Skip to main content

24th Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute SF


Speaker(s): Alan S. Kaplinsky, Allison Brown, Andre M. Mura, Andrew M. Smith, Arjun P. Rao, Arthur H. Bryant, Beth E. Terrell, Blythe Chandler, Christopher J. Willis, Danielle N. Oakley, Deborah Hoffman, Elizabeth A. Ryan, Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Gina Marie Calabrese, Janet R. Kincaid, Jared Ho, Jeffrey P. Ehrlich (Invited), Jennifer Bennett, Joshua P. Davis, Julia B. Strickland, Keith A. Noreika, Lisa Cole, Michael Elisofon, Scott Maurer, Shannon E. Smith, Shennan A. Kavanagh, Thomas P. James
Recorded on: Dec. 9, 2019
PLI Program #: 282190

Alan S. Kaplinsky is a senior partner and Practice Leader of the more than 100-person Consumer Financial Services Group at Ballard Spahr LLP in their 15 offices.  He devotes his practice exclusively to: (i) counseling financial services companies with respect to bank regulatory and transactional matters, particularly consumer financial services law, and (ii) defending them when they are sued by consumers and governmental enforcement agencies in individual and class action lawsuits.  Mr. Kaplinsky was the first president of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers, an organization founded in order to honor those lawyers who have made substantial contributions to the development of consumer financial services law.  In April of 2016, he received the American College’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award is granted periodically to a person whose career has produced significant contributions to the field of consumer financial services law.  He is a past chair of the Committee on Consumer Financial Services of the Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association.  He has been named as a tier one banking and consumer financial services lawyer in the 2006-2019 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, a directory of America’s leading lawyers.  He has also been named in The Best Lawyers in America under financial services regulation law and banking and finance litigation from 2007-2019.  For 24 years, he has annually co-chaired for Practicing Law Institute its Annual Institute on Consumer Financial Services in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.  Mr. Kaplinsky was named to the National Law Journal’s 2015 list of Litigation Trailblazers for pioneering work in the area of consumer arbitration and the use of class action waivers.  He was featured in the November 1, 2015 New York Times lead front page article about pioneering class action waivers in consumer arbitration provisions.  In April 2019, Mr. Kaplinsky testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “Arbitration in America.”  He was instrumental in launching his Firm’s blog and podcast series, Consumer Finance Monitor, devoted to the activities of the CFPB as well as federal and state agencies and attorneys general and other significant consumer financial services developments.  Mr. Kaplinsky was recently selected for his work on the Consumer Finance Monitor blog for the National Law Review’s 2018 Go-To Thought Leadership Award to honor excellence in legal news and analysis.


Andrew Smith is Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. He came to the FTC from the law firm of Covington & Burling, where he co-chaired the financial services practice group. Earlier in his career, Mr. Smith was a staff attorney at the FTC, where he led the agency’s efforts to make several rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Mr. Smith has written extensively on consumer protection and financial services issues, served as the Chair of the American Bar Association's Consumer Financial Services Committee, and is a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers.

The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection is the nation’s primary consumer protection agency.  The Bureau of Consumer Protection stops unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices by conducting investigations, suing companies that break the law, developing rules to maintain a fair marketplace, and educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.


Arjun Rao practices in all areas of complex commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on consumer class actions and financial services litigation. He regularly counsels clients regarding regulatory matters and government investigations. He defends clients in a wide range of actions arising from lending and retail banking operations, including for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Truth-In-Lending Act and numerous provisions of state law, including California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and the Uniform Commercial Code. In addition, Arjun has extensive experience representing clients in connection with automobile lending.

Arjun, who joined Stroock in 2012, serves on the advisory board of the Western Center on Law & Poverty. He was also named a Fellow on the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) in 2018.

Arjun has been repeatedly named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and in 2019 was named to Benchmark Litigation’s “40 and Under Hot List” and Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Top Litigators and Trial Lawyers” list.


