Professor Richard W. Painter received his B.A., summa cum laude, in history from Harvard University and his J.D. from Yale University, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following law school, he clerked for Judge John T. Noonan Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and later practiced at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City and Finn Dixon & Herling in Stamford, Connecticut.
He has served as a tenured member of the law faculty at the University of Oregon School of Law and the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was the Guy Raymond and Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Professor of Law from 2002 to 2005.
From February 2005 to July 2007, he was Associate Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel's office, serving as the chief ethics lawyer for the President, White House employees and senior nominees to Senate-confirmed positions in the Executive Branch. He is a member of the American Law Institute and is an advisor for the new ALI Principles of Government Ethics. He has also been active in the Professional Responsibility Section of the American Bar Association.
Professor Painter has also been active in law reform efforts aimed at deterring securities fraud and improving ethics of corporate managers and lawyers. A key provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requiring the SEC to issue rules of professional responsibility for securities lawyers was based on earlier proposals Professor Painter made in law review articles and to the ABA and the SEC. He has given dozens of lectures on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to law schools, bar associations, and learned societies, such as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Painter has on four separate occasions provided invited testimony before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate on securities litigation and/or the role of attorneys in corporate governance.
His book, Getting the Government America Deserves: How Ethics Reform Can Make a Difference, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2009. He has written op-eds on government ethics for various publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and he has been interviewed several times on government ethics and corporate ethics by national news organizations, including appearances on Lawrence O'Donnell (MSNBC), Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN), CNN News, Fox News, National Public Radio All Things Considered, and Minnesota Public Radio News. In 2011, he testified before the U.S. House Government Oversight Committee on partisan political activity by government officials and reform of the Hatch Act. Professor Painter has also given expert testimony in cases involving securities transactions and the professional responsibility of lawyers. He testified as a defense witness in SEC. v. The Reserve Money Market Fund (SDNY, November 2012), a jury trial of an SEC enforcement action against the founders of the world's oldest money market fund that ended with a defense verdict on all of the fraud counts.
Professor Painter is the author of two casebooks: Securities Litigation and Enforcement (with Margaret Sachs and Donna Nagy; West 2003; Second Edition, 2007; Third Edition 2011) and Professional and Personal Responsibilities of the Lawyer (with Judge John T. Noonan Jr.; Foundation 1997; Second Edition, 2001; Third Edition 2011). He has written dozens of articles, book reviews, and essays, including a series of papers and a forthcoming book with Minnesota colleague Claire Hill on the personal responsibility of investment bankers.
During the 2014-15 academic year, Professor Painter will be on leave as a fellow at Harvard University's Safra Center for Ethics where he will work on a book on campaign finance reform.
Christian Kirchner's New Institutional Economics and Jurisdictional Competition in Regulation of Public Companies and Financial Services Firms, in Festschrift zu Ehren von Christian Kirchner: Recht im okonomischen Kontext (Mohr Siebeck, 2014)
Transaction Cost Engineers, Loophole Engineers or Gatekeepers: The Role of Business Lawyers After the Financial Meltdown, in Research Handbook on the Economics of Corporate Law (Claire A. Hill & Brett H. McDonnell, eds., Edward Elgar, 2012)
The Dubious History and Psychology of Clubs as Self-Regulatory Organizations, in Restoring Trust in America's Business 127 (Jay W. Lorsch, Leslie Berkowitz & Andy Zelleke, eds., MIT Press, 2005) (American Academy of Arts and Sciences Corporate Responsibility Project symposium)
People Who Are Not Legal and Who Are Not Alive in the Eyes of the Law, 59 Villanova Law Review 667 (2014) (Symposium in Honor of Judge John T. Noonan, Jr.)
Plugging Leaks and Lowering Levees in the Federal Government: Practical Solutions for Securities Trading Based on Political Intelligence, 2014 University of Illinois Law Review 1521 (2014)
(with Donna M. Nagy)
When Courts and Congress Don't Say What They Mean: Initial Reactions to Morrison v. National Australia Bank and to the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, 20 Minnesota Journal of International Law 1 (Winter 2011)
(with Douglas Dunham & Ellen Quackenbos)
Ethics in the Age of Un-incorporation: A Return to Ambiguity of Pre-incorporation or an Opportunity to Contract for Clarity?, 2005 Illinois Law Review 49-64 (2005) (Symposium on Un-incorporation), reprinted in Private Company Law Reform: International and European Perspectives (Joseph A. McCahery, Levinus Timmerman & Erik P.M. Vermeulen, eds., Asser Press, 2010)
Convergence and Competition in Rules Governing Lawyers and Auditors, 29 Journal of Corporation Law 397-426 (2004) (Symposium on Evaluation and Response to Risk in Law and Accounting in the U.S. and E.U.)
