McDermott Will & Emery has expanded its securities litigation team with the hire of two experienced partners, in a climate of stepped-up federal scrutiny of the financial sector.

John Sten, a former enforcement attorney with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), and Jason Moreau, a lawyer who has represented many types of financial organisations charged or under investigation by the federal government, have become partners in McDermott’s Boston office. They both come from Greenberg Traurig.

Sten and Moreau join McDermott at a time of uncertainty on the part of many people about the long-term effects of the Dodd-Frank regulatory package, a set of laws that The Economist magazine in a recent editorial characterized as “partly unintelligible.”

Regarding that editorial, Sten said, “I don’t think I would use the inflammatory language that The Economist used, but we’re certainly in agreement that there’s a lot of uncertainty around Dodd-Frank. It’s more of a work in progress, with very aggressive aims. The government and the SEC are working hard to make it intelligible, and it’s going to take a while.”

“We are trial people, and the whistleblower provisions [of Dodd-Frank] are the ones that are going to cause people to come to us more often than they otherwise would. These provisions provide pretty hefty bounties to report firms that break the law," Sten remarked.

“Dodd-Frank right now doesn’t say you need to go to the company and blow the whistle before you go to the government,” he added.

“The SEC has some expanded enforcement authority in this area – they can now bar people all across the industry,” Moreau noted.

Both partners agreed about the high quality of the legal professionals at their new firm.

“ I’ve known the people in McDermott’s Boston office for a long time, and there are people in the D.C. office I’ve known” for years, Sten commented.

“We’re always looking to grow and expand our practice – they have an exceptional platform for us to do that,” Moreau said.