Arthur H. Bryant, Of Counsel at Bailey & Glasser LLP, is the Chairman Emeritus of Public Justice, a national public interest law firm created by trial lawyers and currently supported by – and able to call on – over 2,700 of the top plaintiffs’ lawyers in the country. Arthur is based in Bailey & Glasser’s new Oakland, CA, office. He has won major victories and made new law in consumer protection, constitutional law, toxic torts, civil rights, class actions, and mass torts. The National Law Journal has twice named him one of the 100 Most Influential Attorneys in America.

Arthur joined Public Justice (then Trial Lawyers for Public Justice) as its sole staff attorney in 1984. He became Executive Director in 1987 and was named Chairman in 2014, his 30th anniversary with the organization.  When Arthur became Executive Director, the organization had two staff (Arthur and the receptionist), a small office in Washington DC, fewer than 25 annual members, a $275,000 budget, and very few cases on its docket. When he became Chairman, it had thirty staff (including 15 attorneys), offices on both coasts, over 2,500 members, a $5.3 million budget, and a broader range of high-impact, precedent-setting cases than any public interest organization in the country.

Arthur has been honored by, among others, the American Association for Justice, the American Bar Association, Harvard Law School, Mass Torts Made Perfect, the Consumer Attorneys Associations of Los Angeles and San Diego, the New Jersey Association for Justice, the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, and the Western Trial Lawyers Association.  The Oregon Trial Lawyers Association has named its public service award the Arthur H. Bryant Public Justice Award.

Arthur is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, where he captained his team to the Ames Moot Court Competition Championship. After serving as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Gabrielle M. McDonald, he worked as an associate at the Philadelphia law firm of Kohn, Savett, Marion & Graf (now Kohn, Swift & Graf), handling First Amendment, civil rights, and complex civil litigation. While at that firm, he brought and tried the class action that forced the admission of women to Philadelphia's previously all-male Central High School.

In that case, Arthur’s first class action, he represented Herb Newberg, the author of Newberg on Class Actions, and his daughter. Arthur then worked with Newberg on the next edition of his treatise.


Beth E. Terrell is a founding member of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, a Plaintiff side law firm in Seattle, Washington. With over twenty years of experience, Beth concentrates her practice in complex litigation, including the prosecution of consumer, defective product, and wage and hour class actions.  Beth has served as co-lead counsel on multi-state and nationwide class actions, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for consumers, workers, and investors.  A member of the State Bar of California and the Washington State Bar Association, Beth Co-Chairs PLI’s Consumer Financial Services Institute, and frequently presents on a wide variety of topics, including class actions, consumer protection, legal ethics, gender equity, and electronic discovery. Beth serves as President of the Public Justice Foundation Board of Directors and Chair of both the Northwest Consumer Law Center and the Washington Employment Lawyers Association.


Blythe H. Chandler is a member of the Terrell Marshall Law Group in Seattle. She concentrates her practice on consumer class actions and appeals. Ms. Chandler has been appointed class counsel on behalf of consumers challenging unfair debt collection practices, harassing telemarketing calls, and unfair denials of insurance coverage. She has successfully briefed and argued appeals in the Ninth Circuit and Washington and California courts.

Prior to joining Terrell Marshall, Ms. Chandler served as a law clerk to the Honorable Betty B. Fletcher, Senior United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and to the Honorable John C. Coughenour, Senior United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington. Ms. Chandler graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with High Honors. She was the Chief Articles Editor of the Washington Law Review and received the Order of the Coif.


Danielle Oakley counsels banks and other non-bank financial services providers with respect to their most strictly scrutinized practices. Danielle guides banks through process overhauls, risk assessments, and internal as well as external-facing compliance reviews with respect to various consumer financial products, including deposit products and mortgage loans, with particular expertise in the intersection between consumer bankruptcy and financial products.

