Michele Layne is one of the nation’s most experienced securities enforcement lawyers. Michele joined O’Melveny following a distinguished career at the SEC spanning nearly three decades, where she served in senior leadership positions for more than seventeen years, including as the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Director for eleven years. Michele leverages this experience to represent and advise corporate clients and their boards, committees, officers, and directors on securities-related enforcement matters, internal and regulatory investigations, and governance and compliance issues.
During her tenure at the SEC, Michele conducted and supervised matters involving financial reporting and accounting, disclosure, auditor misconduct, insider trading, investment advisers, investment companies, broker-dealers, market manipulation, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), offering frauds, and anti-money laundering. She was also one of the founding members of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Climate and ESG Task Force and worked closely with other SEC leaders on related guidance and examinations priorities.
As the Los Angeles Regional Director, Michele supervised the SEC’s examination and enforcement programs in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii. She led a staff of approximately 185 enforcement attorneys, accountants, investigators, and compliance examiners who investigated and litigated the federal securities laws and performed compliance inspections in the Los Angeles region.
Michele has extensive experience working closely with leadership in numerous US Attorney’s Offices, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the US Department of Labor (DOL), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and state securities regulators.
In 2010, Michele received the Distinguished Service Award, the SEC's highest honorary award presented to long-time SEC employees who have made major contributions to the work of the agency. In 2021, Michele received the Scott W. Friestad Award for demonstrating a commitment to public service and mentoring, outstanding leadership, and exceptional judgment in conducting investigations.
Before joining the SEC staff, she worked as a litigator in private practice.