Justin practices at the intersection of law, banking, and innovation. Focusing on bank-fintech partnerships, regulatory, and licensing matters, and commercial contracting, Justin helps bank and fintech clients de-risk the future of financial services. Regardless of the legal issue or the technology involved, Justin prides himself on being his clients’ go-to attorney for navigating novel legal and regulatory issues.
Justin is a partner in BFKN’s Financial Institutions Group. Clients seek out Justin for help with managing and negotiating partnerships (Fintech and BaaS), payments issues (real time, wires, ACH, card networks, BIN sponsorship), digital asset matters, and other technology-focused concerns (financial privacy, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and data analytics and usage).
Justin helps scores of bank and fintech clients identify and evaluate prospective partners, negotiate program management and partnership agreements, obtain regulatory approval for BaaS and other strategic endeavors, and manage ongoing partnerships. In the last few years alone, he has helped clients launch products and services including credit, debit and prepaid cards, payment processing, real-time and faster payments services, commercial and consumer loans, digital asset custody, and investment products.
Private equity, venture, and traditional clients also retain Justin to thoroughly evaluate and diligence investment or acquisition targets. He specializes in evaluating licensed, regulated targets, including state and national banks, trust companies (including special purpose and non-depository trusts), payments companies (including payment facilitators, payment processors, and ISOs), lenders, loan servicers and debt collectors, money transmitters, insurance companies, and digital asset companies.
Justin also combines his deep understanding of technology and financial regulation to obtain licenses, no-action letters, and legal opinions from federal and state regulators across the country. His prolific advocacy has caused regulators to seek Justin out to help educate bank examiners and enforcement attorneys on the relevant risks of BaaS, Fintech partnerships, digital assets, and other technologies.
A cited authority on digital currency, lending, and fintech issues, his notable accomplishments in the field include creating a Financial and Emerging Technologies course that he teaches at Northwestern University Pritzker School Law, founding the Fintech practice at two AmLaw200 law firms, and organizing the first legal-themed digital currencies conference, the Block (Legal) Tech Conference.
- State of Illinois
- Washington University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2007
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A., History, summa cum laude, 2004
Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) & Fintech Partnerships
- Guided over two dozen bank clients (with assets ranging from $200 million to over $10 billion) through partnerships with fintech companies and in connection with providing BaaS products.
- Helped Fortune 500 payments company navigate multi-million-dollar payment processing and sales relationships with two of the five largest banks in the country.
- Negotiated program management, partnership, and other agreements with digital asset wallet providers, cryptocurrency sub-custodians, lenders, card issuers, payment processors, and other technology companies.
- Designed the legal and compliance operations for multiple community banks launching BaaS programs.
Mergers & Acquisitions
- Working with AmLaw 100 firm, advised large international investor regarding a potential 9-figure investment in a multi-faceted financial services business that possessed state MTLs and multiple state trust charters.
- Advised multi-billion-dollar private equity client evaluate potential investment in an Earned Wage Access company.
- Supporting AmLaw 50 firm, advised large global investor firm regarding its acquisition of a large U.S.-based payments company.
- Coordinating with AmLaw 20 firm, advised private equity client in connection with eight-figure investment in digital asset-backed payments company.
Licensing & Regulatory
- Represented digital asset exchange in connection with obtaining money transmitter licenses and no-action letters from state banking authorities.
- Obtained regulatory approval for community banks seeking to offer new products and services, including BIN sponsorship and digital asset custody.
- Represented cryptocurrency company in connection with IRS Title 31 Audit and in advocating before FinCEN, OFAC, and other regulatory agencies.
- Draft terms and conditions, terms of service, privacy policies, consulting, and other commercial agreements for dozens of Fintech clients.
- Advised international venture investor evaluate dozens of investments in digital asset projects, including deals involving SAFTs, SAFEs, and token warrants.
- The Price of Privacy
- DePhi: Cryptocurrency for Social Good
- Between a Technological Scylla and Charybdis: Navigating Legal Risks Posed by Innovative Technologies
- Looking back to see ahead: Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Economy (Litigation Finance)
- Looking back to see ahead: Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Economy (Lending)
- The Illinois Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act
- Block (Legal) Tech 2.0
- ABA Annual Meeting, Section of Litigation, Crypto Mock Trial Demonstration
- Don't Get Burned by Innovation
- The AI- Demystifying Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
- Cryptocurrency: ICOs, SEC, and Other Issues
- International Appeal of Blockchain and the Future of Cryptocurrency Investments
- Crypto with Caution
- Biometrics, Blockchains, and Big Data, Oh My
- Minimizing Risk in Crypto Litigation
- Financial Technology and Innovation: The CFPB & The Future of FinTech
- The BIPA Rollercoaster
- The Illinois FinTech Regulatory Sandbox
- Another Block in the (Supply) Chain
- Blockchain Applications and Implications for the Legal and Accounting Industries
- Truth without Proof?: The Process of Getting Distributed Ledger (Blockchain) Entries Into Evidence
- Blockchain Regulation and Criminal Law
- Legal Considerations for Businesses Considering Cryptocurrency or Blockchain Technologies
- Food & Beverage Litigation Conference: A Look at Hospitality, Liquor and Food Liability
- The Changing Landscape of the Customer Experience: The Digital Transformation of Lending
- Focus on FinTech
- Technological Traps for the Unwary: The Intersection of Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Legal Ethics
- Risky (Legal) Business: Avoiding Common Mistakes by Entrepreneurs
- The Masters Series for Legal Professionals
- Brave New World: Technologies Lawyers Need to Know
- Legal Underwriting, Characterizing (Pricing) Legal Risk and Legal Portfolio Management
- Blockchain: A Legal Perspective on Current Regulation
- Wise or Unwise: Decrypting the Advantages, Uses and Limitations of Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts
- Spring 2021Deconstructing the Digital Dollar: Protecting Financial Privacy from Surveillance Capital
- Debtors Should Seek Privacy Oversight Before Data Sales
- Hiring ex Machina: Preparing for Illinois's Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act
- Understanding Software Developer Liability and Mitigating Legal Risk
- The Curious Case of Crypto Valuations
- Summer 2019Cryptocurrency and Your Retirement Plan: What's in Your (Crypto) Wallet?
- 3 Lessons From A Crypto Mock Trial
- PSD2 Prep: Strong Customer Authentication and the Ramification of US Merchants Doing Business in Europe
- Fall 2018Omnia mutantur, nihil interit: How to Handle Crypto-Assets as a Trustee
- From Crypto-Anarchists to Big Business: Addressing Anti-Competition Concerns in the Blockchain Sphere
- Cryptocurrency Security-Status Questions Clarified by SEC
- How Blockchain Use Can Block Competition
- SDNY Rules CFPB Unconstitutional, Creating Split of Authority and Raising New Questions
- Will Insurance Cover Cryptocurrency Claims?
- SEC Take on Tokens Clarifies Some Crypto Community Quandaries
- Amid Increased Enforcement Activity, SEC Reportedly Issues Cryptocurrency Subpoenas
- Navigating Cryptocurrency Regulation: Common Sense in an Uncommon Industry
- Decrypting the Ethical Implications of Blockchain Technology
- Insurance and Regulatory Hurdles to Blockchain Adoption
- Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and FinTech Trailblazer, National Law Journal (2018)
- Emerging Leader, BAI (2018)
- Pro Bono Award, Northern District of Illinois (2017)
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation (2018-present)
- Founder and Chair, Chicago Bar Association Financial and Emerging Technologies Committee (2017-Present)
- American Bar Association Banking Committee