With more than three decades of experience in securities regulation and enforcement, Michael MacPhail represents publicly traded corporations, investment advisors, broker-dealers, transfer agents, accounting firms, law firms and individuals in a wide variety of high-stakes civil and criminal investigations, enforcement actions and private litigation. In defending his clients, Mike draws on his 13 years of experience as an SEC enforcement attorney, which included investigating possible violations of federal securities laws and eventually serving first as a branch chief, then as deputy assistant director with supervisory authority over a team of accountants, attorneys and paralegals.

Mike also represents clients in parallel criminal investigations by federal grand juries, U.S. Attorney's Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Securities Litigation

Mike handles investigations and litigation by securities regulators and has testified at trial as an expert witness regarding securities matters. He has significant experience with the following agencies:

  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
  • Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)
  • Colorado Division of Securities
  • Colorado Board of Accountancy
  • Other state securities regulators in the Western United States

Shareholder and Cryptocurrency Disputes and Litigation

Mike defends corporations, officers and directors against claims by shareholders, including claims brought as putative class actions or as derivative claims, including those brought under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and state “blue sky” laws. Mike has particular experience in prosecuting or defending statutory or common law claims involving alleged fraud, fraudulent concealment and breach of fiduciary duty. Mike has represented a number of cryptocurrency companies in private disputes involving, among other things, short-selling and disclosure issues.

Financial Services Litigation Involving Consumer Lending, Advertising and Franchise Regulation

Mike also represents clients in disputes concerning advertising, consumer lending, mortgage foreclosures, debt collection/debt management and franchisee issues. During these disputes, he deals with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Representing Investment Advisers and Public Companies

Mike has particular experience defending publicly held companies and their officers and directors, broker-dealers and investment advisers, and accounting firms and CPAs during government investigations. He responds to pre-litigation subpoenas, prepares clients for testimony and responds to “Wells notices” of intended charges.

Representative Experience

  • Represented NYSE-listed public company in an SEC investigation of suspected insider trading/”tipping” by a former executive
  • Led internal investigation for board of NYSE-listed public company involving an SEC investigation of false statements involving its customer
  • Defended large privately held construction company and publicly traded medical device company in SEC investigations of alleged accounting improprieties by customers acting as the clients’ counterparties, resulting in the SEC asserting no claims against the clients
  • Represented Fortune 50 public company in SEC investigation of its financial restatement, resulting in favorable settlement
  • Defended investment advisory firm in SEC investigation of alleged fee overcharges and accompanying inadequate disclosures, resulting in favorable settlement

Government Experience

After working for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where he advised panels of judges including current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mike served for 13 years as an enforcement attorney with the SEC.

Personal Interests

When he isn’t practicing law, Mike enjoys biking, downhill skiing and running, as well as helping reunite adoptees with their birth families.

Related Legal Services

Related Industries

Related Topics


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado


Oberlin College
B.A. cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa (1985)

University of California, Hastings College of the Law
J.D. (1988)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • 2014 Enforcement Update 
    Colorado Bar Association, February 2014
  • What to Do When the SEC Comes Knocking
    Colorado Bar Association, November 2013
  • Are Civility and Professionalism Dead in 2013? 
    Utah State Bar Securities Workshop, September 2013
  • Keeping a Watchful Eye: The FBI's Crackdown on Insider Training
    InCOMPLIANCE, Spring 2013

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Colorado State Bar Association — Securities Subsection
  • University of Denver Graduate Tax program, 2007 and 2008

Civic Activities

  • President, Denver Rotary Club Foundation 2022-23


  • Best Lawyers® — Litigation - Banking and Finance, 2023
  • Super Lawyers — Securities Litigation, 2012-23
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