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Justin C. Steffen is a partner in Ice Miller’s Litigation and Financial Services Practice Groups. Combining over a decade of experience litigating clients’ most important matters with in-depth, technical knowledge, Justin is uniquely positioned to help clients navigate the legal and regulatory issues raised by financial and emerging technologies. 
A recognized National Law Journal Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and FinTech Trailblazer and cited authority on virtual currency, lending and FinTech issues, Justin advises clients on a myriad of issues pertaining to machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile payments, blockchain and cryptocurrency. He is a frequent commentator who has published articles in Law360, Corporate Counsel, FinTech Weekly, Business Insurance Journal and LegalTech News. He has been quoted in a number of leading legal and industry publications, including Coindesk, Law360, Inside Counsel, Financial Advisor and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Justin is also the founder and chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Financial and Emerging Technologies Committee, an organizer of the Block(Legal) Tech Conference, a member of FinTex’s Legal and Regulatory Committee and a frequent public speaker on the intersection of technology and law. 

Amongst other engagements, he spoke at the 2017 Fin(Legal) Tech Conference, Lend360, 2018 Block(Legal) Tech Conference, FinTank’s Chicago Blockchain Summit, the FinTech Symposium and the Perrin Food and Beverage Conference.
In addition to his technology practice, he is experienced in all phases of litigation and routinely represents clients in large, “bet-the-company” matters and internal investigations. Recently, he defended a subprime lending subsidiary of a large multinational corporation in a three-week, $1 billion Federal trial.

Before joining Ice Miller, Justin was a partner at an international AmLaw 100 law firm where he co-founded and led his firm’s FinTech and Blockchain Practices. Outside of his practice, Justin teaches FinTech and the Law at Loyola School of Law as an adjunct professor.
He earned his juris doctor, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, from Washington University School of Law in 2007. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in 2004, summa cum laude and with Highest Distinction and University Honors.
Justin is admitted to practice law in the state of Illinois, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.
Reported and Representative Cases
FinTech and Blockchain Matters
  • Advised online lender about litigation risk stemming from its relationship with bank partners and potential “true lender” issues
  • Prepared AML/KYC policies for online lenders.
  • Revised online lender’s master loan sale and loan servicing agreements in light of potential litigation risks
  • Defended lender in connection with consumer class actions (TILA, RESPA) and against unfair and deceptive trade practices (UDAP) allegations
  • Represented lender in securities class actions stemming from allegedly false and misleading public disclosures
Payments, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
  • Counseled Fortune 50 U.S.-based international merchant about the impact of PSD2
  • Advised large FinTech company about the litigation, tax, and technical risks associated with accepting cryptocurrency
  • Drafted insider trading, risk management, and other policies for company evaluating investment in cryptocurrency
  • Advised clients about the legal risks of ICO sponsorship and investment in blockchain technologies
  • Counseled emerging blockchain and virtual currency companies about corporate structure, securities concerns, and criminal and litigation risks
  • Advised online platform and other media clients about the risks associated with advertising of cryptocurrency products
  • Revised client’s agreements for the provision of services pertaining to virtual currency services to mitigate legal risk
Litigation Matters and Investigations
  • Defended subprime mortgage originator in three-week $1 billion trial in the District of Connecticut
  • Represented mortgage originators and depositors in lawsuits related to their sale and securitization of billions of dollars of mortgage loans
