Prior to the last couple of years, except for a few notable exceptions a number of years ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission had not brought enforcement actions against attorneys rendering legal advice. That has changed.

On Sept. 20, 2004, in his widely reported speech before the UCLA School of Law, Stephen Cutler, the SEC’s then-director of the Division of Enforcement, aimed a warning shot across the bow of the organized bar. In his speech, which was reflecting on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Cutler remarked that gatekeepers, including “lawyers who advise companies on disclosure standards and other securities law requirements,” were “paramount in ensuring that our markets are clean.”

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