Financial Services Special Counsel Cathy Yoon and Gary DeWaal spoke with Law360 on law firm trends involving fintech companies. Cathy notes that fintech and blockchain companies "do not look like traditional clients," stating, "The mindset is different, and the legal industry needs to be flexible and start thinking like their clients." Gary adds that law firms need to understand both regulations and how digital products work. He stated, "The differentiator among firms is who combines the best knowledge of the technology with comprehensive touch points to all relevant areas of law—not just familiarity with SEC, states' and CFTC regulatory requirements, but knowledge of intellectual property, cybersecurity, commercial and contract law, and other relevant disciplines."
Gary noted that blockchain will likely play a significant role in the broader financial markets, as well as for potential uses in data management and IP. "It is not clear to me that any current digital asset will be around in its existing form in 10 years. However, I have little doubt that blockchain technology will continue to serve as the very efficient backbone of disparate technologies." Law firms seeking to build successful fintech practices will need to continually develop knowledge as innovations occur. Gary states, "I think there are more and more lawyers in the fintech space who understand issues around cryptos. However, fintech involves so much more—from applications utilizing artificial intelligence, the blockchain space generally and, within a few years, issues raised by quantum computing." ("What Firms Need To Know Before Starting Fintech Practices," June 3, 2019)