In another instance of cryptocurrency companies attracting major legal talent, Coinbase has picked up Fannie Mae’s general counsel as its new chief legal officer.
Brian Brooks will lead Coinbase’s legal department as Mike Lempres, the San Francisco-based company’s CLO for nearly two years, moves into its chief policy officer role, the company announced Wednesday. The news of his hire comes one day after Coinbase’s announcement that LinkedIn’s head of data, Michael Li, would also join the company as its VP of data.
Most recently, Brooks served as the executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of financial institution Fannie Mae, where he led a 200-member legal department and government relations group and advised the CEO and board of directors.
“[Brooks'] arrival is part of our effort to expand our legal, compliance and government affairs capabilities as we head into this next chapter for the company and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole,” Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong said in a blog post announcing the hire Wednesday.
Brooks also served as the vice chairman and CLO of OneWest Bank until 2014. There, he oversaw a number of groups, including fair lending and mortgage marketing.
Before his move in-house, Brooks was a managing partner at O’Melveny & Myers where, according to his bio on Fannie Mae’s website, he helped craft the banking industry’s response to the 2010 foreclosure crisis. Brooks holds a law degree from the University of Chicago.
Now-CPO Lempres has been a vocal actor in the crypto community. He is the inaugural president of the Blockchain Association, a crypto industry lobbying group aiming for more education and clearer regulation on the emerging field.
“Mike Lempres successfully led our legal function through an important chapter of the company’s history,” Armstrong said. “He will now focus on scaling the company’s government affairs program, which includes Coinbase as a founding member of the Blockchain Association and managing the Coinbase Political Action Committee.”