Published: September 14, 2022

Fintech may be the future of finance, but battles over innovations in the industry are likely to dominate the future of litigation for years to come. Financial technology firms have seen a tumultuous 2022; at the end of 2021, the market was full of promise as global investment in the sector remained high. But crypto crashes, climbing inflation rates, supply chain challenges, and more have caused investment dollars to falter, forcing those in the industry to take a hard look at what’s next.

While the fintech market is set to have a prosperous second half of the year, WIT understands that this technology still poses its own set of risks that have the potential to be at the center of a myriad of regulatory disputes and legal action. To that end: what are finance startups and fintech venture capital firms doing to position themselves ahead of the curve to address all angles of incoming litigation? Hiring in-house legal counsel.

An Increase in In-House Teams

As a sector that is still trying to find its footing, fintech companies must retain legal representation to guide and support their growth as the market continues to shift. And several fintech firms have recently begun taking notice by hiring in-house counsel to help them through H2- 22 and beyond; fintech firm Central Payments has hired their first legal chief, Jessica Drew, after a recent separation from the Central Bank of Kansas City and a substantial $30 million growth-equity deal. Similarly, the VC firm Flourish also hired new legal chief Tyler Mann and their managing partner, Emma Shaw, highlighted his importance saying, “With the macroeconomic changes taking place, we believe it’s more important than ever to help visionary entrepreneurs level the playing field in the financial services sector.”

In addition, fintech companies Stavvy, Greenlight, and Nium also elected to hire legal chiefs earlier this year in order to compensate for those macroeconomic shifts. Stavvy brought on Brooke Adams as their first ever general counsel, with their CEO stating, “We are excited to leverage her extensive knowledge and ensure Stavvy is a step ahead of regulatory changes while at the forefront of paperless innovation.” Adams will oversee the company’s legal, governance, risk, and compliance programs.

At Greenlight, the almost decade-old money management firm brought on Doug Spear, who expressed his excitement in supporting the business’s continued growth. And at Nium Inc, the global payment and card issuance service promoted Dylan Lowrey, one of their in-house lawyers, to general counsel. According to Law.com, Lowrey will lead Nium’s legal, regulatory, and policy teams, carry out new product and licensing strategies, and work with the company’s customers on regulatory issues related to their global payments.

So, why does this matter?

As the industry continues to expand, so will conflicts associated with its growth. Outside counsel should take notice of where new in-house counsel is flocking as these in-house teams will undoubtedly need support in areas related to crisis management, intellectual property protection, raising capital, and staying competitive in a burgeoning industry.  

Additionally, this year, the fintech space has been rife with antitrust battles, SEC-centered disputes, data privacy fights, and more, so it is no surprise that more and more companies are looking for legal help. Counsel should consider consulting with highly credentialed industry experts to help fintechs elevate their approach to disputes and ensure that their strategy is strong enough to weather any storm. 

WIT’s expert teams are prepared to collaborate with counsel on creating a legal strategy that exceeds client expectations. Our experts can engage with legal teams early in litigation processes or even before disputes arise to prepare your team for incoming industry challenges. Our fintech expert team includes esteemed academics, experienced industry insiders, and subject area specialists who are well-versed in:

  • Digital Banking
  • Digital Insurance
  • Digital and Mobile Wallets
  • E-commerce Platforms
  • Payment Gateways
  • Trading Platform
  • Alternative Lending
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning-Driven Technology
  • Biometric Technology 
  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
  • Cloud Initiatives
  • Consumer and Data Privacy

If your company needs help preparing for these challenges, reach out to WIT for the best experts who can advise you on your strategy. Our expert teams were created to address what we expect to be the key areas of IP litigation in emerging financial technologies. For more insights on what is to come in the future of the fintech indu

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