By Monica Kwok, J.D. ’18
This fall, I worked at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through the Student Honors Program. The program is specifically designed to familiarize students with the regulation of securities markets by providing them the opportunity to work directly on projects that uphold the SEC’s mission. Through agency wide meetings and broadcasts, I became acquainted with the Commission’s various divisions and their functions. Though I worked specifically within the Enforcement Division, it was fascinating to learn about the different responsibilities of the Corporation Finance, Economic and Risk Analysis, Investment Management, and Trading and Markets divisions.
Over the course of my time at the SEC, I was staffed on various legal research and writing projects. The Enforcement Division is unique in that it investigates and litigates securities laws violations, such as fraud. My placement made it possible for me to survey crucial components of the process, including attending investigative testimonies and participating in Commission wide meetings. These key opportunities gave me insight into how the Commission’s attorneys and forensic accountants advance legal arguments and evidence for an enforcement action. My work ranged broadly from researching legal standards to help narrow investigations to gathering and analyzing information pertaining to tips and referrals.
I was also fortunate enough to work directly with several fantastic attorneys, all of whom provided excellent guidance and professional mentorship. It was incredible to learn about their unique career trajectories, as they each hailed from vastly different fields of law.
This experience has transformed the ways in which I think about current events, particularly in the financial regulation space. With my remaining time at Harvard Law School, I hope to further explore the intersection of regulatory policies and proceedings and corporate criminality through related coursework and research projects.