Robert B. Stebbins is a partner in the Corporate & Financial Services Department and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Corporate Governance practice. Bob has a diverse practice, focusing on SEC compliance and enforcement issues, corporate governance matters, internal and governmental investigations, and advising boards of directors. He also has a great deal of experience as a transactional attorney, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital matters, investment funds, and capital markets transactions.
Bob practiced law at Willkie from 1993 to 2017, first as an associate and beginning in 2001 as a partner. From May 2017 to January 2021, Bob served as General Counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC. As the SEC’s chief legal officer and head of its Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Bob led a 150-person team responsible for litigation, advising on rulemaking matters and enforcement actions, and preparing Commission opinions in adjudications. He led OGC during one of the most active and wide-ranging rule calendars in the agency's history, advising on more than 85 rules, and hundreds of SEC and staff orders and interpretive releases. During his tenure, OGC also provided day-to-day guidance to the SEC’s Enforcement Division on over 2,750 enforcement actions. OGC also provided legal advice to the SEC’s Commissioners and the agency’s five divisions and 24 offices, including coordinating and ensuring the consistency of the legal positions taken by the SEC’s divisions and offices.
In his capacity as General Counsel, Bob structured and supervised internal investigations, coordinated interagency matters with other federal agencies, provided briefings to Congressional committees and was actively involved in the restarting of the SEC’s Fellowship Program with a focus on hiring minority attorneys. In the 2020 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, OGC ranked as the seventh best place to work out of 411 federal government offices (2019, 14th out of 420; 2018, 5th out of 415).
During the spring of 2020, he was detailed to the Department of the Treasury to advise on the CARES Act implementation (while at the same time continuing to function as the SEC’s General Counsel), for which service he received the Secretary of Treasury’s Honor Award.