Regulating the Digital Economy: Second Annual Business and Finance Law Conference

Mon, 22 February, 2021 10:30am

Join the Business and Finance Law Program and the student-led Business and Finance Law Conference Committee, with co-sponsors the Tax Law Society, Antitrust Law Association, Banking and Securities Law Society, and Corporate and Business Law Society, as they host the second annual conference, Regulating the Digital Economy.

The conference will explore the current and future changes that are affecting the digital economy. The world is changing and advancing at an unprecedented rate and as a result, the field of business and finance law is constantly evolving. The conference will specifically focus on developments in cryptocurrency, digital platforms, digital taxation and the rise of new investment strategies.


Monday, February 22nd  

10:30 am: Introduction and Program Overview


  • Abraham Bluestone, Class of 2021, Chair, Finance Law Conference Committee
  • Jeremiah Pam, Director of the Business and Finance Law Program and Professorial Lecturer in Law, GW Law

Welcoming Remarks

11 am: Keynote Address and Interview


  • Morenike Saula, LLM '18, Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship Law Fellow

Keynote Speech

  • Hester M. Peirce, Commissioner, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)


  • Moderated by Abraham Bluestone, Class of 2021, Chair, Business and Finance Law Conference Committee

12:30 pm: Regulation of Cryptocurrency

  • Preston Byrne, Partner, Anderson Kill
  • Joshua A. Klayman, Senior Counsel, Linklaters
  • Aaron Friedman, JD ’16, Senior Associate, WilmerHale
  • Carol Van Cleef, Counsel, Bradley

Co-moderated by Adam Manning, Class of 2022, Vice President, Corporate and Business Law Society and Joseph D'Arco, Class of 2023

2 pm: GameStop: Tug of War between Traditional & Contemporary Investing Strategies


  • Phara Serle Guberman, JD ’06, Partner, Paul Hastings
  • J. Bradley Bennett, Managing Director, SEDA Experts
  • Joshua Mitts, Associate Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Organized by Abigail Zwick and Co-moderated by Tolulope Awoyomi, LLM ' 20, and Christopher P. Healey, Counsel, Simpson Thacher

Tuesday, February 23rd  

Noon: Addressing Issues in Digital Taxation: A U.S. and E.U. Perspective


  • Ruth Mason, Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law, UVA School of Law.
  • Gary D. Sprague, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • Jean-Philippe Van West, Senior Counsel. PwC Belgium
  • Kimberly Van Sande, PhD Researcher, University of Antwerp

Co-moderated by Hannelore Niesten LLM Class of 2021, Business and Finance Law, and Leif Anderson, JD ’21, Vice President, Tax Law Society

1:30 pm: Antitrust Regulation of Platform Gatekeepers – What’s the Best Option?


  • Eleanor M. Fox, Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation, NYU Law School
  • D. Daniel Sokol, Professor of Law, UF Levin College of Law
  • Cecilia Cheng, Federal Government Attorney 
  • Emily Cotton, Vice President, Analysis Group

Co-moderated by Barbara Samaniego, Class of 2021, Co-President of the Antitrust Law Association, and Sandhya Taneja, Class of 2021, Co-President of Antitrust Law Association

3 pm: Closing Remarks


  • Jeremiah Pam, Director of the Business and Finance Law Program and Professorial Lecturer in Law, GW Law
  • Abraham Bluestone, Class of 2021, Chair of the Business and Finance Law Conference Committee








J. Bradley Bennett, with over 30 years of experience as attorney and former Chief of Enforcement at FINRA, is an expert in broker-dealers’ financial regulation. His practice areas included U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA enforcement proceedings, internal investigations, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, shareholder litigation, criminal matters involving all manner of business fraud, and counseling senior management and Boards of Directors on governance and compliance obligations under Sarbanes-Oxley. Prior to joining SEDA, Mr. Bennett was a senior partner in the White Collar and Corporate Investigations Group at Baker Botts. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief of Enforcement of FINRA. In that capacity, he led a team of 275 lawyers and investigators, and directed investigations and formal FINRA disciplinary actions against broker-dealers and their associated persons for violations of FINRA rules and federal securities laws.






