Allyson B. Baker

Partner
Baker Allyson

Allyson Baker is co-head of Venable’s Consumer Financial Services practice. Allyson is a trial attorney, civil litigator, and counselor with significant experience in the federal government and private practice. Allyson represents consumer finance companies and individuals in confidential, non-public investigations initiated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office of Enforcement, state attorneys general, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), state banking agencies, and the Department of Justice (DOJ). She also serves as litigation counsel for financial services companies, advises on consumer financial laws, and provides strategic and risk management counsel to consumer finance companies dealing with the CFPB and other federal and state law enforcement and regulatory agencies.

  • Representing consumer financial services companies in non-public confidential investigations
  • Serving as litigation counsel for financial services companies
  • Advising companies on all aspects of consumer financial laws
  • Providing strategic counsel to financial services companies dealing with the CFPB, and other federal and state law enforcement and regulatory agencies
  • Advising on crisis management strategies for companies in the consumer financial services sector
  • Advising on due diligence efforts and risk management efforts for companies in the consumer financial services sector

Immediately before joining Venable, Allyson was an enforcement attorney at the CFPB, where she served as lead counsel in In the Matter of Discover Bank, which was one of the first enforcement actions in agency history and resulted in one of the largest agency settlements to date.  She was a member of the initial team of attorneys hired to stand up the CFPB’s Office of Enforcement.  As part of this effort, she helped formulate policies on litigation and investigations.  She also led an office working group that created, reviewed, and coordinated research projects involving the application and jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Act and a group that coordinated the work of the Office of Enforcement and the CFPB’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity.

Before joining the CFPB, Allyson was a trial attorney with the DOJ Tax Division, where she served as a first-chair trial counsel in a number of jury and bench trials involving complex financial transactions, including a test case involving the sale of credit life insurance and other credit insurance products by credit unions.

Since joining Venable in April 2013, Allyson has worked on some of the most significant and high-profile cases and investigations in the consumer financial services area.

Allyson also routinely counsels companies about all aspects of federal and state consumer finance laws.  She advises companies about new consumer financial products and business models, and undertakes due diligence reviews.  She has assisted companies and trade associations in their writing of comments for proposed CFPB rulemakings and requests for information.  She is co-editor of Venable’s Consumer Financial Services Digest and regularly writes on topics related to financial services litigation and law enforcement. She also speaks extensively at industry conferences and events, and is frequently quoted in the media on current consumer financial services issues.

Experience

Government Experience

  • Enforcement Attorney, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Trial Attorney, Civil Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Representative Matters

Litigation

  • Served as lead counsel in CFPB v. Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), resulting in a victory in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals – the first time in decades that a federal appeals court had struck down an administrative subpoena issued by the federal government
  • Served as co-lead counsel in John Doe et al. v. CFPB, winning affirmation in the federal district court for the District of Columbia, which upheld the client’s request to not reveal publicly the identities of the businesses suing the CFPB – the first time that a court had granted John Doe status to a party challenging any aspect of a CFPB CID
  • Served as lead counsel in ACICS v. Dep’t of Education, obtained remand of a federal agency’s decision involving the accreditor of institutes of higher education in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Court held that the agency had not complied with the Administrative Procedure Act
  • Served as lead trial counsel in Integrity Advance, LLC et al. v. CFPB, one of the first cases before the CFPB’s administrative law judge, involving alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA)
  • Served as lead counsel in Center for Public Integrity v. TitleMax of Virginia, Inc., et al., resulting in affirmation in Virginia Supreme Court of an order denying a records request from a government body
  • Served as co-counsel in United States v. Four Oaks Fincorp. Inc., et al., resulting in a favorable settlement for the bank and the holding company in an investigation and lawsuit arising under FIRREA – the first public action in the Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” initiative
  • Served as lead counsel in In the Matter of Discover Bank, obtained a $214 million settlement stemming from a joint CFPB-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) investigation into the sales and marketing of add-on credit card products – one of the first enforcement actions in CFPB history and one of the largest settlements to date
  • Served as lead trial counsel in United States v. Stover; obtained an injunction against a promoter of fraudulent tax structures involving retirement plans and pass-through entities, with an estimated tax harm of hundreds of millions of dollars
  • Served as lead trial counsel in United States v. Davison; obtained an injunction against a promoter of fraudulent tax structures involving retirement plans, pass-through entities, and farm-related tax deductions, with an estimated tax harm of hundreds of millions of dollars
  • Served as lead trial counsel in Community First Credit Union v. United States; defended the government’s position in a test case challenging an IRS determination about unrelated business income tax related to the sale of certain financial products
  • Served as lead trial counsel in Saverin v. United States; obtained a directed verdict, resulting in a multi-million-dollar judgment for the government in trust fund recovery penalties and employment taxes

Investigations

  • Counsel in CFPB investigations of companies and individuals in the student loan servicing, consumer lending, mortgage origination, and credit services industries
  • Counsel in three separate non-public confidential CFPB investigations that were closed
  • Counsel in non-public confidential Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general investigations involving companies in numerous consumer financial services industries
  • Counsel in numerous state regulatory agency enforcement actions involving companies in numerous consumer financial services industries

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. cum laude New York University School of Law 2000
  • B.A. Columbia University 1995
    • Columbia College Alumni Association Achievement Award

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Tax Court

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Board member, Women in Housing and Finance Foundation
  • Member, Litigation and Business Law Sections, American Bar Association
  • Served as vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Consumer Protection Law Developments (CPLD) Committee, and as the editor of the first CPLD chapter devoted solely to the CFPB

Recognition
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  • Listed in Best Lawyers Business Edition, Women in Law, Banking and Finance Law, 2019
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.), 2019
  • Listed in Legal 500, Finance - Financial Services Regulation, 2018 - 2019
  • Part of the Venable team that received Law 360’s 2017 Consumer Protection Law Firm of the Year designation
  • Recipient, Outstanding Attorney Award, Tax Division, DOJ, 2008 - 2010