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White House Lawyer Anne Small Rejoins SEC as General Counsel

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said today that White House legal adviser Anne K. Small would become the top market regulator’s general counsel.

Small has served as a special assistant and associate counsel to President Barack Obama, and worked for the SEC as its deputy general counsel from March 2011 to October 2011, when she joined the White House, the SEC announced in a news release.

Small’s hire shows how SEC chairman Mary Jo White, who took over April 10, is moving quickly to build her team of top advisers and managers. White announced yesterday that George Canellos and Andrew Ceresney will co-direct the SEC’s enforcement division.

“I’m delighted that Annie will be returning to the agency at a time when our rule writing is in full swing and our enforcement program continues to pursue cases involving some of the most complex transactions,” White said in a statement. “The Commission will benefit from her experience, judgment, and tremendous talent.”

The general counsel provides legal advice to the SEC chairman, consults on rule writing, and oversees all appellate and trial-court litigation related to the agency except for enforcement cases.

Small, 39, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale University. She has worked as a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP and also served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

Aronow’s Role

Small replaces Geoffrey Aronow, who was hired in January to be general counsel under former Chairman Elisse B. Walter. Walter served as chairman for four months after Mary Schapiro stepped down as chairman before the end of her term. Obama nominated White as chairman two weeks after Aronow’s hire was announced.

Aronow will become a senior counsel in White’s office, according to the SEC’s press release. He joined the SEC from the law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP.

White is still expected to hire several top aides in her personal office, including a chief of staff. She also may announce new hires to run the SEC’s divisions of trading and markets, which oversees exchanges and brokerages, and corporation finance, which reviews public-company disclosures.

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