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Amidst the flurry of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cases involving improper employee stock option backdating several years ago, many commentators opined on the potential insider trading implications of companies’ issuance of stock options to officers and directors. As a result, we all now know that “spring loading” and “bullet dodging” raise securities law questions, not simply a dizzying array of mechanical mayhem. Yet the literature is surprisingly scant concerning the potential insider trading implications of an insider exercising her stock options. The time is ripe for this discussion, particularly since the SEC and Department of Justice have ambitiously prioritized insider trading enforcement of late.

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