Corporate Governance

Featured Publication:

A Look Back and A Glimpse Forward: The SEC’s Agenda [The Legal Intelligencer]

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer that addresses how the initiatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 2021 rulemaking agenda were instituted, and discusses what to expect from the SEC in 2022.

More

Companies must meet stringent and complex regulatory requirements, while simultaneously achieving core business goals and satisfying diverse competing constituencies. Cozen O’Connor’s interdisciplinary Corporate Governance Practice helps clients strike this delicate balance.

Composed of attorneys in a variety of practices — Capital Markets & Securities, Securities Litigation & SEC Enforcement, Private Equity, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, and Mergers & Acquisitions — Cozen O’Connor is a one-stop shop for clients’ sophisticated corporate governance and other legal needs, such as securities compliance, that are closely related to governance.

Our attorneys work closely with public and private companies, U.S.-listed foreign private issuers, and financial institutions to comply with governance requirements necessary for participation in the U.S. capital markets. Known for our boots-on-the-ground and business-minded approach, our team appreciates that when companies are facing high-stakes issues, they need timely, practical advice.

WHAT WE DO

We offer advice and counsel on the full range of governance matters before boards of directors and management teams:

  • Fiduciary duties
  • Director and committee independence
  • Director and officer (D&O) indemnification and insurance
  • Board and board committee investigations
  • Board effectiveness and benchmarking with respect to governance structures and board processes
  • Board and management evaluation and succession
  • Executive compensation
  • Stakeholder engagement

Inside Scoop

In this video series, leaders in corporate governance and securities provide an insider’s perspective on some of the most challenging issues facing board members, executives, general counsel, and compliance officers

More

WHY OUR FIRM

We design strategies for boards of directors and management teams that allow them to meet obligations to companies and stakeholders, including shareholders and employees. Our recommendations are tailored to each company and change over time, as intentions and circumstances evolve.

Cozen O’Connor works closely with members of boards and management teams to determine the scope of our engagement and are able to adjust our service model to fit the particular needs and issues at hand.

Attorneys frequently provide education and training to board members and senior managers on governance topics, including fiduciary obligations, governance policies, insider trading, fair disclosure, cybersecurity, stockholder activism, proxy advisory firms (ISS and Glass Lewis), and critically important, stakeholder concerns. We attend full board or board committee meetings, at clients’ request, to address specific topics or general matters.

We support major day-to-day compliance activities for SEC and exchange reporting, including, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, NASDAQ/NYSE requirements, periodic reports, Form 8-K compliance, proxy statements, Section 16 reporting, 10b-5 and insider trading, investor presentations/earning releases, Regulation G, Regulation FD, and Rule 10b-18 plans and buyback programs.

RELATED PRACTICES

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation

Our executive compensation lawyers have decades of experience navigating the full range of issues presented by high-level executive compensation arrangements such as incentive plans, equity compensation, severance and change-in-control agreements, and performance metrics.

Securities Litigation & SEC Enforcement

Cozen O’Connor’s Securities Litigation team, led by a former senior attorney with the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, represents clients in SEC, DOJ, and FINRA enforcement investigations and litigates securities fraud cases in federal court and FINRA arbitrations.

M&A

Cozen O’Connor’s national M&A practice handles complex mergers, asset, and stock transactions for major companies in diverse industries. Our attorneys close deals valued from tens of millions to billions of dollars.

Experience

Publications

Court of Appeals Hears Arguments in Nasdaq’s Board Diversity Rules Case

September 13, 2022

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a case against the SEC seeking to invalidate Nasdaq’s board diversity rule.

SEC Adopts Pay vs. Performance Disclosure Rules [Alert]

August 30, 2022

The SEC recently adopted final disclosure rules implementing the pay vs. performance requirement of the Dodd-Frank Act for public companies.

A Busy Summer: Breaking Down the SEC’s Recent Rule Changes

August 02, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Paul Hallgren discuss the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed rule on climate disclosures and analyze its recent changes in The Legal Intelligencer.

SEC Proposes New Rules for Cybersecurity Incident Reporting [Alert]

March 28, 2022

In March, the SEC proposed new rules pertaining to reporting material cybersecurity incidents and their cybersecurity risk management and governance.

