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  1. Fintech
  2. Leading lawyers
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Latham & Watkins LLP's multi-disciplinary fintech industry group marries the firm's deep experience in handling technology transactions with financial regulatory expertise. The group has a good track record acting for emerging companies, and recently advised Blockchain Luxembourg on the company's $40m series B preferred stock financing. Another client is Thesys CAT regarding advice on legal, governance and compliance matters relating to its work on the US Securities and Exchange Commission's consolidated audit trail (a database designed to track the life cycle of transactions on the US equity and options markets.) New York-based Stephen Wink is leading advice to blockchain company ConsenSys on range of regulatory, tax and technology matters concerning the formation of its venture capital and Token Foundry businesses.  In another work highlight, the practice assisted Dynasty with the establishment of its real estate trading platform. The firm's already impressive bench was further bolstered by the arrival of Todd Beauchamp from Paul Hastings LLP to lead the payments and emerging financial services practice from Washington DC. Former practice head Vivian Maese left the practice to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

Morrison & Foerster LLP boasts extensive financial services regulations experience and leverages an interdepartmental team to handle a breadth of matters in the fintech space, with particular strength in consumer lending and mobile payments. Recent work includes advising online lender Elevate Credit on its IPO and assisting SoftBank Group with several investments in fintech companies including the $500m series F financing of Social Finance and $250m series F financing of Kabbage. The practice acts for both developers and providers of fintech, and also financial institutions investing in technology, including in emerging payment and lending solutions. Other experience includes assisting e-commerce companies in utilising payment technologies. The group is jointly led by financial services expert Obrea Poindexter; Sean Ruff, who has particular experience with funds transmission and related compliance initiatives; corporate partner Eric McCrath in San Francisco; and Palo Alto-based Stephanie Sharron, who handles a range of technology, intellectual property, and data rights issues. The team was further bolstered with the arrival of Susan Gault-Brown from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, who boasts expertise in securities and derivatives law. All attorneys mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Fielding a multidisciplinary team with broad experience, Paul Hastings LLP‚Äôs practice boasts a wide range of capabilities handling matters across the fintech sector. The group's impressive client roster ranges from global corporates, such as Samsung ‚ÄĒ which it advised on a range of privacy, security, data ownership, advertising and marketing issues relating to the launch of Samsung Pay ‚ÄĒ to start-up companies including Even. The firm advised the latter on the launch of its financial health app in collaboration with Wal-Mart. The team has experience assisting clients navigating the cryptocurrency market and regulatory environment; Altanta-based practice head Chris Daniel¬†and cybersecurity and data expert Behnam Dayanim¬†in Washington DC are leading advice to Coinbase on the passing of a North Carolina state house bill allowing cryptocurrency exchanges to operate, as it is exempt from traditional money transmission laws. The group also leverages its M&A capabilities in transactions, such as assisting Moneygram on the recent proposed acquisition by Ant Financial; advising Paysafe Group on US regulatory aspects of its $3.9bn acquisition by Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners; and acting for Circle Internet Financial¬†in connection with elements of its $400m acquisition of Poloniex. Other key names to note include San Francisco-based Thomas Brown, particularly for antitrust and competition in the financial services industry; Washington DC-based¬†of counsel Lawrence Kaplan, who attracts praise for his ‚Äėoutstanding expertise in banking related matters‚Äô; cybersecurity expert Robert Silvers; and structured credit partner Richard Davis¬†(both also based in Washington DC). Silicon Valley Bank, cryptocurrency exchange Gemini Exchange and Barclays are all clients.

