Kokila is an accomplished Corporate and Technology Lawyer, attaining almost two decades of legal practice in the Middle East. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, she has led global corporations, major government organizations, affluent clients, and cutting-edge start-ups.
Owing to her core strength as a specialized commercial and corporate legal practitioner, with a strong financial and technology background, profound entrepreneurial spirit, and extensive experience in the region, Kokila has established a boutique law firm—KARM Legal Consultants. Offering top-notch legal services on Fintech, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Data Protection, AI, Robo-advisory and open banking is the key competency of KARM Legal Consultants. Under Kokila’s leadership, and supervision, the firm has successfully on-boarded and advised multiple crypto-exchanges, token offerings (STO/UTO), consortium/enterprise blockchains, crowdfunding platforms, and payment gateway.
The KARM Founder has a keen interest in Data Protection laws and exposure to transactions across various industries, including healthcare, real estate, media, retail, and hospitality. Her expertise also extends to investments. Thereon, Kokila has been providing policy, regulatory, compliance, and governance advice to a prestigious clientele that offer highly specialized technology such as Fintech, MedTech, Insure Tech focused entities.
Kokila's expertise and achievements have been recognized in the legal community, as she has been nominated for various awards. Recently, she has been named among the Asian Legal Business Super 50 Lawyers in MENA 2022. With her unique legal insight and specialized knowledge, Kokila’s vision is invaluable for navigating the complex legal landscape in the Middle East and beyond.
• Oxford Blockchain Strategy Programme, Oxford University, United Kingdom
• Fintech Programme, Harvard Business School
• LL.M. in Digital Economy Law, Monash University – Australia
• LL.B. with Honours from Symbiosis Society’s Law College, University of Pune - India
• Panelist - Cryptos, Defi & More : Exploring the Digital Asset Landscape | IFX Expo Dubai, February 2022
• Panelist – “Can We Really Go Bank-less?” : The Finance Today Summit | The Wealth Today , March 2022
• Podcast Speaker – Law in the Time of Disruption | Women Power Podcast, March, 2022
• Panelist - Women in Tech & Blockchain | Nexchange , April 2022
• Panelist – Fintech at Expo 2020 : Opportunities for Australian Businesses in the Middle East | Australian Business Group , April 2022
• Panelist – Blockchain and Crypto Discussions | CFA Society Emirates , May 2022
• Podcast Speaker - Regulation and Digital Assets in the UAE | The Encrypted Economy, July 2022
• Panelist – Masters of the Metaverse | Khaleej Times Presents Metavision , September 2022
• Panelist – Evolving Fintech Regulations : GRC Today Summit | The Wealth Today, November 2022
• Founding member -MENA Fintech Association
• Member -Fintech Working Group Arab Monetary Fund
• Head Member of Regulatory Vertical in Dubai Digital Asset Association (D2A2)- Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy
• Legality of the Smart Contracts in UAE, Smart SMB Magazine
• January 2019 (https://issuu.com/smartsmb/docs/smartsmb_-_january_2019)
• Impact of UAE’s new FDI Law, Emirates Law Magazine, September 2019
• Avoid Critical Issues Related to Web3, Gulf News October 2022
Akshata is an Associate Partner at KARM Legal and has extensive experience in the UAE. At KARM, she heads the FinTech, Gaming and Emerging Tech practice. In addition to that, she works extensively with crypto and tokenization-based projects. Throughout her time at KARM she has engaged with various crypto-exchanges, blockchains, payments platforms, crowdfunding platforms and game operators to advise on structuring, licensing and regulatory aspects.
Under her supervision, KARM team regularly engages with central banks, securities regulators and monetary authorities in the region to find regulatory solutions for niche projects. Additionally, Akshata has been instrumental in drafting of various policies on digital-ID and e-KYC in the Arab region through her engagement with Arab Monetary Fund and MENA Fintech Association. Akshata has been nominated as the ‘Rising Star Lawyer’ at various awards and has been recognized as one of the top 30 under 30 lawyers by Business World Legal in the past.
