William R. Baker III is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins. Mr. Baker’s practice includes a broad range of business regulatory and corporate governance matters, including representing corporations, auditing and other professional firms, investment banks and other financial institutions in US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory enforcement proceedings. In addition, Mr. Baker conducts internal investigations on behalf of management and boards of directors. He regularly counsels clients on SEC reporting, disclosure, compliance and corporate governance requirements.
Prior to joining Latham, Mr. Baker was Associate Director of the Division of Enforcement at the SEC, where he worked for 15 years. In that capacity, he was responsible for supervising all types of SEC enforcement activities, including Investigations involving issuer accounting fraud and other disclosure violations, insider trading, market manipulation and broker-dealer misconduct. During his tenure as Associate Director, Mr. Baker lead numerous high-profile investigations that resulted in several landmark enforcement actions, including the global settlement in 2000 involving the Commission, Department of Treasury, Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service, National Association of Securities Dealers and 21 securities firms that resulted in those firms paying a total of US$195 million to resolve claims that the firms charged excessive markups on government securities, and the Commission’s action against WorldCom Inc., involving one of the largest financial frauds in history. While at the Commission, he was a recipient of the SEC’s Stanley Sporkin Award, awarded by the Chairman of the SEC in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Enforcement program, and of the Commission’s Law and Policy Award.