Ceres Guidance for Engaging on Climate Risk Governance and Voting on Directors [Alert]

February 07, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins discuss the top 10 guidance based on TCFD “governance” recommended disclosures and the net-zero company benchmark as well as climate action 100+ net-zero company benchmark indicators.

A Look Back and A Glimpse Forward: The SEC’s Agenda [The Legal Intelligencer]

January 24, 2022

Kathy Jaffari and Rikisha Collins authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer that addresses how the initiatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 2021 rulemaking agenda were instituted, and discusses what to expect from the SEC in 2022.

Insiders and Companies: Reforms to SEC Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plans May Be On the Horizon [The Legal Intelligencer]

November 01, 2021

Kathy Jaffari, Naz Jalali, and Paul Hallgren co-authored an article on recommendations made by the Investor Advisory Committee (IAC) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding changes to the rules with respect to Rule 10b5-1 trading plans in The Legal Intelligencer.

SEC Approves Anticipated Nasdaq Board Diversity Rules [Alert]

August 10, 2021

Rachel Collins Clarke, Mehrnaz Jalali, and Kathy Jaffari discuss Nasdaq's new rules that require Nasdaq-listed companies to either have or explain why they do not have at least two diverse directors.

Inside Scoop: D&O Insurance - Tips and Trends

August 03, 2021

Kathy Jaffari is joined by Sarah Downey, Managing Director, Financial Services Claims Leader and Blockchain Advisory Leader at Lockton Companies, for a timely conversation regarding D&O insurance.

Let’s Get Down to Business: A Glimpse Into the SEC’s Fall 2021 Agenda [The Legal Intelligencer]

August 02, 2021

Katayun Jaffari authored an article discussing leadership changes in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and initiatives the commission undertook in the first half of 2021 as well as its agenda for the fall in The Legal Intelligencer.

SEC Brings Enforcement Action Against All Sides of a Proposed SPAC Transaction for Misleading Disclosures [Alert]

July 15, 2021

Naz Jalali discusses the SEC's first enforcement action in which all sides of a proposed SPAC transaction were targeted. In this action, the SEC brought charges against the SPAC, the SPAC sponsor, the SPAC’s CEO, the SPAC’s proposed merger target, and the merger target’s founder and former CEO.

Inside Scoop: Shareholder Engagement - It’s About Communication

June 08, 2021

Adrienne Monley, Head of Investment Stewardship for the Americas region at The Vanguard Group, joins Inside Scoop to discuss the importance of shareholder engagement and the best methods for companies to navigate this critical topic.

Inside Scoop: Sustainability & ESG - Tips to Governance & Disclosure

May 05, 2021

Kathy Jaffari is joined by Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chief sustainability officer at Tiffany & Co. and chairman and president of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, to discuss the increasing importance of sustainability and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) within a corporation.

Roundup of Boardroom Diversity Legislation

May 03, 2021

Katayun Jaffari and Paul Hallgren co-authored an article discussing the current state and what is hoped to be the future accelerated effort of diversifying the boardroom in Today’s General Counsel.

The SEC Continues Its Trajectory on ESG Disclosures

April 29, 2021

Mehrnaz Jalali discusses the SEC's continued trajectory on ESG disclosures despite recent criticism for its failure to compel ESG specific disclosures.

Gensler's SEC Can Bring Regulatory Clarity to Digital Assets

April 14, 2021

Chris Bellini and Kara Kapp discuss potential changes to be made to the digital assets industry as a result of Gensler’s recent appointment as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in ThinkAdvisor.

SEC Continues to Signal its Commitment to ESG Disclosures and Reporting [Alert]

March 24, 2021

Mehrnaz Jalali and Kathy Jaffari discuss the SEC's signals over the past six weeks to public companies and investors about its commitment to disclosures and reporting of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

Inside Scoop: Virtual Annual Meetings - Tips to Help Ensure Success

March 08, 2021

Kathy Jaffari is joined by Cathy Conlon, Vice President and Head of Corporate Issuer Product and Strategy at Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., on the Inside Scoop for a conversation on the virtual annual meeting landscape.

