Attorneys in Morrison & Foerster’s cross-disciplinary Financial Services Enforcement Practice regularly represent domestic and foreign depository and non-depository financial services companies in a wide array of inquiries, investigations, administrative proceedings, and lawsuits initiated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and state financial regulators and attorneys general. Our clients recognize that the current financial and regulatory environment makes all the more valuable the Firm’s unmatched combination of sophisticated financial regulatory capabilities, industry-specific enforcement, and litigation expertise, in-depth understanding of financial markets, and wealth of experience with financial services regulators. Should an inquiry, examination, or investigation give rise to an enforcement or supervisory action, we draw on our deep substantive and procedural knowledge to provide pragmatic assessments of downside risks and prospects for acceptable and efficient resolution. If necessary, we aggressively litigate enforcement matters in administrative and judicial proceedings, as well as in appeals.
Financial services companies increasingly face the need to get ahead of potential violations before regulators initiate action. Our clients look to us to assist them in identifying potential risks and remediating those risks in advance of government action. We regularly work with in-house compliance and legal professionals to review policies and procedures, prepare gap analyses, and conduct unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) reviews. We also assist management, audit committees, and special litigation committees with enterprise, product, or business-line specific risk assessments and internal investigations.
Agency actions can create special issues for public companies, and our securities regulatory and litigation lawyers assist companies with the disclosure obligations and regulatory and litigation exposure that may arise. In addition, the expansion in civil regulatory enforcement has led to an increased risk for individual executive liability and for criminal prosecution referrals. We represent corporate and individual clients in all stages of federal and state civil and criminal proceedings, and have resolved numerous complex and highly visible matters through out-of-court advocacy and negotiation with authorities.
Another focus of our practice is to advise and represent clients with regard to a wide range of matters relating to the anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) rules under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and applicable state AML laws. We also regularly counsel our clients on compliance matters under OFAC’s sanctions programs. We are often called on to assist financial institutions with large and complex matters, including responding to grand jury investigations and subpoena inquiries; conducting cross-border internal investigations; and representing financial institutions or individuals in regulatory and/or criminal and civil enforcement actions in front of various federal and state law enforcement agencies and bank regulators (including federal and state prosecutorial entities, FinCEN, OFAC, the Federal Reserve, the OCC, the New York Department of Financial Services, the California Department of Business Oversight, and other state regulators). These matters allow us to combine our award-winning white-collar and litigation practice with our internationally-renowned bank regulatory and financial services practice, and our deep expertise in trade sanctions and BSA/AML. Our lawyers not only master the legal issues but also have a deep knowledge and understanding about the financial industry, and its products and players. Handling such matters with a multidisciplinary team across legal disciplines and across the globe allows us to provide the most effective representation for our clients.
We represent and advise clients on a full range of matters, including:
Our attorneys, including several veteran bank regulatory lawyers and litigators, have represented financial institutions before the government and in private litigation for more than 50 years. Our team includes attorneys who formerly held senior positions with the DOJ, the CFTC, the SEC, the Federal Reserve System, and the FTC.
U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Law Firm of the Year 2018 and 2014 Financial Services Regulation Law
Legal 500 US 2018 Financial Services: Litigation Financial Services: Regulatory
Chambers USA 2018 National: Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance & Litigation) National: Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance) California: Litigation: General Commercial New York: Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded
Chambers Professional Advisers: FinTech 2018Legal – Global-Wide
IFLR1000 2018 United States: Financial Services Regulatory
Women in Compliance Awards Best Regulatory Law Firm of the Year, 2015 and 2016
U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2018 National: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1) National: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1) National: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 1) Los Angeles: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1) Los Angeles: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1) New York City: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1) New York City: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 1) New York City: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 2) San Francisco: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1) San Francisco: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1) San Francisco: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 2) Washington D.C.: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1) Washington D.C.: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1) Washington D.C.: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 2)
BTI Litigation Outlook 2015 Ranked as a “Standout” in securities and finance litigation
Operational Risk & Regulation Awards 2013 Law Firm of the Year
The Enforcement Blog
“…first-class legal services in a responsive, time-sensitive manner.” (Chambers USA 2017)
“…seamlessly able to mesh its regulatory, litigation and enforcement capability to provide a compelling proposition for clients engaged in high-profile consumer finance disputes.” (Legal 500 2015)
“It’s very helpful to have a firm like it that has our interests at heart as well as I do. They understand what the end game is for the business even before we do.” (Chambers USA 2014)
"Clients describe Morrison & Foerster as ‘totally tied in’ to what’s happening in Washington and around the world.’" (Operational Risk & Regulation Awards 2013)
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