Robert Khuzami, the former head of enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is joining Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the law firm said.

Mark Filip, a partner in charge of Kirkland’s government enforcement defense and internal investigations, said Khuzami will help immediately in securities enforcement defense, advising boards and companies and counseling financial institutions on securities regulations. He will complement the firm’s general white-collar, internal investigations, and private class-action securities practices, Filip said yesterday in an interview.

Khuzami, 56, a former federal prosecutor and top lawyer at Deutsche Bank AG, took over the SEC’s enforcement division in 2009 under Mary Schapiro, who was hired as chairman to help restore the agency’s image after it was battered for missing Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Khuzami carried out the biggest shakeup in the enforcement unit’s history, eliminating management layers, expanding investigators’ powers and creating five specialized units to police Wall Street.

He held the position for about four years before stepping down and was replaced in February by his deputy, George Canellos. Mary Jo White, who became the agency’s chairman in April, named a co-chief of enforcement, Andrew Ceresney, to serve alongside Canellos.

Under Khuzami, the SEC filed more than 150 cases related to the financial meltdown, including 65 actions against senior corporate officers, the agency said in January. His investigators took aim at lenders who generated subprime mortgages as well as Wall Street traders and investment banks that bundled the home loans for investors.

He oversaw some of the biggest settlements in SEC history. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed in July 2010 to pay $550 million over claims it misled investors about a mortgage-linked investment; Citigroup reached a $285 million settlement and JPMorgan Chase & Co. forfeited $154 million for their roles in similar deals.