Norton Rose Fulbright taps Reed Smith partner as U.S. fintech leader

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  • Stephen Aschettino led payments tech teams at a trio of Big Law firms
  • Says companies need fintech to “operate freely in the digital world”

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(Reuters) – With fintech expertise in high demand, Norton Rose Fulbright said Wednesday that it’s added a new practice leader who has headed up payments technology teams at multiple firms, most recently Reed Smith.

Stephen Aschettino is joining NRF in New York as a partner and U.S. head of fintech. He was at Reed Smith for less than a year, joining after about four years at Loeb & Loeb and two-and-a-half years at Foley & Lardner. He was a payments tech practice leader at all three firms.

As technology drives transformation in financial services ranging from investing and payments to cryptocurrencies, Aschettino said he was drawn by the opportunity to lead a U.S. fintech practice at a major global firm.

Aschettino, who also formerly led the legal department at credit card processing company Cynergy Data, said the pandemic spurred more businesses to look for ways to “operate freely in the digital world.”

“Companies across the globe are looking to transform themselves to operate freely in the digital world, and fintech provides the solutions that they need,” he said.

Norton Rose global chief executive Gerry Pecht in a statement called fintech “a core strategic practice for our firm,” touting Aschettino’s “deep payments-sector experience.”

The firm isn’t alone in beefing up its fintech offerings in recent months. This week fledgling virtual law firm Scale LLP tapped fintech startup Payactiv Inc’s chief legal officer, David Reidy, as its new managing partner. Reidy is the former co-leader of McGuireWoods’ fintech group.

Earlier this year, White & Case added Douglas Landy, Milbank’s former regulatory and fintech practice leader.

In Washington, D.C., Polsinelli’s fintech leader hopped to Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough and now leads the firm’s financial technology and regulation practice, and Cooley snagged Morrison & Foerster’s fintech group co—chairs Obrea Poindexter and Sean Ruff in January.

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Chinekwu Osakwe

Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at Chinekwu.osakwe@thomsonreuters.com.

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Chinekwu Osakwe