Elizabeth Bernhardt’s practice focuses on white collar criminal and regulatory defense. She has represented clients in investigations by United States Attorney’s Offices, the SEC, FINRA, New York District Attorney’s Offices, the Department of Justice, the CFTC, and the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Elizabeth also frequently advises clients in the context of internal investigations. She has argued over 70 appeals in state and federal courts. As an adjunct lecturer, she teaches Legal Practice at Columbia Law School.

Prior to joining the firm, Elizabeth practiced with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, served as Supervisor in the Appeals Bureau of the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, and taught at Fordham University School of Law. She has served on many boards and committees, including the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board. She is proficient in Spanish.

Elizabeth Bernhardt’s practice focuses on white collar criminal and regulatory defense. She has represented clients in investigations by United States Attorney’s Offices, the SEC,…


Columbia Law School (J.D. 1988); Columbia University (Ph.D. 1977; M.A. 1969 (English)); Barnard College (B.A. 1966)

Bar Admissions

New York State; U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; U.S. Supreme Court

Activities and Affiliations

Member, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Member, New York State Bar Association (Committee on Court of Appellate Jurisdiction)

Former Member, New York State CLE Board

Securities and Regulatory Enforcement

Represented bank executive in SEC investigation of alleged bank fraud.

Represented employees of clearing house in SEC investigation of alleged Reg SHO violations.

Represented controller of S&P 500 company in SEC fraud investigation and class action securities litigation.

Represented fund and its chief executive in SEC investigation of alleged fraud and rules violations.

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White Collar Defense

Represented securities broker in Department of Justice securities fraud prosecution.

Represented insurance agency and executives in Department of Justice insurance fraud investigation.

Represented business owner in Department of Justice investigation into alleged commercial fraud.

Represented stock broker convicted of securities fraud in plea and sentencing phases of case.

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Elizabeth F Bernhardt was featured alongside her two daughters in an article titled, “It’s All Relative,” by Columbia Law School.  Elizabeth and her daughters, Doris and Sophia, are all faculty at Columbia Law School. 

Last year saw a sharp increase in investigations targeting the illicit flows of funds through financial institutions. In three prominent enforcement actions in 2012—against ING, Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC—prosecutors and regulators extracted massive fines for conduct ranging from intentional concealment of illicit transactions to ineffective monitoring.

A discussion about the erroneous predictions made about the outcomes of this case. Why were they made and how can we learn from these examples?

This alert discusses the importance of oral advocacy in any case and what improvements are needed in order save this method of argument from extinction.

The implications of the Galleon ruling in terms of white collar defense - specifically the growing use of wiretapping during insider trading investigations.

This article seeks to manage the expectations of senior executives, companies, and their counsel in light of the recent wave of lawsuits and criminal investigations of the officers and directors of failed banks as well as those who did business with them.