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PARTNER MOVES - Kirkland adds three former senior SEC officials to global investment funds regulatory practice

27 Apr 2022

Kirkland & Ellis announced that Diane Blizzard, Melissa Gainor and Dan Kahl have joined the Investment Funds Regulatory Practice as partners. Each recently served in senior roles at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and have extensive experience in the agency’s regulation of investment advisers, investment companies, and the asset management industry. 

Ms. Blizzard served as Associate Director for Rulemaking in the agency’s Division of Investment Management; Ms. Gainor led the Investment Adviser Regulation Office in the Division of Investment Management; and Mr. Kahl served as Acting Director of the Division of Examinations.

“Given the proposed material SEC rule changes and heightened regulatory focus impacting private equity fund sponsors and other asset managers, adding these three lawyers with significant government experience to our existing deep bench of practitioners and former regulators will further strengthen our regulatory practice,” said Jon A. Ballis, Chairman of Kirkland’s Executive Committee. “We are excited that they have joined our industry leading private equity platform.”

Kirkland Investment Funds Group head John O’Neil added: “Dan, Diane and Melissa bring decades of regulatory experience and unique insights into the SEC’s deliberative and decision-making processes. It is an extraordinary opportunity to have lawyers of this caliber join our Firm together.”

Ms. Blizzard served as Associate Director for Rulemaking in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. At the SEC, she oversaw the staff responsible for developing policy recommendations and rule changes under the federal securities laws affecting investment advisers and investment companies. At Kirkland, she will advise clients on the implications of various rulemaking currently under consideration by the SEC and the potential consequences of these policy changes. Prior to joining the SEC, Ms. Blizzard worked for ICI Mutual Insurance Company, owned by members of the Investment Company Institute, the leading mutual fund trade association. She holds degrees from Georgetown University Law Center and Duke University and started her career in private practice.

Ms. Gainor joins the Firm from the SEC’s Division of Investment Management where she led the Investment Adviser Regulation Office. In this role, she oversaw all rulemaking affecting registered investment advisers including significant new proposals recently promulgated by the SEC. Ms. Gainor led numerous rulemaking initiatives including proposals related to the regulation of private fund advisers, Form PF amendments and cybersecurity risk management for investment advisers as well as rule adoptions relating to investment adviser marketing, ETFs and fund of funds arrangements. She collaborated across the SEC including with the Divisions of Examinations and Enforcement about the interpretation and application of all major federal securities statutes. Ms. Gainor received a B.A. from Boston College, and earned her J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Mr. Kahl most recently served as a senior leader at the SEC as Acting Director of the Division of Examinations where he oversaw all aspects of the commission’s national examination program and more than 1,000 examination staff. Mr. Kahl previously was the Deputy Director and Chief Counsel for the Division. Before joining the SEC’s examination program, Mr. Kahl led the Investment Adviser Regulation Office in the Division of Investment Management. Prior to joining the commission in 2001, Dan worked for the Investment Adviser Association, FINRA, and the North American Securities Administrators Association. He received his B.S. from Penn State University, J.D. from Southern Methodist University and LL.M. from Georgetown University.

Ms. Blizzard, Ms. Gainor and Mr. Kahl join the more than 50 attorneys in Kirkland’s Investment Funds Regulatory Practice, which includes lawyers who have held senior policy-making and enforcement positions in key regulatory agencies, as well as seasoned practitioners and more than 450 lawyers total in the Firm’s Investment Funds Group. As thought leaders in the space, the team produces the Regulatory Roundup, which covers regulatory developments from the SEC during this pivotal moment in history. 

Kirkland is a global leader in providing sophisticated advice to investment fund sponsors, institutional investors and other market participants in the alternative investment fund space. The Firm offers clients the unsurpassed resources of a large, integrated, multidisciplinary, global team across offices in the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific offering comprehensive services including private fund formation; liquidity solutions; investment management and regulatory counsel and support; and strategic GP advisory services. Since January 2016, Kirkland has advised over 1,000 funds with total capital commitments in excess of $1.32 trillion.

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Lateral Partner Moves