Richard E. Gottlieb has more than three decades of experience counseling and successfully defending the largest banks, consumer lenders and related companies in multiple enforcement actions, bet-the-company class actions, B2B litigation and mortgage-backed securities litigation. Richard also has extensive experience in regulatory and compliance matters, and he has represented many financial institutions and other well-known corporations in large-scale intellectual property disputes.

Richard maintains a diverse practice built on his extensive experience in:

  • Class actions
  • B2B litigation
  • Mortgage-backed securities litigation
  • Consumer protection law
    • Privacy and data security laws
    • Consumer loan terms
    • Conditions and disclosures

In addition to his longtime representation of many of the largest banks and consumer lenders in the United States, Richard maintains an active counseling practice on behalf of both financial services entities and other consumer-facing companies. One of the leading practitioners in consumer financial law, he advises clients on federal and state consumer financial protection laws and privacy and data security laws, and with respect to consumer terms, conditions and disclosures. Richard likewise provides ongoing advice to major consumer-facing companies based on the constantly changing federal and state laws with respect to their customer terms of use, required federal and state privacy disclosures and opt-out rights, advertisements containing finance terms, servicing and collection practices, web content and myriad other representations. 

Richard has long represented some of the largest financial institutions in major enforcement matters brought by both federal and state agencies as well as by state attorneys general. For example, working on behalf of two of the largest banks during the subprime mortgage crisis, he led the team that negotiated with a multistate group of state attorneys general and federal banking regulators that resolved these disputes and resulted in the entry of nationwide consent orders. Richard has also defended multiple enforcement investigations and public enforcement actions brought by agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and various state banking regulators, such as the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).

Richard is a thought leader and devoted teacher in the field of consumer finance. A member of the adjunct faculty at UCLA School of Law, he teaches consumer finance to aspiring practitioners. Likewise, Richard literally “wrote the book” on consumer finance. He is the founder, senior editor and co-author of the Consumer Financial Services Answer Book, the leading consumer credit desk reference published annually by the Practicing Law Institute. Richard is also one of just a dozen lawyers who have been nationally ranked by Chambers and Partners in the category of Financial Services Regulation-Consumer Finance every year since Chambers’ creation of the category.

Richard received his LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center; his J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo; and his B.A., cum laude, from Vanderbilt University. He is an active member of the California, District of Columbia, Illinois and New York bars.


Richard’s notable experience includes his representation of:

  • One of the largest global banks in successful negotiations with state agency and federal banking regulators to resolve one of the largest enforcement actions in U.S. history.
  • A large U.S. bank in breach-of-contract and trade secret litigation against a major food delivery and ride service.
  • A U.S. fintech and analytics firm in negotiations with a major software-as-a-service provider to develop cutting-edge technology in the retail industry.
  • A major consumer finance direct marketing firm and its financial holding company with respect to compliance and legal oversight of its global operations.

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Richard’s significant litigation experience includes the representation of:

  • PNC Bank in Fergerstrom v. PNC Bank, N.A. (9th Cir. Feb. 19, 2020), a consumer mortgage class action based on alleged technical violations of Hawaii law, in an affirming grant of summary judgment and denying a request for judicial notice.
  • Citigroup in FM Industries v. Citicorp Credit Services, Inc., 614 F.3d 335 (7th Cir. 2010), in an affirming award of substantial sanctions and fees after achieving victory in a software-based intellectual property action.
  • Midland Credit Management in Wahl v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., 556 F. 3d 643 (7th Cir. 2009), in an affirming grant of summary judgment in a certified Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) class action and broadly holding that an alleged false claim must likewise mislead unsophisticated consumers to be actionable, notwithstanding disjunctive language in the statute.
  • KeyBank in Bruce v. KeyBank N.A., 523 F.3d 719 (7th Cir. 2008), which broadly rejected “firm offer” Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuits based on the theory that mailings lacked value or that law requires all material terms in the initial mailer. This ruling effectively overruled Cole v. U.S. Capital (7th Cir. 2004).
  • Residential Capital in Guise v. BWM Mortgage LLC, 377 F.3d 795 (7th Cir. 2004), 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 14914 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 25, 2003), in a matter of first impression in which the Seventh Circuit held solely that the “unreasonable” portion of any excessive charge may be attributed to finance charges in determining tolerances under the Truth in Lending Act.
  • Flagstar Bank in Letvin v. Lew (6th Cir. 2015), affirming the dismissal of a putative class action alleging Fair Housing Act and related violations.

