Phillips Nizer Law Firm Adds Blockchain/Crypto Expert Patrick J. Burke

Job Appointments | January 16, 2019 By:

Patrick J. Burke has joined Phillips Nizer LLP as a partner and leader of the firm’s Data Technology & Cybersecurity Group practice in New York. Burke was the Deputy Superintendent, Office of Financial Innovation, New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”).

Burke launched and headed DFS’ Office of Financial Innovation, where he oversaw policy and examination of New York’s licensed and chartered financial institutions pursuant to DFS’s  cyber security regulation. Additionally, he was in charge of the licensing and supervision of virtual currency business activities under the department’s “BitLicense” cryptocurrency regulation.  His oversight of FinTech included review of licensed institutions’ uses of blockchain and artificial intelligence.

As the first head of DFS’s Office of Financial Innovation, Burke supervised cyber security examinations of licensed entities pursuant to the 2017 Cyber Security Regulation, which serves as a model for other states and countries, and forms the basis for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ model cyber security law. The Cyber Security Regulation’s standards are applied to over 300,000 banks, insurance companies and other financial entities licensed by New York State, including credit reporting agencies such as Equifax.

Burke also spearheaded the department’s implementation of its virtual currency regulation, the only such state regulation in the nation. He supervised DFS’s issuance of “BitLicenses” and Limited Purpose Trust Charters to cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto-custody providers and other entities engaged in virtual currency business activities in New York State. Once licensed or chartered, he oversaw their supervision  and examination, requiring compliance with robust policies and procedures to address risks and applying DFS’s strong standards regarding anti-money laundering, anti-fraud, transaction monitoring, consumer and cybersecurity protections.

His role on cryptocurrency and financial innovation entailed detailed analysis and understanding of blockchain generally and smart contract technology in particular. During his tenure, DFS authorized Gemini Trust Company LLC and Paxos Trust Company LLC to each offer a price-stable cryptocurrency – commonly known as a “stablecoin” – pegged to the U.S. Dollar.

Burke founded the Cardozo Data Law Initiative at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, where he served on the faculty and taught courses on Information Governance, and E-Discovery, Digital Evidence and Computer Forensics.

“As the regulator in charge of oversight of New York State’s Cybersecurity and Virtual Currency regulations for much of the financial services sector, Patrick is a unique leader in the data technology and security fields,” said Marc Landis, managing partner of Phillips Nizer. “He has been present at the creation of the plans for how to handle the complex cybersecurity and data privacy issues plaguing companies across the globe. He has also been a leader in cryptocurrency regulation and has served as point person as the blockchain revolution has taken off. We are glad to welcome Patrick to Phillips Nizer,” Mr. Landis said.

“Phillips Nizer offers an excellent platform for my practice at this seminal moment in the trajectory of cybersecurity, data privacy, blockchain and cryptocurrency,” said Burke. “The firm’s Data Technology & Cyber Security Group is well-positioned to serve clients looking for top-flight practitioners. With New York City increasingly a hub for innovation in these areas, I’m excited to launch this practice at Phillips Nizer, an innovation-focused law firm.”

Burke received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his B.A. from Binghamton University.