Ladan Stewart, previously an attorney involved in the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement action against Ripple, has joined the prominent law firm White & Case. This move comes as the regulatory landscape for digital assets intensifies, with increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies like the SEC. Stewart’s transition from the SEC to private practice raises interesting questions about potential conflicts of interest and the dynamics between government officials and the crypto industry.

Transition to Private Practice

Ladan Stewart, Ex-Sec Enforcement Attorney
Ladan Stewart

Ladan Stewart’s transition from the SEC to White & Case was officially announced on February 21. Having played a crucial role in litigating the SEC’s case against Ripple, filed in December 2020, Stewart withdrew as an attorney of record in January. Joel Cohen, White & Case’s head of global white collar practice, emphasized Stewart’s valuable experience as the former head of the SEC’s specialized crypto and cyber litigation unit. This move positions Stewart as a key asset for advising and defending crypto industry players amid the escalating regulatory scrutiny.

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Potential for SEC’s Conflicts and Industry Dynamics

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While concerns have been raised about former government officials entering the digital asset industry, Stewart defends the move, stating that her expertise gained in government service can be a valuable asset for crypto companies navigating regulatory challenges. White & Case, known for its representation of crypto firms in significant cases, sees Stewart’s background as an advantage. Nicole Erb, a partner at White & Case, suggests that Stewart may use her experience at the forefront of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement to counsel clients under scrutiny by the commission. Stewart acknowledges the potential for conflicts of interest but expresses confidence in managing them effectively.

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Ladan Stewart’s transition to White & Case highlights the evolving relationship between government regulators and the crypto industry. As regulatory scrutiny of the digital asset space continues, the expertise gained by individuals like Stewart during their government service becomes increasingly valuable for industry players seeking guidance. The move raises important discussions about potential conflicts of interest and the need for experienced professionals who understand both regulatory perspectives and the intricacies of the crypto landscape. The crypto industry remains under the spotlight, with ongoing lawsuits against major players, and the dynamics between former regulators and private firms will undoubtedly play a role in shaping its future.