Spotlight: Q&A with BuckleySandler’s Douglas F. Gansler, Former Attorney General of Maryland

Doug-Gansler-webOn January 20, 2015, Douglas F. Gansler, former Attorney General of Maryland, joined BuckleySandler LLP as a Partner in the firm’s Washington, DC, office upon completion of his second term as Maryland Attorney General. An accomplished trial lawyer and appellate advocate with a unanimous victory before the U.S. Supreme Court, Doug’s in-depth knowledge and understanding of complex civil, criminal and enforcement matters will be, as firm Chairman Andrew L. Sandler recently noted, “an invaluable asset for firm clients in navigating the government enforcement challenges they confront on a daily basis.”

As he makes the transition to private practice, Doug is optimistic about the opportunities in front of him and is looking forward to getting to know his new colleagues and meeting with firm clients. He shares some added professional and personal insights for InfoBytes Spotlight. Read more…

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BuckleySandler Celebrates 2014 Pro Bono Work

On January 30, 2015, the firm held its annual Pro Bono Recognition Reception to recognize the dedication of our attorneys and paralegals to pro bono work throughout 2014. Joseph M. Kolar, chair of the firm’s pro bono committee and head of the Kolar Foundation of BuckleySandler, which focuses its giving to support and encourage members and employees of the firm who themselves are reaching out with their time and resources to help others in need, discussed the importance of pro bono work.

“The last line of the Pledge of Allegiance is ‘with liberty and justice for all.’ ‘Justice for all’ is hard to come by if you don’t have an attorney,” Kolar said.

Kolar was joined by Lise Adams, Assistant Director of the DC Bar Pro Bono Program, who emphasized the growing need for pro bono commitments from law firms and their attorneys. She also noted that pro bono benefits extend beyond simply helping the client and doing a good deed. It also provides opportunities for professional networking and to strengthen or expand your own practice.

“Pro bono is an annual commitment,” said Adams. “It is not one and done. It is a chance to change lives, develop professionally, and fulfill your ethical obligations under the bar.” Read more…

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FinCrimes Webinar Series Recap: Individual Liability – FinCrimes Professionals in the Spotlight

BuckleySandler hosted a webinar, Individual Liability: Financial Crimes Professionals in the Spotlight, on January 22, 2015 as part of its ongoing FinCrimes Webinar Series. Panelists included Polly Greenberg, Chief, Major Economic Crimes Bureau at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Richard Small, Senior Vice President for Enterprise-Wide AML, Anti-Corruption and International Regulatory Compliance at American Express, and Michael Zeldin, Special Counsel at BuckleySandler. The following is a summary of the guided conversation moderated by Jamie Parkinson, Partner at BuckleySandler, and key take-aways you can implement in your company.

Best Practice Tips and Take-Aways:

  • Be completely transparent with senior management and your board of directors when escalating issues and concerns. Document your requests for program enhancements and management responses.
  • Assure yourself that your team is up to the task at hand, adequately resourced and knows that they can escalate anything that concerns them to compliance and/or senior management/the Board.
  • When considering the quality of your compliance program, be sure that your program is tested internally by your compliance function, tested again by your organization’s internal audit team, and in addition is examined every few years by external counsel/consultant.
  • If confronted with management unwillingness to commit adequate headcount and resources necessary to the compliance program, serious consideration has to be given to resigning and/or reporting these deficiencies.

Read more…

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FinCrimes Webinar Recap: Dealing with PEPs – AML & Corruption Risks

BuckleySandler hosted a webinar, Dealing with PEPs: AML & Corruption Risks, on December 18, 2014 as part of its ongoing FinCrimes Webinar Series. Panelists included Mary Butler, Deputy Chief, International Unit, at the Asset Forfeiture & Money Laundering Section, Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice; Paul Dougherty, Managing Director of the anti-money laundering program for the United States and Canada at Bank of America; and Noreen Fierro, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer of the Group Insurance Division of Prudential Financial. The following is a summary of the guided conversation moderated by Jamie Parkinson, partner at BuckleySandler, and key take-aways you can implement in your company.

Key Tips and Take-Aways:

  1. Make sure that the organization has appropriate procedures in place to identify Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and that those procedures appropriately explain how a PEP is defined by the institution.
  1. Understand the different global standards for PEP compliance and, where appropriate, have country-specific policies and procedures to manage onboarding and monitoring.
  1. Encourage cooperation among the different financial crime compliance disciplines within your institution to assist in identifying and monitoring PEPs.

