Leading Financial Services Regulatory Partners Join Cooley

Washington, DC – January 26, 2021 – Obrea Poindexter and Sean Ruff have joined Cooley as partners in the firm’s financial services regulatory practice group, bringing extensive experience advising clients on the complex and rapidly evolving fintech and financial services regulatory landscape. They previously served as co-chairs of Morrison & Foerster’s fintech group and are based in Washington, DC. The prominent duo has established a destination payments and lending practice. Their arrival marks the latest in a string of Cooley’s strategic additions on the East Coast, as the firm continues to bolster its capabilities across its practices.

“Obrea and Sean are such highly regarded leaders in the financial services and fintech space,” said Kathleen Pakenham, chair of Cooley’s business department. “Their deep industry knowledge will enhance our ability to serve fintech companies and financial institutions, and we look forward to further building out the practice group in addition to our growing regulatory presence and litigation bench on the East Coast.”

Poindexter offers clients innovative solutions to sophisticated regulatory issues, having counseled both emerging companies and large financial institutions, retailers and technology companies on payment systems, lending, privacy concerns, data security, electronic delivery of information and electronic signatures. At her prior firm, she also co-chaired its financial services group, headed its mobile payments group and co-chaired its diversity committee. Poindexter has presented and published extensively in the fintech sector and, among other distinctions, has been awarded the Client Choice Award for Banking in Washington, DC, named to the National Law Journal’s top 75 Outstanding Women Lawyers list and shortlisted for Minority Lawyer of the Year at Chambers USA’s Diversity Awards.

Ruff advises fintech clients on regulatory and transactional matters, including funds transmission and related compliance initiatives, the Bank Secrecy Act and anti‐money laundering regulations, alternative lending structures, traditional and non‐traditional payments, and consumer financial services. He has led multiple money transmitter licensing initiatives for clients, including nationwide money transmitter licensing and change of control efforts, and regularly represents money transmitters regarding licensing and compliance matters before state agencies. Ruff also served as director of lead payments and regulatory counsel for Square.

“We are eager to dig in with our new colleagues and expand our practice on Cooley’s uniquely collaborative platform by delivering the best outcomes to clients,” Poindexter said. “We regularly achieve successful results by investing in client relationships and ensuring we understand not only their business concerns but their short- and long-term objectives.”

“Cooley’s dynamic platform and strategic fintech initiatives offer a wonderful opportunity to expand our practice and support our clients as they navigate cutting-edge issues amid a shifting regulatory outlook,” added Ruff.

In the past two years, Cooley has added significant muscle in Washington, DC, and New York. The firm’s cross-disciplinary fintech and financial services regulatory group counsels clients across the full legal spectrum, from regulatory counseling to privacy and data security, intellectual property protection, employment, litigation and corporate matters, including formation, financing, mergers and acquisitions, and public offerings. Chambers FinTech 2021 ranks Cooley for its work with disruptive fintech companies and investors.

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Related Contacts
Obrea Poindexter Partner Washington, DC
Sean Ruff Partner Washington, DC