Harvey L. Pitt Receives William O. Douglas Award
at 2011 Annual Dinner
More than 750 SEC alumni, practitioners, industry officials, and SEC staff attended the Nineteenth Annual ASECA Dinner on February 4, 2011. As in past years, the event was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the annual PLI program, “SEC Speaks.”
The evening began with opening remarks by ASECA President Amy Goodman, followed by a toast to the SEC given by Richard G. Ketchum, Chairman and CEO of FINRA, and recipient of the 2009 William O. Douglas Award. A total of $58,000 in scholarships and writing competition prizes was then awarded to law students and members of the SEC staff.
Following dinner, Amy Goodman presented John Hartigan with an award for his service as ASECA President for 2009-2010. His accomplishments as President included expansion of the law school scholarship program to Northwestern and Stanford Law Schools and overseeing celebrations of the SEC’s 75 anniversary in 2009, including events in SEC regional offices co-sponsored with the SEC Historical Society. John remains on the ASECA Board as Immediate Past President.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the William O. Douglas Award to Harvey L. Pitt, the twenty-sixth SEC Chairman and its youngest General Counsel. The Douglas Award, instituted by ASECA in 1992, is given each year to an SEC alumnus or alumna who has contributed to the development of the federal securities laws or has served the financial and SEC community with distinction. The recipient’s achievements should be considered extraordinary by his or her peers, and contributions to the protection of the investing public are given significant weight.
Mr. Pitt was introduced by SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro, herself a winner of the 2008 William O. Douglas Award. Her warm introduction spoke to Mr. Pitt’s outstanding professional and personal qualities and to his support for the work of the SEC through the years. Mr. Pitt is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the global strategic business consulting firm, Kalorama Partners, LLC, and its law firm affiliate, Kalorama Legal Services, PLLC. Prior to their founding, Mr. Pitt served as Chairman of the SEC from 2001 until 2003. He was responsible, among other things, for overseeing the SEC’s response to the market disruptions resulting from the terrorist attacks of 9/11, for creating the SEC’s “real time enforcement” program, and for leading the Commission’s adoption of dozens of rules in response to the corporate and accounting crises of the 1990s.
Former Chairman Pitt joined the SEC immediately after graduating from law school in 1968. Starting as a Staff Attorney in the Commission’s General Counsel’s Office, Mr. Pitt served for over ten years in a variety of increasingly responsible positions, including Legal Assistant to former SEC Commissioner Francis M. Wheat; author of the Wheat Report that served as the basis for the Commission’s integration of the Securities Act with the Securities Exchange Act; Special Counsel in the SEC General Counsel’s Office; editor of the Commission’s Institutional Investor Study; and first Chief Counsel of the then newly-formed Division of Market Regulation. In 1973, Mr. Pitt was appointed Executive Assistant (Chief of Staff) to SEC Chairman Ray Garrett, Jr., and in 1975, at the age of 30, Mr. Pitt became the SEC’s youngest General Counsel, serving in that role from 1975-1978. From 1968-1978, Mr. Pitt served seven SEC Chairmen and was the recipient of the Commission’s Distinguished Service Award.
After leaving the SEC staff in 1978, Mr. Pitt became a corporate partner at a major New York law firm, where he practiced law for nearly twenty-five years. He was a founding trustee and first President of the SEC Historical Society, and served on the Board of ASECA in its early years. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown, George Washington, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale law schools. He is a frequent analyst on CNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg TV-Radio, CNN, Reuters, CBS and ABC.
Mr. Pitt received a J.D. degree from St. John’s University School of Law (1968), and his B.A. from the City University of New York (Brooklyn College) (1965). He was awarded an honorary LL.D. by St. John’s University in June 2002, and was given the Brooklyn College President’s Medal of Distinction in 2003.
In accepting the award, Mr. Pitt spoke of the excellence of the SEC staff throughout the agency’s history. He described the challenges currently facing the SEC and encouraged all SEC alumni to support the agency’s efforts to fulfill its critical mission of investor protection. For the complete text of Mr. Pitt’s speech, click here.