Preston Byrne is a partner in the New York office of Anderson Kill. A corporate lawyer with extensive experience working with cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, Mr. Byrne is a member of the firm's Technology, Media and Distributed Systems group as well as its Corporate and Commercial Litigation Group. He writes and speaks about, and is quoted widely by print media on, technology law matters. Mr. Byrne advises a broad range of companies on complex cross-border legal questions arising from the use of cutting-edge technologies. His experience includes advising cryptocurrency miners; decentralized protocol developers; hedge funds and other institutional investors; money services businesses; custom software development shops; and social networks, in the United States and overseas, on a broad range of matters including general corporate work, intellectual property and licensing, commercial litigation, and government relations and investigations.






Cecilia Cheng is the inaugural Rill Fellow of the Antitrust Division and joined the Division in 2019 through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. She spent the first year of the fellowship in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General, where her work focused on a range of antitrust matters. Prior to joining the Division, Ms. Cheng was a law clerk for the Honorable Douglas H. Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Before attending law school, she worked as a senior analyst at an economic consulting firm specializing in expert testimony for antitrust litigation. Ms. Cheng is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Yale Law School.






Emily Cotton has extensive experience conducting complex quantitative and qualitative analyses of data in both mergers and litigation matters. She has supported experts from leading universities and managed case teams in a broad range of industries on matters including antitrust, bankruptcy, class certification, intellectual property, securities, survey design, tax, and transfer pricing. Her recent case work has included the assessment of competitive effects in major antitrust matters and mergers; analysis of Federal Trade Commission merger compliance; litigation related to the Lehman bankruptcy; managing the independent evaluation of massive amounts of data in a major antitrust matter; and the determination of arm’s-length pricing in a large U.S. transfer pricing matter. Ms. Cotton also has substantial experience evaluating questions of commonality and typicality in the context of privacy, technology, and overcharge class actions.






Eleanor M. Fox is the Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation at New York University School of Law. Before joining the faculty of NYU Law School, Professor Fox was a partner at the New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. She has served as a member of the International Competition Policy Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice (1997-2000) and as a Commissioner on President Carter’s National Commission for the Review of Antitrust Laws and Procedures (1978-79). She has advised numerous younger antitrust jurisdictions, including South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, The Gambia, Indonesia, Russia, Poland and Hungary, and the common market COMESA. Professor Fox received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Paris-Dauphine.






Aaron Friedman counsels broker-dealers, banks, securities exchanges, private funds and investment companies regarding regulatory issues and financial instruments, as well as companies in the FinTech, cryptocurrency and blockchain spaces. He also represents market participants on a variety of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulatory, compliance, and examination matters, including investigations by the SEC’s and CFTC’s Divisions of Enforcement and examinations by the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. Mr. Friedman previously worked as a securities regulation intern at the Investment Company Institute, where he assisted with matters related to registered funds, liquidity management, equity market structure, and derivatives.






Phara A. Guberman is a partner in the Litigation practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm's New York office. She has experience representing clients in high-stakes and sensitive regulatory enforcement and white-collar criminal investigations and trials. Ms. Guberman also conducts internal investigations for companies, their boards and committees, and handles civil and class action securities matters related to government and internal investigations. Ms. Guberman has successfully handled a wide array of regulatory enforcement and white-collar criminal matters, including those involving allegations of corporate and accounting fraud, securities fraud, insider trading, misappropriation of trade secrets, consumer protection issues, and money laundering. She regularly represents clients in court and before the United States Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve, state attorney generals, FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations, other federal agencies, and international regulators.






Christopher Healey is counsel in the Registered Funds Practice at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. He frequently counsels clients on the development of innovative retail products, complex asset management, merger and acquisition transactions, novel applications for SEC exemptive relief, and investment company status issues under the Investment Company Act of 1940. Mr. Healy’s practice focuses on advising registered funds, business development companies, investment advisers and fund boards. A recognized emerging leader in the industry, he was named a “Rising Star” at Fund Intelligence’s 2020 Mutual Funds Industry and ETF Awards and has been consistently listed as a “Rising Star in Washington, D.C.” by Super Lawyers. He has co-authored articles for several prominent industry publications, including The Investment Lawyer, Law360, BoardIQ, Fund Directions, and Fund Board Views.