Read more…

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Webinar Recap: Discussing “The New CFPB Mortgage Origination Rules Deskbook”

On October 28, 2014, BuckleySandler presented the webinar “Discussing The New CFPB Mortgage Origination Rules Deskbook.” Author Joe Reilly and contributors Joseph Kolar and Ben Olson discussed the need for the book and highlighted information from specific chapters. The webinar was moderated by Jeffrey Naimon. This webinar recap covers the highlights from their discussion. For more information about the CFPB Deskbook, including information on obtaining hard copies, email CFPBDeskbook@buckleysandler.com.

The purpose of the CFPB Deskbook is simple – consolidate in a clear, organized format, material from all of the many sources of regulatory guidance on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) mortgage origination rules. Reilly described the CFPB rulemaking, done in such a short period of time, as “herculean.” However, this short time frame created a major need for clarifications, leading to the development of numerous non-rule sources.

“The number of sources [actual rules, preamble language, CFPB webinars, CFPB Small Entity Compliance Guides and more] cried out for a one-stop shop and that’s what I tried to create,” said Reilly.

Olson, former Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Regulations at the CFPB, helped write many of the rules discussed in the CFPB Deskbook and finds a great deal of valuable in the book.

“You always wish after you publish a rule that you had said more,” said Olson. “The Bureau has tried to answer some of those questions, but answers can be hard to find. If the Bureau says something about it, it’s in the Deskbook.” Read more…

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BuckleySandler & PLI Release 2015 Edition of “Consumer Financial Services Answer Book”

BuckleySandler LLP is pleased to announce the availability of the 2015 edition of the “Consumer Financial Services Answer Book,” published by the Practising Law Institute. Twenty-one BuckleySandler attorneys contributed to 12 chapters in this leading desk reference, which uses an easy question and answer format to address matters involving consumer financial services law. BuckleySandler Partner Richard Gottlieb also served as lead editor, a role he has held since publication of the first annual edition in 2011.

The 2015 edition of this publication continues to provide practitioners with a core understanding of the laws governing consumer financial services, addressing the latest developments in Consumer Financial Services Bureau (CFPB) enforcement activities, regulations and guidelines, fair lending, auto lending, the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), among others.

New chapters in the 2015 edition address:

  • Credit Cards
  • Electronic Records and eSignatures
  • Short-Term Lending
  • Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAAP)
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
  • Telemarketing and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

From compliance counseling to enforcement, BuckleySandler has been handling precedent-setting CFPB matters since the Bureau was established in 2011 — experiences which enabled its attorneys to contribute the added insight and advice on current and emerging CFPB developments, trends, and expectations for the Answer Book.

The Consumer Financial Services Answer Book is for sale in hard copy format by the Practising Law Institute at www.pli.edu.

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Webinar Recap: The CFPB’s Expanding Oversight of Auto Finance, Part I

On October 1, 2014, BuckleySandler hosted a webinar, The CFPB’s Expanding Oversight of Auto Finance, Part One. Through an examination of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) authority, recent enforcement activities, and discussion of the exam process, Kirk Jensen, John Redding, Michelle Rogers, Marshall Bell and Lori Sommerfield explored the different areas of the auto finance industry coming into the CFPB’s focus.

BuckleySandler will present The CFPB’s Expanding Oversight of Auto Finance, Part Two on October 30, 2014.

Explaining the Larger Participant Rule

Since its creation, the CFPB has held statutory authority to supervise nonbank institutions who are “a larger participant of a market for other consumer financial products or services.” On September 17, 2014, the CFPB proposed a rule defining a market for “automobile financing” and “larger participants” within that market. Under this proposed rule:

  • A nonbank institution is a larger participant in the auto finance market if it “has at least 10,000 aggregate annual originations,” which includes:
    • Credit granted for the purpose of purchasing an automobile
    • Refinancings
    • Automobile leases
    • Purchases of extensions of credit and leases
  • An “automobile” includes any self-propelled vehicle used primarily for a consumer purpose for on-road transportation, except for certain identified vehicle types, including recreational vehicles, motor scooters and limited others
  • Affiliates are included in calculations but dealers are excluded

Read more…

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BuckleySandler & American Bankers Association Release CFPB Mortgage Origination Deskbook

BuckleySandler is pleased to announce the availability of “The New CFPB Mortgage Origination Rules Deskbook,” by partner Joseph Reilly. The CFPB Deskbook, published in partnership with the American Bankers Association, is an all-inclusive compilation of all the mortgage origination rules made by effective by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in January 2014, including:

  • Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage requirements
  • Points and Fees
  • Loan Originator Compensation
  • Appraisals
  • High-Cost Mortgages
  • Qualified Mortgage Provisions for Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs loans
  • Summary of the TILA-RESPA disclosure integration taking effect in 2015

“Our goal was to consolidate the numerous sources of CFPB regulatory guidance into a clear, organized format,” said Reilly. “We wanted to provide comprehensive descriptions from not just the rule text and official commentary but also from CFPB webinars, compliance guides, preamble material from federal register releases and informal compliance discussions with CFPB staff.  We hope this will be a ‘one-stop shop’ for origination compliance.”

