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Dodd-Frank Reform Bill and Increased Legal Opportunities By Rebecca Neely Since The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in July of this year, both attorneys and legal recruiters are seeing an increase in business.

Described as the most comprehensive change governing Wall Street and the financial services industry since Franklin Roosevelt’s time, the Dodd-Frank bill is more than 2,000 pages, introduces hundreds of new rules, and mandates dozens of reports and studies over the next several years. It will affect public and private firms of all types. Its provisions include requiring certain hedge funds and private equity shops to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It also establishes a new federal watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. All of these changes and requirements translate into new opportunities in the legal industry, likely for years to come. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently commented in the Financial Times that: ‘’It is going to take years to address the unprecedented complexity of final rule-making required in the massive Dodd-Frank bill.’’ According to the October 31 article at crainsnewyork.com, William J. Sweet Jr. of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, head of the law firm’s financial institutions regulatory practice in Washington, D.C., he was used to receiving two or three calls a year from headhunters asking if he was interested in making a professional change. But once the financial industry reform passed, he started getting a couple of calls each week. Michael Lord, managing director of Michael Lord & Co., an attorney placement services firm, was quoted as saying: ‘’We’ve definitely seen an uptick in hiring of securities and white-collar attorneys, at both large firms and litigation boutiques in Manhattan.’’ And, he estimated that the number of requests at his firm for litigators with a securities background is up about 30% from this time last year.

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Brian Davis, a Manhattan-based partner at legal search firm Major Lindsey & Africa was quoted as saying: ‘’We expect a big uptick in new regulations, which always means more work for lawyers.’’ Recruiters and lawyers agree the current demand for compliance and regulatory legal talent arising from DoddFrank is seeing more and more law firms recruiting the most talented and highest profile partners they can from rivals. Recent examples include Dechert’s recruitment of three of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson’s Washington partners. Among them was Thomas Vartanian, the renowned chair of Fried Frank’s financial institutions transaction group. In addition, Dechert also recently lured M. Holland West, a private funds and derivatives lawyer from Shearman & Sterling, to its financial services practice group in New York. Attorneys who are experienced with federal or state regulatory agencies can also expect more opportunities. For example, Kevin Puvalowski recently left his post as a deputy in the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program in Washington to join Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. As a partner in the firm’s business trial practice group in New York, he focuses on white-collar and civil-fraud defense. In addition, the increase in demand will undoubtedly boost the economy at large, as companies look to the future and begin to strategize about mergers and acquisitions, says David E. Brown Jr., a partner in the financial services and products group at Alston & Bird. No wonder some are touting Dodd-Frank as ‘’The Lawyers and Lobbyists Full Employment Act of 2010.’’

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Dodd-Frank Reform Bill and Increased Legal Opportunities