Ellen M. Wheeler is a partner and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP. She has represented clients in numerous cases ranging from securities class actions and regulatory enforcement actions to general commercial litigation, in which she has gained significant trial experience. Ms. Wheeler is a member of the firm’s Securities Enforcement & Litigation, Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution, and Securities, Commodities & Exchange Regulation Practices.
In connection with her securities litigation and enforcement practice, Ms. Wheeler has represented broker-dealers, underwriters, futures commission merchants, attorneys, auditors, and officers in both litigation and enforcement matters. In particular, Ms. Wheeler has defended clients in large securities class actions, in arbitrations brought by customers and employees, at administrative hearings against the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, and in connection with other enforcement proceedings by the SEC, CFTC, PCAOB, FINRA, and other regulatory organizations.
Ms. Wheeler worked as assistant legal counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives during the 1999 legislative session. In that capacity, she served as the Speaker's legal representative to a number of House Committees, attending committee hearings and analyzing all legislation.
- Counsel to multiple options specialist firms in action brought by professional traders involving allegations of order mishandling
- Counsel to investment bank in connection with multiple lawsuits arising out of collapse of auction rate securities market
- Counsel to individual defendant in class action and multiple individual actions alleging fraud and violations of Sherman Antitrust Act and the Commodity Exchange Act
- Counsel to individual defendant in class action involving allegations of stock options back dating
- Counsel to clearing firm in CBOE arbitration, resulting in dismissal of all claims with prejudice
- Counsel to broker-dealer in FINRA arbitration brought by former customer; week-long arbitration resulting in award entirely in favor of defendant
- Counsel to investment bank in major class action involving allegations of manipulation and misconduct in connection with initial public offerings
- Counsel to former employee of mutual fund management company in an enforcement proceeding brought by the SEC concerning allegations of market timing; following approximately three-week hearing, client was exonerated of all charges
- Counsel to former chief financial officer of public company in an enforcement proceeding brought by the SEC charging CFO with fraud in connection with public disclosures; two–week hearing resulted in favorable opinion with no sanctions levied against client
Ms. Wheeler also actively represents clients on a pro bono basis and, in particular, individuals seeking asylum in the United States after fleeing persecution in their home countries. Her interest in these cases led her to a position on the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Leadership Council.
Ms. Wheeler is a 1997 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where she was chief articles editor of the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law. She attended Grinnell College and graduated with honors in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in political science.
Ms. Wheeler is admitted to practice in Illinois, the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois, the District of Colorado, the Seventh Circuit, and the Federal Circuit. She is also a member of the Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois.
- Co-author, "Top Ten SEC Enforcement Developments of 2012," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (2013).
- Presenter, "The Expansion of SEC’s Enforcement Authority," Chicago Bar Association seminar entitled "The Crash of 2008 – The Government’s Response: Financial Reform" (March 17, 2011).
- Co-author, "Top Ten SEC Enforcement Developments of 2010," BNA’s Securities Regulation & Law Report (February 21, 2011).
- Presenter, "Addressing New Issues in FINRA, SEC and State Examination and Enforcement Proceedings," 2010 National Society of Compliance Professional Midwest Regional Meeting (April 12, 2010).
- Co-author, "Top Ten SEC Enforcement Developments of 2009," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (March 15, 2010).
- Co-author, "Top 10 SEC Enforcement Developments of 2008," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (March 3, 2009).
- Co-author, "Top 10 SEC Enforcement Developments of 2007," BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report (April 7, 2008).
- Co-author, update to chapter on securities litigation, Matthew Bender Treatise on Securities Law.
- Presenter, "Trends in Securities Enforcement," BNA (July 2008).