David Bayless

David B. Bayless


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Covington & Burling LLP
One Front Street
San Francisco, CA 94111-5356
Tel: +1 415 591 7005
Fax: +1 415 955 6505



  • The University of Chicago Law School, J.D.
    • with honors
    • Order of the Coif
  • Cambridge University, Ph.D.
  • Oberlin College, B.A.
    • with high honors

Judicial Clerkship

  • Hon. Luther M. Swygert, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois

David Bayless, recognized by Securities Docket as one of the top SEC enforcement attorneys in the entire country, represents public companies, their directors and senior management in SEC enforcement actions, internal investigations, and private securities class actions. He is an experienced trial lawyer having litigated to verdict cases in federal, state and administrative forums. Previously, Mr. Bayless was the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s San Francisco office, where he was responsible for all SEC enforcement and examinations within that office’s multi-state jurisdiction.

Mr. Bayless has extensive experience in investigations and litigation involving financial reporting and accounting issues, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, whistleblower complaints, mortgage-backed securities and insider trading. He also represents broker-dealers, investment advisers, mutual funds and their employees in investigations by the SEC and FINRA. Finally, he represents issuers, underwriters and public officials in SEC municipal securities investigations.

Representative Matters

  • In SEC v. Gane, et al., Case No. 03-61553, the SEC accused the CEO of a public company of securities fraud based on alleged material omissions and misrepresentations. Mr. Bayless tried the case to verdict in federal court in Miami, Florida, and defeated the SEC after a six- day trial, resulting in a defense ruling from the bench.
  • Represented the former Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income for Charles Schwab Investment Management in a class action federal court lawsuit, an SEC investigation, and a derivative lawsuit all relating to alleged misrepresentations about the nature and risks of Schwab’s ultra-short term bond fund.
  • Represented the former CEO of IndyMac Bancorp in several private securities fraud class actions as well as an SEC lawsuit.
  • Represented numerous companies in Dodd-Frank whistleblower situations. All have been resolved with the SEC taking no action.
  • Represented a former senior executive of Metawave Corporation in securities fraud class action litigation and a parallel SEC investigation involving alleged improper revenue recognition. The SEC took no enforcement action.

Previous Experience

  • Securities and Exchange Commission, San Francisco District Office, District Administrator

Honors and Rankings

  • Recognized by Securities Docket as one of the top SEC enforcement attorneys in the country in its inaugural "Enforcement 40" list (2013).
  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers, Litigation - General Commercial (2012-2015)   
  • Best Lawyers in America, Corporate Compliance (2007-2016); Litigation - Securities (2012-2016)
  • Legal 500 US, Litigation - Securities: Shareholder Litigation (2013-2015)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, Securities Litigation (2004-2015)
  • Selected as the Independent Consultant pursuant to the SEC’s Order In the Matter of Morgan Stanley DW Inc. (Administrative Proceeding No. 3 — 11335, November 17, 2003).
  • Expert witness in Mahonia Limited, J.P. Morgan Chase v. WestLB AG in The High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, in London, England, on the subjects of United States securities laws and SEC enforcement actions.

Publications and Speeches

  • "Securities Enforcement Forum 2014," Panelist, Securities Docket, Washington, DC (10/14/2014)
  • "Co-Chair - Legal, Ethical and Strategic Issues in Internal Investigations," PLI Conference (2008-2014)
  • "West Coast SEC Directors Roundtable," Panelist, Securities Docket, San Francisco, CA (5/8/2014)
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