Robert Kaplan is a litigation partner and a member of the firm’s White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He has significant experience with a broad range of securities-related enforcement and compliance issues, including those involving requirements affecting SEC-registered investment advisers affiliated with hedge funds, private equity funds, investment companies, mutual funds and separately managed accounts. Mr. Kaplan routinely represents these clients in matters before the SEC, state attorneys general and FINRA. He is recommended by Chambers USA (2024), where clients note he is “super knowledgeable” and “an excellent speaker.” He is also said to be “a terrific lawyer” who is “very collaborative and thoughtful” with “excellent judgment.” In 2017, Securities Docket recognized him as one of the “best and brightest in securities enforcement defense.”

Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Kaplan was founding Co-Chief of the Asset Management Unit of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement. In this role, he co-led a team of 75 lawyers and industry experts focused on investigations related to potential violations of securities laws by advisers to hedge funds, private equity funds, mutual funds and separately managed accounts. He partnered with senior leadership in other divisions of the SEC to establish law enforcement priorities in the asset management industry and developed cross-agency initiatives to proactively detect violations in emerging risk areas.

During his 17-year tenure at the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Mr. Kaplan served as Assistant Director from 2004 to 2010, Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the Division’s Trial Unit from 1998 to 2004, and Staff Attorney and Senior Counsel from 1995 to 1998. He played a leading role in SEC enforcement actions across a variety of areas, including in actions related to investment advisers, financial fraud, auditors, the FCPA, broker-dealers and insider trading. Mr. Kaplan has won several prestigious awards for his service in the Division of Enforcement, including the Chairman’s Award for Excellence and the Arthur F. Mathews Award.

Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Kaplan was a litigation associate in the New York office of a Philadelphia firm, where he worked on a variety of securities litigation and enforcement matters.

Mr. Kaplan joined Debevoise in 2012. He received his J.D. from New York University in 1992, where he was the research and writing editor of the NYU Moot Court Board, and his A.B. from Columbia University in 1989.


  • New York University School of Law, 1992, J.D.
  • Columbia University, 1989, A.B.

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • District of Columbia