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Linda Chatman Thomsen

Ms. Thomsen, who was the first woman to serve as the Director of the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, is a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department and practices in the Washington DC office. Her practice concentrates in matters related to the enforcement of the federal securities laws.

She has represented clients in SEC enforcement investigations and inquiries, in enforcement matters before other agencies, including the Department of Justice (various U.S. Attorneys Offices) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, in investigations and inquiries from self-regulatory agencies, including FINRA, and in internal investigations. 

These matters, which are typically nonpublic, have covered a broad range of securities-related subject matters, including insider trading, foreign corrupt practices, financial reporting, manipulation and regulatory compliance. Her clients have included major financial institutions, regulated entities, public companies and senior executives. 

Ms. Thomsen returned to Davis Polk in 2009 after 14 years of public service at the SEC. While there she held a variety of positions and ultimately served as the Director of Enforcement from 2005 through February 2009. During her tenure as the Director of Enforcement, she led the Enron investigation, the auction rate securities settlements, the stock options backdating cases and the expansion of the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.


  • Ms. Thomsen is a senior member of Davis Polk’s White Collar Criminal Defense Group, which was named a “White Collar Group of the Year” by Law360 for 2013.
  • She is listed as a leading lawyer in several legal industry publications, including:
    • Chambers USA
    • Benchmark Litigation
    • Legal 500 U.S.
    • Best Lawyers in America
  • She was named one of Securities Docket 's “Enforcement 40 for 2013.″
  • She was the recipient of a “2012 Distinguished Legal Writing Award” from The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement.
  • In 2010, she was named to Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business.”
  • In 2009, she was named to Ethisphere’s “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.”
  • She was named to the Wall Street Journal’s “The 50 Women to Watch” in 2005 and 2006.

    Professional History

    • Partner, Davis Polk, 2009-present
    • Securities and Exchange Commission: served for 14 years in the Enforcement Division as Director (2005-2009), Deputy Director (2002-2005), Associate Director (2000-2002), Assistant Director (1997-2000), Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel (1995-1997)
    • Counsel, Davis Polk, 1989-1995
    • Associate, Davis Polk, 1979-1983; 1985-1989


    • 901 15th Street, N.W.
      Washington, DC 20005
      P: 202-962-7125
      F: 202-962-7098
    • 450 Lexington Avenue
      New York, NY10017
      P: 212-450-4403
      F: 212-701-5403

    Bar Admissions

    • District of Columbia
    • State of New York
    • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia


    • A.B., Smith College, 1976
      • with high honors
    • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1979