Sara E. Gilley

Vice President


  • Chicago


Sara Gilley specializes in securities and white collar litigation. Ms. Gilley serves on Cornerstone Research’s executive committee and its pro bono committee. She consults on economic and financial issues related to federal and state class actions, corporate investigations, and government enforcement activity. She also has experience in matters brought under international securities laws. Ms. Gilley has analyzed class certification, loss causation, and damages in a range of contract disputes and litigation. Her industry expertise includes automobiles, financial institutions, high tech, and life sciences.

Ms. Gilley coheads Cornerstone Research’s securities litigation practice. She also co-manages the firm’s research related to enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and publishes regularly on this topic. She works with clients in all phases of litigation, including motion to dismiss, class certification, merits, testimony, and mediation.

Women We Admire has named her to its list of exceptional Women Leaders in the state of Illinois.

Securities litigation
  • Analyze market structure and efficiency for common stocks, corporate bonds, convertible securities, and preferred shares trading on multiple exchanges and in over-the-counter markets
  • Assess potential damages exposure under U.S. and Canadian securities laws for class actions and direct action (opt-out) claims
  • Evaluate securities damages methodologies against Comcast standards
  • Address price impact and causation-related issues in litigation, mediation, and arbitrations
  • Analyze potential settlement ranges based on case-specific characteristics and historical settlements
  • Evaluate mediation strategies
White collar litigation
  • Analyze materiality, trading strategies, damages, and potential ill-gotten gains or losses related to insider trading, under U.S. and Irish law
  • Estimate loss causation and damages issues in government investigations and enforcement activities, such as SEC administrative hearings
  • Analyze stock market response to disclosures of SEC investigations and enforcement actions
  • Examine the materiality of information to stock prices
  • Assess corporate government policies and due diligence procedures
Other litigation
  • Evaluate damages claims in trade secret and intellectual property disputes
  • Evaluate whether efforts to develop medical devices are consistent with “commercially reasonable efforts” for products in a range of life sciences industries
  • Support industry practitioners in their analyses of business entities’ policies and procedures relative to industry standards
  • Assess loss causation and damages in private party contracts and public–private partnership (PPP/P3) agreements
  • Analyze class certification and loss causation issues in consumer fraud and product liability matters
Community engagement

Ms. Gilley is a board member of Open Books, a Chicago-based literacy nonprofit.

Press Release

SEC Enforcement Actions Against Public Companies and Subsidiaries Jump in FY 2023


SEC Enforcement Activity: Public Companies and Subsidiaries—Fiscal Year 2023 Update


SEC Enforcement Activity: Public Companies and Subsidiaries


Arkansas Teacher Retirement System et al. v. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. et al.


SEC Enforcement Activity: Public Companies and Subsidiaries—Fiscal Year 2022 Update

Press Release

SEC Ramps Up Enforcement against Public Companies and Subsidiaries in FY 2022

Press Release

Sara Gilley Recognized among the Top 50 Women Leaders of Illinois for 2022

Press Release

SEC Actions against Public Companies and Subsidiaries Declined Again in FY 2021

  • “The Future of SEC Enforcement,” Law360, April 2013
  • “Disclosures of SEC Investigations Resulting in Wells Notices,” Securities Litigation Journal, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Summer 2009
  • “Securities Update 2018: Recent Developments and Impact on Securities Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation,” Women, Influence, and Power in Law Conference, 4 October 2018