Helane Morrison: A Trailblazer At The SEC

Helane Morrison spent 11 years with the Securities and Exchange Commission. She was hired in 1996 to run the San Francisco district office. The job put her in charge of monitoring the SEC’s examination and enforcement activities. Morrison did such impressive work in her first three years with the SEC that she was promoted to regional director. She was the first woman to hold that post. As regional director Morrison was responsible for monitoring businesses in 7 states and bringing cases against them if her investigations revealed that they violated the laws governing their activities.

 

During her years at the SEC Helane Morrison was known for her willingness to bring cases against any company suspected of violating the law. Several major cases were brought against well-known, large companies while Morrison ran the San Francisco regional office. She also took several financial advisors and brokers to court for insider trading and taking unfair advantage of senior citizens. Morrison had a heavy workload at the SEC and her constituents loved her because she was willing to listen to them, do thorough investigations and take the cases to court if it was merited. Morrison left the SEC in 2007 after 11 years.

 

After leaving the SEC Morrison was hired by Hall Capital Partners. Initially she was the company’s chief compliance officer as well as their general counsel. Her work was so impressive that after a few years she was promoted to the company’s managing director. Morrison also became a member of Hall Capital Partner’s executive committee. She was perfectly prepared for her position given her experience as a practicing attorney and her time with the SEC. This gave her an inside perspective on some of the common violations companies commit and how to avoid them.

 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Morrison started her college career at Northwestern University. There she earned a B.A. in Journalism. She then attended The UC Berkley School of Law and was editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. In 1984 Morrison graduated with her juris doctor. She then served as a law clerk for two years. The first year she worked with Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Appeals Court. She then spent a year clerking for United States Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. Morrison then spent 10 years practicing law with Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, a San Francisco law firm, before moving on to the SEC.