
  • Representing a public company in an SEC investigation of its revenue recognition practices.
  • Defending sixteen members of the Wyly family against an SEC “relief defendant” action against them in the Southern District of New York. Scaled back the scope of the SEC’s requested asset-freeze order. 
  • 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.

Honors and Rankings

  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers, Securities/Regulation/Enforcement (2012-2015)
  • Legal 500 US, Litigation: Securities (2015) and Financial Services: Litigation (2014) 
  • Finalist, Public Justice Foundation Trial Lawyer of the Year Award (2015)
  • Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2013)
  • New York Super Lawyers, Securities Litigation (2013)

Pro Bono

  • Co-lead counsel for the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania in a landmark civil rights action and settlement, which achieved a state-wide overhaul of Pennsylvania’s policies and practices for prisoners with serious mental illness.

Publications and Speeches

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