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Profile: Andrew F. Campbell – Counsel, Ober|Kaler

When Andrew F. Campbell joined Ober|Kaler’s Financial Institutions Group in Baltimore as Counsel in December, it wasn’t the first time he’d gone to work for a private law firm. This time, though, he has years of valuable experience as an in-house counsel behind him.

Andrew F. Campbell

Campbell’s first job out of law school was as an attorney at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The former economics major calls his several years there “an excellent opportunity,” and he recommends government service for any young lawyer.

Shifting to the firm of Muldoon, Murphy & Faucette in Washington, D.C., “was an easy step,” he said. Campbell was recruited by former Office of the Comptroller of the Currency attorneys who had already moved there. “This was an opportunity to use the skills he had developed at the OCC,” he said. The middle of the S&L crisis was an exciting time to be at the firm.

Campbell then worked at Miles & Stockbridge before becoming senior counsel at Wells Fargo & Co., where, to quote from his Ober|Kaler online biography, “he led the private education credit practice, he drafted and negotiated contracts governing all aspects of the practice area’s business, including business acquisition and information technology agreements, and designed and implemented compliance and training programs.”

Campbell said he found this in-house work rewarding: “You have one client — all your colleagues and you are working toward the same goal. You become a team that is a cross-section within your company. … When you’re in-house, you’re right down the hall. It’s a real collegial experience.”

“Becoming more of a generalist” and “having much greater interaction with non-lawyers” were other aspects Campbell said he enjoyed. “You develop an enhanced ability to put yourself into your client’s shoes” so that you can “give your advice to them in a way that’s meaningful.”

“Being in-house, you’re invaluable in explaining legal terms,” he said. “You learn to speak in plain English.” Many clients “don’t need a 20-page memo — they want a straight answer that will allow them to move on and complete their project.”

Campbell continued to handle state and federal regulatory issues involving consumer credit, fair lending, mortgage lending, and banking after joining Sallie Mae Inc. as associate general counsel. He spent three months lobbying the Utah legislature for a change in the state’s consumer credit code to free students with loans from burdensome provisions. He successfully argued that the provisions did not apply to the former students.

At Edison Worldwide LLC, Campbell was not only general counsel but also a vice president. He left there to be compliance counsel of B Compliant, a Virginia law practice that serves the mortgage banking and financial services industry.

Campbell said he was drawn to Ober|Kaler late last year because of its expansion in areas of financial law that interest him.

“Life at a law firm is a mirror image of in-house life,” he said, but you must be more sensitive to a client’s financial needs.

Campbell shares his legal knowledge, pro bono, through the Maryland Foreclosure Prevention Project, meeting with homeowners to talk and check their paperwork. He also participates in its listserv, explaining issues.

Andrew Campbell

Education: B.A., LeMoyne College; J.D., Catholic University Law School.

Resides in: Columbia

Daily commute: 20 minutes

Most recent vacation: Virginia Beach, Va.

Favorite books: “Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant”; “Right Ho, Jeeves” by P.G. Wodehouse.

Most recently read: CFPB Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures

Favorite quotations: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” — Bob Hope

What I like best about my current position: A very collegial environment with a diverse group of financial services clients. The legal issues presented by the rapidly changing regulatory landscape are interesting and challenging.

Local heroes: Johnny Unitas and Brooks Robinson