The recent announcement that law firm Ballard Spahr would join forces with Stillman & Friedman in New York City is a clear, strategic move. Now the firm is illuminating what the strategy is exactly.
Ballard Spahr Stillman & Friedman is the former's 14th office. Its 14 litigators represent a variety of clients, including financial services firms and their executives.
In particular, the firm announced today, these New York attorneys have substantial experience defending clients being investigated by the New York Office of Attorney General.
"Clients have been urging us for years to open a Manhattan office because of the paucity of law firms there that devote significant resources to consumer financial services law, and we are already doing substantial work for clients based in New York," said Alan Kaplinsky, practice leader for Ballard's Consumer Financial Services Group.
He added: "The city is home to many of the nation’s major banking institutions, with whom we already have strong relationships, and the New York Attorney General and Department of Financial Services have been aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against the industry." And once Kaplinsky passes the New York bar, he's going to work part time in the city.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is currently suing more than a few financial firms, some over their mortgage practices. His office has HSBC (HSBC), Bank of America (BAC) and Credit Suisse (CS) in its sights, for example.
However, fighting the NY AG is only part of the equation. Ballard Spahr Stillman & Friedman will also maintain its focus in helping clients remain compliant in an era of ongoing rulemaking.
Kaplinsky adds that the vast number of regulatory changes coming into force by the Dodd-Frank Act and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will inevitably spur new litigation. Many rules are expected to take effect in January 2014, including the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rules, mortgage servicing rules, and revisions to loan originator compensation rules.