*Mr. Middlebrook is not licensed to practice law in Georgia. His activities are directly supervised by an attorney licensed to practice law in Georgia.

Steve advises start-up and established companies on a wide array of legal and business issues arising from the intersection of technological innovation and financial services. He has more than 20 years of experience helping clients navigate complex regulatory and compliance matters, including licensing, consumer protection, anti-money laundering, data privacy and security. He has helped clients interact with regulators and respond to inquiries at the state and federal level. In addition, he has assisted businesses in negotiating agreements for processing services, hardware and software, network access, and customer service.

Steve has an extensive background in emerging payment technologies, prepaid and stored value products, mobile payments, web-based financial services, virtual currency and distributed ledger technology. His prior experience includes being General Counsel at two FinTech companies, and a decade’s service at the US Department of the Treasury.

Steve serves as an advisor to the Uniform Law Commission’s drafting committee for the Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act. He is a frequent writer on legal issues surrounding electronic payments and virtual currency with recent articles appearing in the Yale Journal of Regulation, William Mitchell Law Review and The Business Lawyer.

Presentations and Publications

Publications

  • Stephen T. Middlebrook, Tom Kierner and Sarah Jane Hughes, Developments in the Law Affecting Electronic Payments and Financial Services, 72 BUS. LAW. 255 (Winter 2016-17)
  • Stephen T. Middlebrook and Sarah Jane Hughes, A Historical Analysis of Substitutes for Legal Tender and Their Implications for the Regulation of Virtual Currency, in John A. Rothchild (ed.), RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON ELECTRONIC COMMERCE LAW, Edward Elgar, 2016 
  • Sarah Jane Hughes & Stephen T. Middlebrook, Advancing a Framework for the Regulation of Cryptocurrency Payments Intermediaries, YALE J. OF REGULATION Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer 2015).
  • Sarah Jane Hughes and Stephen T. Middlebrook, Developments in the Law Affecting Electronic Payments and Financial Services, 71 BUS. LAW. 361 (Winter 2015-16)
  • Sarah Jane Hughes and Stephen T. Middlebrook, Are These Game Changers? Developments in the Law Affecting Virtual Currencies, Prepaid Payroll Cards, Online Tribal Lending, and Payday Lenders, 70 BUS. LAW. 261 (Winter 2014-15)
  • Stephen T. Middlebrook, Bitcoin for Merchants: Legal Considerations for Businesses Wishing to Accept Bitcoin as a Form of Payment, BUSINESS LAW TODAY (Nov. 2014) 
  • Stephen T. Middlebrook and Sarah Jane Hughes, Regulating Cryptocurrencies in the United States: Current Issues and Future Directions, WILLIAM MITCHELL LAW REV. Vol. 40 (Mar. 2014)
  • Stephen T. Middlebrook, What’s in Your Wallet? Could it be the Department of Homeland Security? BUSINESS LAW TODAY (Nov. 2013)
  • Stephen T. Middlebrook and Sarah Jane Hughes, Virtual Uncertainty: Developments in the Law of Electronic Payments and Financial Services 69 BUS. LAW. 263 (Oct. 2013) 
  • Sarah Jane Hughes, Stephen T. Middlebrook, Candace Jones (eds.), RFID, NEAR-FIELD COMMUNICATIONS AND MOBILE PAYMENTS: A GUIDE FOR LAWYERS, (American Bar Association) (2013).
  • Stephen T. Middlebrook, Use of RFID Technology by Government Entities, in RFID, NEAR-FIELD COMMUNICATIONS AND MOBILE PAYMENTS:: A GUIDE FOR LAWYERS, (American Bar Association) (2013).
  • Sarah Jane Hughes and Stephen T. Middlebrook, Developments in the Law Governing Electronic Payments Made Through Gift Cards, Debit and Prepaid Cards 66 BUS. LAW. Vol. 159 (2010).
  • Sarah Jane Hughes, Stephen T. Middlebrook, Patricia Allouise, Developments in the Law Affecting Electronic Payments and Stored Value Products, 64 BUS. LAW. 219 (2008).
  • Sarah Jane Hughes, Stephen T. Middlebrook, Broox W. Peterson, Developments in the Law Concerning Stored Value and Other Electronic Payment Products, 63 BUS. LAW. 237 (2007).
  • Sarah Jane Hughes, Stephen T. Middlebrook, Broox W. Peterson, Developments in the Law Concerning Stored Value and Other Prepaid Payment Products, 61 BUS. LAW. 229 (Nov. 2006).
  • Stephen T. Middlebrook and John Muller, Thoughts on Bots:  The Emerging Law of Electronic Agents, 56 BUS. LAW. 341 (2000).

