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David Schwinger, the former managing partner of Katten Muchin Rosenman’s D.C. office, settled insider trading charges last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC had accused Schwinger of using privileged information to buy stock in international shipment tracking company Vastera — a firm client — just before the company announced it would merge with JPMorgan Chase in 2005. According to the SEC complaint, Schwinger bought 10,000 shares of Vastera stock after learning from Vastera’s chief counsel about the deal. As office managing partner, Schwinger interviewed job candidates. Over several months in 2004, Schwinger spoke with Vastera’s chief counsel, who was feeling out Schwinger for a job. It was during those discussions that Schwinger learned about the merger, according to the SEC complaint. Under the terms of the settlement, Schwinger did not have to admit guilt — a common part of almost every SEC settlement — though he was forced to give back the $13,027 in profits he earned and pay more than $26,000 in penalties. Schwinger left Katten in November 2006, shortly after the SEC opened its investigation. He then opened a solo practice in Northwest Washington. “We mutually terminated his contract and went separate ways,” says Roger Furey, Katten’s managing partner for the Washington office. Schwinger’s lawyer, John Fedders, a solo practitioner, says his client is glad to have the case behind him. But Schwinger’s troubles may not be over. In 1986, another insider trading case involving a lawyer led to a suspension — former Steptoe & Johnson partner James Hutchinson was suspended for six months by the D.C. Court of Appeals during an investigation that included Hutchinson admitting perjury before the SEC. Although there’s no indication in the SEC report that Schwinger lied, a call from Bar Counsel may be imminent. D.C. Bar Counsel Wallace “Gene” Shipp Jr. had no comment
Nathan Carlile can be contacted at [email protected].

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