Exxon Mobil assistant general counsel David Woodcock has departed the energy giant to join the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as the firm’s SEC enforcement practice co-head. The move surprised many within the legal department at Exxon Mobil because Woodcock, who was a past regional director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Fort Worth office, was viewed as a likely candidate to be the company’s next chief legal officer.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as expected, Damien Diggs would be the first Black U.S. attorney in the 166-year-old Eastern District.
The Texas Supreme Court is considering an opposed motion to hit pause on a whistleblower lawsuit brought by three former top aides to Attorney General Ken Paxton against the Texas AG, accusing him of firing them in retaliation for reporting to the FBI and Texas Rangers that they believed he abused the power of his office to benefit a campaign donor. One of the four whistleblowers isn’t involved in settlement negotiations and wants the lawsuit to proceed now.
Business groups plan a renewed push to create a separate system of trial and appeals courts to handle complex commercial litigation. A Texas House committee that studied the issue says the Texas Supreme Court first should follow through on a pandemic-delayed pilot program. The Texas Lawbook previews the coming battle and other judiciary and civil justice issues expected to be discussed during the 2023 legislative session.
As the so-called crypto winter chases weaker and less committed participants from the market, the remaining players will likely see a vastly changed landscape once the snow melts. From the dot-com bust of the early century to the fallout of the global financial crisis of 2007-2009, market trauma has ultimately led to a heightened regulatory response, and one would expect the effort to regulate the cryptocurrency industry—something that was well underway even prior to 2022—will gain significant momentum in the coming year, not just in terms of crypto’s intersection with securities law but also its relevance to the ongoing energy transition.
With fewer large Texas law firms retaining lobby practice groups, those that remain are busier than ever as the 2023 legislative session promises key decisions on tax and regulatory issues for a wide range of corporate clients. The Texas Lawbook talks with three veteran lobbyists working to pass, change and kill legislation.
Four Houston-area men were among eight social media influencers accused Wednesday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of using Twitter, online chat rooms and a podcast to manipulate stock prices in a $100 million trading scam. The SEC complaint filed in federal court in Houston accuses the eight of promoting stocks via social media and then dumping shares they’d purchased once their promotional efforts drove up the stocks’ prices.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking for a new sheriff to aggressively police corporations, cryptocurrency operations, hedge funds and thousands of investment brokers and dealers in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Only a handful of people even qualify for the position, legal experts say.
“The challenge, though, will be to look around the corner for risks that are coming, which may depend on a number of unpredictable variables such as the economy, the markets and financial innovation,” said David Peavler, who resigned as SEC regional director last week.
Sam Bankman Fried (SBF) and his FTX exchange became the latest very public example exposing risks in cryptocurrency companies. It will take time before the entire impact of the FTX failure and bankruptcy is known. However, here are five things for investors to take away from the recent events involving FTX when considering the future of digital assets.
David Peavler is following in the steps of his two predecessors who were regional directors of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Fort Worth office. Peavler, in an exclusive interview with The Texas Lawbook, said he will join the Dallas office of the global law firm Jones Day as a partner leading the firm’s Texas securities litigation and SEC enforcement practice.
Peavler, who announced Thursday that he was resigning as the regional director of the SEC, is a huge catch for Jones Day because of his deep experience in the area of financial accounting and because he has prior experience as a corporate general counsel – the very people who hire Jones Day for legal advice.