Erica Williams is a partner in the Government, Regulatory & Investigations Group of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Erica focuses her practice on internal investigations and defense of companies and individuals accused by the government of involvement in securities law violations, white collar crime and other major business litigation disputes and crises.

Erica was previously a Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama, where she advised the president and his senior advisors on legal and constitutional issues involving economic policy, financial regulation and reform, financial technology, trade, intellectual property and data protection and privacy.

Before that, Erica spent 11 years at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for three chairmen. In this role, Erica managed legal and operational functions of the SEC. She was responsible for evaluating and providing legal advice on recommendations from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement and examination policies and plans from the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations. She also oversaw significant personnel, labor and employment matters, working closely with the agency’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Human Resources, Office of General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer. In addition, she served as member of the SEC’s audit committee, operational risk management committee and budget governance committee.

Earlier in her career, Erica served as Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Trial Unit where she investigated and litigated numerous complex, high-profile, matters arising out of the 2008 financial crisis and led a number of successful prosecutions, including cases involving insider trading, accounting fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and financial reporting.


Thought Leadership


Q&A, “Securities Litigation: Coordinating an Investigation,” Corporate Disputes, July–September 2020

Co-Author, “DOJ Updates Guidance Regarding Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” Kirkland Alert, June 9, 2020

Co-Author, “CARES Act Enforcement Risks and Compliance Best Practices,” Kirkland Alert, April 8, 2020

Q&A, “Women, Influence & Power in Law 2019: Erica Williams,” Corporate Counsel, December 2, 2019

Co-Author, “7 Steps for Managing Private Equity Whistleblower Risk,” Law360, November 20, 2019

Co-Author, “#MeToo Compliance — Two Years In, ‘Wait–and–See’ is No Longer an Option,” Kirkland Governance Update, October 3, 2019

Co-Author, “New SEC Policy for No-Action Requests to Exclude Rule 14a-8 Shareholder Proposals for 2019–2020 Proxy Season,” Kirkland Governance Update, September 9, 2019

Co-Author, “United States: Handling Internal Investigations,” Global Investigations Review, September 1, 2019

Co-Author, “Minimizing Your Company’s Exposure to a Ransomware Attack,” Pratt’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report, July–August 2019

Co-Author, “SEC Settles with Private Fund Adviser and Portfolio Manager Over Valuation Policies and Procedures,” Kirkland AIM, June 11, 2019

Co-Author, “Avoiding FCPA Liability: Practical Compliance Considerations for Energy Companies,” Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, 2018


Moderator, "Crisis Management: In the Current Environment," PLI Corporate Governance, March 5, 2021

Moderator, "Legal Agility & Resilience: Building The Optimal Team To Navigate Change," General Counsel Conference, September 15, 2020


Recognized for Securities: Regulation: Enforcement by Chambers USA for 2021 

Selected as a member of Law360's 2021 Fintech Editorial Advisory Board 

Selected as one of Securities Docket’s “Enforcement 40” for 2020 

Recognized in The Legal 500 United States for Financial Services Litigation for 2019–2020 

Named to DCA Live's 2020 list of "Emerging Women Leaders in Private Practice"

Selected by Corporate Counsel as an honoree in the “Women’s Legal Awards” category as part of the 2019 Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1998Virginia
  • 1999District of Columbia


  • University of Virginia School of LawJ.D.1998
  • University of VirginiaB.A., Sociology1995