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That Bruce Hiler is knowledgeable about even the most arcane points of securities law is readily apparent to client Scott MacKay. But the in-house attorney at the Lockheed Martin Corp. says the best thing about the head of O’Melveny & Myers’ securities enforcement practice is his down-to-earth approach. “Some securities lawyers try to speak a different language,” explains MacKay, associate general counsel for litigation and compliance at Lockheed, where Hiler has served as outside counsel for nearly a decade. “Bruce is the antithesis of that. He knows what sells, and he knows how to deliver it.” A seasoned negotiator of the Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory maze, Hiler has a client roster that reads like a who’s who of recent corporate scandal. He counsels former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, one of the biggest targets in the investigation of the bankrupt energy giant, and former Rite Aid Chief Financial Officer Frank Bergonzi, who in June pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors under a plea bargain. Along with partner Ronald Klain, Hiler is defending former Chairman Stephen Case in a class action filed against Time Warner and its top executives, in which plaintiffs allege misrepresentations before and after the merger between Time Warner Inc. and America Online Inc. and in related matters. The University of Michigan law graduate has also represented a former general counsel of Waste Management Inc., in connection with an SEC suit against six former top officers of the company charging them with perpetrating a massive financial fraud lasting more than five years. Hiler joined the D.C. office of O’Melveny nearly a decade ago after serving as associate director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement from 1990 to 1994. Over the course of 15 years at the commission, Hiler was involved in such high-profile matters as the prosecution of notorious inside-trader Ivan Boesky. Hiler, 51, started O’Melveny’s securities enforcement practice from scratch. He now heads a group of 20 lawyers firmwide. As he says, “Nobody does this alone.” Indeed, although MacKay notes that Lockheed “hires individual lawyers, not firms,” he describes O’Melveny’s deep bench as a big drawing card. “What you need behind the star name are really good junior partners or senior associates to do the legwork,” says MacKay. But a strong team doesn’t mean that Hiler is just a figurehead. When UBS Financial Services was facing an SEC inquiry in the mid-’90s that, General Counsel Herbert Janick says, “felt like it was headed for an enforcement action,” Janick pulled the firm that had been handling the matter and called Hiler. He managed to change minds at the SEC, which took no action against UBS. “He understands the law and the principles behind it. He doesn’t just go to the cookbook,” says Janick. “He can tell you what’s going on without a lot of notes or a ton of assistance — because he rolled up his own sleeves and knows enough to understand it.” More recently, Hiler represented Robertson Stephens Inc. in connection with investigations by the SEC and the National Association of Securities Dealers into initial public offerings allocations and analyst conflict issues. In January, the SEC announced that the San Francisco investment bank had agreed to pay a total of $33 million to settle all charges; it did not admit or deny any wrongdoing. During those inquiries into the now-defunct bank, Hiler’s relationship with regulators inspired confidence, says Dana Welsch, the former general counsel at Robertson Stephens. “He’s an extremely thoughtful and creative lawyer.”

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