Richard’s enforcement and compliance experience includes the representation of:

  • Two major overseas banks in United States operations and licensing matters.
  • Multiple lenders in COVID-19 pandemic-related issues.
  • A national mortgage lender in a long-standing dispute with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Multiple consumer lenders and servicers in the defense of CFPB enforcement matters.
  • Servicers and mortgage lenders in connection with state attorneys general and state banking and federal agency investigations arising out of alleged defects in residential foreclosure processes.
  • A major financial institution in a multimillion-dollar dispute with a federal agency over servicing transfer rights in connection with a large commercial property.
  • Lenders, servicers and insurers in connection with audits, market conduct examinations, civil investigative demands (CIDs), subpoenas, grand jury matters and enforcement activities.

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  • Quoted, “5 Questions After High Court’s Ruling In FHFA Challenge,” Law360, June 25, 2021
  • Quoted, “Confusion over CFPB underwriting rule persists,” American Banker, May 7, 2021
  • Quoted, “The Coming Russell Rebalancing Judgment Day,” Bank Director, May 4, 2021
  • Quoted, “CFPB, OCC on collision course over who regulates fintechs,” American Banker, January 12, 2021
  • Quoted, “Stimulus law may put disputes over PPP agent fees to rest for banks,” American Banker, December 29, 2020
  • Quoted, “‘Enigmatic’ CFPB chief could drop more surprises in a second Trump term,” American Banker, October 2, 2020
  • Quoted, “Banks, consumers groups to CFPB: Don’t rush overhaul of redlining law,” American Banker, August 11, 2020
  • Quoted, “FHFA’s challenge: Convincing Supreme Court it’s not CFPB,” American Banker, July 14, 2020
  • Quoted, “FHFA leadership structure on shaky ground after CFPB ruling,” American Banker, July 6, 2020
  • Quoted, “Kraninger wants more money for CFPB. White House has a different plan.” American Banker, February 20, 2020
  • Quoted, “Software Provider Seeks Ax Of Loan Servicer’s Antitrust Suit,” Law360, January 3, 2020
  • Quoted, “What CFPB’s Day in Court Will Mean for FHFA,” American Banker, November 1, 2019
  • Quoted, “What Supreme Court case means for CFPB’s future,” American Banker, October 21, 2019
  • Mentioned, “Ford Motor Credit Demands $112M From Dealership Chain for Fraud Scheme,” Auto Finance News, January 14, 2019
  • Quoted, “CFPB walks tightrope in effort to define ‘abusive’ practices,” American Banker, November 11, 2018
  • Quoted, “In a twist, Mulvaney now defending CFPB enforcement powers,” American Banker, July 25, 2018
  • Quoted, “NY Ruling Could Fuel Push To Turn CFPB Into Commission,” Law360, June 25, 2018
  • Quoted, “Chaos atop CFPB could get worse after appeals court ruling,” American Banker, June 26, 2018
  • Quoted, “Another judge says CFPB structure is unconstitutional,” American Banker, June 21, 2018
  • Interviewed, “Analysis: For Smallest Banks, Regulatory Relief Bill Not a Game Changer,” SNL Financial, May 25, 2018
  • Interviewed, “Mulvaney response to CFPB data security gaps baffles cyber experts,” American Banker, April 23, 2018
  • Quoted, “A $1B Wells Fargo Fine Would Be Largest Against a Bank in CFPB History,” SNL Financial, April 19, 2018
  • Quoted, “CFPB’s Mulvaney shows lighter touch with tribal lenders,” American Banker, March 16, 2018
  • Interviewed, “Deregulation Comes to Consumer Finance,” American Lawyer, February 12, 2018
  • Interviewed, “What happens to CFPB if Mulvaney becomes Trump’s chief of staff?” American Banker, February 9, 2018
  • Quoted, “With bipartisan support, bill to undo Obama-era ‘Operation Choke Point’ awaits action in Senate,” Legal NewsLine, January 22, 2018
  • Quoted, “Consumer bureau dropping lawsuits but states are filling the gap, lawyers say,” S&P Global, January 3, 2018

