(NEW YORK) Katten announced today that Stephen R. Morris, formerly in-house counsel at multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley, has joined the law firm's industry-leading Financial Markets and Funds (FMF) practice as a partner in New York. Morris will use his 20+ years of experience in the derivatives space to deepen the 360-degree counsel for which that Katten practice is well known.
"Our futures and derivatives team combines exhaustive understanding of financial instruments and agreements with a focus on clients' commercial objectives to help move their business forward," said Lance Zinman, Global Chair of the FMF practice, a long-established leader in the financial services space. "Steve knows how to navigate the ever-evolving regulatory landscape and the regulatory challenges clients face."
"As a member of our team," Zinman added, "Steve will use the practical experience and insight he gained while counseling a major player in the market to enhance our ability to provide thorough and thoughtful advice to our clients."
Morris, who was a trial attorney with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) before joining Morgan Stanley, has extensive experience with all aspects of the law and regulation governing the execution and clearing of futures, equity options and cleared swaps. In addition, he has provided analysis and counsel on a range of regulatory issues related to digital assets, digital asset securities and cryptocurrencies arising under US, federal and state banking, securities and commodities laws and regulations.
Morris was with Morgan Stanley for over 14 years, serving as an attorney in its Legal and Compliance Division before assuming the title of Executive Director, Legal Division. Among many other duties in that role, he oversaw communications with functional regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Futures Association (NFA), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the CME's Financial and Regulatory Surveillance Department, the Joint Audit Committee, and the CFTC.
Gary DeWaal, chair of Katten's Financial Markets and Regulation practice, an FMF subgroup where Morris will practice, was a senior attorney in the CFTC Enforcement Division before joining Katten. DeWaal praised Morris for his deep industry experience and longstanding business relationships.
"Steve is a well-known and well-regarded industry veteran with great knowledge of the derivatives industry and other relevant laws and regulations, schooled for years at one of the world's leading investment banks. He will be a fantastic consigliere to and zealous advocate for both our sell- and buy-side clients." DeWaal said of Morris, who was a philosophy professor at Central Connecticut State University and Temple University before becoming an attorney and who, early in his legal career, clerked for the Honorable I. Leo Glasser, Senior Judge, US District Court, Eastern District of New York.
Katten's futures and derivatives team represents a wide range of clients (dealers, end users, proprietary traders, brokers, advisors, exchanges and clearing organizations) on an equally wide range of commercial transactions (futures, structured products, and cleared and over-the-counter swaps) encompassing many different asset classes (interest rates, credit, commodities, securities and foreign exchange). This breadth of knowledge gives these attorneys valuable perspective on issues and a basis for creative problem-solving.