March 23, 2020

Leadership Message

Anna-Katrina Christakis

If you’re reading this message, it means you’re currently a member of the Consumer Financial Services Committee. And we’d like to keep it that way! Not only do we want to convince you that your own membership is worthwhile, but we want you to love it so much that you convince others to join too. But maybe, lately, you’re feeling a bit ambivalent about the benefits of membership. There are lots of other organizations that offer CLEs, access to resources, and professional development, so what’s so great about the ABA? Let me count the ways.

Distance Learning

You can attend relevant monthly webinars from the comforts of your own office. Eat your lunch while you expand your mind. New this year, we’re featuring a “month in review” program that summarizes the previous month’s developments with an eye towards future developments. This is in addition to our topical webinars, such as our recent program on the impact of APIs on interconnected financial services, and our two upcoming programs on the New York Department of Financial Services mortgage servicing rules and the expansion of personal data.

Publications

Along with our wonderful newsletter, membership gives you access to several award-winning publications, like The Business Lawyer and Business Law Today. Published quarterly, The Business Lawyer is the leading business law journal in the country, with a circulation to approximately 40,000 readers. It contains articles of significant interest to business lawyers, including case law analysis and developing trends. Business Law Today is a premier digital platform featuring peer-reviewed content on critical issues affecting regulated industries such as banking and consumer financial services.

Meetings


In today’s environment, face-to-face interactions may seem archaic, trite, or inconvenient. Why bother leaving your office when you can get everything you need at your fingertips, without sacrificing time away from your family or professional commitments? Whatever benefits there might be in attending a conference can just as easily be obtained online, via email, text, or social media, right?

Not so fast! In my experience, real connection comes from engaging with people one-on-one. When you give people your attention, relationships get stronger. Face-to-face interactions help foster trust and transparency and build robust networks. The committee puts on four meetings a year: two in the spring and fall with the Business Law Section, one standalone winter meeting, and the National Institute on CFS Basics. Each meeting comes with a range of opportunities to get to know your colleagues at receptions, dinners, and other organized social activities (like golfing, skiing, and hiking).

Pro Bono

It may be hard to locate pro bono opportunities that can capitalize on your subject matter expertise. Or maybe they exist but it’s hard to find the time or build the alliance necessary to deliver the service. We’ve got you covered. Our Pro Bono Subcommittee works with the CFPB, the Junior League, and other organizations to identify and coordinate financial literacy programs in our host cities. All you have to do is sign up.

Career Development


The Committee provides lots of ways to boost your practice: you can write articles, speak on panels, participate in outreach efforts, and get involved in leadership. In addition, the committee shares job openings and professional advice, and (new this year) we’ll be offering practical feedback on research and writing, client development, career transitions, and wellness. We have so many experienced practitioners among our ranks, why not learn from them?

Public Policy

The control and administration of the ABA is vested in the House of Delegates, the policy-making body of the Association. The ABA is often asked to issue resolutions impacting the legal profession, civil practice, access to justice, federal law, and the rule of law; and when those resolutions implicate consumer finance, our committee is invited to recommend a position. From 2016–2018, the House of Delegates considered 197 resolutions. As a member of the CFSC, you not only get to hear about these developments firsthand, you may be called upon to provide commentary relevant to consumer financial services issues.

Community

But in my view, the best feature of membership is the community. Our community includes folks from private practice, in-house, government agencies, and consumer advocacy groups, and is accessible online (through our website), on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook), and in person (at our meetings and social events). The committee provides a tremendous source of mentorship outside the traditional channels. Plenty of friendships have been and will continue to be forged across firms, generations, and geography.

Anna-Katrina Christakis

Pilgrim Christakis LLP

Katrina is the Chair of the Committee, and a partner at Pilgrim Christakis LLP, a financial services litigation firm based in Chicago.