Standing Up to Wall Street (and Congress), 101 Michigan Law Review 1512-1531 (2003) (reviewing Arthur Levitt, Take on the Street: What Wall Street and Corporate America Don't Want You to Know, What Can You Can Do to Fight Back (Pantheon Books, 2002)) (review essay)
Takeover Defenses Under Delaware Law, the Proposed Thirteenth EU Directive and the New German Takeover Law: Comparison and Recommendations for Reform, 50 American Journal of Comparative Law 201-226 (2002)
(with Christian Kirchner)
Open Chambers?, 97 Michigan Law Review 1430-1471 (1999) (reviewing Edward Lazarus, Closed Chambers: The First Eyewitness Account of the Epic Struggles Inside the Supreme Court (Times Books/Random House, 1998)) (review essay)
Disclosure of Environmental Legal Proceedings Under the Securities Laws: A Potential Step Backward, 11 Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation 91-117 (1996) (Symposium on Business and the Environment)
Game Theoretic and Contractarian Paradigms in the Uneasy Relationship Between Regulators and Regulatory Lawyers, 65 Fordham Law Review 149-200 (1996) (AALS Professional Responsibility Section Symposium, AALS Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas (Jan. 1996)) (see Ian Ayres, Response to Painter, 65 Fordham Law Review 201-208 (1996))
Lawyer Disclosure of Corporate Fraud: Establishing a Firm Foundation, 50 SMU Law Review 101-157 (1996) (Symposium on Securities Regulation) (presented at the Meeting of the American Law and Economics Association, University of Chicago (May 1996)) (proposing at pages 261-263 legislative provisions resembling Section 307 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002)
(with Jennifer Duggan)
Contractarian and Cultural Perspectives on Value Creation by Business Lawyers, 74 Oregon Law Review 327-339 (1995) (comment on papers presented at Symposium on Business Lawyering and Value Creation for Clients (Nov. 1994))
Discipline of Law Firms (Report of the Committee on Professional Responsibility), 48 Record of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York 628-644 (1993), reprinted in Conference on Lawyer and Accountant Liability and Responsibility 5 (American Law Institute-American Bar Association Committee on Continuing Professional Education, 1993) (New York in 1996 became the first state in the United States to provide for discipline of law firms when the Appellate Division adopted rules essentially identical to several of the rules suggested in this Report)
(with Karen Burrows)
The Attorney's Duties to Report the Misconduct of Other Attorneys and to Report Fraud on a Tribunal (Report of the Committee on Professional Responsibility) 47 The Record of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York 905-927 (1992)
(with Sandra Nickel)
Invitation to a Dialogue: A Filibuster Alternative, New York Times, Feb. 29, 2012 and Mar. 4, 2012 (letter and reply to readers' responses in the Sunday Dialogue section of the op-ed page)
(with Gerhardt Michael)
Give All Judicial Nominees a Vote, Star-Telgram, May 30, 2011 (op-ed) (urging an end to Senate filibusters of judicial nominees)
The Case for Goodwin Liu, Politico, May 18, 2011 (op-ed)
Congress Tells Corporate Lawyers to Tell Directors About Fraud, The Wall Street Lawyer, Aug. 2002, at 6 (discussing Section 307 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002)
Our Security Markets Should Be Secure, Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2001, at A23 (proposing alternative trading floors and other measures to protect stock exchanges from terrorist attack)
Don't Disadvantage Europe: The European Parliament Made the Right Call in Rejecting the Strict Neutrality Rule, Wall Street Journal Europe, July 19, 2001, at 9 (op-ed) (criticizing proposed EU corporate takeover directive that was rejected by the EU Parliament)
A Law Clerk Betrays the Supreme Court, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 13, 1998, at A23 (op-ed) (critical of former Supreme Court clerk's use of confidential materials to write a book on the Court)
If This Is Mail Fraud, Then Most Lawyers Are Guilty, Wall Street Journal, May 4, 1994, at A15 (op-ed) (cited in the Wall Street Journal's lead editorial of June 23, 1994) (critical of mail fraud conviction in United States v. Armand D'Amato (E.D.N.Y 1993), rev'd 39 F.3d 1249 (2d Cir. 1994))
DOJ's Ex-Detainee Lawyers: The Ethics Issue, 11:3 Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society's Practice Groups 104 (Dec. 2010)
(with Edwin D. Williamson)
Ethics and Corruption in Business and Government: Lessons from the South Sea Bubble and the Bank of the United States (University of Chicago Law School, 2006) (2006 Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lecture in Legal History)
Roundtable Discussion: Corporate Governance, 77 Chicago-Kent Law Review 235 (2001) (participant) (Theory Informs Business Practice Symposium)
(with William J. Carney, Jack B. Jacobs, Robert Pritzker & Robert H. Sitkoff)
Is the Obama Administration Conducting a Serious Investigation of IRS Targeting?: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 113th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Feb. 26, 2014)
Examining the Settlement Practices of U.S. Financial Regulators: Hearing Before the House Committee on Financial Services, 112th Cong., 2nd Sess. (May 17, 2012)
The Hatch Act: The Challenges of Separating Politics from Policy: Hearing Before the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, 112th Cong., 1st Sess. (June 21, 2011)
The Role of Attorneys in Corporate Governance: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises of the House Committee on Finance, 108th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Feb. 4, 2004)
Proposal to Amend the Model Rules to Provide for Advance Consent to Conflicts: Hearing Before the American Bar Association, Center for Professional Responsibility, Ethics 2000 Commission (June 4, 1999), reprinted in 10 Professional Lawyer 26 (Winter 1999)
Proposal to Amend Model Rule 1.13: Organization as Client: Hearing Before the American Bar Association, Center for Professional Responsibility, Ethics 2000 Commission (May 29, 1998), reprinted in 9 Professional Lawyer 10 (Spring 1998) (rejected by the ABA but later incorporated in substantial part into Section 307 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002)
Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1997: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Finance and Hazardous Materials of the House Committee on Commerce, 105th Cong., 2nd Sess. (May 19, 1998)
Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1997: S. 1260: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Securities of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 105th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Feb. 23, 1998)