Elizabeth “Lizzie” Baird, formerly of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Elizabeth Baird, a top U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who earlier served as co-managing partner of the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius office in Washington, earned nearly $1.8 million at the firm since January 2017 while representing some of the largest U.S. banks, according to a financial disclosure released Tuesday.

Baird was named in July as a deputy director of the SEC’s division of trading and markets, an office that oversees broker-dealers along with self-regulated organizations such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and stock exchanges.

At Morgan Lewis, Baird served as co-managing partner of the Washington office with Grace Speights, who leads the firm’s labor and employment practice. Baird, who’d been a Morgan Lewis partner since 2014, represented broker-dealers, public companies and investment advisers.

Baird’s financial disclosure, a required ethics filing for many senior-level executive positions, revealed a roster of former clients that includes Wells Fargo Advisors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, RBC Capital Markets and Oppenheimer & Co. Her $1.77 million partnership share covers 2017 up until August 2018. The average profits per equity partner at Morgan Lewis is below the industry average at $1.37 million, The American Lawyer reported in April. Baird declined to comment Wednesday.

“It’s an honor to be invited to contribute my experience to ongoing work on initiatives that support the fair operation of our capital markets,” Baird said in a statement in July. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work with the dedicated staff of Trading and Markets on issues that matter to investors.”

Baird’s disclosure also identified extensive investments, with stakes in Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., along with Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Coca-Cola Co. and Facebook. The disclosure said Baird either had, or would, divest certain interests in financial institutions. Before attending Georgetown University Law Center, Baird spent a decade trading bonds, according to the SEC.

When Baird left the firm for her SEC role, Morgan Lewis chairwoman Jami McKeon in Philadelphia described her as an “excellent lawyer who thoroughly understands the workings of the U.S. securities regulatory system, making her an outstanding choice for this important position.”

“Her accomplishments speak to her exhaustive knowledge of the securities industry and its regulatory infrastructure. Our country’s investors are well served with Lizzie’s selection,” McKeon said in July.

Another former Morgan Lewis partner, John Ring, left the firm’s Washington office last year to serve as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board. During his confirmation process, Ring disclosed dozens of clients and cases Morgan Lewis had before the NLRB that would present conflicts for him at the agency.

John Ring testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during his confirmation hearing to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board on March 1, 2018. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / ALM

Ring, who had been a partner at Morgan Lewis since 1988, earned $2.7 million in 2017, according to his financial disclosure.

Baird, who goes by Lizzie, had been a partner at O’Melveny & Myers and later at Bingham McCutchen, from which she and hundreds of other colleagues would join Morgan Lewis through an agreement.

In the SEC’s division of trading and markets, she works with another deputy director, Christian Sabella, a former associate director in the division’s office of clearance and settlement.

“Lizzie and Christian bring a breadth of complementary experience and perspectives that will help the division and the agency continue to look out for the long-term interests of Main Street investors,” said Brett Redfearn, director of the SEC’s division of trading and markets, on July 25.

 

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