Walter Zalenski


Washington, D.C.

New York

Walt Zalenski has more than 30 years of experience advising banks and other financial institutions, private equity firms, FinTechs, specialty lenders, retail installment credit providers, and other entities on bank regulatory consumer finance issues and corporate and transactional matters.

Walt provides counseling on financial services mergers and acquisitions, focusing on assisting private equity sponsors and strategic buyers in investments in bank and nonbank financial services firms, providing regulatory and transactional advice to identify and mitigate risk, and assisting buyers in obtaining regulatory approvals where necessary.

His work also includes a wide range of counseling and acting on behalf of clients in enforcement matters, including those involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the prudential bank regulators, as well as state attorneys general and other state authorities.

For 14 years in a row, Walt has been ranked nationally for his work in the area of Financial Services Regulation by Chambers USA. Clients noted that "He's extremely talented and has lots of wisdom," that he is "an outstanding lawyer" and “the guy who had all the history of why and when the regulations were put in place – his knowledge is amazing," with "expertise (that) spans a range of areas, including credit cards, auto finance, and mortgage lending." He also has been named a "Leading Lawyer" by the IFLR1000 for Financial Services Regulatory in the U.S., recognized by Best Lawyers for Financial Services Regulation Law, is a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers. He also serves as Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University.

Prior to joining Orrick, Walt was a partner at Buckley LLP in the firm’s Washington, D.C., and New York offices.

"Among the preeminent consumer finance attorneys in the country … An outstanding lawyer … His knowledge is amazing … He is quick to respond and provides comprehensive answers that meet our needs" - Chambers USA

  • Noteworthy matters include:

    • Acting on behalf of private equity sponsors acquirers in transactions involving payment processing, payment systems, automobile finance, credit reporting, specialty finance, loan servicing, marketplace lending, debt collection and money transmitting
    • Representing clients in contentious regulatory matters involving payment cards, debt collection and debt sales, credit scoring and fair lending, and marketing and sales practices