Vaishali Rao focuses her practice in two primary areas: first, defending companies in regulatory investigations and litigation brought by governmental bodies; second, compliance counseling related to statutes intended to protect consumers. She has advised a range of financial institutions—small and large banks, online lenders, and fintech businesses—on these issues and also maintains strong relationships with Illinois banking regulators.
Regulatory Investigation & Enforcement. Vaishali has defended companies facing inquiries, requests for information, subpoenas, civil investigative demands, supervisory examinations, or lawsuits brought by government entities like state attorneys general, state and municipal regulators, state banking examiners, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the U.S. Department of Justice.
She has extensive experience resolving complex unfair and deceptive trade practice cases either through litigation or negotiated settlements. She is also skilled in the drafting and implementation of agreements or court orders requiring substantial business reform.
Compliance Counseling. Vaishali has helped companies identify and manage risk by counseling them through issues intersecting with consumer protection, including the: Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), state telemarketing laws, federal and state privacy requirements—including Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)—data breach management, student loan licensing, and other state law requirements.
As a complement to risk management, Vaishali drafts opinion letters, and seeks formal or informal interpretative opinions from government agencies.
Prior to joining Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Vaishali served as a supervising attorney in the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. During her tenure, she frequently led multi-state investigations and litigation related to advertising, marketing, and promotion on diverse topics such as:
- Higher education financing (enforcement, education, and policy)
- Financial crisis cases into mortgage origination, fair lending, servicing, and securitization (including contributing to negotiations in the National Foreclosure Settlement and leading multi-district litigation against the credit rating agencies)
- Debt collection and settlement
- Small dollar, unsecured loan products
- Pharmaceutical and health care products, drugs and medical devices.
As Assistant Counsel in the Illinois House of Representatives, Vaishali 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.
Vaishali has served in a series of clerkships in both the public and private sectors in Chicago and New York, and was a chancery judicial extern to The Honorable Jesse G. Reyes, Circuit Court of Cook County (now an Appellate Judge, First District, 5th Division.)
- Chicago Bar Association
- Regulatory and Compliance Committee, Founding Member
- Leadership Greater Chicago, Fellow, Class of 2020
Honors & Awards
- Named to the "40 Under Forty" list by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Law Magazine, 2019
- Recognized by her peers as an "Emerging Lawyer" in the areas of Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Law; Commercial Litigation; Federal Regulatory Law; and Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative Law
Regulatory and Enforcement
- Representation of debt collection companies in investigations into unfair, deceptive trade practices led by the Illinois Attorney General and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Resolved negotiation impasse of an investigation into a real estate title company by a state Department of Financial Services related to licensing and registration.
- Defense of debt collection company in state Department of Banking agency allegations that it engaged in unlicensed collection of consumer debts.
- Obtained favorable opinion letter from California Department of Business Oversight related to exemption from regulation relating to obtaining student loan servicing license.
- Representation of a government vendor in false claims investigation relating to billing practices brought by the California Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Defense of electric and gas suppliers in consumer fraud investigations or litigation, including "do not call" or robocall cases, brought by state attorneys general, including: Illinois, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Favorably negotiated multiple settlements to a fraction of the amounts claimed, lowering what was initially multimillion dollar exposure.
- Responded to subpoena from NYC Department of Consumer Affairs on Limited English Proficiency on behalf of a debt collection company.
- Coordinated collection agencies' response to data breach, including notification to consumers and regulators.
- Represented multiple retail energy or gas suppliers, and solar entities with issues relating to licensing or business operations in front of Illinois Commerce Commission.
- Counseled lender on developing disclosures and compliance structures for private student loan product.
- Assisted financial service providers with TCPA compliance, including drafting of express written consent language, significantly reducing litigation exposure.
- Assist fintech company with launch of mortgage lead generation product by assessing legal risk and compliance needs.
- Counseled small-dollar lenders through licensing and examination in multiple states, including drafting of consumer disclosures.
- Assisted mortgage insurance company with drafting terms and conditions for website, privacy policies and notices.
- Assisted mortgage insurance company with California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) implementation.
- Represented rent-to-own company with licensing requirements.
Prior Public Service Contributions
- Contributed to negotiations in National Mortgage Settlement (represented the People through Illinois Attorney General).
- Led multi-state consumer fraud investigations into lenders, servicers, and collectors.
- Led the national attorneys general Health Fraud Working Group.
- Led People of the State of Illinois v. The McGraw-Hill Companies & Standard & Poor's litigation relating to credit ratings issued during financial crisis (represented the People through Illinois Attorney General).
