After a decade of federal government service, most recently as supervisory trial counsel for the Philadelphia regional office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, David Axelrod is returning to the private practice of law.

Axelrod officially joined Ballard Spahr on March 10 as a member of the firm’s white-collar defense and internal investigations group, as well as its securities enforcement and corporate governance litigation group.

He began his career with a four-year stint at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and then served an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before joining the SEC three years ago. His tenure at the SEC coincided with an uptick in enforcement actions, which increased from 755 in 2014 to 868 in fiscal 2016.

A similar level of SEC enforcement is likely to continue under Jay Clayton, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the agency, Axelrod said. But the SEC’s approach may change, he said, with implications for the kinds of clients he hopes to advise at Ballard.

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