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by Vault Law Editors | May 21, 2010


Easy to miss amid the Wall Street  Journal ’s “flood the zone” coverage of the new Senate FinReg bill and the now all-but-inevitable “largest overall of Wall Street since the Great Depression” is a handy little primer called “New Rules Take Shape for Key Players” (not on the WSJ site for some reason).  

Lawyers are obviously the “white” on the “rice” of any “New Rules.”  Here is a law-centric primer to that primer:

1.       Banks

The efforts of some lawmakers to restore the Glass-Steagall wall between commercial and investment banking failed.  Any likely final, reconciled version of the FinReg bill will “largely preserve” the banks ability to engage in both activities.  Only it’ll be more complicated and require more legal counsel.

2.       Hedge Funds

Hede funds are about to “emerge from the regulatory shadows” as they would now be required, over a certain size, to register with the SEC.  I wonder what sort of professional will have to attend to those details?  

3.       Ratings Firms

The proposed FinReg overhaul will almost certainly “expose officially recognized ratings firms to greater legal liability for inaccurate ratings.” 

Last month, this blog speculated (“4 Ways of Looking at FinReg and the Law”) on the impact of the proposed financial regulation reform legislation on the legal industry and legal careers.  This bit, on “The new opportunities available to younger lawyers and current law students,” probably holds up:

The emergence of a new, wide-ranging, and complex regulatory scheme presents new possibilities for young lawyers. As with health care, there will be high demand for experts in the new system. These experts do not yet exist.  And, unfortunately, neither do many of the traditional paths to expertise (a/k/a “jobs”). Clearly, any young lawyers who aspire to work in large firms (as well as those who’ve been laid off or deferred) are in a tough spot.  These attorneys should consider doing something academic—assisting former professors with research and/or writing for publication—all the while staying vigilantly connected to what’s going on in Washington.

-posted by brian


Filed Under: Law

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