Danielle also litigates her clients’ most escalated and novel consumer litigation and regulatory enforcement actions. Danielle believes it is critical that regulatory and compliance legal advisors of regulated financial institutions have firsthand experience with the potential litigation impact of their clients’ practices as well as extensive knowledge of their clients’ business operations and their regulators’ views and approaches. Danielle serves her clients with a deep understanding not only of their industries, but also of their institutions’ specific goals, strategies, and initiatives


Debbie Hoffman is Founder & CEO of Symmetry Blockchain Advisors, Inc. where she works with clients in their endeavors related to education, strategy, compliance and development of blockchain solutions.  With her experience in financial services, law and technology innovation, Debbie brings a unique perspective in working with Symmetry’s clients. Debbie is also the founder of Orlando-based Blockchain Technology and Business Meetup, serves as the education Chair for the MBA MISMO Blockchain Community of Practice, is the Associate Editor of Blockchain Media Magazine and is an advisor to a variety of tech companies including DomiDocs, CProp, BlockDrop, ClariLegal, Elphi and LevelBlox.

Debbie was previously the Chief Legal Officer at a financial services company where, in addition to overseeing all legal and compliance matters, she was an integral part of the executive team in the strategy and implementation of client solutions. She spent a decade of her career as a real estate finance attorney at the law firm of Thacher Proffitt & Wood in New York. Debbie has also been a professor at the Florida A&M University College of Law and the University of Central Florida. 

Debbie was named as a 2019 American Bar Association Woman of Legal Tech, was selected as a 2018, 2016 and 2014 Woman of Influence by Housingwire Magazine and was awarded a 2015 Stevie® Award, Woman of the Year and a 2014 Stevie® Award, Female Executive.  She was named as a 2018 NAWRB Roaring Thirty Winner in the category of “The Visonary.”  In 2017, Debbie was awarded as a Top General Counsel by the First Chair Awards, received an Honorable Mention as a Leading Lady in the MReport’s Women in Housing issue and was named as a 2017 “Hot 100” in Mortgage Professional America. She is a frequent author in industry periodicals, a speaker at conferences and events, as well as a guest lecturer at universities of higher education.


Elizabeth Cabraser is a founding partner of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, one of the country's largest law firms serving plaintiffs seeking redress for financial and consumer fraud, anti-competitive practices, harmful drugs and products, and illegal employment practices. Since 1978, she has served as court-appointed lead and class counsel in scores of federal class actions, multi-district and state coordinated proceedings. These cases have included multi-state tobacco, the Exxon Valdez disaster, Breast Implants, Fen-Phen (Diet Drugs), Vioxx, Toyota sudden acceleration, numerous securities/investment fraud and antitrust cases, and the historic Holocaust human rights litigation. Ms. Cabraser's recent consumer-related work includes the negotiation, drafting, approval and implementation of major class action settlements, including the vehicle buyback and restitution program in the VW "Clean Diesel" Litigation<http://cand.uscourts.gov/crb/vwmdl> and the economic loss settlement in the Deepwater horizon Oil Spill Litigation<http://deepwaterhorizonsettlements.com/>, that undertake delivery of billions of dollars in recoveries to consumers, businesses, and employees in innovative ways.

Ms. Cabraser is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an active members of the American Law Institute, and has written and spoken extensively on substantive legal issues as well as those related to the advancement of women in the profession. She lectures on class action and complex litigation at Berkeley and Columbia Law Schools, and has also lectured and conducted seminars for the Federal Judicial Center, ALI-ABA, The National Center for State Courts, Vanderbilt University Law School, and the Practicing Law Institute. She has been named repeatedly to the Lawdragon 500, The Top 100 California Lawyers, and as a SuperLawyer in multiple fields. In 2010, the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession honored Ms. Cabraser with its Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, regarded by many as the highest honor in the legal profession for women lawyers. She was selected by Law360 as a 2016 MVP for Class Action Law, was named 2017's "Plaintiff Attorney of the Year" by Benchmark Litigation, and in September 2017 received the National Law Journal's "Lifetime Achievement" award. She received the 2018 “California Lawyer of the Year” award for the successful VW “Clean Diesel” class settlements. Public Justice named Ms. Cabraser and her co-counsel as 2019 Trial Lawyers of the Year for their victory in the Hall v. State Farm class action.