Presentations

  • Changing Standards of Unfairness: Recent Enforcement Actions by the CFPB and FTC, ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting (April 7, 2017).
  • Select Provisions from the Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act, Business Law Section Spring Meeting (April 6, 2017).
  • CFPB Enforcement Actions Under Its UDAAP Authority, 17th National Forum on Prepaid Card Compliance (January 30, 2017).
  • Blockchain for Business: Emerging Legal Issues Associated with Using Distributed Ledger Technology, ABA Business Law Annual Meeting (September 10, 2016).
  • Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currencies in Bankruptcy, American Bar Association, Business Bankruptcy Brunch (April 9, 2016).
  • Bitcoin Accepted Here: Virtual Currencies and Their Surrounding Legal Issues, American Bar Association webinar series (March 28, 2014).
  • Payroll Card Regulation and Compliance Update, Prepaid, Mobile and Emerging Payment Compliance Summit (November 18, 2013).
  • Recent Developments in the Regulation of Prepaid Cards and Virtual Currencies, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (August 14, 2013).
  • I Will Swipe No More Forever: RFID, NFC, Contactless and Mobile Payments, American Bar Association Annual Meeting (August 10, 2013).
  • Recent Developments in the Regulation of Virtual Currencies, Cyberspace Law Committee, American Bar Association (August 9, 2013).
  • Prepaid Opportunities and Challenges in Policy and Regulation, Card Forum and Expo (May 9, 2012).
  • The Mobile Gold Rush:  Panning for Gold in Payments, American Bar Association Annual Meeting (August 6, 2010).
  • Mobile Payments Legal and Regulatory Survey: Analysis and Report, American Bar Association Annual Meeting (August 6, 2010).
  • Evolving Payments Regulation in the United States, Electronic Money Association, London, U.K. (November 22, 2009).
  • Payments in a Pandemic:  Can New Technologies Support Social Distancing, joint meeting Banking, Cyberspace and UCC Subcommittees, American Bar Association (August 3, 2009).
  • Twelve Angry Tweets:  How Cell Phones, Text Messaging and the Mobile Internet May be Affecting Your Jury, Cyberspace Law Committee, American Bar Association (April 18, 2009).
  • The European Union’s Payment Services Directive and What it Means for the United States and Canada, joint meeting Banking, Cyberspace and UCC Subcommittees, American Bar Association (April 16, 2009).
  • Modernizing Payments Law: Prepaid Debit, Stored Value and Other Forms of Electronic Money, joint meeting of the UCC and Cyberspace Law Subcommittees, American Bar Association (August 11, 2008).
  • Forfeiture of Funds Associated with Prepaid Cards, Working Group on Electronic Payments, American Bar Association (August 8, 2008).
  • The Future of Interchange, American Bar Association (April 11, 2008).
  • A Practical Introduction to the Law of Electronic Payments, Institute for the Young Business Lawyer, American Bar Association (April 10, 2008).
  • U.S. Debit Card:  Federal Agency Applications, Prepaid Card Expo 2008 (March 5, 2008).
  • New Payment Products, Old Payment Regulations:  Is It Time to Rethink the Law? Winter Working Group, Cyberspace Law Committee, American Bar Association (January 25, 2008).
  • Participation of Nonbank Entities in the U.S. Electronic Payment System, Electronic Money Association, London, U.K. (November 29, 2007).
  • Special Legal Considerations for Government Card Programs, Prepaid Card Expo 2007 (February 27, 2007).
  • Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina and Looking Toward the Future, Payment Cards Institute of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (May 6, 2006).
  • Regulation of E-Money Products in the United States, Conference on the European Union’s E-Money Directive, Electronic Money Association, Brussels, Belgium (February 9, 2006).
  • Treasury-Sponsored Stored Value and Debit Card Projects, Consumer Financial Services Committee, American Bar Association (January 9, 2006).
  • Stored Value and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, FDIC Bank Examiners’ Conference (November 29, 2005).
  • Who Owns E-Commerce?  The Intersection of Patent Law, Financial Services and Cyberspace, Cyberspace Law Committee, ABA Annual Meeting (August 6, 2005).
  • Getting Paid in the 21st Century: Gift Cards, Stored Value Cards, Mobile and Contactless Payments and Other Species of Electronic Money Transmission, webcast sponsored by the American Bar Association (November 9, 2004).
  • Getting Paid in the 21st Century: Gift Cards, Stored Value Cards, Mobile and Contactless Payments and Other Species of Electronic Money Transmission, Cyberspace Law Committee, American Bar Association (August 7, 2004).
  • Fiscal and Financial Agents of the United States, Treasury / Federal Reserve Symposium (October 7, 2003).
Experience

Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Advised bank on strategic partnership with payments company serving the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Advised major retailer on payroll card compliance issues.
  • Counseled payment processor with regard to money transmission licensing issues.
  • Assisted private school with corporate credit card agreement.
  • Counseled lender on implementing new program to deliver loan proceeds to prepaid debit cards.
  • Advised blockchain startup on strategic relationships and compliance matters.
  • Advised payment processor on modifying certain features of prepaid card program in order to be compliant with requirements of the Durbin Amendment.
  • Negotiated master services agreements with banking partner for payments company.
  • Advised payment processor on response to data breach.
  • Led payments company that had suffered a significant processing outage through CFPB enforcement action, several state investigations, and multiple class action lawsuits.
  • Represented federal agency in patent litigation before the Federal Circuit.
  • Advised US Department of the Treasury on legal and compliance issues related to deployment of EagleCash, NavyCash and MarineCash stored value card products for the US Department of Defense.
  • Provided legal advice and counsel to US Department of the Treasury in support of the creation of the Direct Express prepaid debit card program through which millions of people receive their Social Security and other federal benefit payments.
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Bar admissions

1996, District of Columbia

Education

  • J.D., 1993, Georgetown University Law Center
  • B.A., 1985, Washington University in St. Louis
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