Quarles & Brady LLP Financial Institutions Legal Services
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James D. Friedman
Primary Contact
Milwaukee Office
(414) 277-5735
Fax: (414) 978-8735

Financial Institutions

In an era of heightened regulatory scrutiny, broadened opportunities and increased consolidation, financial institutions of all sizes and corporate structures have come to trust the judgment of the Financial Institutions Group at Quarles & Brady LLP.

What constitutes good judgment? To us, it is the result of balancing innovation with common sense, leadership with listening and breadth of experience with focused knowledge. It is often the application of practical and efficient solutions. For many of our clients — financial institutions of nearly every size and legal structure — it is the ability to help them manage the risks and seize opportunities that lie ahead.

Whatever your definition, the attorneys of the Financial Institutions Group are committed to helping our clients achieve success, even under trying circumstances.

Innovation and Common Sense 
In contrast to some other businesses and industries, financial institutions have always been subject to strict rules governing their formation, operations and growth. More recently, however, customers and the industry itself have won new freedoms that have positively affected the way they do business — while creating additional risks and burdens.

As part of the Firm’s more than 400 attorneys, in offices from Arizona to Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin, the attorneys of the Financial Institutions Group understand the need to balance exciting business initiatives with the prudence that comes from hard-won experience. This approach has helped a number of clients gain a better understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead as a result of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and other recent legislation. We help clients make more effective decisions regarding the futures of their institutions.

HRAs, HSAs and Minimum Value

In addition to wellness programs impacting minimum value, an employer’s contributions to an HRA or HSA can also help the employer to demonstrate that its plan provides minimum value. For an HRA, the amounts which are considered are those amounts which are newly made available with respect to an HRA that is integrated with the employer’s health plan, if the new amounts may be used only to reduce cost-sharing for covered medical expenses. For an HSA, the full amount an employer contributes is considered. However, for both amounts, it appears that the most that can be taken into account is the amount of expected spending for health care costs in a benefit year. It is not clear how an employer would determine this amount.

Leadership and Listening
At Quarles & Brady, we focus on what you need from us, rather than what we might think we can do for you. A subtle difference, but one that highlights our commitment to providing client-centered options rather than one-size-fits-all solutions. While we endeavor to keep our clients abreast of developments, we focus on our clients’ needs, not our desire to shine. For each client matter, small and large, we gain a thorough understanding of our clients’ goals, objectives and concerns, placing them in the larger context of the economy, the marketplace, the law and the regulatory environment.

Our understanding of our clients’ businesses and objectives should not be confused with a passive or reactive methodology. Rather, with this key information in hand, we are able to provide legal counsel and creative solutions that more effectively address our clients’ immediate needs while setting the stage for long-term success.

Broad Experience, Focused Knowledge 
Our attorneys are some of the most experienced lawyers practicing in the field today. This experience is not limited to our legal experience; some of our team members have held senior positions in businesses, government and regulatory agencies as well as in significant industry, civic and charitable leadership positions. Some have worked as in-house counsel for financial institutions and public companies representing a broad range of industries. On the other side of the table, our Team also includes a number of attorneys with distinguished service as government regulators and on agency commissions, including a legislative study committee on the regulation of financial institutions and a task force on financial competitiveness. In many of our markets, we are known as the lender’s “go to” real estate finance law firm due to our prominence in both real estate and finance.

Our Team’s experience also includes support staff and paralegals who are seasoned professionals.

This broad exposure to the issues facing our clients is complemented by our attorneys’ in-depth knowledge of specific areas of the law that necessarily drive our clients decisions and actions. When necessary, we also tap into the knowledge, training and experience of our Firm’s attorneys in other practice areas, including employee benefits, government relations, labor and employment, securities, tax, litigation and the like. Our Commercial Financial Services Team also provides commercial finance lending and UCC advice. As a full-service commercial finance law firm, our clients have direct access to the resources and knowledge that will help them best address current and future needs.

A Full-Service Approach
Representing banks, savings banks, holding companies, insurance companies, credit unions, mutual funds, trust company banks and other financial services providers, the Financial Institutions Group at Quarles & Brady offers a complete spectrum of client services. These include both traditional, industry-specific services, as well as related business practice areas, such as:

  • Capital augmentation through public and private securities offerings, trust preferred securities, commercial paper, subordinated debt, collateralized securities offerings and other corporate finance transactions.
  • Transaction assistance, such as mergers and acquisitions of banks, holding companies, insurance companies and other financial providers, branch purchases and sales, and establishment of specialized subsidiaries and operations.
  • Organization, registration, acquisition, consolidation, liquidation and other investment advisory aspects pertaining to mutual funds, hedge funds and buyout funds.
  • Regulatory compliance, monitoring and oversight, response to regulatory examination issues and representation in agency enforcement actions.
  • Insurance licensing and regulation.
  • Antitrust and unfair trade regulation.
  • Commercial and consumer credit concerns as well as corporate bankruptcy, creditor-debtor rights, lender liability, loan workouts and UCC matters.
  • Employee benefits, labor and employment issues.
  • Litigation and alternative dispute resolution.
  • Real estate lending, sales, acquisitions and portfolio management.
  • Tax planning and tax-effective financing.
  • Government relations and lobbying.
Regardless of their size, corporate structure or the nature of the matter at hand, our clients receive all of the benefits of a large, national, full-service firm without the anonymity companies often find at other large firms. Whether their issues are local or national, our clients know that they will be treated with the responsiveness and professionalism they deserve — and have come to expect.

As members of some of the most highly regulated industries in the country, our clients have come to depend on the sound judgment and legal counsel provided by the Financial Institutions Group at Quarles & Brady. We believe that this trust is well-justified and well-earned; however, we refuse to hang our hats on past accomplishments and constantly seek to set and achieve a higher standard.

In balancing innovation with common sense, leadership with listening, and breadth of experience with focused knowledge, Quarles & Brady is the banking law firm of choice because we offer our clients the right blend of resources, responsiveness and legal acumen.

For more information on how our Financial Institutions Group at Quarles & Brady can help you achieve your objectives, please call James D. Friedman at (414) 277-5735 / jim.friedman@quarles.com or your local Quarles & Brady attorney.