Elizabeth Ryan concentrates her practice on class actions, representing consumers challenging unfair lending practices and violations of state and federal consumer protection statutes, as well as employees challenging violations of wage and hour laws. Elizabeth also represents whistleblowers in False Claims Act cases involving fraud against the government.

Throughout her career, she has focused on protecting the rights of those victimized by unfair business and employment practices.


Gina M. Calabrese is a Professor of Clinical Education and the Associate Director of the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic (“CJELC”) at St. John’s University School of Law.  She is also a faculty Co-Director of the Public Interest Center.  In the clinic, Professor Calabrese teaches legal skills and ethics and supervises law students in their representation of older, lower-income residents of the New York City borough of Queens.  CJELC assists clients in a variety of consumer matters: foreclosure, deed theft, debt collection, home improvement contractor disputes, and automobile fraud.  She has been active in policy initiatives to protect consumers entangled in debt litigation, including advocacy to lawmakers and other officials, participation in amicus curiae briefs, leadership in bar associations, and publishing op-eds. Her interest in legal ethics arose from her and her students’ experiences in litigating deed theft and debt collection matters on behalf of consumers in New York City.  She teaches Deposition Practice and has also taught Professional Responsibility. 

Professor Calabrese was a key advocate for the passage of New York’s Exempt Income Protection Act (“EIPA”), which protects Social Security and other judgment-exempt funds from garnishment.  She participated in drafting the model legislation upon which EIPA was based. She helped to establish of the Queens CLARO office, a weekly courthouse-based walk-in clinic that assists unrepresented consumers sued for debt.   She has served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Migration Services since 2013 and was Chair of the Civil Court Committee of New York City Bar Association from 2014-2017. Prior to teaching, practiced law in Los Angeles – first as litigator at a mid-sized law firm and later, on behalf of a consumer advocacy group specializing in insurance issues.  Professor Calabrese earned her B.A. from Columbia University (Columbia College) and her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.


Jeff Ehrlich joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July 2011 and manages investigations and litigation in the Bureau’s four regional offices. 

Before joining the Bureau, Jeff served as a trial attorney at the United States Department of Justice, where he defended the United States in tort litigation, including suits seeking to hold the government liable for losses caused by Hurricane Katrina and Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Before that, Jeff served as an assistant county attorney for Miami-Dade County and as an associate at Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C. Jeff began his career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable James Lawrence King, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Jeff received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.


Jennifer Bennett is a Staff Attorney at Public Justice, where she focuses on appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Jennifer litigates precedent-setting appeals on a wide range of issues, including civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer protection, and government transparency. Her recent work includes a unanimous Supreme Court victory on behalf of transportation workers fighting forced arbitration, a Fifth Circuit victory on behalf of a father killed by Texas jailers, and a Ninth Circuit victory vindicating the public’s right to access court records. Jennifer earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. summa cum laude from Yale University. She clerked for the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the Honorable Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


Joshua P. Davis is Professor and Direct, Center for Law and Ethics at the University of San Francisco School of Law. He has published more than twenty articles on antitrust class actions, class action doctrine, ethics, free speech doctrine, and jurisprudence. His recent work has focused on artificial intelligence and the law. He regularly presents and serves as an expert on ethics as they apply to class actions. His publications have been cited in federal trial and appellate courts. He has also argued class certification and Daubert motions and federal court appeals in antitrust cases. He graduated from NYU School of Law where he was the Senior Articles Editor of the NYU Law Review and won the Frank H. Sommer Award for top general scholarship and achievement in his class. He served as a law clerk to Patrick Higginbotham on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before entering academia, he was a partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.


Keith Noreika is a Partner in the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office and a member of the Financial Institutions Practice. Keith’s practice focuses on banking regulation and related litigation. He advises a wide range of domestic and international financial institutions on regulatory issues relating to mergers and acquisitions, minority investments, capital issuances, structuring and compliance activities, and litigation matters, particularly in the area of federal preemption.

