Business & Practice

Squire Patton Boggs Lands Banking Heavyweight Cephas From Weil

Dec. 1, 2020, 5:01 AM

Derrick Cephas is leaving Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he was financial institutions regulatory practice leader, for an of counsel post with Squire Patton Boggs in New York.

Cephas has represented commercial banks, thrifts and their holding companies, and foreign banking corporations in regulatory and transactional matters, according to a Squire statement.

“His experience and technical skills will help our existing financial regulatory team continue to provide clients with practical and solution-oriented service,” said Jim Barresi, head of Squires’s global financial services practice.

Cephas said the decision to move was easy given Weil’s mandatory retirement age of 68, which he turned this year. His clients—several of whom will move with him—understand he’s leaving on good terms and simply “aged out” of Weil, he said.

“It’s been an easy story to tell,” Cephas said. He’s excited about Squire’s strong reputation in financial services and regulatory work, he said.

Before joining Weil in 2011, Cephas worked for about five years as president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, headquartered in New York, with offices or branches in Washington, Denver, and San Francisco.

Amalgamated’s pro-labor roots date back to its founding in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. The bank’s business model lets it focus on"socially responsible organizations,” according to its website. Those include unions and their pension funds, hospitals, universities, and foundations.

At least five of the top Democratic presidential candidates, including President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, banked at Amalgamated in 2020, exemplifying its tilt toward progressive causes.

Prior to Amalgamated, Cephas was superintendent of the New York State Banking Department, a predecessor to the state’s Department of Financial Services, from 1991 to 1994.

In 2018, Savoy magazine named Cephas one of the “most influential Black lawyers” in America. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Dime Savings Bank of New York and of Merrill Lynch International Bank, and he is currently a director of New York City-based Signature Bank.

Barresi said Cephas’ arrival “is particularly important at a time when clients will need to adapt to potential shifts in the financial regulatory and enforcement landscape as a result of the recent elections.”

Cephas said he expects to have “a different set of opportunities” at his new firm—where he begins on Tuesday—in part because Squire’s roughly 50-lawyer New York office includes only a handful of banking attorneys.

He said he expects to work in-person in Squires’s office two-to-three days per week, in part because of his preference to rely on paper documents and files, instead of digitized versions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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