Stephen J. Crimmins

Stephen J. Crimmins
1185 Avenue of the Americas, 21st Floor
New York, NY 10036
T: (212) 880-3624
1001 G Street, N.W., Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20001
T: (202) 661-7031

Steve Crimmins defends clients in enforcement matters involving the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial services regulators.  He provides strategic advice and representation before and during investigations.  He advocates for clients in meetings with regulators, “Wells” submissions and similar position papers, settlement negotiations and consent decree resolutions.  Where matters must be contested, he fights for clients in litigated administrative proceedings and in federal court litigation, trials and appeals.  He also handles internal investigations, litigates private securities cases and other commercial disputes, and teams with other law firms as securities co-counsel in civil, criminal and administrative cases.

Best Lawyers in America recognized Steve as the “2017 Securities Regulation Lawyer of the Year for New York City,” based on its survey of his New York-based peers, and has for a decade recognized him for both securities litigation and securities regulation.  Chambers USA has repeatedly recognized him for securities regulation-enforcement.  Securities Docket gave him its 2017 “Enforcement 40” Award, once again recognizing him as one of “the 40 best and brightest securities enforcement defense attorneys in the industry.”

Steve was Chair of the Federal Bar Association’s Securities Law Section for five years, and has also held leadership positions with the District of Columbia Bar.  He testified twice before the U.S. House of Representatives on SEC issues, regularly speaks on securities law panels, and is quoted in the national business news media.  He writes on securities topics, including a scholarly article “Insider Trading: Where Is the Line?” in the Columbia Business Law Review that was favorably reviewed by The Economist and cited to the Supreme Court in 2016.  He has lectured multiple times to securities law classes at Columbia and Georgetown.

During eight years as a senior executive of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, Steve led its large Trial Unit in prosecuting hundreds of jury and non-jury securities cases in federal courts and administrative proceedings, while participating actively in SEC investigations and settlement negotiations.  He originally joined the SEC staff as a line trial attorney and continued to litigate and try cases after his promotion to senior Enforcement Division management and the federal Senior Executive Service.  He earned the Commission-wide Productivity Improvement Award for his management skills.  Before the SEC, he practiced with a large New York law firm.

Since returning to private practice over a decade ago, Steve has helped entities and individuals successfully resolve numerous securities matters.  On September 28, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously affirmed and expanded the grounds for his  defense trial victory in an SEC in-house administrative proceeding, in which he personally examined or cross-examined 25 fact and expert witnesses, resulting in dismissal of all charges against a large custodial services company.  Over the last decade his clients have included public and private companies, directors, officers, financial services firms, securities professionals, accountants, lawyers and others.  Matters have included financial reporting and accounting issues, disclosure issues, insider trading, complex financial products, FCPA issues, market manipulation, and various securities industry-related enforcement issues.

Steve joined Murphy & McGonigle in 2015.  M&M is a young 45-lawyer securities boutique that Best Lawyers in America ranks a “National Tier One Law Firm” in securities regulation, securities litigation, and corporate law – the only boutique in the country so recognized in all three categories.  M&M’s team includes executive-level veterans of the SEC Divisions of Enforcement and Trading & Markets, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Department of Justice, as well as General Counsels, litigation and regulatory heads, and other executive-level veterans of major financial services firms. 

Practice Areas

Representative Matters

  • As lead trial and appellate counsel, successfully defended the nation’s leading self-directed IRA custodian at a two-week trial before an SEC administrative law judge resulting in a decision dismissing all charges, Matter of Equity Trust Company, 2016 WL 4035556 (June 27, 2016).  On appellate review, the Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously affirmed Steve’s trial win on expanded grounds, 2017 WL 4335067 (Sept. 28, 2017).

    Following an SEC Wells Submission, obtained “closing letter” declining to bring charges against senior executive of financial services firm, which had settled an administrative proceeding relating to mutual fund share class recommendations, Matter of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., 2017 WL 4064192 (Sept. 14, 2017).

    As lead trial counsel, settled one day before trial without admissions in SEC proceeding relating to investment adviser’s recommendations to public pension plans.  Matter of Gray Financial Group, Inc., 2017 WL 5624487 (Nov. 22, 2017).

    Representing a former senior corporate officer in recently-filed SEC federal court litigation charging revenue recognition violations.  SEC v. Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., 2017 WL 5067468 (D. Md., filed Nov. 3, 2017).

    Represented major liquidity provider in AWC resolution of FINRA matter involving OATS reporting, and MRV resolution relating to Reg SHO issues (Oct. 17, 2017).

    Represented liquidity provider in cautionary letter resolution of NYSE investigation relating to maintenance of quotations (May 11, 2017).

    Representing over 30 executives and management employees in internal review by public company regarding potential accounting matters (2016 to date).

    Orally argued and briefed successful motion to dismiss federal and state RICO and common law fraud claims in Florida state court, Goldberg v. Kanegis et al., Case No. 13-22491 (Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, Complex Business Litigation Division) (Nov. 12, 2016).

    Represented managing director of private equity adviser in SEC investigation and in no-admission settlement by the firm and four executives of case alleging omissions relating to conflicts of interest and payments to affiliates, Matter of Fenway Partners, LLC, 2015 WL 6689228 (Nov. 3, 2015).

    As lead appellate counsel, presented oral argument and submitted briefs that persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to reverse summary judgment against investment adviser’s general counsel in the first litigated insider trading case involving fund shares, SEC v. Bauer, 723 F.3d 758 (7th Cir. 2013). On remand to the trial court, obtained summary judgment dismissing the remainder of the case, 2014 WL 4267412 (Aug. 29, 2014).

    Represented executive at a major financial services firm in written and oral submissions that resulted in an SEC “closing letter” terminating investigation as to client without charges in matter involving the structuring and marketing of several collateralized debt obligation transactions, Matter of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., 2013 WL 6503674 (December 12, 2013).

    Achieved successful settlement for outside directors of Morgan Keegan-related funds on the eve of trial in an SEC administrative proceeding involving valuation of debt securities lacking readily available market quotations, Matter of Alderman, 2013 WL 2646182 (June 13, 2013).

  • Congressional Testimony

    • Testified before Congress at hearing on “Fixing the Watchdog: Legislative Proposals to Improve and Enhance the SEC,” House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, September 15, 2011
    • Testified before Congress at joint hearing on “Financial Management, Work Force, and Operations at the SEC,” Subcommittees of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, March 10, 2011

    Awards and Recognition


    Seminars and Presentations

    In the News


    • J.D., Columbia Law School
    • B.A., Fordham University


    • District of Columbia
    • Massachusetts
    • New York
    • U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts