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Joan E. McKown


(T) +1.202.879.3647
(F) +1.202.626.1700


  • Drake University (J.D. with honors 1983; Order of the Coif; Law Review); Vanderbilt University (B.A. 1980)

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia


  • Law Clerk to Senior Judge J. Smith Henley, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit (1984-1986)

Government Service

  • Served with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (1986-2010) in various positions, including Branch Chief and Assistant Director before being named Chief Counsel of the Division of Enforcement in 1993

Joan McKown has more than 30 years of experience in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement and financial regulatory matters including investigations, exams, internal investigations, and disputes throughout the United States. She has in-depth knowledge of investigatory issues relating to financial fraud, corporate disclosure, corporate governance, accounting, compliance, private equity, FCPA, broker dealer, investment adviser, investment companies, and insider trading. Joan represents corporations, and financial services firms, and their officers, directors, and employees, counseling them to avoid regulatory scrutiny, and when necessary, resolving matters on the best terms possible.

Prior to joining Jones Day in 2010, Joan was the longest serving chief counsel in the Division of Enforcement at the SEC, where she played a key role in establishing enforcement policies and worked closely with Commission and senior SEC staff. Joan literally wrote the book on SEC enforcement when she oversaw creation of the first version of the SEC Enforcement Manual. As chief counsel, she led hundreds of Wells meetings and settlement negotiations. At Jones Day, Joan has extensive experience submitting persuasive Wells submissions, having reviewed thousands of such submissions while on the SEC staff.

Joan is the president-elect of the board of trustees of the SEC Historical Society. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the board of trustees of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. She frequently speaks and writes on SEC enforcement related topics.

Honors & Distinctions

  • The Best Lawyers in America for securities regulation (2019)

    Chambers USA — America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2019)

    Named to Securities Docket's "Enforcement 40" (2017)

    Named among Law360's "Most Influential Women in Securities Law"

    Recipient of the SEC's Distinguished Service Award, which is the highest honor the agency bestows on an individual (2004)
Joan McKown