SEC Suspends Trading in 15 Public Companies for Suspicious Social Media & Trading Activity [Alert]

March 04, 2021

Joe Dever and Luke La Rocca discuss the SEC's February 26, 2021 order that suspended the trading of securities in 15 OTC public companies due to questionable trading activity and social media promotions that the SEC suspects to have been part of a coordinated attempt to artificially inflate stock prices.

SEC Releases Sample Comment Letter for Issuers Conducting Offerings During Periods of Volatility [Alert]

February 23, 2021

Chris Bellini discusses the sample letter published by the SEC that identifies a number of sample comments the SEC may provide to issuers conducting securities offerings amid market and price volatility.

Inside Scoop: Boardroom Diversity - Tips on How to Get There

February 02, 2021

Kathy Jaffari is joined by Tanuja Dehne, president & CEO of The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, for a conversation that provides a perspective on diversity and inclusion in the boardroom.

Transparency in Corporate Political Spending and SEC Rule 14a-8

January 26, 2021

Germain DeMartinis and Kathy Jaffari authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer on the increased focus on political contributions made by companies and the need for these businesses to have increased transparency in order to manage reputational risk.

SEC Compliance and Enforcement Answer Book, Practicing Law Institute (2021 ed.)

January 15, 2021

Joe Dever, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Securities Litigation & SEC Enforcement practice groups, co-authored Chapter 16: “SEC Market Manipulation Investigations” of the 2021 edition of SEC Compliance and Enforcement Answer Book, published by Practicing Law Institute and edited by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Nasdaq Proposes New Rules Regarding Board Diversity for Listed Companies

December 03, 2020

On December 1, 2020, The Nasdaq Stock Market filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt new listing rules that relate to diversity of board composition, proposed Rule 5605(f), and disclosure of statistical information on board composition, proposed Rule 5606.

SEC Adopts Amendments to MD&A and other Financial Disclosures [Alert]

November 24, 2020

Kathy Jaffari and Richard Busis discuss the SEC's amendments to Regulation S-K in an effort to modernize, simplify, and enhance certain financial disclosures.

SEC Votes to Harmonize and Improve “Patchwork” Exempt Offering Framework [Alert]

November 05, 2020

Anne Madonia and Richard Busis discuss a series of amendments aimed at making the capital-raising process more “effective and efficient” by addressing “gaps and complexities” in the exempt offering framework that have created problems for issuers seeking to gain access to capital and investors looking to participate in investment opportunities.

The SEC 'Modernizes' Certain Disclosure Rules

November 02, 2020

Katayun Jaffari and Paul Hallgren co-authored an article published in The Legal Intelligencer examining amendments the Securities and Exchange Commission has made to certain disclosure rules for public companies in an effort to modernize information presented to investors.

SEC Proposed Exemption Offers Regulatory Clarity For Unregistered Finders [Alert]

October 13, 2020

Seth Popick, Lindsey Stillwell, and Joe Dever discuss the SEC's proposed exemption to allow unregistered natural persons, referred to as finders, to engage in certain limited activities to assist issuers in raising capital from accredited investors.

SEC Adopts Amendments to Modernize Shareholder Proposal Rules [Alert]

September 28, 2020

Chris Bellini discusses the SEC's amendments to modernize Rule 14a-8, which governs the process for shareholder proposals to be included in a company’s proxy statement.

Executive Compensation Considerations Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 09, 2020

Katayun Jaffari, Diane Thompson, and Anne Greene co-authored an article published in The Legal Intelligencer that examines the considerations companies must bear in mind when addressing executive compensation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEC Adopts Amendments to Regulation S-K Items 101, 103, and 105 [Alert]

September 02, 2020

Kathy Jaffari and Germain DeMartinis discuss the SEC's adoption of amendments modernizing the description of business (Item 101), legal proceedings (Item 103), and risk factors (Item 105) disclosures that registrants are required to make pursuant to Regulation S-K.

SEC Expands the Definition of Accredited Investor [Alert]

August 28, 2020

Anne Madonia, Germain DeMartinis, and Richard Busis discuss recent updates to the definition of accredited investor made by the SEC to allow individuals to invest in unregistered private securities offerings based on certain professional certifications or designations or other credentials, rather than based on their wealth or income, as well as to expand the list of entities that will qualify as accredited investors.

