THOMAS WARD is a partner in Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office and a member of the firm’s global Banking and Financial Services, White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations, and Securities Enforcement and Regulatory groups. He concentrates his practice on representing financial institutions and companies offering financial products or services in government enforcement matters, with a focus on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state consumer financial protection agencies, and providing regulatory advice regarding federal and state financial laws.
Tom joined Sidley from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where he served as Enforcement Director under both Republican and Democratic administrations. As the CFPB’s chief law enforcement officer, Tom was responsible for enforcing more than 20 consumer financial statutes and regulations, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Act. He set and oversaw the legal and factual strategy in hundreds of active investigations and cases prosecuted by the CFPB’s Office of Enforcement and managed the agency’s 165 enforcement trial lawyers, investigators, and staff. As Enforcement Director, Tom commissioned and oversaw an initiative to centralize the Office of Enforcement’s investigative, litigation, and negotiation processes and best practices, which resulted in a comprehensive roadmap containing the strategy and methods that every CFPB enforcement attorney uses in opening and investigating matters, prosecuting cases, and determining penalties, redress, damages, and injunctive relief. He oversaw the setting of the CFPB’s enforcement priorities under both Republican and Democratic administrations, which will guide the Office of Enforcement in the coming years. He also led the first restatement of the CFPB’s Responsible Business Conduct bulletin, which allows companies to mitigate or obviate enforcement matters altogether. At the CFPB, Tom worked closely with the leadership at numerous other federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Trade Commission, the consumer protection divisions of states attorneys general, and dedicated state consumer financial protection agencies such as the New York Department of Financial Services and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
Prior to his service at the CFPB, Tom served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he was counsel in many of the highest-profile, highest-value cases of the Consumer Protection, Torts, Commercial Litigation, Federal Programs, and Appellate branches. In Consumer Protection branch matters, Tom served in the role of a federal prosecutor enforcing the criminal laws of the United States. He is the only CFPB Enforcement Director who also served in leadership at DOJ on Consumer Protection branch matters, which is a key partner for CFPB criminal referrals arising from consumer financial cases and investigations. At DOJ, Tom managed more than 400 attorneys and staff and oversaw an active docket of more than 1,000 cases spanning the breadth of the Civil Division, including complex Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), False Claims Act (FCA), and Federal Tort Claims Act cases and investigations. As Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Tom was responsible for establishing priorities and best practices for defending and settling civil litigation in federal courts nationwide in consultation with the U.S. Attorney Civil Chiefs, as well as supervising and advising on litigation conducted by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in delegated civil actions throughout the federal system.
For nearly two decades prior to his service with the government, Tom was an enforcement and litigation partner at a leading global litigation firm where he represented clients in complex enforcement investigations and cases, commercial litigation, and criminal proceedings, with a focus on financial and securities litigation, international litigation and investigations, professional liability defense, and bankruptcy litigation. During this time, Tom developed extensive experience in litigation and investigations arising from sophisticated financial and accounting frauds, including in matters involving the DOJ, the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. He served as lead counsel for international financial institutions and investment banks, multiple Am Law 100 law firms, the World Bank, and major global corporations.
Department of Justice Representative Matters
- On behalf of the Commercial Litigation Branch, counsel in numerous FIRREA actions and investigations involving many of the world’s largest financial institutions based on alleged misconduct arising out of mortgage-backed securities offerings made prior to the financial crisis culminating in the Great Recession. Each of these long-running, complex cases and investigations settled in multibillion-dollar resolutions or proceeded to litigation during Tom’s tenure at the DOJ, ending years of uncertainty for the United States and the financial institutions.*
- On behalf of the Consumer Protection and Commercial Litigation branches, counsel in criminal investigations and affirmative FCA civil litigation against major opioid manufacturers in furtherance of combating the national opioid health crisis. Tom served as lead DOJ counsel on cases pursued jointly by the Consumer Protection and Commercial Litigation branches in coordination with various U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. These cases resulted in the criminal convictions of a major opioid manufacturer and its key employees and multibillion-dollar criminal fraud and FCA civil settlements.*
- On behalf of the Federal Programs branch, counsel in litigation arising from the Puerto Rico debt crisis, the most severe financial crisis faced by a single state or territory in United States history. Tom defended the constitutionality of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), a federal law that provides Puerto Rico the ability to restructure its debt in bankruptcy and allows for expedited approval of critical infrastructure projects. Tom presented oral argument before the U.S. District Court, against and alongside three former solicitor generals, and prevailed in defending PROMESA’s constitutionality, which was ultimately affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States.*
- On behalf of the Torts branch, counsel in litigation arising from the collisions between the U.S. Navy destroyers USS McCain and USS Fitzgerald and private vessels in separate accidents in 2017, which resulted in Navy casualties and more than $500 million in damages. Tom was responsible for affirmative litigation against the private vessels in the U.S. and Japan, and served as trial counsel, lead negotiator with international legal counsel, and liaison to foreign ministries of justice on behalf of the United States.*
Private Practice Representative Matters
- Counsel for a premier global law firm in litigation and investigations arising from the bankruptcy of the world’s largest independent derivatives execution and clearing firm, which failed following the disclosure of an elaborate, long-running financial fraud. Represented client in multi-district federal court litigation, two federal criminal trials, concurrent U.S. Attorney, SEC, and CFTC investigations, and SEC enforcement actions.*
- Counsel for a major international investment bank in high-profile litigation brought by public pension funds in federal and state court alleging the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars due to an allegedly fraudulent failed securitization of collateralized loan obligations.
- Counsel for the World Bank in connection with fraud and corruption investigations into World Bank-financed projects worldwide. The investigations uncovered pervasive fraud, resulting in debarments, domestic and international criminal referrals, and guilty pleas by World Bank employees to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. Tom also assisted and advised the World Bank in establishing its own internal enforcement office and investigative function, now titled the Integrity Vice Presidency (or INT).*
- Counsel for a prominent global law firm defending against multiple coordinated securities fraud and professional liability actions brought by many of the world’s most sophisticated institutional investors. The plaintiffs purchased bonds issued by the law firm’s former client, a seemingly profitable debt collection company that collapsed following the disclosure of an intricate financial fraud, resulting in criminal convictions and an SEC investigation.*
*The above matters were handled by Tom prior to joining Sidley.
- 哥伦比亚法学院, 法学博士, 1996 (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Managing Editor, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law)
- Drew University, 文学学士, 1993 (summa cum laude)
- Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit (1997 - 1998)
- John G. Koeltl, 美国纽约南部管区联邦地区法院 (1995 - 1996)