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JPMorgan Taps SEC Lawyer

A former SEC top cop is joining the big bank's legal department.
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A former top securities cop is becoming

J.P. Morgan Chase's


new general counsel.

The nation's third-largest bank named Stephen Cutler, former head of enforcement for the

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Securities and Exchange Commission

, to become the lender's top in-house lawyer in February. Cutler, 45, succeeds Joan Guggenheimer, who died earlier this year.

Cutler, who led the SEC's enforcement arm during the wave of corporate scandals at Enron, WorldCom and in the mutual fund industry, is a partner at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. He joined the major law firm in 2005, after leaving the SEC.

In recent years, the bank has found itself embroiled in a number of regulatory incidents. Questions also have been raised about JPMorgan's legal strategy in dealing with class-action litigation.

Most recently, critics have questioned the bank's decision to reach a $425 million settlement with litigants in a massive IPO manipulation lawsuit. Last week a federal court struck down a lower ruling that had granted class-action status to the initial public offering case. JPMorgan is now trying to void its earlier settlement.