SEC Attorney Joins Law Firm in Defending Crypto Companies

Ladan Stewart, an attorney who previously worked for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was involved in the enforcement case against Ripple, has joined the law firm White & Case. The firm, which often defends crypto companies, announced Stewart’s appointment as partner in New York, highlighting her experience in crypto enforcement cases. Stewart had played a role in litigating the SEC’s case against Ripple, but she left her position as an attorney in January after leaving the SEC. Joel Cohen, head of global white collar practice at White & Case, praised Stewart’s expertise in crypto and cyber litigation and stated that she is well-suited to counsel and defend crypto industry players against regulatory or private actions.

White & Case has a history of representing crypto firms in significant cases, including those involving the SEC. For example, one of their partners represented provisional liquidators overseeing FTX’s operations in the Bahamas after the exchange’s collapse in November 2022, and the firm has also worked with Celsius’ official creditor committee. Nicole Erb, another partner at White & Case, suggested that Stewart’s experience at the SEC’s Division of Enforcement would be valuable in advising clients facing scrutiny from the commission. Concerns have been raised about former government officials moving into the digital asset industry and potentially appearing opposite their former SEC colleagues in crypto enforcement cases.

Stewart believes that it is important for companies involved in crypto and fintech to seek advice from individuals who understand how regulators like the SEC approach these issues. She sees the movement of people from government to the private sector as a positive thing, as it allows them to share their expertise and skills that would not otherwise be available in the private sector. Stewart acknowledges the potential for conflicts of interest but assures that she will manage them appropriately.

During her time at the SEC, Stewart handled litigation against Ripple, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, and Coinbase. She worked as counsel in the commission’s enforcement division for about eight years before joining White & Case. The SEC currently has ongoing lawsuits against Binance, Kraken, Ripple, Coinbase, and other firms in the digital asset space. The commission has faced criticism for its “regulation by enforcement” approach to crypto, which is seen as more aggressive compared to its treatment of traditional financial institutions.

Hanan Escamilla

Hanan Escamilla

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