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Justin is a partner in the Firm’s Financial Institutions Group. His practice focuses on providing his clients with strategies and solutions for minimizing risk in the digital economy.

FinTech

Banks, lenders, payments companies, private equity and venture capital firms, and brick and mortar clients seek out Justin for his deep understanding of FinTech and emerging technologies. When clients’ issues relate to financial privacy, cryptocurrency, blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, data analytics, or other advances, Justin is uniquely qualified to help them navigate the legal and regulatory obstacles to innovation.

A National Law Journal Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and FinTech Trailblazer and cited authority on digital currency, lending, and FinTech issues, Justin is a leader and innovator. His notable accomplishments include:

  • Founding and chairing the nation’s first FinTech-focused bar association committee;
  • Creating a Financial and Emerging Technologies Course that Justin teaches at Northwestern Law School;
  • Organizing the first legal-themed digital currencies conference, the Block (Legal) Tech Conference;
  • Founding the FinTech practice at two AmLaw200 law firms;
  • Being the only attorney recognized as an emerging leader by the Bank Administration Institute;
  • Drafting the first law review article focused on financial privacy and government-backed or central bank digital currencies; and
  • Being the first attorney to argue the admissibility of distributed ledger entries before two federal judges.

Justin is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law where he teaches Financial and Emerging Technologies and the Law. Regardless of the legal issue or the technology involved, Justin prides himself on being his clients go-to attorney for the future of financial services.

Litigation & Disputes

In addition to his deep knowledge of technology and financial services, Justin is an experienced litigator who has led dozens of matters, ranging from consumer class actions to complex contract and commercial disputes. In the last few years, for example, Justin has first- or second-chaired myriad litigation matters with millions or billions of dollars at stake. Recently, moreover, Justin secured a $15 million summary judgment award on behalf of a foreign manufacturer in federal court.

Representative Experience

Banking

  • Guide over two dozen bank clients (with assets ranging from $200m to over $10 billion) through partnerships with FinTech companies and in connection with providing banking-as-a-service products.
  • Structure and negotiate partnerships and related agreements between banks and digital wallet providers, cryptocurrency sub-custodians, lenders, blockchain and cryptocurrency infrastructure companies, payments companies, BaaS middleware, software, and marketplace companies, robo-advising and wealth management companies, credit scoring businesses, and other technology companies.
  • Negotiate and draft, at least annually, dozens of software licenses, program management agreements, FinTech partner agreements, and related commercial contracts.
  • Prepare treasury management agreements, payment processing agreements, terms of service and terms of use, wire agreements, ACH agreements, DDA and other account agreements, compliance policies and procedures, business plans, regulatory correspondence, breach notices, and related documents for community bank clients.
  • Click here for additional Banking experience

Fintech

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

  • Counsel cryptocurrency companies on compliance with state money transmitter laws, FinCEN MSB requirements, lending laws, capital raising laws, securities and commodities registration requirements, and with anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and regulations.  
  • Represented ransomware victim support services client in connection with IRS, FinCEN, and OFAC matters stemming from ransomware payments.
  • Advised Fortune 500 FinTech company about the litigation, tax, and technical risks associated with offering customers a hosted cryptocurrency wallet.
  • Click here for additional Blockchain & Cryptocurrency experience

Lending

  • Advised online lender about litigation risk stemming from its relationship with bank partners and potential “true lender” issues
  • Advised online lender about electronic signature audits and internal policies
  • Prepared AML/KYC policies for online lenders
  • Click here for additional Lending experience

Payments

  • Serve as sole outside counsel to payments business for Fortune 500 client, including advising on bank sponsor agreements, payment network compliance, general regulatory compliance, payment processing and other commercial agreements, and strategic advice about product launches, customer disclosures, and FBO account structure.
  • Advised large private equity client in connection with approximately $400 million acquisition of payment facilitator.
  • Counseled Fortune 50 company about the impact of PSD2 on design of POS terminals
  • Click here for additional Payments experience

Other Tech

  • Represent software vendor in contract dispute with large municipal government.
  • Advise PropTech unicorn about real estate licensing laws and other relevant regulations.
  • Counsel software and technology staffing firm on employment, contracting, and vendor management issues.
  • Negotiate software agreements with six financial institutions on behalf of FinTech software company
Litigation Matters & Investigations