Josh Klayman has spoken about blockchain in the United States and around the world, including before government regulators, at many of the industry’s most popular conferences, and at leading universities. Ms. Klayman is a director of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and chairs its legal working group, and is a member of the Wharton RegTech think tank. She was appointed by the state of Delaware to serve on its blockchain strategy committee. Passionate about the advancement of women and other diverse groups, Ms. Klayman is a co-founder of the nonprofit Diversity in Blockchain, Inc. and a founding member of Collective Future. She is also on the advisory board of a number of blockchain companies, both nonprofit and for-profit. Ms. Klayman is a Forbes contributor for blockchain and crypto matters and her articles have been featured in numerous other major publications, including Coindesk and Crowdfund Insider.






Ruth Mason joined the University of Virginia School of Law faculty in 2013. Her research focuses on taxation, especially issues related to cross-border taxation — including citizenship-based taxation and taxation within federations and common markets. Her recent work considers multilateral efforts to reform corporate taxation. Professor Mason has an abiding interest in the dormant commerce clause and tax discrimination, and her work in this area has been cited by the Supreme Court. She has been a visiting professor at Yale Law School and Université Paris 1 (Panthéon Sorbonne). She was Fulbright Senior Scholar at Vienna University of Economics and Business. As professor-in-residence at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation in 2018, Professor Mason delivered the 2018 Amsterdam Distinguished Lecture in Taxation. Her lecture focused on the application to U.S. multinational companies of the EU prohibition of tax state aid. She developed the lecture into a method that regulators could use to reliably identify subsidies delivered as tax breaks.

Portrait of Dayna Bowen Matthew





Dayna Bowen Matthew is the Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. Dean Matthew is a leader in public health and civil rights law who focuses on racial disparities in health care. She joined the UVA Law faculty in 2017 and is the author of the book Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care. At UVA, she served as Co-Founder and Inaugural Director of The Equity Center, a transdisciplinary research center that seeks to build better relationships between UVA and the Charlottesville community through community engaged scholarship that tangibly redresses racial and socioeconomic inequality. Dean Matthew previously served on the University of Colorado law faculty as a Professor, Vice Dean, and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. She was a member of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Dean Matthew held a joint appointment at the Colorado School of Public Health.






Joshua Mitts is an Associate Professor of Law and Milton Handler Fellow at Columbia Law School. He uses advanced data science for his research on corporate and securities law. His primary focus is on information disclosure in capital markets, consumer financial protection, and related topics in law and finance. Professor Mitts employs empirical methods, including statistical analysis and machine learning, for his research on short-selling, informed trading on cybersecurity breaches, information leakage and hedge-fund activism, insider trading on corporate disclosure, and information transmission in financial markets. HIs interest in data science dates back to high school when he won the Microsoft Windows Forms Coding Hero Award for developing software for the Microsoft .NET platform. To help practitioners and scholars better communicate with software engineers, he introduced the course data and predictive coding for lawyers to the law school curriculum.

Jeremy Pam





Jeremiah Pam is the Director of the Business and Finance Law Program and a Professorial Lecturer in Law at the George Washington University Law School. He has significant work experience in international affairs and international crises, including six years practicing in international finance and sovereign debt restructuring at Cleary Gottlieb in New York, followed by service as a financial diplomat with the Treasury Department in Baghdad and the State Department in Kabul. He also served for four years as a U.S. Air Force officer prior to law school. Mr. Pam received a JD from Columbia, an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MA in political science from Columbia, and an AB from Harvard.






Hester M. Peirce was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was sworn in on January 11, 2018. Prior to joining the SEC, Commissioner Peirce conducted research on the regulation of financial markets at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. She was a senior counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, where she advised Ranking Member Richard Shelby and other members of the committee on securities issues. Commissioner Peirce served as counsel to SEC Commissioner Paul S. Atkins. She also worked as a staff attorney in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. Commissioner Peirce was an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) and clerked for Judge Roger Andewelt on the Court of Federal Claims. Commissioner Peirce earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Case Western Reserve University and a JD from Yale Law School.






