Fenwick Expands Financial Technology Practice, Adds Leading Payments Counsel

Mountain View, CA (August 2, 2016)– Fenwick & West announced today that Ryan Straus and Dan Friedberg have joined the firm as counsel launching its Payment Systems practice.

The addition of Straus and Friedberg adds significant payment systems depth to Fenwick’s growing FinTech practice, expanding the firm’s ability to advise clients on the legal, business and regulatory landscape around online and mobile payments, consumer and peer-to-peer lending, virtual and digital currency, the blockchain, as well as prepaid, loyalty and rewards programs.

"Payment systems are rapidly changing due to innovation, the global economy and consumer convenience and preferences,” said Larry Granatelli, chair of Fenwick’s intellectual property practice. “Adding two of the country’s leading payments lawyers expands our ability to offer cutting-edge guidance in this evolving area.”

“FinTech companies face a highly regulated landscape with complex and diverse legal issues,” Fenwick corporate practice chair Alan Smith said. “More broadly, any technology company that accepts mobile payments or relays fees or other denominations of value between parties has the type of legal issues that require Ryan and Dan’s deep technical, business and regulatory knowledge. They will be a great asset to Fenwick’s clients.”

The duo focuses on matters that include:

  • Emerging payments, online and mobile payments, and micro-transactions
  • Money transmission licensing, compliance, and regulatory interventions
  • Virtual currency, including Bitcoin, business model development, and risk assessment
  • Blockchain technology advice and guidance
  • Prepaid, loyalty, award, and retail payment program design and implementation
  • Regulatory issues involving the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Reserve, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and state financial regulators

Straus and Friedberg counsel clients ranging from consumer-facing tech companies, payment processors, retailers, and issuers of payment instruments to non-bank financial institutions, banks and other depository institutions, lenders and other providers of financial products and services.

“We are thrilled to be joining Fenwick in building a comprehensive, national financial technology law practice,” Straus said. “Clients of all sizes and in various industries—from tech companies to financial institutions—will benefit from the expanded services we can provide by joining forces.”

Friedberg echoed the sentiment. “Fenwick is a great fit,” he said. “The firm’s focus on advising top technology clients and their investors, along with an impressive lineup of top-notch attorneys and complementary practices, make Fenwick an ideal platform to serve our clients and grow our practice.”

As a lawyer with a background in both technology and financial services, Straus assists clients with payment matters, including electronic payments, mobile payments, prepaid cards, virtual and digital currencies, and federal and state licensing. He also advises banks and other financial institutions on operational compliance issues, new product development, blockchain initiatives, corporate governance, and regulatory matters. He received his J.D. from Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College, magna cum laude, and his B.A. from the University of Washington, in Business Administration with an Information Systems option.

Dan Friedberg has more than 20 years of experience in financial regulatory matters, representing banks, non-bank financial institutions, and other companies involved in payments and virtual currency. Friedberg has experience obtaining federal and state charters and licenses. He received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, cum laude, and his M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin. Friedberg received his B.S. from Williams College with highest honors.

“Adding Ryan and Dan builds on the significant momentum the firm has experienced over the past few years in its FinTech practice,” said Fenwick private equity chair and FinTech industry lead, Scott Joachim. “Expanding the practical, actionable guidance we can offer around structuring emerging payment systems is an exciting next step in response to the demand we’ve seen for FinTech expertise across our practices, and mirrors some of the same market forces that were behind the firm’s recent decision to open a New York office.”

About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West LLP provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies – at every stage of their lifecycle – and the investors that partner with them. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions on issues ranging from venture capital, public offerings, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, to intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust, and employment and labor law. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders. For more information, please visit fenwick.com.