Keith’s extensive experience includes advising regional, multinational and other banks on the structuring of their U.S. operations, including compliance with the Volcker Rule and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations, Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering rules, as well as transactional matters and related regulatory applications. He has worked as the lead regulatory attorney in connection with IBERIABANK’s acquisition of Sabadell United Bank. He has counseled numerous private equity funds with respect to investments in banking organizations. In addition, Keith has represented large national banks before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Courts in connection with federal preemption challenges to states’ assertions of regulatory and supervisory authority over the activities of operating subsidiaries.

Keith returned to the Firm in 2018 after serving as Acting Comptroller of the Currency where he led the 4,000-person agency responsible for chartering, regulating and supervising all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States. He joined the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in May 2017. The OCC supervises approximately 1,400 national banks and federal savings associations and about 50 federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States. The Comptroller also is a director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

Keith has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a co-author of the treatise Regulation of Foreign Banks & Affiliates in the United States. Keith has been recognized as a leader in his field by Chambers USA in “Financial Services Regulation: Banking Compliance” since 2014. He received his J.D. in 1997 from Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his B.S. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1994.

 


Lisa Cole joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October 2012 and has served in a variety of roles in the Bureau’s Office of Regulations, including as Acting Assistant Director.  She is currently a Managing Counsel in that Office where her work focuses principally on debt collection, student loan, and UDAAP issues. 

Lisa joined the Bureau from the law firm WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., where she was a Counsel in the Financial Institutions practice group.  She clerked for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams (retired) on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and B.B.A. from Howard University. 


Michael Elisofon is a Supervising Deputy Attorney General in the Consumer Law Section of the California Department of Justice. He primarily investigates and prosecutes businesses for violations of California’s consumer-protection laws. He has worked extensively on enforcement actions targeting for-profit schools, student loan service providers, and national banks. He has also negotiated and structured a number of stipulated judgments in coordination with other state attorneys general, federal agencies, and local district attorney offices.

Michael has presented and spoken on a variety of legal topics affecting consumers, including the ills of for-profit schools and issues surrounding the rent-to-own industry.

Before joining the California Department of Justice, Michael was a litigation associate at Latham & Watkins, where he served on the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. Michael also volunteered as a Deputy District Attorney in Orange County through the Trial Attorney Partnership (TAP) Program. He has a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University. 


Scott Maurer is an Associate Clinical Professor of Law at Santa Clara University.  He has worked as a clinician at the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center since 1996.  Prof. Maurer co-teaches a variety of clinical skills courses at the Law Center, where his students provide advice and legal representation to low-income residents on consumer protection matters.  He also teaches Civil Procedure at Santa Clara Law and has taught a number of substantive consumer protection courses there.

Prof. Maurer’s primary practice areas involve unfair debt collection as well as unfair and deceptive acts and practices in the sale, financing and repossession of motor vehicles.  Students under Prof. Maurer’s supervision have litigated a significant number of cases under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and California Rosenthal Act, including several class actions.

Prof. Maurer has frequently presented continuing legal education seminars in the area of fair debt collection and has been asked to address audiences on the subject of the FDCPA on numerous occasions including:

  • as a panelist at the 2009 Federal Trade Commission’s San Francisco Roundtable regarding debt collection abuse in the litigation context.
  • as a panelist at the Portland, Oregon 2010 annual conference of the National Association of Attorneys General regarding debt collection abuse in the litigation context.
  • as a panelist at the 2016 CFPB Field Hearing on Debt Collection in Sacramento, California


Deputy Regional Director Janet R. Kincaid possesses over 30 years of bank regulatory supervision experience which includes a dual commission in both compliance and risk management.  Prior to serving in her current position in the San Francisco Region, she was the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection (DCP) Assistant Regional Director for the Kansas City Region. Over her career, she has gained a broad range of experience including Acting Associate Director-Administrative Management and Operations Branch, Regional Ombudsman, Review Examiner, Field Supervisor (DCP-Kansas City Territory), and she served as Section Chief for the Consumer Response Center for approximately ten years.

