Bloomberg Law
March 13, 2020, 5:21 PMUpdated: March 13, 2020, 6:15 PM

Wells Fargo Hires TD Bank’s Top Lawyer as Its Own (1)

Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter

Wells Fargo & Co. has named Ellen Patterson, the top in-house lawyer at Toronto-Dominion Bank, as its new general counsel.

Wells Fargo announced Patterson’s hire in a press release early Friday afternoon, ending the San Francisco-based financial services giant’s months-long search for a legal chief.

“I am excited to join Wells Fargo during a transformational time in the company’s history,” Patterson said in the Wells Fargo statement. “I look forward to collaborating with leaders across the company to shape the culture, help businesses innovate, and produce the best outcomes for the customers and communities Wells Fargo serves.”

Patterson, a former corporate partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, is currently based in Cherry Hill, N.J., where she has worked since joining TD Bank Group as its U.S. general counsel in late 2012. The Toronto-based bank promoted Patterson to group head and general counsel in November 2017.

In February, Wells Fargo finalized a $3 billion settlement with the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission over consumer banking abuses that have plagued the company over the past several years. The deal came shortly after Wells Fargo elevated longtime deputy general counsel Douglas Edwards in Charlotte to serve as acting general counsel.

Patterson is expected to be based out of Wells Fargo’s New York office, said a source familiar with her hire by the bank. Patterson spent 14 years at Simpson Thacher in New York, where she specialized in capital markets, corporate governance, and M&A work.

She joined the law firm, which has been a longtime legal adviser to both TD Bank and Wells Fargo, following her graduation from Columbia Law School in 1998. Patterson was part of a Simpson Thacher team that advised TD Bank a decade ago on its $6.3 billion acquisition of Chrysler Financial Corp.

(Updates in third paragraph with Wells Fargo's announcement.)

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