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Piles of paper and heavy, brown file folders cover every available inch of desk space in William McLucas’ office. The clutter is little surprise, given the Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering partner’s workload ever since he left the Securities and Exchange Commission five years ago. In the last year and a half, the former head of SEC enforcement has completed internal reports on two of the highest-profile corporate debacles in American history: the business scandals engulfing the Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. The Enron report, filed with the bankruptcy court in February 2002, laid the blame for the company’s financial collapse on management, directors, and outside advisers. The report represented the efforts of 33 Wilmer lawyers, cost about $3 million, and was completed in only three months. The results left McLucas with at least one very big fan. William Powers Jr., chairman of the special investigative committee of Enron’s board of directors and dean of the University of Texas Law School, describes working with McLucas as “one of the true privileges.” Says Powers: “He has rock-solid integrity, and he’s tough, compassionate, and tenacious at the same time. That combination of absolutely first-rate technical ability along with a sense of humanity is rare.” The members of the investigative committee worked closely with the SEC, and it was essential, says Powers, that the SEC trust them. But Enron wasn’t exactly a top candidate for getting the benefit of the doubt from Washington regulators. As Powers puts it: “They had no reason to trust us except for Bill McLucas.” The WorldCom report, which was no more flattering about the actions of executives and directors that pushed the telecom giant into bankruptcy, was filed with the bankruptcy court in June 2003. McLucas, a Temple University law graduate, also recently conducted an internal investigation for the Cablevision Systems Corp. Hired by the audit committee, McLucas found millions in improperly recognized expenses over the last three years at two of Cablevision’s programming operations. And in August, he guided Deutsche Bank Asset Management to a settlement with the SEC. The company didn’t admit wrongdoing, but paid a $750,000 fine for a conflict of interest in concealing its work advising the Hewlett-Packard Co. during last year’s contested merger with the Compaq Computer Corp. Deutsche Bank Asset Management, which cast proxy votes for clients on the merger, stood to earn $2 million in consulting fees from Hewlett-Packard if and when the merger went through. A 20-year veteran of the SEC, McLucas left the commission as director of the Division of Enforcement in 1998 to join Wilmer. The 53-year-old lawyer describes his eight years as head of enforcement as demanding, but too interesting for him to defect earlier to a higher-paying law firm job. “You certainly think about the money,” he says. “But it was a kick.” McLucas’ SEC career encompassed everything from crackdowns on “penny stock” fraud to the spectacular downfall of junk-bond king Michael Milken, the savings-and-loan crisis, and the remarkable market expansion of the 1990s. McLucas left the SEC, he says, “before the bottom fell out” of the market — and before all those industry giants came tumbling down, before Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and before the SEC beefed up its staff and aggressively changed course on its enforcement tactics. Making the transition from enforcing federal securities laws to negotiating with federal regulators for clients isn’t as big of a leap as it might seem, adds McLucas. His work on internal reports for troubled corporations gives him the opportunity to approach problems much in the way he tackled them at the SEC. Says McLucas: “I haven’t totally abandoned the role of figuring out who did what and when they did it in a very sanitized, fact-based way.”

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