Coronavirus Information and Update: Fall 2021 Plans

Consumer Financial Law & Regulation

  • Typically offered every other year

Consumer Financial Law and Regulation - Professor Per Olstad

  • Course Number: LAW-328
  • Course Type: Foundational
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: In 2008, the world economy experienced a global collapse in housing markets. The effects quickly spiraled into other consumer financial markets – including student loans, credit cards, and auto loans – and into the broader economy. The ensuing “Great Recession” caused massive upheaval in our political and economic lives. Regulation of consumer finance became nightly news fodder as policymakers and the general public struggled to understand what had happened and how to recover from a “once-in-lifetime” financial crisis. Two years later, the Congress enacted the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (the CFPA). Central to the CFPA was an idea put forward by then-Harvard Law Professor, Elizabeth Warren – creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The next several years saw a flurry of new research, regulations, litigation, and government programs aimed at protecting individual consumers and preventing future financial crises. Which seemed to work, for the next decade.

    Enter COVID-19. While it is far too soon to predict what will happen to the global economy in the wake of the current financial crisis, there has already been significant impact on individual consumers and on consumer financial markets. The question now is what government policies, industry practices, and legal interventions can do to mitigate those impacts and best position people to navigate their uncertain financial futures.

    As consumer finance’s impacts on individual and macroeconomic structures have become more clear, it has increased in importance within the legal community. This course will engage students in the basic principles, legal theories, and policy debates of consumer financial law and regulation. It will focus, in particular, on the federal consumer law statues and implementing regulations - and their state law parallels - that establish the legal framework for consumer finance. Students will have opportunities to sharpen their analytical skills through assigned readings, classroom discussions, and written assignments.

    The course is designed to provide a solid basis in consumer law as a “stand-alone” course, or for those students interested in exploring consumer law issues in greater depth, as a complement to the Consumer Protection Litigation class.

    This class is offered every other year, alternating with Consumer Protection Litigation.

  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: Final exam, one short written assignment, and classroom discussion
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no