An East Tennessee based, national consumer finance and housing company, seeks a service-oriented, client-focused attorney to thrive in a legal/regulatory compliance position in its corporate legal department. This role is based in Maryville, TN, just outside of Knoxville.
A person who’s a great fit for this position will exhibit these primary qualities:
Genuine humility and a desire to put the interests of others ahead of their own
Desire to build authentic relationships and connect with others
Strong technical background
Ability to effectively direct and lead complex initiatives
Capability to work independently while maintaining a team-based focus to provide world-class client service
Hungry work ethic and a commitment to getting a ton of stuff done
We are looking for a specialized corporate attorney to serve as an in-house counsel for all aspects of the home sales and financing process (for a non-depository; non-bank lender), including both residential mortgage lending (i.e., real estate-related mortgage lending), non-real estate residential mortgage lending (e.g., manufactured housing lending), and insurance. You will advise internal clients in relation to housing products - factory-built housing (manufactured and modular homes) and site-built homes, as well as lending products, including residential consumer loans, mortgage loans, government-insurance lending programs, purchases, refinances and insurance products.
While the position is heavily focused on consumer financial services, other types of regulatory compliance work will be included. For example, we’ve completed recent projects relating to life, boat, RV and auto insurance sales (state insurance laws) and different types of housing units (state building codes). As such, a successful applicant will need to apply a regulatory mindset to non-consumer finance regulatory projects.
The scope of the position involves lending originations and servicing (including licensing, default servicing and loss mitigation), marketing legal review, and compliance work at the state and federal levels – i.e., helping develop new products, drafting forms, applying new laws, implementing compliance program initiatives, developing policies and procedures, etc.
This position leads legal initiatives at all levels and throughout the organization, so experience supporting decision making with senior level executives is strongly preferred. There will be a significant project-management feel to the position, as our legal team remains engaged on projects through implementation, working with department project managers, Tech staff, senior management, and other internal clients.
The Real Difference Makers
It is also VERY important to us to be the kind of Legal Department that connects with our clients and genuinely seeks to PROTECT them and SUPPORT them as they pursue their interests. With that in mind, in addition to the technical qualifications outlined above, we are looking for the following qualities:
Genuine Humility – We truly believe that when we put the interests of our clients ahead of our own, we are more valuable and productive. But humility is not timid or passive – far from it. If helping others be successful brings you satisfaction, then you will like it here. In contrast, if you are “looking out for #1” – and that #1 is you – then there is likely a better environment for you somewhere else.
Self-starter, self-directed – You will likely be learning a new industry (i.e., manufactured housing, tiny homes, etc.) with new issues. Therefore, you must have the ability to get up to speed quickly, learn about processes, etc. If you are more comfortable with someone directing your day-to-day activity – i.e., telling you exactly what to do - then this is not the position for you. But, if you like the idea of rolling up your sleeves and actively growing in new areas, then this might be your perfect fit.
Desire and ability to deliver good client/customer service and create a good experience– Along with all of the technical work we do, we like to make this a great place to work as well. As such, the successful candidate will be energized by helping clients reach their desired goals (e.g., finding alternative solutions, listening to non-legal points of views). Developing greater self-awareness and a focus on continuous improvement are key values of our team. In contrast, if you prefer to work independently with little feedback, stay out of implementation planning and deliver legal memos, this might not be the right position for you.
Fearless – You are undaunted by new challenges, new areas of legal work, new ways of thinking about things; and welcome the uncomfortable. You do not shrink back from difficult conversations or complicated challenges, but are energized by them. How do you know if you’re fearless? Think about the last time a client brought you a crazy new idea, if your first instinct was “how do we understand the issues and where do we find the answers” and you’re willing to have the tough, direct conversations with the client about what they can/can’t do. . . you’re probably fearless.
Ability to develop and foster authentic relationships – We try to work hard and enjoy one another’s company. We believe that when we develop strong relationships – both within our department and with our internal clients - our work product and service to the company are better. To be clear, we are not talking about extroversion vs. introversion. We are looking for candidates who have a sincere desire to connect with others in a way that is authentic to them.
Comfort in and ability to lead – You must be comfortable presenting to, interacting with, directing activity of and leading meetings involving the company’s most senior management. Much of our work is project-focused – the corporate legal department plays an integral role in directing the activities relating to the projects (as opposed to functioning as a detached legal specialist or passive compliance advisor). If you tend to be passive or don’t like to direct activity, then there might be a better fit for you somewhere else.
Desire to work in an innovative and nimble environment – As a company and a legal department, we value innovation and are always looking at smart ways to grow and evolve. This isn’t just in how we advise our clients, but also in how we work. If the idea of “try a lot of stuff and keep what works” does not energize you, this might not be the right fit.
Team-focused work – We believe that we are better As such, we evaluate, assign, and follow-up on legal work in a very team-focused manner (applying an agile-type process, as opposed to individually-siloed environment). If the idea of being accountable to and transparent with others on the Legal TEAM energizes you, then you will likely thrive.
Hungry – A successful candidate will have a hunger to go above and beyond the minimum to get work done. If you love to make commitments and deliver on them, set deadlines and hit them, you’ll fit right in. If your true passion is something else in your life and work merely serves to finance that interest – and there is nothing wrong with that by the way - then there are less demanding roles out there.
Required technical qualifications:
Active license to practice law in at least one US jurisdiction
At least 7 years of relevant experience
Recent and consistent work with state and federal compliance requirements
Experience with a multi-state law compliance practice
Substantial experience with implementing the Dodd Frank Act and CFPB mortgage regulations, and other related consumer laws - TILA/Regulation Z, ECOA/Regulation B, RESPA/Regulation X, HMDA, FDCPA, FCRA, FACTA/Regulation V, UDAAP laws, GLBA/Regulation P & Safeguards Rule, RFPA, OFAC, PATRIOT Act, and state Uniform Commercial Codes.
Preferred additional experience:
In-house attorney experience
Experience managing others (could attorneys, support staff, licensing or compliance staff)
Experience providing legal / regulatory support to marketing and advertising teams.