Former chief of New Jersey Bureau of Securities joins Lowenstein Sandler

National law firm Lowenstein Sandler this week announced the addition of Christopher W. Gerold, the former chief of New Jersey Bureau of Securities, as partner in the firm’s Securities Litigation practice. Just days earlier, the firm also announced the election of seven lawyers to the partnership in 2022, as well as 14 to counsel and three to senior counsel.

Gerold will be based in the firm’s Roseland and New York offices. He will counsel national financial firms, coin-based exchanges and emerging fintech companies for compliance with federal and state securities laws. He will also defend regulatory examinations and enforcement actions by securities agencies across the country.

As chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities from 2017 to 2021, Gerold became a national leader in securities regulation and crypto-related enforcement matters. Under his leadership, the BOS filed some of the earliest crypto-enforcement actions, including the March 2018 action against the Steven Seagal-promoted initial coin offering of Bitcoin. Since then, the BOS has continued to be a leader in the crypto and decentralized finance space, having filed 23 crypto- and DeFi-related enforcement actions, including cases against Blockfi and Celsius in 2021.

Gerold rose to national prominence in the emerging crypto and DeFi space in 2018, when he led the North American Securities Administrators Association’s “Operation Cryptosweep” as the chair of NASAA’s Enforcement Committee.

As NASAA president, Gerold engaged with Securities & Exchange Commission commissioners and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority leadership on various rulemaking and policies, including the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. And, when the pandemic struck, Gerold led the organization’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, consisting of more than 44 state and provincial securities regulators, which initiated more than 250 investigations and enforcement actions against fraudulent investment offerings seeking to profit from the pandemic.

Christopher Porrino, Lowenstein Sandler’s litigation chair and former attorney general of New Jersey, said: “Chris brings perspective and experience that is unrivaled nationally in the crypto and DeFi enforcement space. That experience, combined with his relationships with both state and federal securities regulators, will greatly benefit our broker-dealer, investment management and startup clients, whether they are involved with traditional securities and investment products, or emerging digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies or NFTs.”

“Lowenstein’s entrepreneurial culture appealed to me,” Gerold said. “I am eager to collaborate with my new partners, especially in the Blockchain Technology & Digital Assets and Broker-Dealer groups, to grow a national practice that leverages my financial regulation network and background in New Jersey, as well as across all of the states, FINRA and at the SEC.”

Gerold’s prior experience in private practice includes serving as counsel in the Financial Services Regulatory and Litigation Group of a leading New Jersey law firm. He conducted internal investigations on sales practices, misappropriation, unapproved sales literature, unapproved third-party research, unsuitable trading and insider trading, among other issues. He has also represented broker-dealers and investment advisers in regulatory enforcement actions by FINRA, SEC and numerous state securities regulators on matters involving systemic overbilling, money laundering, excessive trading, supervision, operational deficiencies related to the delivery of proxies and trade confirmations, private securities offerings and the initial public offering of municipal bonds.

Gerold began his legal career in New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General in the Securities Fraud Prosecution Section, where he was lead trial attorney in securities fraud enforcement actions in state and administrative courts, prosecuting such claims as penny stock manipulation, unregistered securities and fraud. He received his Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law and his Bachelor of Science in finance from Villanova University.

Separately, Lowenstein Sandler also announced that seven lawyers were elected to the partnership in 2022: Kent Anderson, Kate Basmagian, William Brannan, Alyssa A. Frederick, Matthew P. Hintz, Megan Monson and Nick Samedi.

The firm also elevated 14 associates to counsel: Arielle B. Adler, Madhumita Datta, Samantha Fox, Allison Gabala, Nicholas D. Jackson, Marc L. Lomasky, Sam Noel, Michael Papandrea, Daniel C. Porco, Rebecca J. Ryan, Gina M. Seong, Nicole Stefanelli, Jacob D. Unger and Kaileigh E. Wright.

Three lawyers have been named senior counsel: Keara Waldron, Irina Ishak and Nathan O. Greene.

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“This diverse class of new partners and counsel, representing a panoply of practices, backgrounds and interests, reflects the many perspectives of not just our firm, but our entire client roster,” Chair and Managing Partner Gary Wingens said. “These lawyers illustrate how Lowenstein’s culture of embracing a broad spectrum of talent enhances our ability to offer comprehensive and insightful legal services to clients spanning a multitude of industries, audiences, and objectives.”