Peter Altman Quoted in Daily Journal on Anticipated Reduction in Use of SEC Administrative Law Judges

Peter Altman, senior counsel in the litigation practice at Akin Gump, has been quoted in the Daily Journal article “SEC use of administrative law judges seen as likely to lessen under Trump.” The article reports that many observers anticipate a big change from the recent past amid an expected reduction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s focus on enforcement.

“We’ve seen a peak in the use of the forum for cases that were not traditionally brought there, cases involving public companies or insider trading,” said Altman, who formerly worked in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

The article notes that the SEC is not expected to abandon enforcement as a priority, but it is expected to be less aggressive and to limit the use of administrative judges. While Congress, the article adds, could still eliminate the use of the judges completely, Altman said federal agencies that have staffed up aren’t able to simply cut their workforce en masse the way a corporation might.

“All the enforcement lawyers who were hired over the last five years still have jobs to do,” he said. He noted that relations with the SEC will likely improve from the perspective of many public companies, because investigations under a Trump administration will likely be more targeted at companies whose shareholders actually lost money, rather than going after corporations for lesser violations that didn't lead to any real-world harm.