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Cox’s charmed life after the SEC

July 17, 2009

During the financial crisis, Christopher Cox was a Zelig-like creature, always somewhere in the background, but never seen to be doing anything of consequence.

After Bear Stearns collapsed, when Lehman Brothers edged toward the brink and the entire securities industry quaked, what was the major initiative of the Securities and Exchange Commission under Cox? A misguided effort to rein in short selling.

Cox is certainly not to blame for the crisis, but his limp, ineffective response to it was an embarrassing display. And that’s even before one brings up the subject of Bernie Madoff.

Yet failure has not been an obstacle to Cox’s post-Bush administration career plans. He will join the law firm of Bingham McCuthen as a partner in his old stomping ground of Orange County. Bingham McCutcheon has been building its securities law practice, hiring two former Bear Stearns lawyers last year and a former enforcement director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

So what did Bingham McCutcheon see in Cox? Well, someone was impressed.

Jay Zimmerman, the law firm’s chairman, told Bloomberg News:

“I sat down with him in D.C. and I thought, ‘This is an incredibly impressive guy. He’s very smart, he has a tremendous pedigree and he’s a real star in Orange County.’ ”

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