Boasting impressive cross-border capabilities, Clifford Chance combines regulatory, transactional and litigation expertise and advises clients on a range of fintech matters, including marketplace lending, blockchain, smart contracts, initial coin offerings, artificial intelligence and insurtech. Its client roster spans from established technology sector players, such as TBG and Imagination Technologies Group plc, to R3 (a consortium of more than financial institutions), and emerging start-ups and scale-ups. In an example of the latter, Gary Boss is advising Slice Insurance Technologies on several corporate and regulatory matters, including on a joint venture with a large US insurance carrier and on the structuring of a similar joint venture in Japan. In another work highlight, David Felsenthal and Washington DC-based litigator Megan Gordon assisted AANDB TECH with privacy policy and terms and conditions relating to the set up of its FINCONECTA initiative, a platform aiming to integrate solutions between fintech companies and financial institutions. The group also has experience representing clients in the ICO market with investigations and enforcement matters. Robert Villani is another key name to note, particularly for capital market related instructions. Except where otherwise stated, all individuals mentioned are based in the firm's New York office.

New York-based David Luce heads DLA Piper LLP (US)’s multidisciplinary fintech and blockchain practice which has expertise handling regulatory, corporate, securities, M&A, capital markets and intellectual property matters. Its impressive client roster ranges from providers of financial infrastructure software, payment solutions, alternative lending platforms and analytics companies to venture capital and those in the insurtech space. The group's broad capabilities include acting for technology companies in financing transactions, such as recently assisting Kabbage with its $525m asset-backed securitization transaction and advising Doc.ai Incorporated, a developer of decentralized conversational AI technology, on its SAFT offering. Other recent work includes assisting sponsors and investors in the cryptocurrency space and advising the firm's broad client base on regulatory issues. The team’s expertise in acting for emerging companies was bolstered by the arrival of Margo Tank in Washington DC and David Whitaker in Chicago from Buckley LLP.

The notable breadth of the interdisciplinary fintech practice at Goodwin spans alternative lending, bank charters and partnerships, digital currency and blockchain technology, insurtech, payments and wealth management matters. Silicon Valley-based Grant Fondo is leading a team representing Tezos Foundation in state and federal securities class actions related to the launch of its blockchain platform. A team also acted for Coinbase in litigation, and successfully limited the scope of US Internal Revenue Service's attempt to use a 'John Doe' summons to obtain records for all account holders. The group's non-contentious experience includes advising Circle Internet Financial, a mobile-payments company, on its acquisition of Poloniex, a leading token exchange and cryptocurrency trading platform, and the formation of crypto-asset funds, Electric Capital Partners and Scalar Capital Management. Washington DC-based counsel David Solander and private investment fund partner Ian O’Donnell in San Francisco jointly lead a team which acts as lead fund and management counsel for Meta Stable and advised the client on restructuring planning and compliance matters. Other key names to note include head of the alternative lending and payments group, Mike Whalen, who is based in Washington DC and Mitzi Chang in San Francisco, who jointly leads the digital currency and blockchain technology practice alongside Fondo. Recent additions to the team include Scott Joachim, who splits his time between the Silicon Valley and New York offices, and David Johanson and Tamira Goldberg who are based in Silicon Valley and New York respectively, and all joined from Fenwick & West LLP.

With significant experience acting for both technology companies and financial institutions Hogan Lovells US LLP offers an impressive breadth of expertise on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, smart contracts and AI, among other areas of fintech. The interdisciplinary practice is well-placed to assist emerging companies with a full range of issues and recently advised CertiK on the formation of its smart contract verification business, and on financing, intellectual property, employment and tax matters. The practice is equally adept at assisting financial institutions navigate the regulatory landscape relating to new technologies; Washington DC-based practice head Richard Schaberg is advising Cambridge Bancorp on taking warrants from start-up and early stage innovative borrowers. For blockchain technology Theodore Mlynar is a key name to note; he is acting for start-up company BlockTEST Global and for multinational corporates and other investors in blockchain solutions and cryptocurrencies. Another work highlight for the group was the representation of digital token trading platform EtherDelta in charges for an alleged registration violation with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nathaniel Gallon is also a key name; he has assisted Santander Fintech Limited with several transactions, including investments in online mortgage provider Roostify and Brazilian start-up Creditas.