- Panelist, "The ACA Huddle: How Rohit Chopra's Leadership Will Impact CFPB Regulatory Changes and the ARM Industry," ACA International, Webinar, February 24, 2020
- "Reviewing State Student Loan Servicing Licensing Laws – A Precursor to National Legislation?" National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) 2020 Annual Conference, Virtual Event, November 12, 2020
- Panelist, "Future Challenges Track: State Enforcement," MBA's Regulatory Compliance Conference 2020, Virtual Event, November 10, 2020
- Panelist, "Analyzing The Increase in CFPB Enforcement Actions," AccountsRecovery.net, Webinar, November 10, 2020
- Co-Presenter, "Trends in Student Loan Servicing Laws, Licensing, and Regulation," AcountsRecovery.net webinar, October 21, 2020
- "Student Loan Servicing Challenges in the COVID-19 Context and Beyond: Navigating New Constraints on Debt Collectors and Ensuring the Viability of the Industry," ACI's 32nd Annual Advanced Forum on Consumer Finance Class Actions, Litigation & Government Enforcement Actions, Virtual Event, September 23, 2020
- Panelist, "Financial and Legal Advice to Help Your Business Navigate the 'New Normal,'" Crain's Chicago Business Content Studio, Webinar, June 25, 2020
- Co-Presenter, "State Student Loan Servicing Laws," National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) Fall Legal Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio, October 3, 2019
- Co-Presenter, "Hot Topics & Trends in Mortgage Servicing 2019," CLE Client Program, June 11, 2019
- "Compliance Essentials/CMCP Session: Introduction to Regulatory Compliance," MBA's Regulatory Compliance Conference, Los Angeles, California, April 29, 2018
- "What's Certain in Uncertain Times? Implications on Consumer Finance in Trump's first 173 days," Hinshaw University, Chicago, Illinois, July 2017
- "Fair Lending & Fair Servicing Developments in Student Loans," NCHER, Alexandria, Virginia, July 2017
- "Regulatory Round-Up" Part I: State Efforts Impacting Student Loan Servicing and Collections," NCHER Spring Convention, Clearwater Beach, Florida, June 7, 2017
- "Student Loans: The Next Financial Crisis?," CBA Consumer Law Committee, Chicago, Illinois, April 2014
- "National Foreclosure and Mortgage Servicing Settlement," Chicago Bar Association, Legal Aid Committee, Chicago, Illinois, March 2013
- "National Foreclosure and Mortgage Servicing Settlement," City of Chicago City Council, Chicago, Illinois, June 2012
- Keynote Speaker, American Conference Institute, Food and Drug Policy, Chicago, Illinois, December 2011
- "Mortgage Rescue Fraud in Application," National Consumer Law Center, November 2011
- "Fraud: The Attorney Model," National Organization of Bar Examiners, October 2011
- "CFPB Releases Special Supervisory Highlights on Response to COVID," ARM Compliance Digest, February 8, 2021
- "10 Ways Financial Cos. Can Avoid Payment Relief Pitfalls," Law360, May 22, 2020
- "What Does 'Abusive' Really Mean Under Dodd-Frank?," Law360, July 25, 2019
- "Forget the National Political Turmoil, Look to State Attorneys General for Regulatory Action," Corporate Counsel, December 10, 2018
- "Rising Student Loan Defaults Signal Litigation Ramp-Up," Law360, March 28, 2017
- "CFPB Poised for Get-Tough Approach Under Chopra," Law360, January 19, 2021
- "Biden's CFPB nominee could take reins before Senate vote," American Banker, January 19, 2021
- "4 Banking Regulation Issues To Watch In 2021," Law360, January 3, 2021
- "Under Biden, CFPB will play a role in any student-debt cancellation – and help tackle student-loan servicers," MarketWatch, November 24, 2020; Updated December 30, 2020
- "Calif. Could Soon Create 'Mini-CFPB': 5 Things To Know," Law360, September 8, 2020
- "California's 'Mini-CFPB' Law May Extend to Small Business Loans," Bloomberg, September 2, 2020
- "High Court Ruling Leaves CFPB Enforcement Actions in Doubt," Bloomberg, June 30, 2020
- "With 5-4 split, justices spare FERC in leadership fight," Greenwire, June 30, 2020
- "CFPB's 'Abusiveness' Policy Seen as Missed Opportunity," Law360, January 29, 2020
- "CFPB Doomed At High Court? Don't Bet On It, Attys Say," Law360, October 23, 2019
- "What Supreme Court case means for CFPB's future," American Banker, October 21, 2019
