SEC lawyer who led Coinbase suit leaves the agency

Ladan Stewart also took part in SEC litigation against FTX, Terra and Ripple

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SEC and Adobe Stock modified by Blockworks

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Ladan Stewart, an attorney formerly overseeing the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ongoing lawsuit against Coinbase, has left the agency for white-shoe law firm White & Case.

At the new firm, Stewart will help clients avoid SEC scrutiny and advise others under investigation by the agency, White & Case partner Nicole Erb said in a press release. She won’t be completely leaving crypto behind, either. 

“Taking the expertise and the skills that I got through the four years that I worked on crypto at the SEC and the connections that I made at the SEC and what I know about how the agency approaches these issues, I think I can advise individuals and corporations that are looking to enter this space or to continue in this space,” Stewart told Blockworks.

Stewart handled or supervised litigation on sundry SEC cases pertaining to crypto — including against Ripple, multiple FTX executives, Terraform Labs’ Do Kwon, and even the messaging app Telegram for its 2019 token sale, in addition to Coinbase. 

Stewart said she expects the SEC to continue moving away from cases against single issuers toward cases with a broader market impact like the Coinbase one as it seeks to position itself as crypto’s main regulator.

The SEC’s Coinbase suit is currently in limbo as a federal judge weighs the exchange’s motion to have the case dismissed. 

Read more: US judge questions SEC limits during Coinbase hearing 

If the motion is denied, the SEC will move forward with its claims that a slew of tokens that trade on Coinbase are unregistered securities, and the largest US exchange is therefore operating as an unregistered broker. Stewart had been working on the case up until she left for White & Case.

White & Case is among the world’s largest law firms. It was listed as a “Tier 1” crypto law firm in the 2023 Legal 500 rankings. In 2022, W&C advised Fidelity on the launch of its bitcoin exchange traded product (ETP) in Europe.


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