The 'business savvy' practice at Mayer Brown is always 'up to date on the latest trends in emerging technology' in the financial sector. The group acts for both traditional financial institutions and established financial technology companies including Paypal and Square, which the team advises on a range of federal and state regulations. Washington DC-based David Beam , who is praised for his 'deep expertise' in this area, and Elizabeth Raymond in Chicago lead a team advising American Express and several of its subsidiaries in connection with a significant restructuring of its alternative payments and prepaid businesses. In another work highlight, a team led by the 'creative and flexible' Jerry Marlatt (who is based in New York) acted for LendingClub Corporation on a $300m consumer loan asset-backed securitization transaction involving the issuance by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond Credit Trust 2018-NP1 of asset-backed notes. The firm also defended NCR Corporation, Capital One, ABNB Federal Credit Union and SunTrust Banks in patent infringement claims brought by Capital Security Systems Corporation relating to the technology used in ATMs. Beam and Raymond head the practice alongside Steven Kaplan and Brad Peterson, who are based in Washington and Chicago respectively. 'Great negotiator' Rohith George in the Palo Alto office is a name to note for technology transformation projects.

With experience handling matters spanning a breadth of financial technologies, including alternative lending platforms, payment solutions, blockchain and AI, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's fintech group boasts a client roster ranging from banks, investment funds and other financial institutions to unicorn companies, such as Revolut and Stripe. Silicon Valley-based John Bautista has been advising the latter since its formation and most recently acted for Stripe and Goodwater Capital on a $93m investment round in Monzo. The practice is able to leverage its public policy team to assist clients with the evolving regulatory landscape; the group recently represented OnDeck Capital before the California Department of Business Oversight in its ongoing inquiry into the appropriate state regulatory framework for the online lending industry. In another work highlight, the firm assisted Barclays and RBC Capital Markets as joint lead book-running managers and representatives of the several underwriters with a follow-on public offering by Rapid7. New York-based partners Christopher Austin and Howard Altarescu, who have particular expertise in capital markets and finance respectively, jointly head the team alongside cyber, privacy and data expert Barrie VanBrackle in DC.

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The fintech practice at Perkins Coie LLP boasts impressive experience providing regulatory, transactional and strategic advice to clients operating and investing in the financial technology space. Illustrative of the team's expertise in cryptocurrency, Seattle-based practice head Dax Hansen and Marcelo Halpern in Chicago acted for Bloq in its launch of the Metronome (MET) cryptocurrency. The team is also advising Factom on financial regulatory and strategic matters relating to various cryptocurrency, tokenisation and other finance related operations, including cryptocurrency exchanges. In another work highlight, Hansen led a team which assisted Emergent Technology with a range of regulatory and compliance matters. Another client is Expedia, recently regarding the negotiation of a major partnership and services agreements between Expedia and various payment card agreements, and a complex license for financial transaction software. Joe Cutler is a key name to note for litigation, privacy and securities issues.

With impressive experience in the disruptive technology space, Cooley LLP's fintech practice handles a range of corporate, M&A and financing transactions. The group recently advised Avant on its $325m series E financing. It also acted for Velocity Private Equity in the series A financing of financial analytics platform Mines.io. In the M&A space, the practice advised business and financial software company Intuit on its acquisition of Applatix, and assisted Crowdrise with the sale of the company to GoFundMe. The team, led by  Alfred Browne, includes Boston-based commercial litigator Luke Cadigan who is a name to note for securities enforcement matters, internal investigations and regulatory compliance advice. The group added to its financial regulatory capabilities with the arrival of Boston-based Kenneth Juster from White & Case LLP. Marco Santori, a prominent name for blockchain advice, left the team to an in-house role at Blockchain (US).

The New York-based blockchain and financial technology team at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP fields a multidisciplinary team leveraging corporate, M&A, capital markets, financing, tax, intellectual property and litigation expertise. The group frequently acts for IBM in connection with investments into financial technology companies and advised the client on the formation of TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled shipping solution which was jointly developed by Maersk and IBM. Other recent work ranges from acting for financial technology solutions company DH Corporation on its C$4.8bn sale to Vista Equity Partner and representing American Express (AmEx) in litigation relating to allegations that AmEx and numerous other issuers of credit and charge cards conspired to shift certain costs of fraudulent charges from the card issuers to merchants. Other clients include FactSet and JPMorgan; the group is assisting the former with the $265m acquisition of automated trading solutions developer Portware and acted for the latter in connection with the arrangement of credit facilities totaling $7.55bn made available to Automatic Data Processing. Intellectual property expert David Kappos has particular experience advising on blockchain issues. Corporate partners Scott Bennett and Michael Mariani are other key names to note.

