Add a bookmark to get started

17 May 20243 minute read

DLA Piper wins at FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific 2024 Awards

DLA Piper has won the Innovative Lawyers in Fintech and Digital Assets category at the FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific 2024 Awards, which took place on Thursday 16 May at the Asia Society in Hong Kong.

Kristi Swartz, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property & Technology (IPT) from DLA Piper’s Hong Kong office, was awarded the accolade for her work with VARA (the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority). DLA Piper was appointed as VARA’s exclusive global legal advisor in 2022, during a time of heightened chaos in the crypto sphere. Together, DLA Piper and VARA created the world’s first ever custom virtual asset regime that is progressive, responsive and responsible at its core. VARA’s framework fosters a vibrant ecosystem, promotes innovation, and drives economic growth in Dubai, whilst ensuring responsible market participation and consumer protection.

Dubai’s virtual assets framework has also provided a model for other global operators to emulate. As a first mover, VARA has done a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ for other jurisdictions, helping it to gain an advantage in the race to become a global virtual assets hub.

Kristi led an international team of lawyers from Hong Kong, Dubai, London and Washington DC, leveraging the firm’s regulatory expertise and knowledge of virtual assets and financial services regulations to deliver a bespoke solution.

Commenting on the win, Kristi said “I am incredibly proud to be recognized by such a prestigious publication for our work with VARA. This was a world ‘first’ which truly has innovation at its heart. Since publishing the regulations, VARA has emerged as a global leader in the regulated virtual assets industry. This was an exceptionally exciting project which exemplifies the innovation at the core of our firm’s culture.”

The FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific Awards are among the most prestigious awards on the legal calendar and are highly competitive. They recognise lawyers, law firms and in-house legal teams across the region that are at the forefront of innovation. Entries are scored by independent experts who review submissions for originality, leadership, and impact.

This award follows on from DLA Piper’s success at the awards in previous years. Last year the firm was recognised with an award for Innovation in Adjacent Services, and in 2022 it won two awards, for Innovation in Digital Finance, as well as Innovation in Social Justice, Inclusion and Diversity.

DLA Piper was also shortlisted in the following categories at the 2024 awards:

  • Innovation in Responsible Business
  • Most Innovative Law Firm in Asia Pacific (HQ’d outside Asia Pacific)