The Wells Process and Voluntary Requests for Information in SEC Investigations: Responding to Subpoenas

A live 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, November 5, 2021

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will examine three critical phases of the SEC investigation process and how securities counsel should navigate each phase. The panel will discuss responding to voluntary requests for information and SEC subpoenas, using the Wells process to prevent or limit the scope of a potential enforcement action, and avoiding pitfalls in dealing with the SEC.


During a preliminary investigation, the SEC may offer registrants the chance to provide information voluntarily. Companies should conduct their own internal inquiries to ascertain any potential liability. Individual officers should also consider seeking their own counsel if their conduct is at the center of the inquiry. Counsel should work with the SEC to appropriately narrow the scope of the request where possible.

SEC subpoenas can request documents, testimony, or both. Responding to a subpoena can be a substantial burden. Counsel should first determine whether the company (or an officer) is a target, suspect, or witness in the SEC's investigation, and then determine whether there is a basis for challenging the subpoena.

The SEC often invites those under investigation to respond to a pending investigation before formal charges are recommended. Wells submissions can be used to convince the staff not to recommend an enforcement action or to drop certain charges or penalties. Still, statements in such submissions can be used as evidence in future SEC investigations or criminal proceedings; care should be taken that any submissions are backed up by the facts, which may include forensic accounting and other records.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses how best to respond to voluntary requests for information, subpoenas, and the Wells process in SEC investigations.



  1. Procedural stages of an SEC investigation: from preliminary investigation to enforcement action
  2. Voluntary requests for information
  3. Responding to a subpoena
  4. The Wells process


The panel will review these and other critical issues:

  • When does a preliminary inquiry ripen into a formal investigation, and who makes that determination?
  • What are the pros and cons of responding to a voluntary request for information?
  • What internal steps should be taken before responding to a subpoena?
  • How can the Wells process be used to limit the scope or severity of charges, and what are the potential pitfalls in participating in the Wells process?


Barr, Jonathan
Jonathan R. Barr

Baker & Hostetler

A former Assistant U.S. Attorney, DOJ Fraud Section Trial Attorney, and SEC Senior Counsel, Mr. Barr is a seasoned...  |  Read More

Carney, John
John J. Carney

Baker & Hostetler

Mr. Carney serves as BakerHostetler’s White Collar, Investigations and Securities Enforcement and Litigation team...  |  Read More

Tanney, Michelle
Michelle N. Tanney

Baker & Hostetler

Ms. Tanney brings a wealth of knowledge to her securities enforcement and litigation practice. Her involvement in...  |  Read More

Attend on December 1

Early Discount (through 11/05/21)

Cannot Attend December 1?

Early Discount (through 11/05/21)

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video