Michelle Ann Gitlitz

Biography

CO-CHAIR, BLANK ROME BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY & DIGITAL CURRENCIES GROUP

CHAIR, GENERAL LITIGATION PRACTICE GROUP

Michelle Ann Gitlitz is a founder and co-chair of the Firm’s Blockchain Technology and Digital Currencies Group. An experienced regulatory lawyer and litigator, Michelle’s practice focuses on the legal and regulatory issues confronting companies and individuals who bring blockchain applications to market. Michelle’s clients include emerging and established companies, broker-dealers, funds, and other participants in the Fintech space. Michelle guides her clients through the evolving regulatory and legal landscape that governs their business model. Her experience includes advising individuals and companies as they raise capital through coin/token issuances and digital currency offerings, form digital currency exchanges/platforms, establish digital currency mining operations, navigate through federal and state money transmission issues, and in connection with federal and state regulatory enforcement actions.

Michelle was listed by the National Law Journal and New York Law Journal as a Trailblazer (2018) in Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech and received the “Legal Compliance and Regulatory Innovator of the Year” 2018 award at the Blockchain World Conference. Michelle is also a frequent writer and sought-after speaker on blockchain and cryptocurrency matters.

Outside the Firm

Michelle enjoys hiking, tennis, traveling, and baking.

Experience

Blockchain and Digital Currencies

  • Counsel both emerging companies and established businesses on the legal and regulatory issues that arise when companies invest in and/or incorporate blockchain technology into their businesses.
  • Advise clients on legal, regulatory, and risk management issues surrounding coin/token offerings and digital securities offerings.
  • Advise clients on the formation and regulation of platforms and exchanges to trade digital/cryptocurrencies.
  • Advise clients on federal (FinCen) and state (including New York State BitLicense) money transmission licensing issues.
  • Advise hedge funds that invest in emerging technologies including, distributive ledger technologies, blockchain, artificial intelligence, as well as digital currencies.

Litigation/Regulatory

  • Represent companies, officers, and directors in connection with investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (OCIE and Enforcement divisions), Department of Justice, FINRA, National Futures Association, and other state and federal regulatory agencies arising out of possible violations of law.
  • Represent independent trustees and mutual fund boards regarding Investment Company Act of 1940 and Investment Advisers Act issues.
  • Represent founder and former CEO of an electronic communication network (“ECN”) in connection with an employment dispute.
  • Represent one of the country’s premier banking and financial services institutions, to recover damages for repudiation of customer obligations under interest rate swap agreements.
  • Represent an energy company in connection with the repudiation of an asset purchase agreement.
  • Represent former partner in an investment banking and consulting firm in connection with failure to pay him money owed under a separation agreement.
  • Represent a manufacturer of nutritional supplements, in connection with a formal order of investigation issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Represent a Special Committee of a mining company, in connection with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of possible violations of the securities laws by the company and its officers, directors and affiliates.
  • Represent independent trustees of mutual fund trusts, in connection with allegations relating to violations of Section 15(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 for alleged failure to evaluate factors to be considered when approving or renewing investment advisory contracts on behalf of shareholders.
  • Represent the board of trustees and the investment adviser to a family of mutual funds, in connection with the policies and practices with respect to investments by certain funds in IPOs of equity securities.

News & Views

See all News and Views

Recognitions

  • 2018, "Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech Trailblazer," listed by the National Law Journal and New York Law Journal
  • 2018, "Legal Compliance and Regulatory Innovator of the Year," Blockchain World Conference
  • 2012–2016, “Rising Star” in Business Litigation, listed in Super Lawyers

Affiliations

Professional Activities
  • Co-Founder, Diversity in Blockchain
  • Member, Chamber of Digital Commerce
  • Member, Wall Street Blockchain Alliance
  • Member, Global Legal Blockchain Consortium
  • Member, Accord Project
  • Vice Chair, Blank Rome’s Women’s Forum
  • Member, Blank Rome’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Credentials

Admissions

  • New York
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of New York

Education

  • Cornell University, BS
  • Brooklyn Law School, JD