One of the world’s largest law firms has announced its belief in the importance of the blockchain and cryptocurrency business by hiring attorney Joshua Ashley Klayman, also known as the Mother of Blockchains.
A leading attorney in the blockchain and cryptocurrency business, Klayman has joined Linklaters as the U.S. Head of FinTech and Blockchain & Digital Assets, the firm announced on July 18. Linklaters ranked 12th in Law.com’s 2018 Global 200 survey of the highest grossing law firms in the world. Headquartered in London, it has a strong practice in the finance and banking, and the technology market, among other areas.
Klayman will lead an expanding U.S. blockchain and fintech team at Linklaters, partner Scott Sonnenblick told Modern Consensus, noting that it “is a rapidly growing practice area for the firm. Josh’s hire further strengthens Linklaters capabilities with respect to cutting edge and swiftly evolving emerging technologies, including blockchain and digital asset.”
The firm’s aggressive expansion in the space is indicative of the growing interest and involvement in blockchain of the largest companies in the world, including Walmart, UnitedHealth Group, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and most recently investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.
Klayman pointed to the firm’s “truly global reach and perspective” as a reason for joining Linklaters.
Speaking to CoinDesk shortly before joining Linklaters, Klayman said the recent Congressional hearings about Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency show the mainstreaming of blockchain at the highest level of corporate America.
Pointing to the “the size and scale of the companies involved,” in Libra, she noted that “in the earlier days and certainly in the past year or few years, in many cases they were emerging companies. We haven’t seen congressional hearings about a startup proposing a token sale in the manner that we’re seeing now. We haven’t seen so much commentary from such high-level folks around the world, frankly, about individual projects and what they should be doing.”
A founder and director of the non-profit Diversity in Blockchain and board member and chair of its legal working group of the industry advocacy group Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA), Klayman is active in a variety of blockchain industry issues and a frequent speaker at industry events.
Recently, she was one of the primary authors of the WSBA’s response to the SEC’s long-awaited “plain English” guidance on initial coin offerings. She was also an author of Diversity in Blockchain’s initial review of Facebook’s Libra.
Libra, the report said, “presents an opportunity to promote — and meaningfully move the needle on — diversity and inclusion on a global scale, including in the technology and financial services workforces themselves. Commitment to diversity… must be planned and hardwired in at the Project Libra architecture stage and nurtured as Project Libra moves along.”