Morenike Saula is the inaugural Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship Law Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. Professor Saula’s scholarly interests include corporate law, international finance law, and international taxation law. Professor Saula joins GW Law after completing her Master’s in Business and Finance Law at GW. Prior to that, Professor Saula practiced law in Nigeria at a commercial law firm, primarily dealing with banks and other financial institutions. Professor Saula received a LLB from Coventry University Law School, UK and a BL from the Nigerian Law School. At GW Law, Professor Saula teaches a tax policy law course on information reporting and withholding obligations for international transactions and co-teaches a course on economic/technological innovation for business lawyers. Professor Saula is a member of Women in Housing and Finance (WHF).






D. Daniel Sokol is Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Senior Advisor at White & Case. He also is affiliate faculty in the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. Professor Sokol is a non-governmental advisor to the International Competition Network for several working groups and the academic advisor to the US Chamber’s antitrust group. His research and teaching focus on antitrust, corporate governance, compliance, innovation, and entrepreneurship.






Gary Sprague was one of five business representatives selected by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to participate in the OECD Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Tax Treaty Characterisation Issues Arising from E-Commerce, and was elected chair of the business representatives on the TAG. He also was appointed by the OECD to serve as the business co-chair on the Technical Advisory Group on Monitoring the Application of Existing Treaty Norms for the Taxation of Business Profits. He was the Co-General Reporter for the subject Taxation of Income Derived from Electronic Commerce for the International Fiscal Association 2001 Congress, and is a co-author of BNA Tax Management Portfolio No. 555, Federal Taxation of Software and E-Commerce. He is the General Reporter for the subject Big Data and Tax – domestic and international taxation of data driven business for the International Fiscal Association 2021 Congress. He also is a regular contributor to the Tax Management International Journal's Leading Practitioner Commentary.






Carol Van Cleef is an internationally recognized authority and pioneer in legal issues involving cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As chair of the Bradley’s Blockchain and Digital Assets practice, Ms. Van Cleef leads the firm’s virtual currencies and blockchain work to help clients navigate the complex, dynamic and rapidly evolving issues in these areas. With a focus on regulatory, compliance, and enforcement matters, she has built a global reputation as a leading attorney, counselor and problem solver working with fintech companies, blockchain developers, virtual currency exchanges and wallets, payment processors, prepaid access programs, and other business ventures. Her clients also include banks, securities firms, insurance companies, and money services businesses.






In 2019, Kimberly Van Sande obtained her master’s degree in law with a specialization in tax law at the University of Antwerp. During her education, she acquired a certificate of student researcher at the same university. Kimberly is a member of the Antwerp Bar. In addition to her work as a lawyer for Tiberghien (60%), she is also active as a PhD student at the University of Antwerp. Kimberly’s main field of expertise is corporate tax.






Jean-Philippe is a Brussels-based senior counsel international tax and is a member of the PwC Global Tax and Transfer Pricing Team. He combines his role at PwC with an assignment as guest professor International and European Tax at the Free University of Brussel (VUB). He has a vast experience in European and international tax law, an area in which he regularly publishes and holds lectures. In his practice, he guides clients through the rapidly evolving international tax landscape. His work involves spotting risks and opportunities that are the result of new legislation or developments at the international or European level, with a particular focus on anti-abuse and developing sustainable business models. Furthermore, he is often involved in dispute avoidance and dispute resolution work.


Business and Finance Law Conference Organizing Committee

  • Abraham Bluestone, Class of 2021, Chair
  • Abigail Zwick, Class of 2022 (GWNY), President, Banking and Securities Law Society
  • Adam Manning, Class of 2022, President, Evening Law Student Association; Vice President Corporate and Business Law Society; Senator and Chair, Academic Policy Committee, Student Bar Association
  • Alejandra Velapatino, Business and Finance Law LLM Class of 2021
  • Alejandro Ibarra, Business and Finance Law LLM Class of 2021
  • Barbara Samaniego, Class of 2021, Co-President, Antitrust Law Association Finance; Marketing Editor, GW International Law Review
  • Hannelore Niesten, Business and Finance Law LLM Class of 2021
  • Leif Anderson, Class of 2021, Vice President, Tax Law Society
  • Tolulope Awoyomi, Business and Finance Law LLM '20
  • Sandhya Taneja, Class of 2021, Certificate in Business and Finance Law;Co-President, Antitrust Law Association; GW Student Bar Association Assistant Director for Student Affairs - Transfer Students

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