Douglas I. Koff is co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Government Investigations Group. Doug represents clients in high-profile civil and criminal proceedings, as well as investigative matters. He is best known for supervising these types of matters for financial institutions and broker-dealers as well as representing executives in the crosshairs of the government regulators and criminal authorities. Doug has been actively engaged in cases involving financial service institutions, broker-dealers and corporate executives relating to securities, derivative products and other complex financial instruments. In this regard, he has advised and defended companies and corporate executives in virtually all types of inquiries by civil and criminal authorities (as well as SROs) into business practices on Wall Street, including a wide array of matters involving the financial crisis. He has also handled major civil litigations and arbitrations involving a broad spectrum of substantive legal issues, including fraud, breach of contract, antitrust, breach of fiduciary duty, reinsurance, piercing the corporate veil, mergers and acquisitions, and money laundering, as well as federal securities law.

Doug has been recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA, which noted that he is “hard working, attentive and client-focused,” “extraordinarily focused and tenacious,” and “a smart, thorough litigator who is always on top of things.” Chambers also noted that he “has everything on his radar screen” and has a “remarkable ability to get along with anyone, making it his business to develop a rapport with other attorneys involved in his cases.”

Representations

Currently representing a former executive of Equifax in the widely publicized insider trading cases brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the SEC, both for the Northern District of Georgia. The executive is alleged to have traded on material non-public information before the company’s announcement last year that it had suffered a data breach.

In 2018, completed a representation of a leading global clinical research organization (CRO), as respondent, in a four and a half year-long arbitration proceeding brought by a biopharmaceutical company. The claimant sought over $1 billion in damages based on fraud and contract claims concerning the hiring of the CRO and its management of a global clinical oncology study. After a more than 50-day arbitration trial, the arbitrator issued a final award denying virtually all of the claimant’s allegations, including denying all of its fraud claims. After making certain deductions based on a counterclaim on which Mr. Koff’s client prevailed, the arbitrator issued a net award to the claimant of approximately only 0.2 percent of the amount it sought.

Represented a commercial bank in an SEC investigation into the bank’s public filings in relation to its accounting of its allowance for loan and lease losses and deferred tax assets.

Represented a prominent collateral manager regarding the structuring, sale and marketing of CDOs and CLOs.

Represents numerous executives at a number of different financial institutions and broker-dealers regarding ongoing investigations of trading and sales practices into foreign exchange, CDOs, RMBS, securitizations and a host of fixed income instruments as well as equities. None of these individuals have been charged by any law enforcement agency or regulator.

In one of the largest criminal investigations of the reinsurance industry, represented a former CEO in connection with all of the civil and criminal matters involving certain finite transactions with AIG. Obtained a deferred prosecution in the criminal proceeding, settled the matter with the SEC with no financial liability, and obtained dismissal of all civil matters with no civil liability to the client.

Represented a founding partner and head of trading of a major hedge fund in one of the, if not the, most prominent insider-trading investigations ever.

Represented a chief compliance officer of a registered broker-dealer in connection with an SEC investigation regarding compliance issues around dark pools. SEC was convinced not to file charges through the Wells process.

Represented Lehman in a series of investigations into the underwriting, marketing and sale of auction rate securities.

Represented numerous corporate executives in an investigation by the DOJ and SEC into sales practices, insider-trading and underwriting issues.

Represented four former outside directors in the Tyco litigation in numerous securities class actions and the related shareholder derivative litigation, some of whom Doug also represented in various regulatory and criminal matters.

Represented a major financial institution with respect to allegations concerning stock loan finders. No charges were filed against the institution.

Represented Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in connection with investigations involving mutual fund trading practices.

Represented Bear Stearns in connection with regulatory investigations stemming from allegations of improper initial public offering practices.

Represented Bear Stearns in connection with regulatory investigations arising out of allegations of alleged conflicts of interest between the investment banking and research departments.

Represented Lehman Brothers in multimillion-dollar disputes with various Chinese trading counterparties involving foreign exchange and derivatives trading. One of the matters involved international discovery pursuant to the Hague Convention and complex issues of Chinese law and resulted in a 37-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Represented Bear Stearns in a complex securities arbitration.

Represented Timber Hill LLC in In re Stock Exchange Trading Antitrust Litigation in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the trial court’s decision dismissing the action pursuant to the implied repeal doctrine, a key case addressing the doctrine.

Publications

“Execution Enforcement Actions Escalate,” The Hedge Fund Journal, July/August 2016 (quoted)

“Interpreting Reliance Two Years After Stoneridge,” New York Law Journal, February 2010

“Notable Developments in the Regulation and Enforcement of Financial Markets in 2008,” Journal of Securities Law, Regulation Compliance, June 2009

“Circuit Gives Guidance to Litigators on Securities Fraud Claims,” New York Law Journal, Feb. 23, 2009

“Current Trends in Financial Regulation and Enforcement,” Mealey’s Emerging Securities Litigation, Aug. 12, 2008

“Recent Trends in Class Certification Standards – From Eisen to Enron,” Securities Litigation Report, June 1, 2007

“CFTC Yields More Conflicting Advice on Privilege Waivers,” New York Law Journal, April 13, 2007

“What Next in E-Discovery?,” New York Law Journal, Feb. 20, 2007

“Courts at Odds On Subpoena Power Of Arbitrators,” New York Law Journal, Dec. 5, 2005

“Steinhardt Agreements: The Current State of Play,” Securities Litigation Report, Sept. 1, 2004

Speaking Engagements

“Liability for Securities Law Violations,”  PLI Understanding the Securities Laws 2018, New York, July 2018

“Enforcement,” SRZ 27th Annual Private Investment Funds Seminar, New York, January 2018

UJA-Federation of New York White Collar Group Lunch & Learn, New York, July 2017

“Liability for Securities Law Violations,” PLI Understanding the Securities Laws 2017, New York, July 2017

SRZ Insider’s Guide to Government Investigations: Winning Strategies for Investment Funds, New York, June 2017

“State of the Law and Practice: Insider Trading,” SRZ 26th Annual Private Investment Funds Seminar, New York, January 2017

“Liability for Securities Law Violations,” PLI Understanding the Securities Laws 2016, New York, July 2016

Memberships

  • New York City Bar Association
  • UJA Criminal Law Group
    • Former co-chair
  • Federal Bar Council

Distinctions

  • Listed as a leading litigation attorney in:
    • Chambers USA
    • New York Super Lawyers
    • The Legal 500 US