ESG Disclosures: What Is the Current State of Play? [The Legal Intelligencer]

August 03, 2020

Kathy Jaffari and Lindsey Stillwell co-authored an article on companies that are taking various approaches to disclosing the environmental, social, and governance criteria that investors are increasingly using as a metric to evaluate investment opportunities.

SEC Issues Final Rules Regarding Proxy Solicitations [Alert]

July 24, 2020

Kathy Jaffari, Richard Busis, and Greg Patton discuss the SEC's amendments to increase transparency and accountability between Main Street investors, investment advisers, and organizations that provide proxy voting advice.

SEC Releases Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Disclosure Considerations [Alert]

June 25, 2020

Kathy Jaffari, Edgar Rapoport, and Chris Bellini discuss the SEC's June 23, 2020, guidance on disclosure considerations regarding operations, liquidity, and capital resources in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEC Proposes to Expand Private Offerings [Alert]

March 11, 2020

Chris Bellini discusses the SEC's proposal to streamline the current framework of rules and guidance governing exempt offerings and to broaden the availability of such offerings.

Transitioning for the End of LIBOR [Alert]

February 24, 2020

Benjamin A. Bomrind, Anne M. Madonia, and Joshua C. Weinberger discuss this discontinuation of LIBOR and how clients should prepare.

SEC Proposes to Update Accredited Investor Definition [Alert]

December 23, 2019

Chris Bellini discusses propose amendments to the definition of “accredited investor” in Rule 501(a) of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933.

SEC Final Regulation Best Interest Regarding Duties of Broker-Dealers [Alert]

July 09, 2019

Ingrid Welch and Greg Patton detail the changes broker-dealers will need to make under the new Regulation Best Interest, beginning June 30, 2020.

SEC Proposes to Improve Disclosures Relating to Acquisitions and Dispositions of Businesses [Alert]

May 08, 2019

Chris Bellini discusses the SEC’s proposed amendments relate to the financial disclosure requirements in Rules 3-05, 3-14, and Article 11 of Regulation S-X.

SEC Adopts Amendments for FAST Act Modernization and Simplification of Regulation S-K [Alert]

April 08, 2019

The changes adopted by the SEC will become effective on May 2, 2019, except for the requirement to tag all cover page data in Inline XBRL and the amendments to the rules governing redactions of confidential information in material contracts.

SEC Proposes Expansion of “Test-the-Waters” Communications to All Issuers

March 04, 2019

Chris Bellini discusses proposed Rule 163B and what it means to issuers.

SEC Adopts New Smaller Reporting Company and XBRL Rules [Securities Alert]

July 11, 2018

Chris Bellini discusses the SEC's final rules and rule proposals that broaden the definition of “smaller reporting company” and require the use of the Inline XBRL format in certain operating company and mutual fund filings.

SEC Proposes Disclosure Requirements and Name Restrictions for Broker-Dealers & Investment Advisers [Corporate/Securities Alert]

June 18, 2018

In a series of three proposed regulations with requests for comments, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeks to enhance communications by broker-dealers and investment advisers to their customers and clients.

SEC Charges 13 Private Fund Advisers for Repeated Filing Failures [Securities Alert]

June 12, 2018

Christopher Bellini and Ingrid Welch discuss the SEC's focus on policing even the most technical of violations and warn advisers to private funds that they should timely file their Form PF and that the information contained in their Form PF is accurate and complete.

SEC Proposed Regulation Best Interest Regarding Duties Of Broker-Dealers [Securities Alert]

June 11, 2018

Ingrid Welch and Greg Patton discuss Release No. 34-83062 (Best Interest Release) proposed under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended; the SEC's attempt to make clear that a broker-dealer may not put its own financial interests ahead of its retail customers when making recommendations.

SEC Proposes Clarification Regarding Fiduciary Duties Owed by Investment Advisers [Securities Alert]

May 08, 2018

Ingrid Welch and Greg Patton discuss three proposed regulations made by the SEC to enhance and clarify the standards of conduct and duties owed by brokers-dealers and investment advisers to their customers and clients.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

NACD MN Program: ESG in the Boardroom

June 23, 2022 - Minneapolis, MN

Board Diversity: A Must Amidst COVID-19

September 10, 2020 - Webinar

12th Annual In-House Counsel Conference

July 28, 2020 - Philadelphia, PA

In The News

ESG in the Boardroom: A Guidebook for Directors

April 26, 2022

Katayun Jaffari, chair of the Corporate Governance Group, co-chair of the Capital Markets & Securities Group, and co-chair of the ESG (environmental social governance) Group, has co-edited a book for the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association titled ESG in the Boardroom, A Guidebook for Directors.