- "Attorney discusses life after eight years in AG office," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, February 19, 2019
- "Generational Divides," TYL, an ABA Young Lawyers Division publication, Summer 2018
- "DeVos ups ante with state AGs in battle over student loan servicing," American Banker, March 9, 2018
- "New-Look CFPB Could Herald New Dawn for Fintechs," Payments Compliance, February 20, 2018
- "CFPB seen as likely to win constitutional case," American Banker, May 26, 2017
- Vaishali Rao Analyzes in ARM Compliance Digest: CFPB Releases Special Supervisory Highlights on Response to COVIDFebruary 8, 2021
- Vaishali Rao Discusses in National Media Outlets the Likely Policy Preferences of Incoming CFPB Director Rohit ChopraJanuary 20, 2021
- Vaishali Rao Anticipates Uptick in CFPB Enforcement and Regulation of Student Loan Servicing Industry under Biden AdministrationNovember 30, 2020
- Hinshaw Releases Fourth Edition of "Student Loan Servicing Guide: 50 State Survey of Laws and Legislation"September 17, 2020A reference guide for financial services compliance professionals
- September 10, 2020
- June 30, 2020
- May 27, 2020
- January 30, 2020
- CFPB Highlights COVID-19-Fueled Regulatory Risks for Examined Industries in Special Edition of Supervisory Highlights Dustin C. Alonzo, Dana B. Briganti, Lauren Campisi, Adair L. Kingsmill, Heather D. McArn, Vaishali S. Rao
- Illinois Moves to Cap Consumer Loan Interest Rates, Lenders Subject to Penalties and Other Relief
- CFPB Rescinds RESPA Compliance and Marketing Services Agreements Bulletin, Provides Clarity on RESPA Fee Prohibition in FAQs
- Fourth Edition of 50 State Guide on Student Loan Servicing Regulations Now Available
- SCOTUS Decides Federal Debt is not Exempted from TCPA, While FCC Autodialer Declaration Further Alters TCPA Landscape Dennis N. Lueck Jr., Vaishali S. Rao, Jordan S. O'Donnell
- SCOTUS Holds CFPB's Single Director Structure Unconstitutional, Leaves Open Questions on Existing Bureau Matters
- Inspection by HUD's Inspector General of FHA Mortgage Servicers' Websites Reveals Incomplete, Inconsistent, and Unclear CARES Act Forbearance Information Dana B. Briganti, Vaishali S. Rao
- Interactive COVID-19 Regulatory Map for Consumer Financial Institutions Heather D. McArn, Vaishali S. Rao
- Consumer Law Regulatory Insights: CFPB Symposia Series Discusses How Behavioral Economics Can Inform Regulatory Action
- New Edition of 50 State Guide on Student Loan Servicing Regulations Now Available
- Senate Narrowly Confirms Kathy Kraninger as New CFPB Head Vaishali S. Rao, Kevin W. Manganaro
- Is CFPB's Constitutionality Headed for the U.S. Supreme Court?
- The CFPB is not going anywhere—Except Maybe the U.S. Supreme Court—Following DC Circuit en banc Decision
- Department of Education Announces Award of Student Loan Collections Contracts: the Latest Chapter in a Long-Running Saga Vaishali S. Rao, Concepcion A. Montoya
- State and Local Governments Prepare to Fill the Consumer Regulatory Enforcement Void
- CFPB Director Richard Cordray Resigning
- Illinois Student Loan Bill of Rights Becomes Law
- Take Note: Employers are Helping Pay Student Loans and Consumer Advocates are Watching Closely Vaishali S. Rao, Jason J. Oliveri
- In a Bind about CFPB's Arbitration Rule?
- CFPB Releases State by State Report on Consumer Complaints
Consumer Crossroads: Where Financial Services and Litigation Intersect
- Consumer Law Regulatory Insights: CFPB Contemplates Taking Action to Further Define "Abusive" Prong of UDAAPJune 27, 2019Consumer Financial Services Alert
- June 1, 2017
- May 25, 2017Consumer Financial Services Alert
- April 4, 2017Consumer Financial Services Alert
- March 21, 2017Consumer Financial Services Alert
- March 16, 2017Consumer Financial Services Alert
- Vaishali co-founded SAPNA Magazine, an e-zine for South Asian American women. She served as the magazine's Strategy Director for six years.
- She was the Founder and first Chair of The John Marshall Law School's Diversity Affairs Committee.
J.D., The John Marshall Law School, 2008
B.S., magna cum laude, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
B.A., magna cum laude, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois