From Lawyer To Enforcer, Now Executive: Remembering Helane Morrison’s Time With The SEC

Helane Morrison is an executive at Hall Capital Partners, LLC where she serves as chief compliance officer and general counsel. But Morrison had served as an enforcer of trading and securities laws for about 9 years prior when she was head of the SEC’s San Francisco regional office. As an enforcer at the SEC, Morrison started going after even big corporations that the SEC had previously not touched, and she helped prosecute some of them such as Brocade Communications Systems and Franklin Resources for insider trading and fraud. Morrison made quite a name for herself because of how relentless she was pursuing these cases and not resting till justice was served.

 

Helane Morrison was born in Brooklyn, NY and originally intended to go into journalism, the field she studied when she attended Northwestern University. But she had a change of interest when she went to the University of California where she got her J.D. in law. She did however serve as Editor-in-Chief at the California Law Review. She clerked for several years both in the US Court of Appeals in the Seventh circuit, and at the US Supreme court, serving the Hon. Richard Posner and Justice Harry Blackmun.

 

After her time clerking finished, Morrison went into private practice at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin law firm. She did quite a job there that she became a partner in just 6 years. She became especially interested in financial law cases and helping individuals who had been wronged by bad investment advice or fraudulent schemes file lawsuits and prosecute criminals. She became quite versed in financial law during this time, and it was the cases she won that soon had the SEC asking her to come work for them. She was first a local enforcer, then District Administrator and soon Regional Director.

 

Morrison was happy to help prosecute financial criminals, but she began to sense that she needed to change public perception about the financial industry through making a difference in it herself. She decided to join Hall Capital Partners, not only because the executives there were female and her salary was raised, but because of Hall Capital’s values and principles of integrity and transparency to their clients. She became even further resolved to change the reputation of the financial industry after the financial crisis of 2008, and ensure that investors were getting sound advice. She continues to use her years as a financial expert go guide the firm today.