Former BofA Top Lawyer Returns to Davis Polk

Gary Lynch has rejoined his old firm, Davis Polk, a year after retiring from the top legal job at Bank of America.

He is now counsel in the firm’s litigation department, it announced today.

Lynch is a former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement director who became a top Wall Street crisis lawyer.

He became Bank of America’s general counsel in 2011 to help it respond to legal and regulatory challenges following the financial crisis. In 2015, he was promoted to vice chairman.

Lynch, 67, told Big Law Business that he took the past year to recharge. He traveled, biked and fished.

“I’ve practiced law for 43 years, so it’s something I think I know how to do, and I’m reasonably good at,” he said. “So I got to the point where I thought maybe I should do it again, so here I am back at Davis Polk.”

Lynch was a partner at Davis Polk from 1989 to 2001 after leaving the SEC.

Gary Lynch, seen in 2004. Artist: Shepard/via Bloomberg News.

He then joined Credit Suisse First Boston as its global chief legal officer before heading up the firm’s research department. In 2005, he moved to Morgan Stanley, where he was tasked with transitioning the firm into a financial holding company in the midst of the financial crisis.

That experience led him to Bank of America in 2011.

“At that point, I thought was actually going to retire,” Lynch explained. “And basically the objective there was to help Bank of America get through the fallout from the mortgage crisis, and I accomplished that. It took several years longer than I thought it would.”

Lynch said the most challenging part of the job was responding to claims by the Department of Justice over the bank’s sale of residential mortgage-backed securities and its underwriting of mortgage loans, which it ultimately settled for $16.65 billion in 2014.

When he left, Lynch said he wasn’t sure exactly what he would do next.

“I went from one situation to another that was very demanding and challenging, and in 2017 I was ready to take some time off,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft at srussellkraft@gmail.com.

To contact the editor on this story: Casey Sullivan at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com.