Overview

Jennifer M. Keas is a partner and consumer financial services lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP where she litigates complex, high-stakes cases and other lawsuits and defends clients in investigations and proceedings initiated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as other matters involving regulatory agencies or state attorneys general.

Ms. Keas regularly provides clients with regulatory and compliance advice on issues arising under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act, and other federal and state consumer financial services laws. This includes proactively helping to find legal solutions for challenging business problems and counseling clients on matters such as: 

  • consumer contracts and disclosures 
  • business arrangements under RESPA, including marketing and advertising relationships and the establishment of affiliated business arrangements and joint ventures 
  • fees, pricing, and new financial products or services 
  • loan originator compensation 
  • ability-to-repay and qualified mortgage requirements 
  • mortgage marketing and advertising practices
  • issues relating to consumer privacy, data security, and document retention
  • fair housing and fair lending
  • management of risk posed by class actions and potentially unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices 
  • compliance review and development of compliance policies and procedures

As an experienced litigator and trial attorney, Ms. Keas’ diverse practice includes class action defense, RESPA litigation, defense of claims under unfair trade practice and consumer protection laws, environmental litigation, cases involving complex electronic discovery, appellate matters, issues affecting proprietary post-secondary schools, and other corporate defense work.

Recognition

Ms. Keas was selected for inclusion in the 2014  2016 Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers – Rising Stars® lists for her work in business litigation.

Thought Leadership

Ms. Keas is a frequent writer and speaker on topics of significance to the residential real estate and consumer finance industries, including as a contributor to the Consumer Class Defense Counsel (www.consumerclassdefensecounsel.com), a blog devoted to significant news and developments in the consumer financial services arena, and various publications for the Real Estate Services Providers Council, Inc. (RESPRO).

Ms. Keas has also assisted in the development and preparation of amicus briefs to inform the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate courts about how their decisions will affect businesses.

Ms. Keas has been a co-presenter for numerous web conferences, including:

  • “CFPB’s Prospect Consent Order – What Does it Mean to You and Your Real Estate and Title Partners” (February 2017)
  • “Responding to Government Investigations, (May 2015)”
  • “CFPB Enforcement Update: Takeaways and Future Areas of Focus,” (February 2014)

Firm Leadership

Ms. Keas serves as a hiring partner on the firm’s Recruiting Committee, where she is committed to recruiting talented and diverse attorneys to succeed at the firm.

Community Engagement

In addition to her legal work with the firm, Ms. Keas is committed to pro bono work and charitable work. She is a member of Foley’s Charity Committee for the D.C. office.

Education

Ms. Keas graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., 2006), where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and graduated with distinction. She earned her B.A., with honors, from the University of Wisconsin.

Representative Matters

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We represent PEG in connection with an investigation conducted by the Massachusetts Attorney General into various recruiting and educational activities conducted by for-profit schools operating in the state, including PEG. On December 11, 2014, PEG and the AG’s office reached a settlement for approximately $3.75 million in consideration. In September 2015, the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure initiated a confidential investigation into PEG. That investigation is ongoing.
Secured a $23 million victory against Sprint in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of 19 telecom carriers owned by CenturyLink that provide local telephone service in 18 states. Sprint had refused to pay access charges for traffic originating on cable companies’ networks in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The April 29 federal appeals court decision affirmed the final judgment in favor of CenturyLink in the amount of $23,376,213.76 that had been entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, on December 29, 2011, after two trials and numerous motions filed by Sprint during more than two years of litigation. Michael J. Lockerby, partner and co-chair of the Washington, D.C. Litigation Department, served as lead counsel for CenturyLink at the trial and appellate level. CenturyLink is the nation’s third largest telecommunications company. The dispute between the two carriers originated from intercommunication agreements (ICAs) formed under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Avoiding telecom regulatory jargon, Foley attorneys presented the ICA dispute as a simple straightforward breach of contract claim.
Foley secured a $23 million victory against Sprint in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of 19 telecom carriers owned by CenturyLink that provide local telephone service in 18 states. Sprint had refused to pay access charges for traffic originating on cable companies’ networks in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The federal appeals court decision affirmed the final judgment in favor of CenturyLink in the amount of $23,376,213.76, after two trials and numerous motions filed during more than two years of litigation. This is an important decision for the telecom industry because it allows carriers to enforce their interconnection agreements regardless of changes in the regulatory environment affecting intercarrier compensation in general and Internet traffic in particular. CenturyLink is the nation’s third largest telecommunications company. The dispute between the two carriers originated from intercommunication agreements (ICAs) formed under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Avoiding telecom regulatory jargon, Foley attorneys presented the ICA dispute as a simple straightforward breach of contract claim. At both the trial and appellate level, the federal courts in Richmond, Virginia rejected Sprint’s arguments that ICA disputes cannot be decided by federal courts until after they have been presented to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or state public utility commissions. Also, the decision affirmed that telecom carriers can enter into private contracts making access charges payable on traffic originating in VoIP format regardless of how the FCC has classified such traffic in the past or may rule in the future.