Keith Higgins, Former SEC Corporation Finance Director, Rejoins Ropes & Gray

In The News
June 1, 2017

Global law firm Ropes & Gray LLP today announced that Keith F. Higgins, former Director of Corporation Finance at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, has rejoined Ropes & Gray as chair of the firm’s securities & governance practice.  

In his new role at the firm, Mr. Higgins will serve as a special advisor to clients on high-stakes securities, governance and disclosure matters and serve as a resource to the firm’s government enforcement and business & securities litigation practices.  Mr. Higgins’s wealth of experience and reputation as one of the nation’s preeminent securities lawyers will further strengthen the comprehensive, first-class service that Ropes & Gray lawyers, across multiple practices, provide to public companies, investment banks and institutional investors. 

“We are all thrilled that Keith will rejoin us at Ropes & Gray. He is one of the country’s top securities lawyers, and when complicated situations or investigations arise, our clients will find no stronger resource on how best to approach the complex, nuanced legal issues involved,” said firm chair Brad Malt. “Keith’s tenure at the SEC is invaluable, as is his insight into the Commission’s priorities.  We’re proud to welcome him back to the firm in such an important role.”  

Mr. Higgins led the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance from May 2013 to December 2016, where he drove numerous initiatives to make the country’s disclosure system more effective. During his tenure at the SEC, Mr. Higgins also spearheaded the Division’s implementation of significant rulemaking and other responsibilities under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).  Mr. Higgins also guided the Division’s efforts to provide interpretive advice to market participants about their obligations under the federal securities laws.

Mr. Higgins oversaw the completion of all rulemakings directed by the JOBS Act, as well as the effort that led to the SEC’s adoption of new rules to facilitate intrastate and regional securities offerings under Rules 147 and 504. He directed several major rulemaking initiatives under the Dodd-Frank Act, including those related to executive compensation matters and the SEC’s adoption of final rules for asset-backed securities and risk retention. Additionally, he led efforts to implement the FAST Act, which, among other things, resulted in rulemakings to permit summary information in Form 10-K and to permit emerging growth companies to take advantage of simplified requirements in certain registration statements. During Mr. Higgins’s tenure, the Division also issued significant guidance on proxy advisory firms, shareholder proposals, general solicitation and non-GAAP financial measures.

Before joining the SEC, Mr. Higgins practiced at Ropes & Gray for more than 30 years, serving as the head of the firm’s securities & public companies practice, and also as a member of Ropes & Gray’s governing policy committee. He advised public companies on securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, compliance and corporate governance. He also represented underwriters in IPOs and other public equity offerings. 

“Keith’s deep experience in securities law, particularly with respect to M&A and capital market transactions, will be of great value to our public company and investment banking clients,” said partner Paul Kinsella, co-head of the securities & public companies practice.  “We look forward to collaborating with him on the toughest issues facing our clients in today’s market.”

“I’m excited to rejoin my colleagues at Ropes & Gray, who are incredibly smart, hard-working and, above all, dedicated to client service,” remarked Mr. Higgins. “The securities practice here is second to none, and I look forward to bringing my experience at the SEC and my years of experience in private practice to help our clients attain the best possible results.”

Mr. Higgins holds a B.A. from Florida State University, Phi Beta Kappa, and received his M.A. from the University of Virginia. He graduated summa cum laude from Boston University School of Law and clerked for the Hon. Herbert P. Wilkins in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. 

Attorneys in Ropes & Gray’s securities & public companies practice counsel clients on a range of sophisticated corporate, securities and transactional issues. Ropes & Gray has internationally leading practices in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and securities and governance. Leveraging the firm’s attorneys’ deep experience and understanding of securities laws, governance issues, market practice and deal dynamics, Ropes & Gray offers practical and creative approaches to problem solving while providing unparalleled client service.