James Wood leaves Goldman for OÆMelveny & Myers

The switch reflects the growing importance of regulatory issues in the capital markets.
OÆMelveny & Myers has announced that securities and regulatory lawyer James Wood has joined the firm as counsel.

Wood, who left Goldman Sachs to take up the position, has become a member of the firmÆs Securities Enforcement and Regulatory Counselling group based in Hong Kong. His first task will be leading the firmÆs efforts in the Lehman Brothers minibond affair (in which Hong Kong retail investors have asked for compensation for minibonds which turned sour in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse).

ôWe are delighted to welcome James to join our thriving practice in Asia,ö said Howard Chao, partner in charge of OÆMelvenyÆs Asia practice, in a press release. ôHis arrival bolsters our ability to offer specialised legal and regulatory counselling to our many financial institution clients in the region, which is particularly important in these challenging times. We are continuing to invest in Hong Kong because we remain persuaded of Hong Kong's importance as a leading international centre for the long term.ö

Wood told FinanceAsia by email that he will be primarily focused on providing coverage and support to broker dealers, banks, insurers, funds and corporates in regard to advisory, transactional and litigious matters relating to financial services laws and regulations. That could include: broker dealer regulation and compliance; corporate transactions; the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; insurance and reinsurance; investment funds; securities enforcement; white collar defence and corporate investigations.

"O'Melveny is one of the market leaders in these areas and we want to continue to build upon our strengths,ö he said.

WoodÆs move from a once-high flying investment bank to a law firm could be a sign of the times.

ôThe financial crisis of 2008 has changed the world in many ways and in all likelihood it will have a profound impact on financial law and regulation. Simply put, we are probably going to see more law and regulation and stricter enforcement,ö says Wood, explaining his move.

ôGoldman Sachs is a great organisation with many talented people and I really enjoyed the better part of seven years there. I felt, however, that it was important that I return to a senior legal role as a long-term career move, and I decided to join O'Melveny as I liked the platform and the team, many of whom I had previously worked with at Freshfields prior to joining Goldmans.ö
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