Latham & Watkins has hired two partners from Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C., to expand its fintech practice, including a former management committee member at Crowell.
The new hires come just months after Latham saw the departure of a prominent fintech partner, Vivian Maese, now at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.
Mitchell Rabinowitz, a Crowell partner who recently finished a three-year term serving on Crowell’s management committee, and Crowell partner Jenny Cieplak joined Latham this week in its financial institutions and fintech industry group within the corporate department.
Latham, calling them leaders in the fintech space, said they focus on technology transactions in the financial services industry. They have worked on the creation of electronic trading platforms, exchanges, clearinghouses and data repositories.
Rabinowitz, who had been at Crowell for 14 years, said the changing nature of the fintech industry helped precipitate the move.
“The industry is becoming more global,” Rabinowitz said. He added that Latham’s international reach and deep bench would allow him to expand the service he was giving to his clients, who want advice about various jurisdictions, not only the United States.
“Latham was the first firm to really launch a fintech practice,” Rabinowitz said. “We’re hoping to expand what we are doing in the fintech space and look at newer companies as well as the traditional larger entities we focus on right now.”
For her part, Cieplak cited the sheer size of Latham’s practice as a resource that would allow her to focus on the elements of her practice that she enjoys most: the tech side of things. “What I have done the last few years is learned how to implement new technology and how old technology can work in new ways under current regulations,” she said.
According to their bios, both attorneys are well versed in electronic trading systems, data protection, regulatory matters and IP issues. Rabinowitz has spent decades working on bank consortium transactions and was named an American Lawyer Dealmaker of the Year in 2018.
Although he wouldn’t say for certain whether his clients would follow him to his new firm, Rabinowitz said he thought they would be excited to have access to Latham’s global platform.
Todd Beauchamp, global co-chair of Latham’s fintech industry group, said that the timing of the new hires in relation to the January exit of Maese, who was co-chair of Latham’s financial institutions and fintech practices groups, was purely coincidental. He said Latham is always on the lookout for appropriate talent.
For Crowell, the two departures come as the 40-year old firm has been seeking to expand significantly, most notably in New York. The firm this year added Eric Su, who was the managing partner FordHarrison’s New York office, and hired last year a nine-attorney health care team from Cadwalader.
In a statement, Bryan Brewer, co-chair of Crowell & Moring’s corporate group, said, “We wish Mitch and Jenny the best in their new roles.”