Cleary Gottlieb Adds Leading Broker-Dealer and Exchange Regulatory Partners to Enhance Financial Institutions Practice

February 27, 2023

Cleary Gottlieb announced today that James Burns and Brant Brown have joined its Washington, D.C. office as partners.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jim and Brant to the firm,” said Cleary Managing Partner Michael Gerstenzang. “Each brings cutting-edge expertise in the regulation of broker-dealers, securities exchanges, securities clearing organizations, and asset managers and will further enhance our firm’s market-leading global financial institutions practice. Their deep experience in market regulation, including during their time as regulators, will amplify Cleary’s ability to advise clients in high-stakes matters. Their work in the area of emerging digital asset and other blockchain technology developments will also bolster our practice in this critical area.”

James Burns

Jim joins Cleary from a leading global law firm, where he advised broker-dealers, exchanges, clearing agencies, hedge funds, private equity clients, and other registered entities and their boards on regulatory, compliance, and enforcement matters. He offers unique insights and strategic advice on the effects of SEC initiatives on business operations and compliance programs. An expert on securities market structure, trading and clearance matters, he also advises on crypto and fintech developments, cybersecurity and business continuity matters, and regulatory obligations for foreign entities, including broker-dealer and investment adviser regulations and evolving expectations among federal and state authorities. Jim brings regulatory expertise to issues arising in M&A transactions and in preparing new entities for regulatory oversight.

He previously served as Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, where he led the development of key SEC positions and regulatory initiatives for the equity, fixed income, and derivatives markets following the Flash Crash of 2010. He played an integral role in the development and implementation of significant rules under the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule and the SEC’s security-based swap regulatory regime. Jim also served on SEC Chair Mary Schapiro’s staff and as counsel to SEC Commissioner Kathleen Casey. Before joining the SEC, Jim worked in private practice on investment management and broker-dealer regulatory, compliance, and enforcement matters.

“Jim’s deep and broad experience, both as a regulator and advising clients in the private sector, will be invaluable as we assist clients across a spectrum of regulatory, policy, compliance, enforcement, and transactional matters. We are delighted that he is joining our team,” said Derek Bush, partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

“I am honored to join Cleary’s renowned global financial institutions practice,” Jim said. “I look forward to helping clients navigate complex transactions and regulations alongside an outstanding team of leading colleagues in our industry and to continuing the legacy of Wall Street’s foremost broker-dealer and exchange regulatory practice.”

Brant Brown

Brant will be joining Cleary from a leading global law firm, where he worked with self-regulatory organizations and broker-dealers on a range of regulatory, compliance, and enforcement-related matters. His practice focuses on advising broker-dealers, asset managers, and other financial institutions, including newly established entities, on compliance with federal securities laws and the rules of self-regulatory organizations. He also has experience advising clients on securities enforcement matters. He previously served as Associate General Counsel in FINRA’s Office of General Counsel, where he provided advice on complex regulatory initiatives and rule proposals and developed regulatory guidance and rule filings for submission to the SEC, including the establishment of FINRA trade reporting requirements for trading activity in the Treasury market.

“Across the range of our financial institution clients, which spans some of the largest and most sophisticated U.S. and international financial institutions and market participants to smaller entities, fintech start-ups and non-U.S. institutions conducting their activities on a cross-border basis in the United States, our clients will benefit from Brant’s experience as a trusted counselor and former regulator,” Derek Bush said.

“Cleary’s well-respected global financial institutions group is known for its full-spectrum offerings on banking, securities, and asset management regulatory matters,” Brant said. “I am excited to join my talented colleagues at Cleary to help our clients achieve their goals.”