Steve defends enforcement matters involving the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial regulators. He protects clients during regulatory inquiries, including investigative testimony. He advocates with regulators in meetings and white papers, including SEC Wells submissions, to obtain "closing letters" and otherwise negotiates for fair and appropriate consent decrees. When needed, he fights for clients in federal court, including jury trials and appeals, and in administrative proceedings.
Based on peer surveys, U.S. News-Best Lawyers in America named Steve its "Securities Regulation Lawyer of the Year for New York City" in 2017, and in 2021 and 2022 recognized his group as the national "Securities Regulation Law Firm of the Year," ranking Steve individually for both securities litigation and securities regulation for well over a decade. Chambers USA has ranked him nationally since 2009 for "complex and sensitive SEC enforcement actions and investigations on behalf of public companies and broker dealers," with "significant strength in financial fraud and accounting issues." Chambers has reported peer comments that he is "a real leader of the SEC enforcement Bar" and that "you will find no one who knows more about how to litigate at the SEC."
Steve testified three times before Congress, in 2019 at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on SEC enforcement reforms and on cryptocurrency regulation and twice during the financial crisis. He has chaired both the Federal Bar Association's Securities Law Section, and the DC Bar's Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section. He presents professional panels and publishes on SEC developments and securities law topics, including an academic article "Insider Trading: Where Is the Line?" in the Columbia Business Law Review, favorably noted in The Economist, and a 2022 article "Shadow Trading Becomes Insider Trading" in Columbia Law School's Blue Sky Blog. He has guest-taught law classes and symposia at Columbia, Georgetown, and other law schools on SEC enforcement topics.
During 14 years at the SEC, Steve co-managed its Enforcement Division's Trial Unit in prosecuting jury and non-jury securities cases in federal courts around the country and administrative proceedings. First joining the SEC as a senior trial counsel at headquarters, Steve continued to personally litigate and try cases after promotion to leadership and the Senior Executive Service. He earned the SEC-wide Productivity Improvement Award for his management skills. A Brooklyn native, he graduated from Columbia Law School and began his career at a large New York law firm before joining the SEC.
Since returning to private practice, Steve has achieved successful outcomes in securities enforcement matters for many entities and individuals. Currently, he is advocating for clients in investigations and litigation spanning the SEC's enforcement program. Recent completed matters include:
- 2023: Wells submission resulting in SEC closing letter terminating investigation as to lawyer in ponzi matter that had resulted in SEC and DOJ charges against the lawyer's client.
- 2023: Wells submission resulting in SEC closing letter terminating investigation as to CFO of large investment adviser in SEC case settled by his employer.
- 2022: Multiple Wells submissions resulting in SEC closing letter terminating investigation as to General Counsel of investment adviser in SEC case settled by his employer and other executives. Teamed with other counsel in resolving parallel investor litigation.
- 2022: Represented CEO of a substantial public company in preparing for and providing testimony in SEC case settled by his employer and another executive.
- 2021: Multiple Wells submissions and detailed negotiations resulting in settlement of SEC and CFTC disclosure claims against a commodity pool and commodity pool operator.
- 2021: Multiple white papers resulting in termination of SEC investigation of broker-dealer in municipal securities matter with no charges.
- 2020: White paper resulting in SEC closing letter terminating insider trading investigation of CEO with no charges.
Steve was a partner at Mayer Brown LLP and K&L Gates LLP, and then a shareholder at SEC defense boutique McGonigle PC until it combined with Davis Wright Tremaine in 2022.
Admitted to Practice
District of Columbia
U.S. Supreme Court
J.D., Columbia Law School
- Articles Editor, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems
B.A., Fordham University
- Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" by Chambers USA in Securities: Regulation: Enforcement (Nationwide), 2023
- Deputy Chief Litigation Counsel, Securities and Exchange Commission
- Partner, Mayer Brown LLP
- Partner, K&L Gates LLP
- Shareholder, Murphy & McGonigle, P.C. (and successor McGonigle, P.C.)