Throughout her career, Ms. Kincaid has led several key initiatives.  As Regional Ombudsman, she served as a confidential resource and liaison for the banking industry and public and served as a spokesperson for the FDIC at bank closing events during the most recent crisis.  As Section Chief for the Consumer Affairs Branch, she managed the nationwide consumer complaint response program and coordinated a strategic initiative to consolidate staff from eight Consumer Response Centers to one central location. Janet has been recognized for her dedication to the FDIC’s Mentoring Program for the past 19 years.                 

Ms. Kincaid earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Ottawa University in Kansas, with Cum Laude Recognition; a Graduate Degree of Banking with Distinction in Leadership from the Southwest Graduate School of Banking, Southern Methodist University, Texas; and a Master Degree in Human Resource Management, from the Keller Graduate School of Management, Kansas City, Missouri - Cum Laude Recognition.


Widely recognized as one of the best litigators in the country, Julia Strickland leads a broad national practice that focuses on the defense of class actions and other complex actions. Ms. Strickland is regularly called by major financial services companies and others when they are confronted with complex issues that put them at substantial economic and reputational risk. She is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office, and head of the firm’s national Financial Services Litigation, Regulation and Enforcement Group.

In addition to her experience defending complex and class actions through dispositive motion practice, trial and/or appeal, Ms. Strickland has settled all types of complex and class actions. She is versatile and creative in addressing settlement considerations, both legal and business, and in developing settlement structure options unique to the particular case. She also routinely represents companies in compliance counseling, regulatory proceedings and responding to claims by federal and state regulators and enforcement authorities. Representative clients include JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, TransUnion, Discover, American Express, Citigroup, HSBC, PayPal, BMW Financial Services, Zappos and Synchrony Bank, among others.

Ms. Strickland once again received top honors in Chambers USA 2019 with a Band 1 ranking in the Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance Litigation–Nationwide category.  Ms. Strickland is one of only three attorneys across the country to receive this recognition.

For more than 14 years running, The Los Angeles Daily Journal has named Ms. Strickland one of California’s “Top Women Lawyers.” She was also selected by Law360 as a 2017 Banking MVP joining an elite slate of only six lawyers nationally who have distinguished themselves from their peers. The Los Angeles Business Journal honored Ms. Strickland in 2019 as both a “Top Litigator and Trial Lawyer” and as one of their “Most Influential Women Lawyers.” She was also featured in their Leader in Law awards, where she was named one of their “Lawyers of the Year” for 2016 and 2017. Ms. Strickland was recognized by leading corporate counsel as a member of the BTI Consulting Group’s “Client Services All-Stars” for her “uncanny ability to anticipate opposing counsel,” as well as being “very customer focused and practical.” She has also been repeatedly recognized by Super LawyersBenchmark LitigationThe Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Business Journal and The Best Lawyers in America.


Andre M. Mura represents plaintiffs in class action and complex litigation concerning consumers’ and workers’ rights, products liability, drug and medical devices. Prior to joining Gibbs Law Group LLP, Andre was senior litigation counsel at the Center for Constitutional Litigation PC, where he represented plaintiffs in high-stakes appeals and complex litigation. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Lawyers Committee of the National Center for State Courts, a member of Public Justice’s Class Action Preservation Project, an Ex-Officio Trustee of the Pound Civil Justice Institute, and Chair-Elect of the American Association for Justice’s LGBT Caucus.


Shennan Kavanagh is the Deputy Chief of the Consumer Protection Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. She is engaged in the day-to-day work on a variety of the Division’s core consumer finance investigations and litigation. Ms. Kavanagh oversees and participates on a team of six assistant attorneys general located across Massachusetts who lead the Division’s automobile sales and financing matters. The team has obtained hundreds of thousands in restitution and debt relief for consumers.

