Faculty: Matthew T. Martens

Martens 150Matthew T. Martens is a partner at WilmerHale. Martens represents clients in high-stakes criminal and civil matters from investigation through, if necessary, trial. He has defended clients in investigations by the SEC, PCAOB, FINRA, state attorneys general, and the US Department of Justice. In 2017, he obtained a complete dismissal with prejudice of a SEC enforcement action alleging securities fraud that was brought against a prominent public official in federal court in Texas. Martens has more than 20 jury trials in both state and federal courts in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois and California. He is one of the few lawyers who has appeared—and won—at trial at “all four tables”: civil plaintiff, civil defendant, criminal prosecution and criminal defendant. He joined WilmerHale after a long career of government service, first in the US Department of Justice during the George W. Bush administration, and later as Chief Litigation Counsel for the Division of Enforcement at the SEC. He has been recognized as an AmLaw Daily Litigator of the Week, a National Law Journal Litigation Trailblazer, and a Law360 Securities Law MVP.

At the SEC, Martens led the Enforcement Division’s litigation program, managing cases nationwide and supervising a trial unit of approximately 40 attorneys in Washington DC, as well as coordinating the activity of litigators throughout the SEC’s 11 regional offices. He personally developed and directed the Commission’s nationwide litigation response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus Capital, for which he received the SEC’s prestigious Chairman’s Award for Excellence.

Martens also prevailed as lead trial counsel for the SEC in the securities fraud trial against former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre for his role in the structuring and marketing of a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation. After a three-week trial in New York, the jury found the defendant liable on six of seven claims, including the most serious intentional fraud claims. The trial was covered from beginning to end by several major news outlets, and the verdict was the front-page story in The Wall Street JournalThe Economist observed that, in his trial summation, “Martens transformed days of bland videos, testimony and documents into a sweeping story of deception that” made Mr. Tourre “appea[r] to noticeably age and sag.”

In addition to his role as the SEC’s lead trial counsel in the Tourre matter, Martens directly supervised the first three litigated FCPA matters ever brought by the SEC. Martens frequently advised the commissioners concerning complex issues arising in enforcement matters, with former SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro describing Martens to Reuters as having “this extraordinary ability to, in a very cogent, concise, logical way, pull all the information together that was necessary for us to make a decision.”

During the Bush administration, Martens was Chief of Staff and Counsel to then-Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. Martens was also an Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) in the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, eventually serving as Deputy Criminal Chief, where he supervised the white-collar/general crimes unit. With regard to Martens’ trial skills, Mr. Chertoff was quoted by The New York Times as stating that Martens is “really good at explaining things in plain English.”

As an AUSA, Martens prosecuted the hackers who compromised the Lowe’s computer system in order to access the home improvement chain’s central computer system and capture customer credit card information (US v. Salcedo). The case was the subject of national media attention and resulted in what was at the time and remained for years the longest prison sentence ever imposed for computer hacking. Martens was also lead trial counsel in the successful prosecution of a real estate attorney who committed a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud that contributed to the failure of a community bank (US v. Sprouse). The trial of that matter generated significant media attention.

Since joining WilmerHale, Martens has maintained an active trial practice in addition to representing clients before government regulators. In April 2014, he served as lead trial counsel for a major financial services company in a three-week federal jury trial in California in which he successfully defended the company. In that consumer fraud class action, the plaintiffs sought damages of more than $180 million. Martens defeated all 22 of the plaintiffs’ claims (11 tried to the jury, and 11 tried to the bench). In June 2015, he was lead trial counsel for a leading financial institution in a case in federal district court in Massachusetts. That case settled the week before trial. In September 2016, Martens was lead trial counsel for a financial services company in a jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court that settled mid-trial.

Martens began his legal career serving as a law clerk to the Honorable David B. Sentelle of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to the Honorable William H. Rehnquist of the US Supreme Court. Martens is also a Certified Public Accountant (Registered) in Illinois.

Comments are closed.


When: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
7:00 am - 8:20 am (breakfast & registration)
8:20 am - 5:00 pm (followed by cocktail party)
Where: Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
CLE Credit: 6.5 hours (pending in PA)

Corporate Sponsors

Ankura 230x60




Law Firm Sponsors


Ropes &Gray

Akin Gump 230

AllenOvery230 ArnoldPorter2018 230



Buckley 230


Covington2018 230



HHR v2 230



Linklaters2018 230

Milbank 230x60



QE2018 230

Steptoe2018 230

Troutman 230

Willkie 230