Helane Morrison currently serves as Managing Director, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Hall Capital Partners, in San Francisco. Hall Capital is one of the most successful investment companies in California. It is run completely by women. Helane has been with the firm since 2007. Before joining the firm, she served as head of the San Francisco office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, from 1999 to 2007. She was responsible for securities law enforcement, fraud litigation and regulatory issues in Northern California and five states in the Northwest. She had been head of enforcement for the San Francisco SEC office from 1996 to 1999. She represented the SEC to other government agencies and the news media.
Helane graduated college with a B. S. Degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her J. D. from the University of California at Berkeley, School of Law. While there she worked as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. After passing the bar, Ms. Morrison worked as a law clerk for Hon. Richard Posen of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh District, from 1984 to 1985. She next worked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, from 1985 to 1986. In 1986, Helane joined the law firm Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin. She worked with the firm from 1986 to 1996. She was elevated to partner in 1991. Her work focused on business litigation and defense of private securities actions and matters dealing with the SEC.
Helane’s reason for joining Hall Capital Partners was partly due to the firm’s diverse leadership culture in the financial industry. Also, she realized that nine years after the 2007- 2008 market crash, investors still had not regained their confidence in financial professionals in the industry. One of her major goals at Hall capital is to help restore the investing public’s confidence in the financial markets. She believes that her current position is where she can do the most towards accomplishing her goals.
Helane Morrison’s career of justice trailblazing seamlessly streamed from endeavors in journalism to service with the government, and no matter what the professional field, she maintained a consistent fight against deceptive corporate crimes. No matter what field Morrison finds herself in, her driving impetus has always been one that pushes her towards a constant fight against corruption.
Morrison’s track record demonstrates an affinity for businesses based on principles of upholding basic ethics and morally upstanding values. She has been tenacious in her efforts to expose those who take advantage of power and influence for financial gain, such as the morally bankrupt brokers involved in financial sector scandals.
Exposing Economic Predators
Because her contributions to the ongoing effort to create more fair and ethical global business practices, she has become an indispensable fighter for industrial justice. For the past thirty years, Morrison has been working against those who aim to take advantage of people left at the mercy of tumultuous economic circumstances.
One of the most glaring examples of corporate manipulation during economic turmoil was during the economic crisis of 2007. Many financial institutions were abruptly finding themselves without any safeguards against the increasingly threatening economic circumstances, and with nowhere else to turn, they were left at the mercy of government bailouts.
With unemployment soaring to an unprecedented heights, the desperation in the air was nearly palpable. People didn’t know who or what they could trust anymore, and even people who were gainfully employed were forced to wonder about whether or not the source of their salaries was one that could truly be counted on.
By all means, 2007 and 2008 presented one of the most severe American financial disasters since the Great Depression of the 1930s. All of the questions that had gone unasked were being answered through startling revelations exposing the seedy underbelly of people directly involved in keeping the economy afloat.
Helane Morrison was one of the people who decided to take a proactive approach against something so startlingly corrupt that many people didn’t even have the slightest clue as to how to properly react. After acquiring her degree in Journalism at Northwestern University, Illinois, she advanced her education even further with a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California Berkely School of Law.
Properly armed with the papers that gave her the green light to practice, Morrison began work with the US Court of Appeals as a law clerk for the 7th circuit. She built up experience and honed her skills for year before advancing to the Supreme Court of Juice with Harry A, Blackmun in 1985.
Blackmun, much like Morrison, was an spirited pursuer of social righteousness. Blackmun had received no shortage of ideological opposition and threats due to the staunch positions he took in defense of abortion and laws against sexual conduct, but he had remained steadfast in spite of it all. Blackmun would serve as a powerful formative figure in Morrison’s ideological development into a fully-fledged champion of equality and moral correctness.
Working with Blackmun caused Morrison’s inherent taste for justice to fully mature, and as a result, she made the career-solidifying decision to completely devote herself to a private practice. After moving on from Morrison’s practice, she would spend ten years gaining experience running her own private practice.
Morrison didn’t have to spend very much time in her private practice before realizing what she wanted the core of her professional life to be. Whether it was pulling the cover off of operations that violated security laws, or representing people who filed class action lawsuits against corrupt business institutes, Morrison knew that she had found her calling in doing battle against corruption; others began to notice this as well.
Morrison was put in charge of hundreds of employees at the law firm of Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk and Rabkin. She was raised to partner status after just 5 years of practice, and not long thereafter, she was working closely with a team that was dedicated to investigating illegal trading rings.
Morrison’s heavy investment in pursuing legal juice caught the attention of the government, and after spending several years as a law firm partner, she was offered a position with the US Securities and Exchange (SEC) San Francisco office. With a new-found level of power that gave her uncontested abilities to protect people and businesses against fraudulent predators, Morrison was finally given the kind of leverage that matched her passion.
Thanks to Morrison’s extensive background in journalism, she was able to use what she learned to seamlessly slip into the Head of Enforcement role at the SEC office. Her jurisdiction included North California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and northern Nevada. She worked to ensure that all business dealings were made with maximum transparency, all the while reaching out to other government agencies and media outlets for cooperation.
Morrison was able to achieve more than a few accomplishments in her campaigns against fraud with the SEC, including but not limited to:
- Spearheading financial fraud investigations against top-tier Fortune 500 executives who had gained a reputation for being immune to punishment
- Uncovering the illicit sale of fraudulent securities to military personnel
- Exposing the illegal destruction of audit papers by auditors working as partners for companies as large as Ernst and Young
- Contributing to the efforts to eradicate insider trading, including the potential dangers of online trading websites
- Providing defense for a great number defrauded senior citizens
Morrison spent several years with the SEC before coming to the realization there was a large deficit in the representation of females in financial sector leadership. She saw that not only were there very few women making financial decisions on a corporate level, but also that very few women were taking the initiative to break into higher ranks.
Upon becoming fully cognizant of the discrepancy of male leadership versus female leadership, she decided that it was time for another shift in her career focus. She made the decision to reorient the focus of her fight for justice with the SEC to the fight for financial sector equality.
In the year 2007, Morrison joined Hall Capital Partners LLC, a law firm at which she is currently the Managing Director, Principal,General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and Member of Executive Committee.
Hall Capital possesses over $24 billion in assets and is responsible for managing the finances of the some of the most wealthy families in the United States, but what drove Morrison to join it was its purely female leadership. She works alongside Co-Chief investment officer Kathryn Hall and President Sarah Stein to help facilitate more equal financial workplace environments worldwide.
The qualities that Hall Capital emphasizes as integral for any ambitious females in the industry are, unsurprisingly, exactly the sort of qualities that enabled Morrison to make as much of an impact in her career – resilience and flexibility. Just as Morrison had been resilient against opposition to her cause in all walks of the fight against corruption and social inequality, so has Hall Capital stuck to a mantra of educating young women about the importance of being tough and adaptable to survive and thrive.
Always determined to publicly denounce the evils of financial deception and corporate gouging, she has openly participated in panels such as the 2012 Private Fund Compliance Forum. Her incurable passion for justice and commitment to seeing it enforced for the good of all who stand for fairness has not wavered.