Marci Kawski said it was a bit of good timing that she began practicing law related to consumer financial services when she did.
Kawski graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School about a year after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. Shortly after that, and around the same time she started her practice at
Husch Blackwell, came the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB.
So in a sense, Kawski was in the same boat as her colleagues who had been practicing in the field for years.
“As the CFPB has created new regulations … new and more experienced attorneys were grappling with the same issues at the same time,” she said.
At the same time, Kawski said she was grateful for the mentors who helped her by bringing in deeper knowledge of consumer financial protection laws that had been built up over the many years prior.
Since joining Husch Blackwell, Kawski has managed a number of litigation matters, including those for Fortune 500 companies. She has also been involved in litigation that has reached appellate courts that include both the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
One significant case that Kawski substantially contributed to involved the defense of a large federally recognized Indian tribe in a case seeking the application of certain consumer financial services laws to the tribe; the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This was an interesting case where Indian law and consumer financial law sort of collided,” she said.
“Along with my other team members we had to consider this intersection of the law, and the best way to represent out client and provide the best defense for our client,” Kawski added, noting that the ramifications to these laws to the tribe would have been “considerable.”
Before becoming a lawyer, Kawski worked in government and for a number of political campaigns. Even so, law school had always been in the back of her mind, which is why she took the LSAT shortly after graduation. After the candidate she was working for in 2006 lost his campaign, she did some grassroots campaigning with an organization for a while until starting law school in 2008.
Kawski said that experience before law school has proved valuable to her current work. For starters, she got a sense of how the “real world” worked. And, of course, her area of focus has a political bend to it.
“Like any law and regulation, it at times can be heavily politicized,” she said of her practice. “Again, knowing that gives more context to the laws and regulations than just reading the law itself.”
Now, Kawski said she feels very fortunate to be where she is at her firm.
“I feel very lucky I’ve been able to be a part of the team,” she said, “and I feel very supported and encouraged to be successful in my career.”