The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Robert Stebbins will conclude his tenure as general counsel in early January, after serving over 3 1/2 years as the agency’s chief legal officer.
Michael Conley, currently the SEC’s solicitor, will serve as acting general counsel upon Stebbins’ departure.
During his tenure, Stebbins led the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), which includes over 150 professionals. The office advises on all rulemaking, guidance, and other Commission and staff policy matters; advises on all Commission enforcement actions; litigates non-enforcement matters and appeals on behalf of the agency; advises on matters related to the Commission’s budget, real estate leasing, intellectual property disputes, personnel and EEO proceedings, and labor relations and collective bargaining; and prepares Commission opinions in adjudications heard by the Commission.
OGC also provides legal analysis and advice to the Commission, to the individual commissioners, and to the Commission’s five divisions and 24 offices as to the federal securities laws, administrative laws, and other laws that affect independent agencies, and as to judicial, legislative, and other developments affecting the Commission’s mission and operations.
“Bob’s leadership has been invaluable to the Commission’s success during the past several years on all issues important to our Main Street investors and our markets,” said outgoing SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in a press release. “From our historically high number of rulemakings, to hundreds of cases before our federal courts, to our thousands of enforcement actions, under Bob’s direction, OGC has consistently provided well-grounded, thoughtful and pragmatic advice and counsel to the Commission.”
Since May 2017, OGC has litigated over 120 matters in the federal appellate courts (including, in conjunction with the Office of the Solicitor General, four matters in the U.S. Supreme Court), with the Commission being victorious in more than 93 percent of these cases.
Prior to joining the Commission, Stebbins practiced law at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he began as an associate in 1993 and became partner in 2001. At Willkie, he focused on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, investment funds, and capital markets transactions. He also advised clients on SEC compliance issues and corporate governance matters.
“From all that I had known about the SEC before I started this role, I thought it would be challenging, fulfilling and interesting work. The reality has far exceeded my expectations,” stated Stebbins. “Leading the women and men of the Office of the General Counsel, working with the Chairman and other members of SEC leadership on a daily basis, and interacting with such talented staff across the agency have made this the job of a lifetime.”