Chicago Lawyer Names Hinshaw Partner Vaishali Rao Among 40 Attorneys Under 40 to Watch

September 24, 2019

Download Forty Under 40 Profile (PDF)

The U.S. law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP today announced that partner Vaishali Rao was selected by Chicago Lawyer among 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch in 2019.

Rao leads the regulatory and compliance team of the firm's Consumer Financial Services practice. She represents companies in government investigations and enforcement actions, and also provides compliance counseling to companies regarding consumer protection laws. Rao maintains strong relationships with state and federal regulators and advises financial institutions, including banks, online lenders, servicers, fintech businesses, and collection companies.

"Vaishali's knowledge and significant skill in regulatory matters make her a valuable asset to our financial services clients and has also garnered the respect of her colleagues and peers throughout the legal community," said Hinshaw Managing Partner Robert Shannon. "We are pleased that Chicago Lawyer has recognized the talent that we experience every day."

Her understanding of the priorities and personnel of state attorneys general offices has enabled her to help clients reduce multi-million-dollar exposures. Rao applied her experience with consumer finance and lending regulations to assist a student loan lender in modernizing the delivery of promissory note terms so that borrowers could better understand the contracts. She is also the author of a 50 State Guide on Student Loan Servicer Regulations.

Those who know Rao's work note that she is a strong advocate for doing what's right. She takes control of complex situations and provides thoughtful guidance. Rao is a natural leader who will continue to make a difference in her community, and she never loses sight of the big-picture.

Formerly an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Rao worked hand-in-hand with other state AGs leading multi-state litigations on various matters, and handled litigation involving student loans, debt collection and settlement, unsecured loan products, and cases resulting from the recent financial crisis. She also handled many of the first cases brought by state and federal regulators under the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition, Rao was part of the legal team that worked to remedy unfair or illegal lending practices during and after the 2008 foreclosure crisis, helping to secure significant funding for legal aid, housing counseling, mediation, and other foreclosure relief measures in Illinois.

Ann Spillane, currently general counsel with the Office of the Illinois Governor, praised Rao as a "tireless advocate, trusted team member and natural leader," who has "successfully led teams in complex and ground-breaking consumer fraud investigations and lawsuits."

Previously, Rao was Assistant Counsel in the Illinois House of Representatives where she assisted in the impeachment trial of former Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. She also managed and analyzed legal issues for members of the House of Representatives, including assisting them with presentation and defense of bills on the House floor and in Committee.

Illinois state Senator Don Harmon said Rao "stands out" as someone who will continue to make a difference in her community. "From her time in public service, she has demonstrated that she puts the interests of others before herself," he added. "Even while representing clients in private practice, Vaishali does not lose sight of the big-picture issues at stake."

Today, Rao focuses her efforts on giving back to the legal profession by helping women and minority lawyers sustain profitable businesses, as well as serving on various Chicago Bar Association committees.

Rao is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, Class of 2020. The LGC Signature Fellows Program is the region's premiere civil leadership development program and is designed to immerse participants in the major public policy issues facing the city of Chicago and the Greater Chicago region.

Every year Chicago Lawyer receives approximately 1,000 nominations for 40 Under 40. Honorees are chosen based on the strength of the nomination, what they have accomplished in their careers so far and how they give back to the community whether through pro bono or other civic endeavors.

The full list of 2019 Honorees is available at

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a U.S.-based law firm with offices nationwide. The firm's national reputation spans the insurance industry, the financial services sector, professional services, and other highly regulated industries. Hinshaw provides holistic legal solutions—from litigation and dispute resolution, and business advisory and transactional services, to regulatory compliance—for clients of all sizes. Visit for more information and follow @Hinshaw on LinkedIn and X.