581.01 FinTech and the Law

Financial services have been dramatically impacted by the deep technology revolution. Transactions, including payments and trading, have become almost instantaneous, validated by electronic signatures. Financial services are available anywhere, anytime, accessible from cards or devices in customer pockets.  As a result of all this "electronification," traditional bank "back rooms" and old-fashioned trading pits have disappeared, to be replaced by "clouds," iPhones, infrared beams, and so on.  Customer data, once safe in the hands of bankers, is now frequently compromised in massive electronic breaches.  We have no way of knowing whether state agencies or criminals now hold this information in their possession.  Seldom do financial firms attempt to deliver services on their own anymore; instead the end result is the result of behind-the-scenes collaboration among numerous market participants, the quality and capabilities of which varies widely.  It is a world of the future present, with which we are only starting to come to grips. The automation of financial services is also having an impact on regulators: the newly emerging concept of 'RegTech,' which focuses on how regulatory monitoring and assessment can themselves be automated, has been given a huge boost with the recent acquisition by IBM of The Promontory Interfinancial group, bringing the immense artificial intelligence power of "Watson" to bear on regulatory assessment and decision making

FinTech and the Law will review the origins of these developments.  We will seek to understand the architectures, principal legal and regulatory issues, and the dynamics of modern financial marketplaces as these are shaped by technology.  The seminar will help prepare students for a rapidly evolving framework in which successful business and legal practice must become technologically "bilingual."

The course is a seminar based on a compilation of readings provided during the course.  Enrollment is strictly limited to 12 students.

Enrollment Pre-/Co- Requisite Information

Prior or current registration in a financial regulatory course (e.g., Big Bank Regulation; Securities Regulation). Please discuss with instructors if you think your prior course might be eligible

Spring 2017

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Research paper, 25+ pages
Oral presentation
Class participation
Lawrence G. Baxter, Lee Reiners
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.581.01.Sp17
Email list: LAW.581.01.Sp17@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Areas of Practice