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Paul Hastings Snaps Up Orrick Fintech Lawyer

March 2, 2020, 10:52 PM

Paul Hastings has brought aboard Christopher Austin, who had been global head of capital markets at Orrick and head of its blockchain and cryptocurrency working group, as a partner based in New York.

One of his first actions on the new job, Austin said, was filing a $100 million initial public offering last on Feb. 28 for health tech company Accolade, which provides a platform to help employers manage their healthcare benefits.

Austin’s arrival bolsters the Paul Hastings’ fintech and capital markets practices, adding to the flow of new corporate partner hires by the firm in its London, New York, Bay Area and other offices.

“Adding outstanding talent like Chris to our team has helped us build market-leading Capital Markets and Fintech practices that span our global network,” said Seth Zachary, chairman of Paul Hastings, in a statement.

“This is a destination firm for emerging fintech and financial services companies, who are remaking their business through financial technology, presenting an immediate opportunity to grow my practice,” Austin said.

While at Orrick last year, Austin helped advise Beyond Meat, the Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes, in its $240 million IPO. He said his experience advising companies and leading investment banks is at the intersection of financial technology and global capital markets, an area where Paul Hastings has been amassing legal expertise.

Over the past year, Paul Hastings has made nearly two dozen lateral hires, including capital markets and leveraged finance partner Frank Lopez and derivatives partner Joyce Xu in New York; Jonathan Ko in Los Angeles; and, in Paris, Nicola Bonucci, global trade managing partner. Other partners have been added in London, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Houston and Washington.

Paul Hastings’ fintech and payments practice has advised on a number of large deals, including counseling Samsung on the launch of Samsung Pay. The firm’s capital markets practice has advised on several landmark transactions as well in recent years.

Austin spent almost six years at Orrick, becoming head of the capital markets practice three years ago. Prior to that, he practiced for four years at Goodwin Procter, as a capital markets and technology lawyer, and 16 years at Ropes & Gray, where he was co-head of the technology company and venture capital practice group.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson in Washington at egolson1@gmail.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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