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Leading ICO attorney Joshua Klayman leaves Morrison Foerster, starts own firm

Klayman is now 5th of 12 top blockchain lawyers to switch jobs this year

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Few attorneys have desks this neat (via Pixabay)

Top ICO attorney Joshua Klayman has left her firm of five years, Morrison Foerster, to strike it out on her own. The move is the latest among leading blockchain barristers bolting for greener pastures as the industry takes off.

Klayman was a rising star at “MoFo,” where she was the founding chair of its blockchain and smart contracts group. Among the deals she worked on was the Sprint/T-Mobile merger.

In addition to her new firm, Klayman LLC, she will be consulting for global legal firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. Klayman has also started a consulting business, Inflection Point Blockchain Advisors, LLC. (IPBA’s CTO, Alex Rass, is a technical consultant and contributor to Modern Consensus).

Joshua Klayman

Joshua Klayman (yes, her name is Joshua)

“My goal is to be a true counselor—and not just a lawyer—to entrepreneurs or larger businesses who want to realize their vision,” Klayman said to Modern Consensus. “I love being around entrepreneurs because of their passion, their focus, and their drive. It says on our consulting site, ‘Blockchain promises to create trust among parties who ordinarily would not trust each other. But in this emerging, rapidly evolving and sometimes scary space, whom can you trust?’ That’s something I kept hearing from entrepreneurs and that’s why I decided to create a consulting business.”

Similar to what happened with tech attorneys during the Web 1.0 bull market or in the real estate legal world just before the financial crisis, a few other big-name blockchain lawyers have jumped ship to either get in the business or move to another firm in recent months. In November, Chambers and Partners published a list of top 12 blockchain and cryptocurrency lawyers. With Klayman’s exit from MoFo, almost half of that list now works somewhere else.

When asked to comment on that statistic, Klayman responded, “None of those who have left their previous firms have left practicing law. It just shows the tremendous opportunity this fundamental shift caused by blockchain has created.”

Chambers and Partners list of blockchain & cryptocurrency—global-wide attorneys and their law schools

Lawyer School/Year November 2017 June 2018
Grant P. Fondo University of Virginia School of Law, ‘93 Goodwin
Joey Garcia BPP Law School, ‘04 ISOLAS LLP
Reuben Grinberg Yale, ‘11 Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP In-house counsel
Dax Hansen Brigham Young University, ‘99 Perkins Coie LLP
Joshua Klayman Temple University Beasley School of Law, ‘06 Morrison & Foerster LLP Klayman LLC
Brian Klein New York University School of Law, ‘00 Baker Marquart, LLP
Richard B. Levin University of Denver Sturm College of Law, ‘96 Polsinelli PC
Luka Müller-Studer University of Zurich and Basel, ‘90 MME
Patrick Murck The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, ‘06 Cooley LLP
Marco A. Santori University of Notre Dame Law School, ‘08 Cooley LLP Blockchain
Lee Schneider American University Washington College of Law, ‘91 McDermott Will & Emery LLP block.one
Carol Van Cleef American University Washington College of Law, ‘91 Baker & Hostetler LLP LeClairRyan

Source: Chambers and Partners, Modern Consensus

Lawrence Lewitinn, CFA is editor in chief of Modern Consensus. Disclosure: Lewitinn owns no cryptocurrencies in his portfolio.