Goodwin Adds New Partner to Lead Public Company Advisory Group

Goodwin Procter has picked up Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner and former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Sean Donahue as chair of its public company advisory practice in Washington.

Donahue, who will also be a partner in the firm’s technology practice, works with public companies and their boards of directors on securities regulation, capital markets transactions, and corporate governance matters.

Prior to joining Morgan Lewis in 2011, he spent more than three years at the SEC as an attorney-advisor in its corporation finance division. There, he worked on a number of transactional and securities compliance matters.

Donahue advises public companies and investment funds on public reporting, ESG matters, securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, proxy contests, tender offers, going-private transactions, and New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq compliance issues.

Goodwin represents more than 400 publicly traded companies in various corporate and litigation matters and the chance to be able to come over and help assist those clients in SEC reporting, corporate governance and securities regulatory issues was a great opportunity, Donahue said in an interview with Bloomberg Law.

The firm’s emerging companies practice also creates a steady pipeline of new public companies to work with as they go through the initial public offering process and become SEC reporting companies, he said.

As chair of Goodwin’s public company advisory practice, Donahue said that he’s aiming to build a team composed of lawyers with SEC experience, whether they are currently at the agency or at other law firms, in Washington.

But, he said, the main goal is to serve as a central resource of clients in dealing with the complex issues that arise under both the federal securities laws and corporate governance regimes.

“Ultimately, what I want to do is to be able to assist Goodwin’s clients—our clients—in looking around the corner to see what they should be thinking about from an SEC and corporate governance perspective,” Donahue said.

He’s also aiming to assist emerging and private company clients that haven’t yet gone public think about what it’s like to be a public company, now or several years from now, given rulemaking and other activity at the SEC previewed by the new administration.

Though there are a number of firms that have SEC governance experts within their team, Donahue and his team will be serving Goodwin clients and aren’t solely a resource for Goodwin attorneys, said Bradley Weber, co-chair of Goodwin’s capital markets practice.

“We see Sean very much as an externally facing client advisor and that the team that he’s going to build is going to help us in that way,” he said.

“He does have that strategic client focus bent to him and we think that’s what will provide the most value to our clients is a team that is not only experts on the substantive matters that our clients care about but is active, engaged and always participating in the front lines of giving client advice and for us, that’s the difference,” Weber said.

Donahue is the latest addition to Goodwin, which last month added 12 lawyers, including seven partners, to its technology practice from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Jones Day, and Latham & Watkins.