Top CFPB Rulemaker Decamps for Law Firm

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Morrison & Foerster can't say it hired the attorney who wrote the CFPB's rulebook. But it picked up the guy who started the job.

On Wednesday, the law firm announced that it was rehiring Leonard Chanin, a former firm attorney who most recently spent a year and a half heading up the 40 attorneys in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rulemaking operation. He was originally tapped for the CFPB by Elizabeth Warren.

Chanin won't start until September, a media representative of Morrison & Foerster said. The attorney could not be reached for an interview.

"He's going to be a hard person to replace," says Alan Kaplinsky, an attorney for Ballard Spahr who knows Chanin from his current job and his previous work overseeing financial protection regulations as a deputy director of the Federal Reserve Board. "There was a level of comfort the banking industry had with Leonard, because they dealt with him for many years during his tenure at the Fed… I think this would be a setback for the CFPB because they're right in the midst of an avalanche of mortgage lending regulations."

In an emailed statement on Wednesday, CFPB Director Richard Cordray thanked Chanin and wished him well.

"During his time at the Bureau, Leonard built an effective rule-writing team that has developed proposals to implement key consumer financial protections that will benefit all Americans," Cordray said. "Although we will miss Leonard, he leaves a strong and experienced team that will continue to move forward with this important work."

In Morrison & Foerster's announcement, the firm said that it was thrilled to have him.

"Leonard will return to us with important insights and broad experience on consumer regulation, having been at the center of regulatory developments in a time of great change," said Rick Fischer, Co-Head of Morrison & Foerster's Financial Services Practice.

Chanin is the second prominent CFPB official to depart in recent months. He follows Deepak Gupta, the CFPB's former senior enforcement counsel, who left to start a consumer advocacy law firm.

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(Image: Bloomberg News)

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