  • Defended High-Frequency Trader against employment and trade secret claims
  • Represented mortgage company in connection with Justice Department investigation of its underwriting, sale, and securitization practices
  • Pursued $100 million dollar claim against a European-based industrial conglomerate on behalf of retiree committee
  • Conducted internal investigations of corporate clients accused of violating the Clean Air Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Pursued business tort claims against dozens of financial institutions on behalf of the trustee for a large bankrupt cable company
Published In
  • Co-author, "3 Lessons From A Crypto Mock Trial," Law360, February 22, 2019
  • Co-author, “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit: How to Handle Crypto-Assets as a Trustee,” American Bankruptcy Trustee Journal, Fall 2018
  • Co-Author, “PSD2 Prep: Strong Customer Authentication and the Ramification of US Merchants Doing Business in Europe,” Corporate Counsel, November 28, 2018
  • “From Crypto-Anarchists to Big Business: Addressing Anti-Competition Concerns in the Blockchain Sphere,” August 31, 2018
  • “Cryptocurrency Security-Status Questions Clarified by SEC,” Daily Journal, August 30, 2018
  • “How Blockchain Use Can Block Competition,” Law360, August 28, 2018
  • Co-author, “SEC Take on Tokens Clarifies Some Crypto Community Quandaries,” Jenner & Block’s Consumer Law Blog, July 2018
  • Co-Author, “Will Insurance Cover Cryptocurrency Claims?” Business Insurance, July 2018
  • Co-author, “SDNY Rules CFPB Unconstitutional, Creating Split of Authority and Raising New Questions,” Jenner & Block Consumer Law Round-Up, July 2018
  • Co-author, “Amid Increased Enforcement Activity, SEC Reportedly Issues Cryptocurrency Subpoenas,” Jenner & Block Financial Services Blog, March 2018
  • “Navigating Cryptocurrency Regulation: Common Sense in an Uncommon Industry,” FinTech Weekly, January 2018
  • Co-Author, “Decrypting the Ethical Implications of Blockchain Technology,” Legaltech News, November 2017
  • Co-author, “Insurance and Regulatory Hurdles to Blockchain Adoption,” Law360, September 2017
  • “Insurance Issues,” IICLE Business and Commercial Litigation Handbook 2012, 2012
  • “The Future of Deferred Prosecution Agreements: Congress Tries a Little Oversight,” BNA White-Collar Crime Report, Vol. 3, May 2008
  • “IBA Arbitration Guide,” April 2006
Speaking Engagements
  • “Blockchain Applications and Implications for the Legal and Accounting Industries,” Half Moon Education Seminar, December 20, 2018
  • “Truth without Proof?: The Process of Getting Distributed Ledger (Blockchain) Entries Into Evidence,” December 06, 2018
  • Panelist, “Blockchain Regulation and Criminal Law,” John Marshall Law School Symposium, November 09, 2018
  • Panelist, “Food & Beverage Litigation Conference: A Look at Hospitality, Liquor and Food Liability,” Perrin Conferences, October 16, 2018
  • “Legal Considerations for Businesses Considering Cryptocurrency or Blockchain Technologies,” The FinTech Symposium, October 16, 2018
  • Moderator, “The Changing Landscape of the Customer Experience: The Digital Transformation of Lending,” Lend360, October 09, 2018
  • “Focus on FinTech,” FinTex and Chicago Bar Association, September 26, 2018
  • “Technological Traps for the Unwary: The Intersection of Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Legal Ethics,” Chicago Bar Association, June 2018
  • Panelist – “The Masters Series for Legal Professionals,” The Master’s Conference, May 2018
  • Panelist – “Brave New World: Technologies Lawyers Need to Know,” Chicago Bar Association, May 2018
  • “Risky (Legal) Business: Avoiding Common Mistakes by Entrepreneurs,” 1871, May 2018
  • Panelist – “Legal Underwriting, Characterizing (Pricing) Legal Risk and Legal Portfolio Management,” 2017 Fin (Legal) Tech conference: A Conference About Law’s Future, October 2017
  • Panelist – “Blockchain: A Legal Perspective on Current Regulation,” FinTank Chicago Blockchain Summit, October 2017
  • “Wise or Unwise: Decrypting the Advantages, Uses and Limitations of Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts,” Chicago Bar Association’s Financial Institutions Committee, September 2017
  • Just the Beginning Foundation Summer Legal Institute, August 2014
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