James M. McDonald is a litigation partner and a member of the Firm’s Securities & Commodities Investigations and Enforcement Practice and its Commodities, Futures and Derivatives group. His practice focuses on advising clients on regulatory enforcement matters, white-collar criminal matters, and internal investigations, as well as on corporate governance and compliance related to commodities and derivatives laws.
From 2017 to 2020, Mr. McDonald served as Director of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement, where he had overall responsibility for all aspects of the CFTC’s enforcement program, including its investigations and litigations, market surveillance activity, and whistleblower office. During his time at the CFTC, Mr. McDonald was responsible for creating the first task forces within the Division of Enforcement focused on manipulation and spoofing; insider trading; foreign corruption; anti-money laundering and the Bank Secrecy Act; and digital assets. He also coordinated the CFTC’s enforcement activities with the Department of Justice, the SEC, and numerous international regulators.
Prior to joining the CFTC in 2017, Mr. McDonald served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he investigated and prosecuted white-collar criminal offenses, as well as cases involving international narcotics trafficking and violent crime, and tried numerous jury cases.
Mr. McDonald currently serves as an Adviser to the American Law Institute’s Principles of Compliance, Risk Management, and Enforcement. Mr. McDonald previously served as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School, where he co-taught a course on the intersection of business, regulation, and enforcement, and as a Senior Fellow at NYU Law’s Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement. Originally from Oklahoma, Mr. McDonald previously taught Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, Foreign Relations Law, and Supreme Court Decision-making as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Mr. McDonald is a frequent featured speaker at bar association and professional organization conferences on issues relating to white-collar enforcement and internal investigations, including the American Bar Association, SIFMA, the Futures Industry Association, the New York City Bar, and PLI. Mr. McDonald’s comments have been reported by numerous major news publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, and Bloomberg.
Mr. McDonald served as a law clerk to John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, and Jeffrey S. Sutton, Jr., Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and as a Deputy Associate Counsel, in the Office of the White House Counsel, under President George W. Bush.