(Photo by Henryk Sadura)
A little more than a year after Richard Levin joined Bryan Cave in Denver, where he served as a partner and co-chair of the firm’s digital currency team, the corporate lawyer has lateraled to another leadership post at Polsinelli.
Levin, 45, officially started Monday at Polsinelli in the Mile-High City, where he will chair the fast-growing firm’s new financial technology and regulation team.
“I was not looking to leave Bryan Cave; I was very happy with the firm,” said Levin, who will also work out of Washington, D.C. “But the opportunity to build a team in this new area [was one] I couldn’t pass up.”
Levin said that Polsinelli worked with a recruiter in selecting a head for its new fintech and regulation group, though he declined to name the individual. He added that he was “extremely impressed” with Polsinelli’s growth in recent years, particularly in terms of its buildout of a massive health care practice.
Earlier this year, The Am Law Daily reported on Polsinelli’s solid financial growth in 2015, and in March the firm agreed to absorb the bulk of national IP boutique Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg. (The American Lawyer profiled Polsinelli’s rapid transformation in a 2013 feature story.)
Working alongside lawyers from his new firm’s financial services, corporate and IP practices, Levin said that he plans to grow the fintech and regulation team consistent with Polsinelli’s health care group, but he declined to comment on future plans for potential lateral additions.
Levin said that he has taken his existing clients to Polsinelli, though he declined to identify them. He added that they include “well-established companies and also early-stage and emerging companies.”
While Levin spoke with The Am Law Daily in April about big firms that are advising the budding legal cannabis industry, he reiterated that he does not do work for clients in that space, nor does he plan to do so. At the same time, Levin said that he does receive calls from banks and insurance companies that ask him about potential work for clients operating in the legal weed sector. (Last year, The Am Law Daily reported on three Polsinelli partners leaving the firm’s Chicago office to set up a new medicinal marijuana venture, one that earlier this year branched out into New York.)
Levin joined Bryan Cave in February of last year following a four-year stint as counsel at Baker & Hostetler. And while he has always been a fintech lawyer, Levin said that he has never been afraid to take on a new opportunity. He added that Polsinelli’s entrepreneurial approach to growth was particularly attractive to him.
Before joining Baker & Hostetler in 2011, Levin spent less than a year at Deutsche Bank AG as global head of product development, compliance and operations at the German banking giant, a position he took after a number of other in-house legal roles at financial services firms.
Bryan Cave, which also recently saw its Russian and Eastern European practice head Irina Tymczyszyn decamp for Chadbourne & Parke in London, declined to comment about Levin’s departure.