"I doubt they'll just challenge the validity of [the rule] but Cordray's appointment as well," he said.
While a coalition led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed suit in June alleging the CFPB is unconstitutional, it's not clear that they have standing but a debt-collection lawyer almost surely would. "There's still a cloud hanging over the appointment," Kaplinsky said.
At the FTC
As merger activity rebounds, Kelley Drye & Warren partner William MacLeod predicted that "on both the competition and consumer protection sides, we're going to see an agency facing a great deal of enforcement imperatives."
The key variable: Who will head the agency? Lawyers report that Chairman Jon Leibowitz has been talking to firms in Washington about moving to the private sector.
FTC spokeswoman Cecelia Prewett said via email that the chairman "has made no formal announcement on his plans."
Many lawyers say they think Leibowitz will wait to announce his departure until the FTC makes a move in its biggest ongoing investigation: a probe of Google Inc.'s practices in the search and search-advertising markets.
Once Leibowitz departs, some lawyers think it's likely Obama will name one of the current Democratic commissioners, Julie Brill or Edith Ramirez, to head the agency.
"Both Edith and Julie are aggressive but sensible," said Hogan Lovells antitrust partner Janet McDavid. "They've been quite balanced."
Also mentioned is Bureau of Economics head Howard Shelanski, O'Melveny & Myers partner Richard Parker and University of Colorado Law School dean Philip Weiser.