Ms. Kavanagh’s entire legal career has been devoted to representing low-income consumers and public service. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Kavanagh was a co-founder and partner at Klein Kavanagh Costello, LLP, a mission-driven consumer finance class action firm that litigated cases nationwide.  Her areas of concentration included predatory and discriminatory mortgage lending, unfair mortgage servicing, unfair debt collection and creditors’ violations of the bankruptcy code. Klein Kavanagh Costello brought some of the nation’s first cases on behalf of homeowners trying to obtain affordable loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”). In addition to complex class action litigation, Ms. Kavanagh handled dozens of pro bono cases during her time in private practice, successfully preventing foreclosures for individuals, obtaining home loan modifications, and stopping harassing debt collectors. Ms. Kavanagh practiced in the areas of consumer finance litigation and class actions as an associate at Roddy Klein & Ryan before starting her own firm.


Thomas James serves as the Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General where he holds the position of Consumer Counsel. Tom has been a litigator in that Office since 1988 and has extensive knowledge of major federal and state consumer protection statutes. In recent years he has concentrated on credit-related unfair and deceptive financial practices and associated anticompetitive market behavior. He’s participated on various regional and national multi-state enforcement teams specializing in cases against individuals and institutions engaged in sales and marketing misrepresentation, predatory price distortion, wealth and equity stripping, fair-lending violations, and structural unfairness and loan product abuse in the home-loan and mortgage-lending, small consumer-credit, student loan and securitization markets. Tom’s also worked extensively in drafting commentary, statutes and regulations in collaboration with legislative staff, not-for-profit organizations, major community banking and state bank associations, and state and federal regulators. He helped draft the Illinois High Cost Home Loan Act of 2004, the Illinois Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Act of 2007, and the Illinois Consumer Installment and Payday Loan Reform Act of 2010. Tom is a past member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council. Tom earned his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and is licensed in California and Illinois.


Allison Brown is the Deputy Assistant Director for Servicing within the Office of Supervision Policy at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, DC.  The office’s primary responsibility is to ensure that policy decisions for supervision are consistent with both the law and CFPB’s mission.  Ms. Brown has responsibility for the mortgage servicing, student loan servicing, and auto loan servicing areas.

Ms. Brown has been with the CFPB since April of 2011.  Before coming to the CFPB, she was an attorney in the Division of Financial Practices at the Federal Trade Commission for over 11 years.  There, she worked on mortgage, debt relief, and other consumer finance matters.  Ms. Brown began her career as a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 1997.


Christopher J. Willis is an Atlanta-based partner at Ballard Spahr and The Practice Group Leader of the firm's Consumer Financial Services Litigation Group. He counsels financial institutions on consumer financial regulatory matters, advises them on compliance with consumer financial services laws, and defends them in both individual and class action lawsuits, as well as governmental enforcement actions (including numerous CFPB enforcement investigations). Mr. Willis chairs the firm’s Fair Lending and Collection Documentation Task Forces. Mr. Willis is a frequent author and speaker on issues relating to consumer financial services.


Jah-Juin “Jared” Ho is an attorney with the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection (DPIP) at the Federal Trade Commission.  This Division of the FTC has responsibility for enforcing federal statutes and regulations that pertain to information security and consumer privacy.  Jared investigates and prosecutes violations of U.S. federal laws governing the privacy and security of consumer information and has worked on FTC enforcement actions under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.  Prior to joining DPIP, Jared was an attorney in the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigations.  Jared has also served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau where he advised on cases and rulemaking.

In addition to his federal service, Jared was a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey where he led his office’s privacy and data security efforts. He has also served as a visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy.


Shannon Smith is a Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. Her responsibilities include managing the division’s litigation, enforcement, consumer services, and outreach and education activities.  In addition to enforcing consumer protection laws, the division is responsible for administering the state’s Lemon Law Program and Manufactured Housing Program.  Shannon joined the Consumer Protection Division in 2005 and was named Division Chief in 2012.

Prior to joining the Consumer Protection Division, Shannon represented the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission in telecommunications and energy regulatory matters (1995-2005) and the Department of Licensing and Department of Health in professional licensing disciplinary matters (1989-2005).  She has been with the Washington Attorney General’s Office since 1989.