Dentons is considered 'a one-stop shop for legal services' for its financial technology sector clients. The group includes capital markets experts with significant experience handling matters in the consumer finance regulatory market, with the utilization of blockchain technology and digital currency constituting particular areas of strength. Practice heads John Holahan and Matthew Yoon (who are based in Washington and New York respectively) lead the team, which is also advising Peer Street, a peer to peer real estate lending platform, on a range of regulatory, licensing and real estate matters. The group furthermore counts student lending company CommonBond and Remitly, a consumer international money transfer platform, among its clients. Another key name to note is New York-based Charles Gelinas.

Technology and life sciences specialist firm Fenwick & West LLP attracts praise in particular for its M&A and investments capabilities in the fintech sector. Recent work highlights include acting for a consortium of 35 financial institutions in connection with a $107m capital investment in R3, an enterprise blockchain software firm, and assisting Axiom Zen with its $12 million financing for CryptoKitties, the world’s first game built on the Ethereum network. The firm also advised Redfin Corporation on its $159.2m IPO, a matter led by Seattle-based practice head Alan Smith . Michael Brown, based in the firm's San Francisco office, advised Coinbase on several transactions, including its acquisitions of start-up companies Memo.AI, HardFork and payment platform provider Earn Holdings. Privacy and cyber security group head James Koenig in New York and counsel Daniel Friedberg in Seattle, who heads the firm's payment systems practice, are also key names to note.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP frequently advises fintech companies, corporates, global banks, investors and other financial institutions on a range of matters, both as technology provider and customers. Two clients are the alternative lending platforms Lending Club and Ethos Lending, which the group is advising on a range of consumer compliance matters. Other recent work includes defending Kabbage’s core patents in inter partes re-examination proceedings and assisting Cross River Bank in connection with a revolving credit facility with Tally Technologies. Lisa Sotto and Aaron Simpson are key names to note for data privacy and cybersecurity, Jarrett Hale is highlighted for financial services litigation and compliance, and Dallas-based Peter Weinstock acts for financial institutions and financial service franchises on corporate and regulatory matters. The attorneys listed are all based in New York unless otherwise specified.

With 'a depth of industry experience', McGuireWoods LLP's fintech practice group focuses primarily on advising consumer facing companies and offers 'a practical approach to solving problems' and the 'ability to weave a concept into a highly regulated environment'. Its interdepartmental team boasts capabilities in transactional, contentious and regulatory matters and advised AvidXchange on a range of matters, including several financing rounds and its acquisition of Ariett, a leading provider of cloud-based payment software. San Franscisco-based David Reidy, who attracts praise for 'understanding both the client's goal and the constraints to achieve the goal, and still finding a method to a successful outcome', successfully represented Lending Club Corporation in a 'true lender' investigation brought by the West Virginia Attorney General. The group has experience advising on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and defended Credibly in a class action complaint alleging violation of the act. In other work highlights, it assisted Falfurrias Capital Partners III on investments into financial technologies companies Tax Guard and E-Technologies Group. Other key names to note include Susan Rodriguez in the Charlotte office and Chicago-based Sarah Zielinski for regulatory and commercial litigation respectively. Rodriguez, Zielinski and Reidy jointly lead the practice alongside corporate and securities specialist Richard Viola in Charlotte.