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “The FTX Collapse and Bankruptcy: Lessons for Financial Services Lawyers,” Meritas Financial Services Practice Group Meeting, Charleston, SC, March 24, 2023
  • Speaker, “ECOA: Current Issues with Regulation B,” Lorman Live Webinar, September 8, 2021
  • Speaker, “General Session: Major Litigation,” MBA Live: Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Conference, May 26, 2021
  • Moderator, “Navigating the Complexities of Mortgage Origination in the Pandemic and Beyond,” 27th National Forum on Residential Mortgage Regulatory Enforcement, American Conference Institute, November 18, 2020
  • Moderator, “Mortgage Origination in a Pandemic: Anticipated Disputes Between Lenders, Borrowers, and Private-Label Market Investors Seeking Buybacks for Loans in Forbearance,” American Conference Institute’s 27th National Forum on Residential Mortgage Regulatory Enforcement & Litigation, November 17, 2020
  • Speaker, “Class Action Litigation and Settlement Nuances,” American Conference Institute’s 31st National Forum on Consumer Finance Class Actions and Government Enforcement, July 24, 2019
  • Speaker, “Litigation Forum: FDCPA and Servicing,” Mortgage Banking Association’s Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference, May 5, 2019

Thought Leadership

  • Co-author, “What FTC’s ‘Penalty Offense Notices’ Mean For Companies,” Law360, October 19, 2021
  • Co-author, “Mortgage Servicers Should Prepare To Be In CFPB Crosshairs,” Law360, June 3, 2021
  • Co-author, “OCC Hits the Brakes on Crypto and Fintech: What Next?” Securities Operations, June 1, 2021
  • Author, “CFPB’s Busy 2020 May Foretell Regulatory Uptick Ahead,” Law360, January 15, 2021
  • Co-author, “Traps For The Unwary In Class Actions Targeting PPP Lenders,” Law360, May 26, 2020
  • Co-author, “Four-Way Stalemate: Recent Developments in Regulatory Compliance for Fintech Companies and Marketplace Lenders,” Business Lawyer, Vol. 75, No. 2, Spring 2020
  • Co-author, “6 CFPB Areas To Watch In 2020,” Law360, January 28, 2020
  • Co-author, “Mortgage Industry in Flux: Fewer Regulatory Headwinds, but Technology and Higher Interest Rates Present Ongoing Challenges,” MBA Insights, February 25, 2019
  • Co-author, “Two Trials and Other Developments as RMBS Litigation Continues Unabated,” Business Lawyer, Vol. 73, No. 2, Spring 2018
  • Co-author, “Interest on Escrow Funds? Yes, Even From National Banks, Says Ninth Circuit in ‘Lusnak,’” The Recorder, April 9, 2018
  • Co-author, “ACE in the Hole: Developments Since ACE Securities in Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Litigation,” Business Lawyer, Vol. 72, Iss. 2, Spring 2017
  • Co-author, “Court to CFPB: Unconstitutional and Wrong on RESPA,” JD Supra, October 11, 2016
  • Author, “First Nail in the Coffin for No-Injury Suits? Supreme Court Makes Clear the Days of Hyper-Technical Lawsuit Claims May Be Over,” ABA Consumer Financial Services Newsletter, July 2016
  • Co-author, “Madden High Court Denial—Much Ado About Not Much,” Law360, June 27, 2016
  • Co-author, “Greener Pastures Ahead for Class Action Bar,” Daily Journal, May 2016.
  • Co-author, “Recent Developments in Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Litigation,” Business Lawyer, Vol. 71, Iss. 2, April 11, 2016
  • Co-author, “Class Action Settlement Considerations: Ten Tips for a Successful Settlement (The Case Law),” Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel Insights, December 2015

Awards and Recognition

Awards and Recognition

Ranked, Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation) (USA - Nationwide), Chambers & Partners, multiple years

Leadership and Community

Fellow, American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers

Fellow, American College of Mortgage Attorneys

Board of Governors, Conference on Consumer Finance Law

Member, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel


Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M.

State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D.

Vanderbilt University, B.A., cum laude


  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • New York
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