Benjamin K. Olson, BuckleySandler partner and former Deputy Assistant Director in the CFPB’s Office of Regulations who was involved in the development of many of the rules covered by the CFPB Deskbook, describes it as “an invaluable resource with the potential to change the way regulations are understood.”

The CFPB Deskbook is available in PDF and hard copy formats. Requests for copies should be sent to CFPBDeskbook@buckleysandler.com.

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Special Alert: Proposed Amendments to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) Rule, Transcript of CFPB Webinar on the Loan Estimate Form, and Introducing BuckleySandler’s TRID Resource Center

BuckleySandler is pleased to announce our new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) Resource Center.  The TRID Resource Center is a one-stop shop for TRID issues, providing access to BuckleySandler’s analysis of the TRID rule and the CFPB’s amendments, transcripts of CFPB webinars providing guidance on the rule, and other CFPB publications that will facilitate implementation of the rule.  In particular, the TRID Resource Center will address the following recent developments:

  • Proposed amendments. On October 10, 2014, the CFPB proposed amendments to the TRID rule that, if adopted, would: (1) allow creditors to provide a revised Loan Estimate on the business day after the date the interest rate is locked, instead of the current requirement to provide the revised Loan Estimate on the date the rate is locked; and (2) correct an oversight by creating room on the Loan Estimate form for the disclosure that must be provided on the initial Loan Estimate as a condition of issuing a revised estimate for construction loans where the creditor reasonably expects settlement to occur more than 60 days after the initial estimate is provided.  The proposal would also make a number of additional amendments, clarifications, and corrections, including:
    • Add the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure to the list of loan documents that must disclose the name and NMLSR ID number of the loan originator organization and individual loan originator under 12 C.F.R. § 1026.36(g);
    • Provide additional guidance related to the disclosure of escrow accounts, such as when an escrow account is established but escrow payments are not required with a particular periodic payment or range of payments; and
    • Clarify that, consistent with the requirement for the Loan Estimate, the addresses for all properties securing the loan must be provided on the Closing Disclosure, although an addendum may be used for this purpose.

    Comments on the proposal are due by November 10, 2014. For your convenience, we have updated our summary of the TRID rule to identify the most significant proposed changes.

Read more…

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BuckleySandler Establishes International Presence With Opening of London Office

Law Firm Expansion to Further Assist Clients with Global Litigation, Financial Crimes Compliance, Privacy/Data Protection & FCPA Needs

WASHINGTON, DC / LONDON, ENGLAND (September 8, 2014) – BuckleySandler LLP, a leading financial services and criminal & civil enforcement defense law firm, announced today the opening of its first international office, located in London. James T. Parkinson has relocated from the firm’s Washington, DC office to be its London partner-in-residence, enabling the firm to better assist its clients with their global regulatory, litigation, enforcement, financial crimes, FCPA, digital commerce, privacy/data security and anti-money laundering needs.

“As the enforcement, regulatory and litigation challenges facing our clients globalize, it has become apparent that we need to be in London to enable us to meet our clients’ global needs,” explained BuckleySandler Chairman and Executive Partner Andrew L. Sandler. “Jamie’s move to London and our evolving strategic partnerships with global law firms with complementary practices are important steps in enabling the firm to assist clients in their global challenges and expand our global financial crimes practice.”

“I am excited to be relocating to London to better enable the firm to meet the global needs of our clients and expand our global financial crimes practice.  Our new London presence is a significant part of BuckleySandler’s overall development of a strong capability to advise clients on comprehensive solutions to regulatory and enforcement problems on a global basis,” noted Parkinson. “This is an important initiative for the firm and a welcome professional opportunity for me.”

Sandler added, “With Jamie in London and the firm expanding our strategic partnerships, we are now able to respond immediately to client needs on a global basis.”

BuckleySandler’s London address: 16 St Martin’s Le Grand, London EC1A 4EN.

With more than 150 lawyers in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London, BuckleySandler provides best-in-class legal counsel to meet the challenges of its financial services industry and other corporate and individual clients across the full range of government enforcement actions, complex and class action litigation and transactional, regulatory and public policy issues. Operating in the United Kingdom as BuckleySandler International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales, for the practice of US law.  The Firm represents numerous national and international leading financial services institutions. Online: www.buckleysandler.com; Twitter: https://twitter.com/BuckleySandler; InfoBytes Blog: http://www.infobytesblog.com.

