- New Faculty Member Kevin Tu to Bring Expertise in Business and Technology
New Faculty Member Kevin Tu to Bring Expertise in Business and Technology
Kevin Tu flirted with the prospect of a legal career in high school, inspired by his father, who had studied law in Vietnam. He discovered his love for business in college and then united his passions at the University of Washington School of Law, where he began to see the power of the profession to realize business goals.
In the decade since earning his JD, Tu honed his transactional and regulatory skills for five years in the Seattle, Wash., office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP before launching a successful academic career that eventually took him to Albuquerque, N.M., and the University of New Mexico School of Law.
There, he became fascinated with the questions that he’ll continue to explore at Maryland Carey Law, where he joined the faculty in July as an associate professor of law: how can we develop a coherent system of law and regulation for emerging payment systems, a term, Tu explains, that covers everything from PayPal, mobile wallets and other digital alternatives backed by traditional, U.S. government-issued currency, to innovators like Bitcoin and Litecoin, which aren’t.
“Business law is always changing because business models and technology are changing,” observes Tu. “Usually, law has to catch up and adapt to innovation—or risk stifling it with uncertainty and unduly burdensome legal requirements.”
That’s been true for the new payment systems he follows, especially startups which may be forced to comply with federal law as well as dozens of different state regulatory regimes, all trying in different ways to protect the consumer.
As Tu told The American Banker, his research showed that some state laws define money transmission so broadly that almost any mechanism of transferring money could be subject to licensing—a hurdle that could stop some startups. To encourage innovation, Tu believes regulatory requirements should focus on “services that pose a real risk of loss” to consumers.
Tu is also interested in business formation and the growing number of possible business entities and whether the proliferation of choices under state law serves the needs of businesses.
“Kevin understands the intersection of evolving regulatory regimes, complex banking transactions and new technology,” says Professor Michelle Harner, director of Maryland Carey Law’s Business Law Program. “He’s also a gifted teacher, an experienced practitioner, and a terrific addition to the faculty. We’re delighted to have him on board.”
Tu is equally pleased. “Maryland Carey Law has a great national reputation as a law school that’s doing things the right way—it’s student focused, has outstanding faculty and a strong working relationship with the Maryland bench and bar. I’m excited to be part of such an accomplished academic community.”