Cozen O’Connor Continues its Canadian Expansion, Adding Another Three Attorneys to Its Vancouver, B.C. Office

March 21, 2022

Elizabeth Holden, Gosia Piasecka, and Nicholas Krishan will reunite with former colleagues Rory Godinho, Kathy Tang, Lucy Schilling, Brian Fast, and Iain Mingo — five corporate attorneys who moved to Cozen O’Connor from the same Canadian firm earlier this month.

Katayun Jaffari Selected to Receive the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Dennis H. Replansky Memorial Award

February 11, 2022

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce Kathy Jaffari, chair of the firm’s Corporate Governance & Securities, has been selected to receive the Business Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Dennis H. Replansky Memorial Award.

Can a Company Be Required to Have a Diverse Board of Directors?

January 12, 2022

Kathy Jaffari discusses the expectation for companies to have a diverse board of directors in SHRM.

Activist Shareholders Score Wins on Election Spending After Riot

July 16, 2021

Kathy Jaffari was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article discussing how, since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this year, activist shareholders at many companies are experiencing more success in getting approval from their fellow shareholders on increased political spending disclosures.

Cozen O’Connor Continues Corporate Practice Expansion in Pittsburgh with the Addition of Benjamin W. Milleville

March 25, 2021

Milleville brings a strong history of advising businesses and nonprofit organizations on corporate and transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, the negotiation of commercial agreements, governance, and real estate matters.

Cozen O’Connor Expands New York Corporate Governance & Securities Practice with the Addition of Mehrnaz Jalali

January 26, 2021

Jalali brings significant experience advising on corporate governance and securities disclosure and reporting on significant public equity and debt offerings, as well as a strong background in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) matters. The Corporate Governance & Securities Practice has experienced significant growth in activity.

Emerging State Board Diversity Laws Encourage Proactive Approach

November 03, 2020

Kathy Jaffari discusses steps that some states are taking to increase diversity on corporate boards.

Katayun Jaffari Named to The Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best of the Bar 2020

October 13, 2020

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Katayun Jaffari, chair of the firm’s Corporate Governance & Securities practice, has been named to The Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar 2020.”

Cozen O’Connor Guides Utz Quality Foods in Business Combination Agreement with Collier Creek Holdings to Form Utz Brands, Inc.

June 10, 2020

Transaction Results in Utz Going Public After Nearly 100 Years as Family Business.

Katayun I. Jaffari Joins Cozen O’Connor as Chair of its Corporate Governance & Securities Group

June 01, 2020

Jaffari, whose clients range from life sciences and energy enterprises, to technology and fintech providers across the United States, comes to the firm from Ballard Spahr LLP.

U.S. Companies Walk Legal Tightrope as Earnings Season Kicks Off

April 15, 2020

Chris Bellini discusses how The Securities and Exchange Commission’s guidance on reporting earnings outlooks during the coronavirus pandemic could create pitfalls for U.S. companies in The New York Times.

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Contacts

Katayun Jaffari

Chair, Corporate Governance
Co-Chair, Capital Markets & Securities
Co-Chair, ESG

kjaffari@cozen.com

(215) 665-4622

People

Awards

Katayun Jaffari Selected to Receive the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Dennis H. Replansky Memorial Award

February 11, 2022

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce Kathy Jaffari, chair of the firm’s Corporate Governance & Securities, has been selected to receive the Business Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Dennis H. Replansky Memorial Award.

Katayun Jaffari Named to The Philadelphia Business Journal’s Best of the Bar 2020

October 13, 2020

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Katayun Jaffari, chair of the firm’s Corporate Governance & Securities practice, has been named to The Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar 2020.”

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Related Practice Areas

Keep up-to-date with the latest news from Cozen O'Connor

Enter your City or Zip.

Probably shouldn't change this:
Sign up to receive alerts, publications, and event / webinar invites.

By submitting your contact information, you are giving Cozen O'Connor consent to contact you via email.