Alan S. Kaplinsky—a Ballard Spahr partner who defended many of the first consumer class actions brought against financial institutions and who pioneered the use of pre-dispute arbitration provisions in consumer contracts—will receive the prestigious Senator William Proxmire Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers on Saturday evening.

Mr. Kaplinsky, who leads the nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Group at Ballard Spahr, will receive the award at the College's 18th Annual Dinner in Montreal. The award is granted periodically to a person whose career has produced significant contributions to the field of consumer financial services law. 

"When I began practicing law, consumer financial services law was an arcane little field to which nobody paid much attention. It is now vastly larger and more complex with the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Mr. Kaplinsky said. “I navigated those changes alongside my fellow members of the College. To be given a lifetime achievement award from this preeminent group of colleagues is a thrill and a profound honor.”

Mr. Kaplinsky was the first president of the College, from 1996 to 1998. He is one of only a few lawyers in the country to have been routinely ranked in Band 1 by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of consumer financial services regulation. Chambers calls him “a guru of consumer financial services on both the regulatory and litigation sides,” “the gold standard in consumer financial services,” and “the father of class action [waiver] clauses in credit card agreements.” His clients include many of the world’s largest financial institutions. 

Mr. Kaplinsky is regularly quoted in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, American Banker, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Last year, he received the National Law Journal Litigation Trailblazers Award for his work in consumer financial services law. In addition, his Group produces the American Bar Association award-winning blog, CFPB Monitor.

"When Alan joined Ballard in 1995, we knew we were getting a first-rate consumer finance lawyer; we did not realize then that we were acquiring a visionary who would transform the firm," Ballard Spahr Chair Mark Stewart said. "No one is better than Alan at anticipating trends, and his thoughts on the state of the financial services industry are sought by clients, regulators, and practitioners. This is just one reason CFPB Monitor is a must-read for anyone with an interest in this area of law. Alan's voice is, both literally and figuratively, the most powerful in the consumer financial services industry."

Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group was founded by Mr. Kaplinsky in 1995 and has grown to become one of the largest and best regarded in the legal industry. It is home to more than 100 attorneys nationwide who advise financial institutions of every size and type on regulatory matters, assist in the design and documentation of credit products, and represent clients in class actions, regulatory enforcement proceedings, and other lawsuits.