FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
David B. Bayless

David B. Bayless

Covington & Burling LLP

San Francisco, CA, USA

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.

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.


  • White Collar Defense & Investigations
    • Anti-Corruption
    • Financial Institutions Investigations
    • Insider Trading
  • Securities/Derivatives Litigation & Enforcement
    • Securities & Commodities Enforcement
    • Securities, Derivatives & Transactional Litigation
    • Litigation


  • 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

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