Activities & Honors

  • Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and FinTech Trailblazer, National Law Journal (2018)
  • Emerging Leader, BAI (2018)
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation (2018-present)
  • Pro Bono Award, Northern District of Illinois (2017)

Speaking Engagements & Presentations

  • November 15, 2022 (Madison, Wisconsin)
  • October 11, 2022 (Webinar)
  • October 5, 2021
  • July 21, 2021
  • June 23, 2021 (Webinar)
  • The Price of Privacy
    March 3, 2021 (Northwestern Journal of International Business and Law Symposium)
  • DePhi: Cryptocurrency for Social Good
    November 18, 2020
  • Between a Technological Scylla and Charybdis: Navigating Legal Risks Posed by Innovative Technologies
    July 15, 2020
  • Looking back to see ahead: Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Economy (Litigation Finance)
    May 15, 2020 (Webinar)
  • Looking back to see ahead: Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Economy (Lending)
    April 21, 2020 (Webinar)
  • The Illinois Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act
    November 1, 2019 (Chicago Bar Association)
  • Block (Legal) Tech 2.0
    October 24, 2019
  • ABA Annual Meeting, Section of Litigation, Crypto Mock Trial Demonstration
    August 9, 2019
  • Don't Get Burned by Innovation
    May 6, 2019 (Ice Miller CLE)
  • The AI- Demystifying Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
    April 24, 2019 (Chicago Bar Association)
  • International Appeal of Blockchain and the Future of Cryptocurrency Investments
    April 18, 2019 (Chicago Bar Association)
  • Cryptocurrency: ICOs, SEC, and Other Issues
    April 18, 2019 (Chicago Bar Association)
  • Crypto with Caution
    April 18, 2019 (The DuPage Foundation)
  • Biometrics, Blockchains, and Big Data, Oh My
    April 10, 2019 (Washington University School of Law)
  • Minimizing Risk in Crypto Litigation
    April 2, 2019 (Athena Bitcoin & Blockchain Chicago)
  • Financial Technology and Innovation: The CFPB & The Future of FinTech
    March 22, 2019 (Loyola Law School's Consumer Law Review Symposium)
  • The BIPA Rollercoaster
    March 15, 2019 (FinTech and Chicago Bar Association)
  • The Illinois FinTech Regulatory Sandbox
    March 7, 2019 (Chicago Bar Association)
  • Another Block in the (Supply) Chain
    March 1, 2019 (National Precast Association's Annual Conference)
  • Blockchain Applications and Implications for the Legal and Accounting Industries
    December 20, 2018 (Half Moon Education Seminar)
  • Truth without Proof?: The Process of Getting Distributed Ledger (Blockchain) Entries Into Evidence
    December 6, 2018
  • Blockchain Regulation and Criminal Law
    November 9, 2018 (John Marshall Law School Symposium)
  • Legal Considerations for Businesses Considering Cryptocurrency or Blockchain Technologies
    October 16, 2018 (The FinTech Symposium)
  • Food & Beverage Litigation Conference: A Look at Hospitality, Liquor and Food Liability
    October 16, 2018 (Perrin Conferences)
  • The Changing Landscape of the Customer Experience: The Digital Transformation of Lending
    October 9, 2018 (Lend360)
  • Focus on FinTech
    September 26, 2018 (FinTex and Chicago Bar Association)
  • Technological Traps for the Unwary: The Intersection of Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Legal Ethics
    June 2018 (Chicago Bar Association)
  • Risky (Legal) Business: Avoiding Common Mistakes by Entrepreneurs
    May 2018 (1871 Chicago)
  • Brave New World: Technologies Lawyers Need to Know
    May 2018 (Chicago Bar Association)
  • The Masters Series for Legal Professionals
    May 2018 (The Master’s Conference)

Articles & Publications

News

Education

Washington University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2007

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A., History, summa cum laude, 2004

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State of Illinois
  • State of Ohio
  • State of Indiana
  • State of California
  • State of New York
  • State of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - District of Connecticut
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