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The San Francisco office of the Securities and Exchange Commission has shuffled its enforcement staff, announcing Tuesday it brought in a Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin partner to help crack down on financial shenanigans. Pauline Calande left Howard, Rice after 17 years to join six-year office veteran Marc Fagel as the new co-heads of the enforcement program. Former enforcement head Robert Mitchell will litigate cases. “Rob Mitchell did a superlative job as head of enforcement . . . and he is a very tough act to follow,” SEC division chief Helane Morrison said. “Pauline Calande and Marc Fagel are outstanding attorneys who will make a great team.” Morrison, who used to work with Calande at Howard, Rice, said the job is being split because of the growth of the office and the ramping up of enforcement in recent years. Calande said she was glad to come in at a time when the SEC was “in high gear.” “I had been a litigation partner for some time, and I wanted to do public service,” Calande said. At Howard, Rice, Calande focused on the defense of securities and product defect class actions, along with some intellectual property work. Calande said things have been hectic since coming aboard, especially in the past two weeks. “It’s been so busy, I haven’t even had a day off,” she said, adding that people have joked that she still has a law firm mentality. As for priorities, Calande said the SEC is focusing more on mutual fund trading and “gatekeepers” – the lawyers and accountants who are supposed to ensure the integrity of the markets. Mitchell’s decision to return to litigation was his own, according to people inside and outside the office. “Just something I’d like to get back to, basically,” Mitchell said. “My understanding is that Rob felt his trial skills may be getting a little rusty and he wanted to get back into it,” said David Bayless, former head of the office. Mitchell helped bring some of the well-regarded office’s biggest cases, including actions against a former Ernst & Young partner, for altering documents in connection with an audit, and Deutsche Bank AG, for failing to disclose a conflict of interest during the merger of Compaq and Hewlett-Packard. The enforcement branch also refers cases to the U.S. attorney for prosecution. “My experience with [Mitchell] has been very good. It may just be that he wanted experience as a trial attorney,” said Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Jared Kopel. “Sometimes you get tired of rewriting memos and going to meetings, and you want to be a lawyer.” It may also be that Mitchell is polishing up the resume for a jump back to private practice, though he said he is happy with the SEC and looks forward to trying cases. Lawyers who have frequent contact with the SEC knew more about Fagel than Calande. “He’s very good, very smart,” Kopel said. The San Francisco enforcement team investigates securities cases in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Morrison, Calande and Mitchell all hail from Howard, Rice, while Fagel comes over from Bayless’ firm, Morrison & Foerster. A MoFo-Howard, Rice pipeline into the SEC? “It doesn’t hurt,” laughed Mitchell. Reporter Jason Hoppin’s e-mail address is [email protected].

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