Reed Smith LLP's fintech group, led by Herb Kozlov, boasts a global reach and acts for established, emerging and innovative financial services companies. Key areas of expertise include advising on distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence for uses including cryptocurrency, smart contacts, payment solutions and alternative lending platforms. The practice regularly provides state and federal regulatory advice relating to the formation of businesses and joint ventures, ICOs and digital assets, and assists clients with other corporate, transactional and intellectual property matters. In addition to its strategic and advisory capabilities, the team includes litigators such as Neil Gray and Los Angeles-based counsel Raymond Kim, who have recently handled SEC investigations and tax-related litigation respectively. Bolstering its strong energy sector expertise, the group frequently advises its energy sector clients on financial technology and blockchain solutions. All attorneys listed are New York-based except where otherwise stated.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP's cross-departmental fintech practice group includes lawyers from its corporate and finance, litigation, and intellectual property departments combining 'phenomenal work ethic, insight and deal skills'.¬†The team is particularly adept at handling¬†investments in technology companies for private equity and venture capital clients, which include¬†Genstar Capital and Insight Venture Partners.¬†Jeffrey Poss¬†‚ÄĒ who has attracted praise from one client as being 'the single best transactional attorney with whom they work' ‚ÄĒ led a team alongside partners in London which acted for billing and payment solutions provider OSG Billing Services on its acquisition of London-based Communisis PLC. The practice is also advising BIDS Trading on regulatory matters relating to its¬†partnership with Bats Europe¬†for the creation of a block trading service for the European equity market. The group has been bolstered with the launch of a¬†Palo Alto office led by¬†technology transaction lawyers Tiffany Lee¬†and Matthew Berger¬†who recently joined from Paul Hastings LLP.

The practice at K&L Gates handles a range of regulatory, policy, and business issues surrounding the fintech space. Its multidisciplinary team advises on broad spectrum of securities, commodities, and consumer financial services issues, and fields its M&A, commercial and IP lawyers in corporate transactions. In recent work highlights, it assisted Brazilian-based fintech company NuBank on its $150m series E financing round and advised Wells Fargo as the lead investor on the Series C preferred stock financing of open source artificial intelligence platform H2O.ai. The group also acted for AI-X Exchange on the launch of their AI-based product for the inter-dealer broker industry; this included a token offering, seed funding, and additional commercial arrangements, as well as cross-border tax and employment advice. Corporate and transactional lawyer Robert Zinn, who splits his time between New York and Pittsburgh, and expert in prepaid and emerging payments systems Judith Rinearson (who is based both in the firm’s New York and London offices) jointly head the practice, which counts American Express, peer-to-peer lending platform Harmoney and pocket money card provider GoHenry among its clients.

Ropes & Gray LLP has particular experience assisting investment firms with the integration of, and investment in financial technology. Boston-based Edward Black and counsel Edward Baer in San Francisco jointly head the practice group; Black recently led a team which assisted Pacific Investment Management Company with its $20m investment and licensing agreement with Beacon Platform, a developer of cloud-based integrated data and financial analytics platforms. He also advised Willowbridge Associates on several matters including on issues around the acquisition and management of artificial intelligence, data and other technology systems, and in connection with the company’s fintech joint ventures. In another work highlight, the group acted for alternative asset firm TPG Capital and Eze Software (a provider of investment management solutions) in the $1.45bn sale of Eze Software to SS&C Technologies Holdings. Other key names to note include New York-based Sarah Davidoff for her experience handling the formation of funds focused on investing in cryptocurrencies, and IP litigator Leslie Spencer, based in the Silicon Valley office.

Led by corporate and finance partner Joel S. Telpner, the team at Sullivan & Worcester LLP has particular expertise handling matters relating to blockchain technology, including cryptocurrency. The practice advised Oneiro on all stages of the launch of a new cryptocurrency, ndau, including commercial and regulatory issues associated with its ICO. In another work highlight, Telpner led a team, including associate Mari Tomunen, which advised Gibraltar Stock Exchange on regulatory matters relating to the launch of the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange, the first regulated and licensed token sale platform and digital asset exchange operated by an EU-regulated stock exchange. Other key names to note include head of emerging companies and venture capital practice Scott Kaufman who joined the practice from Wiggin and Dana LLP.

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