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Nominate InfoBytes Blog For Best Legal Blog!

Do you value our InfoBytes Blog content? Help us spread the word about our work! Show your support by nominating us for the Blawg 100, ABA Journal’s annual listing of the 100 best legal blogs. Nominations (up to 500 words) are due on Friday, August 8 by 5 p.m. ET. The nomination form can be found here.

Thank you for your continued support of InfoBytes!

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BuckleySandler Achieves Landmark Settlement in Navajo Nation Breach of Trust Lawsuit Against United States

WASHINGTON (June 1, 2014)BuckleySandler LLP is proud to announce that it has obtained a $554 million settlement on behalf of its client the Navajo Nation. The settlement resolves the Nation’s landmark lawsuit alleging that the U.S. had breached its historical fiduciary obligations by failing to manage, invest and account for tribal trust funds and resources under the custody and control of the U.S. in a manner that would maximize the financial return from those assets.  This is the largest settlement obtained in any action by a single Tribe against the U.S. and exceeds, by more than $170 million, the largest single resolution in the more than 100 natural resource breach of trust cases filed against the U.S. by American Indian Tribes. Read more…

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Look Before You Invest: Bitcoins, Virtual Currencies, Emerging Payment Products, and Regulatory Compliance

Margo H.K. Tank, Michael Zeldin, and Ian C.B. Spear, attorneys with BuckleySandler LLP in Washington DC, advise financial institutions on electronic financial services, mobile payments, prepaid access and virtual payment methods, in the areas of anti-money laundering, privacy, trade sanctions, and regulatory compliance.

Emerging payment products, such as Bitcoin, present tantalizing investment opportunities. The claim that these products are “unregulatable,” or “free of the power of the state” increases the temptation to participate, because if true, regulatory uncertainty associated with traditional financial industries would be eliminated. Notwithstanding these claims, virtual currency laws and regulations seem primed to explode. Acknowledging that “virtual currency systems offer ‘legitimate’ financial services,” the Department of Justice, for example, has investigated and prosecuted illegal activities involving virtual currencies. As a result, risk-related issues like money laundering, terrorist financing, and economic and trade sanctions remain critical to evaluating investments in emerging payment products. To understand why, consider how the emerging payments industry is regulated now and what additional regulation might emerge.

Click here to read the full article at JDSupra.com.

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BuckleySandler Joins the Law Firm Sustainability Network

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BuckleySandler LLP is proud to support the Law Firm Sustainability Network. The firm believes that by working collaboratively with others in the legal industry, it can have an ever greater impact on preserving the environment.  In that spirit, BuckleySandler has joined the Law Firm Sustainability Network and support its mission to develop key performance indicators, foster knowledge-sharing, develop best practice guidelines, and recognize innovation regarding environmental sustainability.

Click here to read LFSN’s official launch press release.

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BUCKLEYSANDLER EXPANDS ITS LITIGATION PRACTICE WITH THREE NEW LAWYERS

BuckleySandler is pleased to announce today that Richard E. Gottlieb, a highly regarded class action defense litigator with over 25 years of experience, has joined the firm as a Partner.  Fredrick S. Levin, a notable class action and securities litigator, and Brett J. Natarelli, a consumer financial services litigator, will be joining the firm as a Partner and an Associate respectively. Gottlieb and Levin will be co-located in BuckleySandler’s Los Angeles and soon-to-be-opened Chicago office and Natarelli will be resident in the firm’s Chicago office.

“Richard and I have worked together on client matters for almost 20 years. He is one of the country’s most accomplished class action litigators serving banks, mortgage companies and other consumer financial services firms and we are fortunate to have him join our team.  Richard, Fredrick and Brett are talented and multifaceted financial services litigators who will complement our national platform and expand our capability to represent clients in major class action cases, ‘bet the company’ litigation and enforcement matters particularly in California and Illinois, two very important jurisdictions for financial services litigation,” said Andrew L. Sandler, Chairman and Executive Partner of BuckleySandler LLP. “Their expertise in consumer class action litigation defense, government enforcement actions and regulatory compliance will provide great value to our clients.”

“We are thrilled to join one of the nation’s most distinguished financial services law firms and to help expand its national litigation, enforcement and regulatory compliance practices,” noted Gottlieb. “BuckleySandler has an unparalleled consumer litigation, enforcement, compliance and transactional practice and is an ideal place to grow my practice and bring enhanced value to clients.” Read more…

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