Business & Practice

Williams & Connolly Counsel Departs for Cadwalader in D.C. (1)

June 29, 2020, 3:06 PMUpdated: June 29, 2020, 6:19 PM

Williams & Connolly counsel and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement lawyer Rachel Rodman has joined Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft as a partner in its white collar defense and investigations practice in Washington.

Rodman is the latest attorney to depart Williams & Connolly, a high-powered litigation-focused firm in the nation’s capital that rarely loses talent to other firms. However in recent months, it’s seen several of its partners decamp for competitors.

Rodman represents banks, specialty finance companies, and other financial services institutions with consumer financial products and services in government investigations and litigation in trial and appellate courts.

These companies are subject to a unique set of regulatory requirements and expectations that increase their enforcement and litigation exposure, Rodman said in an email to Bloomberg Law.

“Being part of a firm that has represented financial institutions for over 225 years—a firm that understands their needs, their products, and their business—provides a depth of expertise that simply cannot be matched,” she said of her decision to join Cadwalader.

Cadwalader, founded in 1792, bills itself as the “oldest continuing Wall Street law practice” in the country.

Rodman first joined Williams & Connolly in 2004 as an associate. In 2011, she joined the CFPB as senior counsel in the legal division where she represented the agency and advised its leadership on issues under Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Two years later, she became enforcement attorney in the division of supervision, fair lending and enforcement, where she led investigations of banks and finance companies involved in mortgage servicing and consumer reporting.

In 2016 she left for Arnold & Porter, where she worked briefly as counsel before rejoining Williams & Connolly that year.

History has shown that consumer protection-related investigations and enforcement actions from federal government agencies and state attorneys general will likely follow in the wake of Covid-19 and many of the safeguards put in place by the CFPB after 2008 will be tested, said Cadwalader managing partner Pat Quinn in a statement.

“Rachel’s in-depth understanding of the CFPB as well as her top-notch litigation skills will be critical to our clients at this time,” he said.

In her move to Cadwalader, Rodman joins its global litigation group which earlier this year added white collar partners Mark Beardsworth and Kevin Roberts from Brown Rudnick and Morrison & Foerster, respectively. Last year the firm also hired former Maryland attorney general Douglas Gansler, who leads its new state attorney generals practice.

Since 2008 states have actively pursued non-banks in particular for unfair and deceptive acts in connection to their financial products and depth of expertise is critical in dealing with enforcement actions by bank regulators and state AGs, Rodman said.

“Cadwalader has that expertise, and it is a huge asset to my clients involved in investigations and enforcement defense,” she said.

Williams & Connolly has shed several attorneys, including from its practice leadership ranks, since the first of the year.

In January it lost Adam Perlman, co-chair of its patent litigation practice, to Latham & Watkins, which in April also announced it hired Nicholas Boyle, co-chair of Williams & Connolly’s unfair competition and trade secret practice and its arbitration practice.

Then in late May, Kevin Hardy, co-chair of Williams & Connolly’s patent litigation practice, left the firm for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Williams & Connolly issued a statement upon Rodman’s departure.

“We thank Rachel for her years of service to the firm and our clients, and wish her all the best.”

(Added statement from Williams & Connolly in paragraphs 18 and 19. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bloomberglaw.com

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