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© Marianne Ayala/Insider Lawyers are in the background of every emerging industry, drafting contracts and interpreting laws. Marianne Ayala/Insider

  • Entrepreneurs are making billions of dollars in emerging industries like cannabis and crypto.
  • Lawyers are behind the scenes, inking deals, and navigating ever-changing regulatory landscapes.
  • Insider tracked down the most powerful attorneys shaping the highest growth industries.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Digital assets have boomed over the past decade, moving from a niche hobby to a mainstream investment. Big names like MassMutual, MicroStrategy, and Tesla have bought Bitcoin; PayPal and Square’s CashApp have made it easy to buy crypto with the tap of a finger; and major financial players like BNY Mellon and Visa and Mastercard have said they’re planning to offer custody and transaction services for certain digital assets.

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Meanwhile, lawyers have been riding the wave, helping clients reimagine finance while avoiding lawsuits, scandals, and enforcement actions.

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As more states legalize recreational cannabis use, companies are scrambling to capture new markets and scale up. But cannabis is still federally illegal in the US, and that’s where lawyers come in.

Insider pulled the 10 largest cannabis-industry deals worldwide since the start of 2020, including M&A, capital raises, and debt financing, and pinpointed which law firms worked on them.

Read the full story here.

Social media isn’t just an idle pastime: it fuels a $15 billion influencer industry. As digital creators eat up more attention in entertainment, law firms that once focused on representing TV and movie stars are now chasing after YouTubers and TikTokers.

To better understand how influencers are transforming entertainment law, Insider compiled a list of the leading law firms that represent digital creators across YouTube, Instagram, and other social-media platforms.

Read the full story here.

Commercial litigation funding, in which investors advance money to businesses for the costs of lawsuits, is booming. Litigation funders now have $11.3 billion invested or ready to invest in US commercial litigation, according to a recent estimate by Westfleet Advisors.

Insider spoke to dozens of funders, lawyers, and finance professionals to learn the names of lawyers and companies transforming the industry.

Read the full story here.

SPACs raised more than $80 billion in 2020, more than five-times the previous year’s total. Insider spoke with more than a dozen people in the industry to identify the biggest lawyers and bankers behind the SPAC boom.

Read the full story here.

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