Legal professionals need to be tech savy not to look smart but to be smart because, the solution needs to be digital, fast, smart and Tech driven nowadays and more in future- Shaswata Kapat, Tech-Lawyer, DIFX – Digital Financial Exchange

This interview has been published by  Priyanka Karwa and The SuperLawyer Team

Can you tell us about your journey into the field of law, particularly how you developed a passion for technology law and web3?

From my childhood I was always a tech Nerd, I still remember I would draw new smartphone designs, new kinds of computing devices in the back of my note books, and conduct odd experiments with my school best friends at his or my house. But then my family is a doctor’s family so got drawn into Medical & NEET entrance. But did miserably at entrances and got depressed and thought I can’t do anything in my life. From a bright student to a failure….life had taken a sharp turn, so my father suggested to study B.SC.LL.B where I would be able to study Science and Law together, and from my first class at Contracts and Constitution – Torts I fell love in law..and then GDPR data privacy..and during 2019 into Web3 and this world…because I wanted to be part of this amazing revolution happening in Our technology, financial and social world.

Your background includes expertise in Cyber Ethics & Forensics. How has this specialization influenced your approach to technology law, and can you share any notable experiences from your work in this area?

As I was saying my course was in BScllb, so from start we were taught in law school ballistics,  forensic physics,  chemistry,  Cyber forensics,  bioinformatics, Toxicology and interned in 1st year in Chandigarh Central Forensic Science Laboratory,  live place where the heinous Kathua Rape case’s forensics has been done, that propelled my interest in the junction of Law – Science & Technology. So these experiences and learning curve helped me to later on write a research paper on core tech policy issues which got international recognition, referred to in International – USA University Law journals,  which was read coincidentally read by one of my then future seniors who hired me after a few years. 

With your extensive experience in IP, Data privacy, AI Ethics, and Cyber Laws, how do you see these areas evolving in the context of emerging technologies like web3 and blockchain?

People have a very big misconception about Web3 & blockchain.  That everything is this field is crypto currency.  It’s much more than that…web3 blockchain are the jumps of what we have seen since 1990 when the internet started to become commercialized..when web2 happened in 2010-12 the social media started to take place. But it’s more than that because it’s disrupting conventional financial system,  social ideology,  macro and micro economy. And in this new order of law everything is IP, Data Privacy,  AI Ethics, Cyber Laws all are part of it…your general civil litigation…corporate laws…criminal liability..Competition law…corporate governance..Banking markets all are part of it… these will be becoming more intertwined to each other, and we will see newer versions of every conventional law we have seen till now.

You’ve worked with top-tier law firms in different parts of the world. Could you share some insights into the challenges and opportunities you encountered while advising clients on complex cross-border technology transactions and crypto projects?

The biggest challenge is to be updated and be prepared for dynamic laws across the globe and how it connects and how it sometimes does not connect. For an example some clients want a bespoke corporate structure for their project to have banking in Singapore,  some Money remittance license in USA, corporate tax free entity in Caymans Islands, treasury in BVI, sister one in UAE and IP in Bahamas. So you need to know not only those countries’ laws…all sorts of laws required for this…so you need to keep studying, updating yourself…keep researching..try to come up with innovative and long term beneficial plans for your clients. As I have been the young lawyer in the room of some senior folks….it needs more of your quick analysing ability and effort to be on toe to toe with their experience. 

As someone who’s deeply involved in the world of Web3 and Tech events, could you highlight some recent developments in Crypto & TMT law that you find particularly fascinating or impactful for businesses?

There has been some big developments across the globe, starting with india’s Long due Data Protection Act and then with recent G20 Summit in India the G20 countries have called for global consensus based crypto and web3 regulations on this basis of recently published IMF – FSB Synthesis Paper on Crypto Policy. Then UAE with their forward thinking VARA & ADGM regulators coming up with some comprehensive regulatory frameworks and planning and Singapore and Hong-Kong are on the same path. And California and the EU are recently working on their AI regulations as well… every other country wants to regulate these emerging countries…but the countries who are acting first with pro innovation and ample light touch regulations are going to win the race of getting maximum business. 

How do you balance your technical knowledge with legal expertise when representing clients in negotiations, drafting contracts, or advising on complex legal issues?

Most of my clients are seasoned entrepreneurs and Tech wizards.  So it’s hard to be on their wavelength in a conversation about the technical side of the business connecting dots with law. So I keep Learning and keep using my background in core technology and science to bridge the gap between their technological solutions and my legal solutions.  So complex technologies sometimes don’t have their pre structured legal solutions.  So I always map their tech and their implications,  jurisdictions,  risks, solutions and then solve each challenge of them in a legal lense one by one and in the end connect the dots and give them the full picture legal solutions.  It’s challenging and it’s exciting!

Given your belief in the transformative potential of AI and web3, what role do you see for legal professionals in shaping the future of these technologies?

People are either getting fearful that AI will replace their jobs or web3 will replace conventional business ecosystems or either People are ignorant that they should be detached from AI & web3. Both thoughts are wrong,  you should embrace with awareness, you should harness the power of AI & web3 to take leverage and grow your capabilities and your business.  Legal professionals need to be tech savy not to look smart…to be smart…because the solution needs to be…smart and Tech driven nowadays and more in future.

Lastly, as a seasoned legal professional, what advice would you like to give to fresh graduates aspiring to pursue a career in technology law, especially in the context of the ever-evolving landscape of web3 and emerging technologies?

This field is new, unconventional but with mammoth potential.  Don’t get caught in the dazzling rays in this field, try to understand and go deeper into this field, explore it and then choose this as a career.  Be very quick in your approach.  Because remember Technology always moves faster than Laws and regulations.  So you need to be in tune with technology and sometimes go beyond it …’s a highly innovative and exciting and challenging field…if you love to be at the forefront of writing the future legal world of a newly forming digital world … .take up web3, AI and emerging tech law…. Best of luck & After all it’s fun to be a lawyer in this space!!

Get in touch with Shaswata Kapat-

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