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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 artificial intelligence, data science, 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
Lending, AI and Data Science
  • 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
  • Advised client about use of consumer data
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
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
News
Published In
Speaking Engagements
  • "Don't Get Burned by Innovation," Ice Miller CLE, May 6, 2019
  • Moderator, "The AI'- Demystifying Data Science and Artificial Intelligence," Chicago Bar Association, April 24, 2019
  • "Crypto with Caution," The DuPage Foundation, April 18, 2019
  • "Cryptocurrency: ICOs, SEC, and Other Issues," Chicago Bar Association, April 18,2019
  • Panelist, "International Appeal of Blockchain an the Future of Cryptocurrency Investments," Chicago Bar Association, April 18, 2019
  • "Biometrics, Blockchains, and Big Data, Oh My," Washington University School of Law, April 10, 2019
  • "Minimizing Risk in Crypto Litigation," Athena Bitcoin & Blockchain Chicago, April 2, 2019
  • Moderator, "Financial Technology and Innovation: The CFPB & The Future of FinTech" Loyola Law School's Consumer Law Review Symposium, March 22, 2019
  • "The BIPA Rollercoaster", FinTech and Chicago Bar Association, March 15, 2019
  • "The Illinois FinTech Regulatory Sandbox", Chicago Bar Association, March 7, 2019
  • "Another Block in the (Supply) Chain", National Precast Association's Annual Conference, March 1, 2019
  • “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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