Wilson Sonsini Adds Jess Cheng, Former Senior Federal Reserve Payments Counsel, to Fintech and Financial Services Group

With the Addition of Cheng and Others with Fintech Expertise, Wilson Sonsini Formalizes its "Fintech and Financial Services" Group

PALO ALTO, Calif., December 06, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the premier provider of legal services to technology, life sciences, and growth enterprises worldwide, announced today that Jess Cheng is joining the firm as a corporate partner in New York, where she will be a member of the Fintech and Financial Services group. The move demonstrates Wilson Sonsini’s continued efforts to add to its strengths as a top legal adviser to the fintech and evolving financial services community, as well as its capacity to provide a holistic approach when advising clients engaged in both traditional and new payment services.

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Jess Cheng, Partner, Wilson Sonsini (Photo: Business Wire)

Cheng has more than a decade of experience handling—and shaping—the regulatory aspects of a broad range of payment services and technologies, spanning traditional systems and cutting-edge payments products. She joins Wilson Sonsini from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C., where she served as senior counsel in the Monetary Affairs and Payment Systems Section. While there, Cheng was at the forefront of payments rulemaking, including with respect to debit card interchange fees and instant payments, as well as oversight of the FedNow Service.

Cheng has extensive expertise advising on the evolving financial regulatory perimeter, particularly with regard to stablecoins and nonbank payment companies; partnerships between banks and fintech companies, including in connection with payment infrastructures that leverage distributed ledger and other emerging technologies; and the legal, regulatory, and public policy aspects of central bank digital currencies.

Previously, as deputy general counsel at enterprise blockchain company Ripple, Cheng advised on a wide range of legal and regulatory issues that affect innovative payment products. Serving as a trusted advisor on a spectrum of commercial, operational, and product matters, she has crafted pragmatic, business-minded legal solutions to novel and complex issues at the intersection of payments technology and financial regulation.

"Jess’s combination of public and private sector experience enables her to offer a unique perspective that will provide early- and late-stage clients alike with practical insights regarding the payments ecosystem," said Doug Clark, managing partner at Wilson Sonsini. "Her background and perspective will be particularly valuable to technology companies entering the payments space or those looking to expand their range of financial service offerings, as she can offer a broad set of tailored solutions for innovative clients and others moving forward in the fintech sector."

Cheng’s addition is the latest significant hire that underscores Wilson Sonsini’s efforts to formalize its Fintech and Financial Services practice. In June 2022, Neel Maitra joined the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. Maitra was a senior special counsel in the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, where he focused on fintech and cryptocurrency issues. In October 2020, Joshua Kaplan joined Wilson Sonsini’s London office. Kaplan was formerly at Checkout.com—a leading global payment solution provider—where he had served as COO and general counsel since 2017.

Wilson Sonsini provides extensive and cutting-edge corporate, regulatory, intellectual property, and litigation legal representation for innovative companies across the fintech and financial services industries. Among the firm’s areas of experience is advising clients with innovative financial platforms and products on compliance matters. Select clients include Block, AngelList, Roblox, Crypto.com, CrowdStreet, Bitwise, Bakkt, Rally Rd, and Checkout.com.

"Wilson Sonsini has been representing fintech clients since the industry first surfaced, and our experience has helped us attract talented attorneys like Jess and others, and led us to formalize our Fintech and Financial Services group," said Amy Caiazza, a partner at Wilson Sonsini who leads the group. "Jess’s goal-oriented approach and her public and private sector experience is what next-generation fintech clients need—a holistic and creative approach to their unique challenges and an ability to identify issues before they arise."

"I chose Wilson Sonsini for the firm’s unparalleled reputation of working with iconic technology clients and collaborative approach to helping innovators thrive in highly regulated industries," said Cheng. "The payments sector is at the cusp of significant change, and I am excited to draw on my public sector experience to partner with founders, start-ups, and investors at the cutting edge of financial services. My payments background complements the firm’s top-notch team, enhancing our ability to provide creative strategies to navigate the changing regulatory landscape and help clients succeed on every aspect of the journey, from start-up to public company."

Prior to working for the Federal Reserve Board—and following her in-house role at Ripple—Cheng was counsel at the International Monetary Fund’s Legal Department, where she advised on the strategic direction of the fund’s fintech work agenda and provided technical assistance to member countries. She began her career as an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, after which she served as counsel and officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Cheng earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2009 and a B.A. in economics from Yale University in 2006.

About Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

For more than 60 years, Wilson Sonsini’s services and legal disciplines have focused on serving the principal challenges faced by the management and boards of directors of business enterprises. The firm is nationally recognized as a leading provider to growing and established clients seeking legal counsel to complete sophisticated corporate and technology transactions; manage governance and enterprise-scale matters; assist with intellectual property development, protection, and IP-driven transactions; represent them in contested disputes; and/or advise them on antitrust or other regulatory matters. With deep roots in Silicon Valley, Wilson Sonsini has 19 offices in technology and business hubs worldwide. For more information, please visit www.wsgr.com.

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