A Semester in New York This fall, Joseph Aminov '23L researched cryptocurrency and other emerging financial technologies with the law firm Pryor Cashman.
Joseph Aminov is a ‘23L from Queens, New York. He attended Baruch College in New York, NY where he received a B.B.A. in Accountancy. At W&L, he is on the German Law Journal, is co-President of the Jewish Law Student Association, and is President of the Tax Law Society.
Where did you work this fall?
This fall, I had the opportunity to extern with Pryor Cashman, LLP in their NYC office located in Times Square.
How did you secure this externship?
During my second semester of my 2L year, I spent extensive time networking with attorneys active in the cryptocurrency, securities, and emerging-tech startup practice, and maintained a relationship with a partner who ended up offering me a role as a full-time extern in the fall.
Describe your work experience and daily schedule.
My experience with Pryor Cashman was a hybrid one, where I spent the semester partly in the office and otherwise in a remote setting. On a day-to-day basis, I would assist associates and partners with research on public offering and private placement regulations for token offerings as well as best practices for sanctions compliance programs and money transmission compliance.
I also prepared articles on regulatory developments in the decentralized financial industry including enforcement actions, regulatory opinion letters, civil lawsuits, bankruptcy filings, and industry innovations. During this time I familiarized myself with other areas of the law such as Lanham Act claims, Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and co-client attorney-client privileges. Finally, I sat in on DOJ proffer interviews and other meetings with state enforcement agencies.
What are some skills you developed this fall?
Some skills I’ve been able to focus on over the course of the externship included refining my research and writing, especially with regard to finding niche answers to complex technical issues and explaining them in a digestible yet thorough manner. Specifically, I spent much time researching developments in the cryptocurrency space. Knowing where to find the appropriate resources and synthesizing them into actionable pieces of information was challenging yet revealing. Outside of this, I was able to focus skills effectively and efficiently advising FinTech organizations in regulatory and compliance matters.
What surprised you about the work you did during your externship?
One of the most surprising revelations coming out of my work experience pertains to the informational disconnect between policymakers, industry participants, and private lawyers when dealing with the regulatory landscape of cryptocurrency and decentralized financial products. Specifically, industry participants have a set of practical needs, which, if not effectually paired with a regulatory strategy, would cause them to fall behind in market impact. Effective communication of the technological malleability of various products and services offered is key to the long-term growth and safety of the industry, and the need for informational symmetry to achieve that end has become apparent.
What was your favorite aspect of your fall experience?
My favorite part of this experience was meeting and learning from the talented lawyers of the Pryor Cashman team. They have been invaluable in expanding my knowledge of practice areas in which I hope to build a career, and I have learned much hearing from their experiences. Getting to work with such people on cutting edge legal issues and gaining a glimpse into their thought processes as they navigate complex matters was fascinating.
Has this experience helped you figure out your post graduate plans, and if so how?
This experience has only compounded my interest in practicing in the emerging-tech and startup markets. Whether in an in-house, governmental, or law firm capacity, I am driven to use my skills and knowledge to further the law around emerging financial products and bringing about more efficient, accessible, and safe instruments.