02 Sep 2022

Brown Rudnick secures four-partner crypto team from Anderson Kill

New hires join in Washington DC, Orange County and New York

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Brown Rudnick has hired a team of four partners from Anderson Kill in the US to add expertise in cryptocurrencies, digital assets and blockchain to its digital commerce practice. 

Partner Stephen Palley joins the AmLaw 200 firm in Washington DC as a partner and co-chair of its digital commerce practice, while Matthew Richardson, Preston Byrne and Hailey Lennon join as partners in Orange County. Moving across with them is associate Jeff Karas, who is based in New York. 

Vince Guglielmotti, CEO and chairman of Brown Rudnick, said the move was intended to provide technology clients with an end-to-end experience. 

“Our clients are increasingly in the digital asset space as founders, investors, or traditional corporate entities looking to use technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies as part of their business,” he said. 

Palley focuses his practice on litigation, trial practice, insurance recovery and outside general counsel services in the digital asset space. He founded his former firm’s technology, media and distributed systems group in 2017, a year after joining the firm from his own independent outfit Palley Law, according to his Linkedin page

On his appointment, Palley said: “My colleagues and I were drawn to Brown Rudnick because many of its practices and industry groups, particularly technology, complement our own… The firm’s deep corporate, regulatory and technology practices, as well as its footprint in the United Kingdom, will be excellent resources for existing and future clients.”

Byrne brings with him experience providing corporate, IP and commercial legal advice to crypto miners, stakers and farmers, wallet providers and custodians, decentralised protocol developments and institutional investors, among other actors. 

Prior to joining New York-based Anderson Kill, he served as the COO, general counsel and co-founder of Monax Industries, a startup credited with being the first company to open-source an enterprise-capable blockchain design. 

Lennon, meanwhile, has worked as regulatory counsel for leading crypto platforms Coinbase and bitFlyer. She focuses her practice on giving clients front-end advice on regulatory requirements related to fintech and crypto companies, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, among others. 

Richardson, a practising barrister in the UK, handles data protection and privacy, intellectual property, commercial law, cyber crime, and public law. As a certified GDPR practitioner, he has been involved in a number of key data protection cases. 

The partner quartet’s move follows that of an eight-lawyer, five-partner tech team from McCarter & English led by David Sorin, who was appointed co-chair of the firm’s global technology group upon arrival. His son, Jared Sorin, was appointed co-practice group leader of the emerging growth companies and venture capital group, while Scott Smedresman was tapped to co-lead the firm’s technology practice in the US. 

Brown Rudnick gained significant mainstream press attention this year for its role in defending Johnny Depp in a defamation trial brought against ex-wife Amber Heard. The trial resulted in the fast-tracked promotion of litigation specialist Camille Vasquez, who was instrumental to securing the $15m jury verdict in favour of Depp in June.

The firm's network extends to Boston, New York, Washington DC, Hartford and Orange County in the US and London in the UK.

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