Partner, Cooley LLP
Randall R. Lee is a partner at Cooley LLP.
Randall is a widely recognized litigator and first-chair trial lawyer with nearly 30 years of experience in both government and the private sector. With a practice that focuses on high-stakes internal investigations, SEC enforcement and white collar defense, he has been recognized among the world’s leading investigations lawyers by Global Investigations Review’s Who’s Who Legal: Investigations; by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California; by Securities Docket as one of the 40 best securities enforcement defense lawyers in the country; and by Chambers & Associates in the category of government investigations and white collar defense. Randall is a former Regional Director for the Pacific Region of the SEC, where he was the SEC’s top official in nine western states, including California. Prior to his time with the SEC, Randall worked at the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles as an Assistant US Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Major Frauds Section.
Randall represents some of the country’s largest companies and their boards, audit committees, special committees and executives in investigations by the SEC, the US Department of Justice and other governmental agencies, as well as in internal investigations of potential misconduct around the world. He regularly handles investigations involving accounting and disclosure issues, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), insider trading and regulations governing investment advisers and broker-dealers.
Randall’s clients benefit from his significant first-chair trial experience, which includes a victory over the SEC on behalf of the former CEO and CFO of Thornburg Mortgage, once the nation’s second largest independent mortgage company. After a jury cleared Randall’s clients on half the charges, the SEC dismissed all remaining claims, resulting in complete vindication for his clients. The National Law Journal selected him as a 2017 Winning Litigator for this victory, as one of a select few lawyers who achieved major wins in high-stakes cases.
As Regional Director for the Pacific Region of the SEC from 2001 to 2007, Randall oversaw the SEC’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices, consisting of enforcement and compliance inspection programs. The first Asian American to head an SEC regional office, he led numerous high-profile SEC enforcement actions during some of the most active years in the agency’s history. Randall managed a staff of approximately 175 attorneys, accountants, compliance examiners and support personnel.
From 1994 to 2001, Randall was an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Central District of California, where he focused on the prosecution of complex financial crimes. He served as Deputy Chief of the Major Frauds Section of the US Attorney’s Office, tried numerous cases to a jury, argued appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and led long-term grand jury investigations. Randall received an
FBI Director’s Award for his investigation and prosecution of the former CEO of a California bank, who together with another executive and an outside lawyer conspired to defraud the bank out of millions of dollars and then laundered the proceeds through shell company accounts around the world. The three defendants were convicted of all counts after a five-week jury trial.
Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Randall was a transactional lawyer focusing on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and general corporate matters. He began his career as an associate in corporate finance at Bankers Trust Company in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he completed a year-long management training program and ranked first in his class.
Randall serves as vice chair of the board of trustees and chair of the executive committee of the Japanese American National Museum. He is a member of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers’ Association and the Japanese American Bar Association. He previously served as chair of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Diversity Committee, as a member of the ABA Litigation Section Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege, and as a member of the board of directors of the Constitutional Rights Foundation and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA.
Randall is a frequent speaker on subjects relating to securities regulatory and enforcement issues, internal investigations, FCPA, corporate compliance and ethics and white-collar crime. He has lectured on behalf of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in Bangkok, and on behalf of the US State Department in Tokyo.
Randall maintains an active pro bono practice. In 2015, he led a trial team that won rare jury verdicts in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of an inmate in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison against four California correctional officers for having retaliated against his client in violation of his First Amendment rights. Randall also led a team that, in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ refusal to grant equal disability benefits to an Army veteran and her same-sex spouse. A federal judge declared the relevant statute unconstitutional – the first case to decide whether married gay and lesbian veterans and their spouses should receive the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.