"Who'd you piss off to get this assignment?"
"I don't envy you this task one bit."
1. Who, Me?
The short and snarky answer to "Who needs to pay attention?" is everybody. The congressional response to the major financial meltdown was to enact equally major legislation. The responsibility for economic stability is now on the shoulders of pretty much everyone in corporate America.
2. Immediate Issues
Unless specified otherwise, Dodd-Frank's provisions became law the day President Obama signed the bill. But many elements still need to go through an extensive rulemaking process, followed by a phase-in period that could take years to complete, depending on stipulations in each particular section.
3. Murky Waters
Far more extensive than what's known about Dodd-Frank is the list of what's still unknown. Many of the rules lack explicit definitions, so it's difficult for in-house counsel even to know where to begin preparing for their eventual implementation.
4. Midterm Switch
Democrats held the majority in both the House and Senate as Dodd-Frank wound its way through Congress.
5. Getting a Grip
So what's a weary in-house attorney to do? Across the board, experts say that it's crucial to comment during the rulemaking process, whether through a trade organization or individually on behalf of your company.