Managing Principal Steve Nelson spoke to the National Law Journal about one of the four legal practices which have thrived during the Obama presidency.
By Katelyn Polantz | October 16, 2016
At the end of George W. Bush’s presidential administration, it was clear: National security law practices, formed in the wake of Sept. 11 at the major regulatory firms in town, were here to stay.
Now with the end of the Obama administration nearing, some lawyers who worked in the administration are climbing to success in a growing bevy of private-practice areas.
Below, we look at four practices—from tech sophisticates, to financial regulation experts, to fraud specialists, to third-party settlement appointees—that have gained steam during Barack Obama’s presidency.
It’s not a surprise the creation of a new agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011, led to a new corporate law practice.
“Between the regulation and the litigation that comes out of unfair financial practices, it has become the largest component of the financial services regulatory practices in Washington,” said Stephen Nelson, managing principal of legal recruitment with the McCormick Group Inc., based in Northern Virginia.
Yet most of the top CFPB practitioners aren’t fresh from federal government. Many have worked at law firms for years. One of the biggest names from the CFPB, former acting deputy director Meredith Fuchs, chose Wall Street over private-practice law. She joined Capital One bank in February. Richard Cordray, the agency’s director, is serving a five-year term until 2018.
A few firms have relished the experience the Dodd-Frank-created agency lends its lawyers, and have hired alumni.
BuckleySandler, the Washington-based financial-services regulatory boutique, landed two lawyers, partner Benjamin Olson and counsel Kathleen Ryan, both a former deputy assistant director for the CFPB’s Office of Regulations.
Other lawyers exiting the agency might not command rainmaker status immediately. Because of the agency’s youth and mission to help consumers, it doesn’t anoint young lawyers’ resumes with the same immediate power as the U.S. Justice Department or U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The CFPB is still so new, so the jury’s still out,” said Andrew Sandler, chairman of BuckleySandler.
To read the rest of the article, go to | NLJ