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.
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.
- 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.
- Click here for additional Banking experience
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Trial counsel in week-long, eight-figure contract dispute in New York Supreme Court
- Trial counsel in three-week, $1 billion RMBS trial
- Lead counsel in defense of multiple, large environmental exposure
- Click here for additional Litigation Matters & Investigations experience
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 – Speakers (Madison, Wisconsin)
- October 11, 2022 – (Webinar)
- October 5, 2021 – Speaker
- July 21, 2021 – Speaker (Virtual)
- June 23, 2021 – Speaker (Webinar)
- The Price of PrivacyMarch 3, 2021 – Keynote (Northwestern Journal of International Business and Law Symposium)
- DePhi: Cryptocurrency for Social GoodNovember 18, 2020 – Closing Speaker
- Between a Technological Scylla and Charybdis: Navigating Legal Risks Posed by Innovative TechnologiesJuly 15, 2020 – Presentation to Corporate Legal Department
- 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 ActNovember 1, 2019 – (Chicago Bar Association)
- Block (Legal) Tech 2.0October 24, 2019 – Closing Speaker
- ABA Annual Meeting, Section of Litigation, Crypto Mock Trial DemonstrationAugust 9, 2019
- Don't Get Burned by InnovationMay 6, 2019 – (Ice Miller CLE)
- The AI- Demystifying Data Science and Artificial IntelligenceApril 24, 2019 – Moderator (Chicago Bar Association)
- International Appeal of Blockchain and the Future of Cryptocurrency InvestmentsApril 18, 2019 – Panelist (Chicago Bar Association)
- Cryptocurrency: ICOs, SEC, and Other IssuesApril 18, 2019 – (Chicago Bar Association)
- Crypto with CautionApril 18, 2019 – (The DuPage Foundation)
- Biometrics, Blockchains, and Big Data, Oh MyApril 10, 2019 – (Washington University School of Law)
- Minimizing Risk in Crypto LitigationApril 2, 2019 – (Athena Bitcoin & Blockchain Chicago)
- Financial Technology and Innovation: The CFPB & The Future of FinTechMarch 22, 2019 – Moderator (Loyola Law School's Consumer Law Review Symposium)
- The BIPA RollercoasterMarch 15, 2019 – (FinTech and Chicago Bar Association)
- The Illinois FinTech Regulatory SandboxMarch 7, 2019 – (Chicago Bar Association)
- Another Block in the (Supply) ChainMarch 1, 2019 – (National Precast Association's Annual Conference)
- Blockchain Applications and Implications for the Legal and Accounting IndustriesDecember 20, 2018 – (Half Moon Education Seminar)
- Truth without Proof?: The Process of Getting Distributed Ledger (Blockchain) Entries Into EvidenceDecember 6, 2018
- Blockchain Regulation and Criminal LawNovember 9, 2018 – Panelist (John Marshall Law School Symposium)
- Legal Considerations for Businesses Considering Cryptocurrency or Blockchain TechnologiesOctober 16, 2018 – (The FinTech Symposium)
- Food & Beverage Litigation Conference: A Look at Hospitality, Liquor and Food LiabilityOctober 16, 2018 – Panelist (Perrin Conferences)
- The Changing Landscape of the Customer Experience: The Digital Transformation of LendingOctober 9, 2018 – Moderator (Lend360)
- Focus on FinTechSeptember 26, 2018 – (FinTex and Chicago Bar Association)
- Technological Traps for the Unwary: The Intersection of Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Legal EthicsJune 2018 – (Chicago Bar Association)
- Risky (Legal) Business: Avoiding Common Mistakes by EntrepreneursMay 2018 – (1871 Chicago)
- Brave New World: Technologies Lawyers Need to KnowMay 2018 – Panelist (Chicago Bar Association)
- The Masters Series for Legal ProfessionalsMay 2018 – Panelist (The Master’s Conference)
Articles & Publications
- October 19, 2022 – Author, BankDirector.com
- September 19, 2022 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- March 7, 2022 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- Client Alert: Are You Unwittingly Facilitating Ransomware Payments? Take Steps to Help Your Institution Avoid Unintentional OFAC ViolationsJanuary 11, 2022 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- December 21, 2021 – American Association of Bank Directors
- November 30, 2021 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- October 13, 2021 – Bank Director Magazine, 4th Quarter 2021
- September 21, 2021 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- August 25, 2021 – Illinois Bankers Association
- August 5, 2021 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- June 29, 2021 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- June 16, 2021 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- Deconstructing the Digital Dollar: Protecting Financial Privacy from Surveillance CapitalSpring 2021 – International Business Law Journal
- Debtors Should Seek Privacy Oversight Before Data SalesMay 13, 2020 – Law360
- Hiring ex Machina: Preparing for Illinois's Artificial Intelligence Video Interview ActSeptember 23, 2019 – Law.com
- Understanding Software Developer Liability and Mitigating Legal RiskSeptember 2019 – Bloomberg Law
- The Curious Case of Crypto ValuationsJuly 3, 2019 – Law360
- Cryptocurrency and Your Retirement Plan: What's in Your (Crypto) Wallet?Summer 2019 – Journal of Pension Benefits
- 3 Lessons From A Crypto Mock TrialFebruary 22, 2019 – Law360
- PSD2 Prep: Strong Customer Authentication and the Ramification of US Merchants Doing Business in EuropeNovember 28, 2018 – Corporate Counsel
- Omnia mutantur, nihil interit: How to Handle Crypto-Assets as a TrusteeFall 2018 – American Bankruptcy Trustee Journal
- From Crypto-Anarchists to Big Business: Addressing Anti-Competition Concerns in the Blockchain SphereAugust 31, 2018
- Cryptocurrency Security-Status Questions Clarified by SECAugust 30, 2018 – Daily Journal
- How Blockchain Use Can Block CompetitionAugust 28, 2018 – Law360
- Will Insurance Cover Cryptocurrency Claims?July 2018 – Business Insurance
- SEC Take on Tokens Clarifies Some Crypto Community QuandariesJuly 2018 – Jenner & Block’s Consumer Law Blog
- SDNY Rules CFPB Unconstitutional, Creating Split of Authority and Raising New QuestionsJuly 2018 – Jenner & Block Consumer Law Round-Up
- Amid Increased Enforcement Activity, SEC Reportedly Issues Cryptocurrency SubpoenasMarch 2018 – Jenner & Block Financial Services Blog
- Navigating Cryptocurrency Regulation: Common Sense in an Uncommon IndustryJanuary 2018 – FinTech Weekly
- Decrypting the Ethical Implications of Blockchain TechnologyNovember 2017 – Legaltech News
- Insurance and Regulatory Hurdles to Blockchain AdoptionSeptember 2017 – Law360
- Insurance Issues2012 – IICLE Business and Commercial Litigation Handbook
- The Future of Deferred-Prosecution Agreements: Congress Tries a Little OversightMay 9, 2008 – BNA White-Collar Crime Report, Vol. 3. No. 10
- May 25, 2021 – Mentioned, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
- May 10, 2021 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
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