David Meister

David Meister

Partner, White Collar Defense and Investigations
David Meister heads Skadden’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Group in New York.


Having served twice in federal law enforcement — most recently as enforcement director of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and previously as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York — Mr. Meister has more than 30 years of experience litigating enforcement and white collar crime matters from both the prosecution and the defense perspectives. He represents global financial institutions and other corporations and their boards, and individuals, in matters involving the full range of federal, state and international criminal and enforcement agencies. He has conducted numerous jury trials and has led internal investigations throughout his career.

Mr. Meister rejoined Skadden in 2014 after serving for nearly three years as director of the CFTC’s Enforcement Division, where he was responsible for the overall direction of the program. Under Mr. Meister’s leadership, the CFTC conducted hundreds of investigations involving physical commodities, futures, swaps and other derivatives, and brought record numbers of enforcement actions with record sanctions. For instance, he led the CFTC’s investigation and prosecution of the first-ever Dodd-Frank Act charges; cases involving worldwide LIBOR and other benchmark manipulation; commodities market fraud and manipulation; supervision failures; unlawful trading practices; misuses of customer funds; deficient accounting and auditing; and Ponzi schemes. He also led the staff in key Dodd-Frank rulemakings, such as the prohibition against a wide range of manipulative and deceptive conduct and the whistleblower rule.

As the leader of CFTC Enforcement, Mr. Meister worked closely with top leadership at the SEC, the DOJ, numerous U.S. attorneys’ offices, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and other federal and state agencies and self-regulatory organizations across the country, as well as the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority and financial market regulators in Europe, Asia and Australia. He also served as co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established by former President Barack Obama in the wake of the financial crisis, and served as a key liaison with congressional oversight committees.


At Skadden, Mr. Meister handles a broad array of high-profile white collar matters involving the securities and derivatives markets, complex accounting, insider trading, disclosures, cryptocurrency, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, tax laws and a variety of other subjects. Mr. Meister has extensive cross-border investigative experience and has counseled clients in the U.K., Europe and Asia concerning the impact of U.S. laws abroad. He also has routinely handled complex private litigation in parallel to white collar matters.

During his time as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York he prosecuted a wide variety of cases as a member of that office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, in addition to representing the government in numerous trials and appeals.

Mr. Meister has been named a White Collar, Regulatory and Compliance Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, a Litigation Star in Benchmark Litigation and one of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Global Litigators. He also has been selected for inclusion repeatedly in Chambers Global, Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America.



  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1987 (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar)
  • BChE, University of Delaware, 1984 (cum laude)


  • New York

David Meister

Partner, White Collar Defense and Investigations