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Ex-CFTC Official Under Trump Administration Joins Jones Day (1)

Feb. 17, 2021, 8:05 PM; Updated: Feb. 17, 2021, 10:35 PM

Jones Day has brought on former Commodity Futures Trading Commission official Joshua Sterling as a partner in Washington as more Trump administration appointees find a home at the firm.

Sterling joined the CFTC in August 2019 as director of the markets participant division from Morgan Lewis & Bockius, and left the agency at the end of January.

Sterling’s addition follows several hires by Jones Day, which was closely tied with the Trump administration. The firm sent several attorneys to high-ranking government posts and has represented the Trump campaign.

In recent weeks Jones Day has hired Chad Mizelle, a politically appointed lawyer in the Trump administration who worked in the Justice Department and White House before serving as acting general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, and Eric Dreiband, a former assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The firm also added former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Justin Herdman to its white collar team in Cleveland.

At the CFTC, Sterling oversaw the examination, oversight, and enforcement referral programs for 3,300 banks, intermediaries, and asset managers regulated by the division and worked closely with the CFTC’s enforcement arm in connection to charges filed against and structured settlements with regulated companies.

He also initiated 35 rule actions and orders that were completed and approved by the agency and issued more than 25 relief letters and advisories to market participants.

Sterling said he identified Jones Day early on as the best fit heading back into private practice, given its attorneys’ expertise in areas and markets that he covers, particularly financial services. He also cited the firm’s work in energy, technology and fintech, and its involvement in the derivatives market, one of the biggest financial markets in the world.

“I’m very convinced, as I was from the get-go, that Jones Day is the perfect place for someone like me coming out of the CFTC to be helpful to clients... in deals, in investigations, and regulatory advocacy so I look forward to continuing to be a part of the conversation in this market,” said Sterling, who will be part of the firm’s financial markets practice.

“Josh will be an effective advocate for our global derivatives market clients, if they are asked to respond to investigations by the CFTC, the SEC, derivatives exchanges, and other regulatory authorities,” Jayant Tambe, who co-leads the practice, said in a statement.

Looking ahead, environmental and climate risk in the financial services sector will be incredibly important, under the Biden administration, Sterling said. He also predicted a large appetite for financial innovation will spur a coordinated approach from federal agencies and aggressive enforcement along traditional and newer lines that will affect firms that trade in the derivatives market.

Noel Francisco, former U.S. Solicitor General under Trump and partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Washington office said in a statement that Sterling arrives at “a very compelling time with the new administration in Washington and a global economy working through the challenges of a global pandemic.”

Francisco rejoined Jones Day in July 2020. Just last month, Francisco was tapped to lead the firm’s Washington office, while its former head Kevyn Orr was promoted to partner-in-charge of the United States. Longtime Jones Day managing partner Stephen Brogan still leads the firm.

Outside of its hiring, Jones Day confirmed on Tuesday that private client data may have been exposed in a data breach of its outside vendor, Accellion. The firm was the second Big Law firm known to have been impacted by the breach of Accellion’s file transfer system.

(Adds information throughout from interview with Sterling.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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