• L.L.M (Corporate and Financial Services Law), National University of Singapore
• BA.LLB (Hons.), National Law Institute University, India
• Fintech Revolution: Transformative Financial Services and Strategies, The Wharton School.
• Panelist, Fintech and Blockchain, World Law Alliance, 2022
• Moderator, Emerging Trends in Retail Lending, Fintech Surge, Gitex, 2022
• Panelist, Changing Landscape of “Retail Payments and Fund Transfers”, DIFC Open Finance Week, 2022.
• Podcast, Blockchain won’t save the world- Middle East, 2022
• Panelist, ‘Disputes involving blockchain and crypto assets - recent strides’, 2022
• Panelist for Fintech Times on AI in Finance and Digital Investment Management;
• Panelist for Bambucorn Bahrain on ’Angel Investing, Crowdfunding, and Tokenisation;
• Legal Trainer for credit courses on ‘Law , Blockchain and DLT’ at the Legal Affairs Department, Dubai.
• Conducted Training sessions for Deloitte (ME) on ‘Legal Aspects and Market Trends of Blockchain’.
• Member of the Regulatory Fintech Working Group of the Arab Monetary Fund
ARTICLES AUTHORED/ CO-AUTHORED
• Legality of the Smart Contracts in UA, Smart SMB Magazine, January 2019 (https://issuu.com/smartsmb/docs/smartsmb__january_2019)
• Bahrain leads the Crypto Way, June 2019, The Oath Legal Magazine
• Regulating Digital Assets, May 2019,The Oath Legal Magazine
• Impact of UAE’s new FDI Law, Emirates Law Magazine, September 2019
• Tricking the Right to be Forgotten: One Blockchain at a time, Corporate Investment Times, October 2019
• The Indian Spring and Emirati Summer of Cryptos, Corporate Investment Times, March 2020
• Robo Advisory: A Legal Perspective- The Fintech Times
Soumya, a corporate commercial lawyer with over 9 years’ experience, is the Head of the Corporate – Commercial and Regulatory Practice of the Firm. With substantial exposure to the UAE market trends, she is skilled in handling complex legal transactions and guiding clients through intricate legal structures. She regularly advises on joint venture transactions, equity financing and strategic investments and counsels senior management on governance matters. As a Head of the Regulatory Practice team, Soumya is well-versed and knowledgeable in the laws and regulations of the financial regulators of UAE including the CBUAE, SCA, FSRA and DFSA. She efficiently manages regulatory filings and applications for clients in the financial services industry including payment service providers and VASPs. During her career, Soumya has represented major corporations (both public and private), broker-dealers, crypto-exchange, asset management companies, information/emerging technology and fintech companies on transactional and regulatory matters.
BA LLB (Hons) from West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, India
• Conducted Session at the Eighth Meeting for the Arab Regional Fintech Working Group, November 2022 on the “Legal framework, use cases and the way
forward for the Arab region”.
• Conducted Training Session for start-ups on the “‘Intellectual Property Requirements in Start-ups and Emerging Technologies” in August 2022.
• Conducted Training for the Deloitte (ME) Team in 2019 on “Law, Distributed Ledger Technology and Blockchain”.
• Conducted Roundtable Discussion on “Strengthening Privacy by Ensuring Data Protection” at a Legal Technology Event on the use of Smart Contracts, hosted and conducted by Forte Markets, April, 2019.
Member of the Regulatory Fintech Working Group of the Arab Monetary Fund
• “Digital Identity And E-KYC Guidelines in the Arab Region”, prepared on behalf of the Arab Monetary Fund.
• Co-Authored thAuthored the Article Published in the Oath Magazine, July 2022 Issue, entitled: “The See and Saw of Crypto: Gen 2 Regulators”
• Authored the paper e paper “Guidance Note on Adopting Smart Contracts and Smart Contracts Legal Enforceability in Arab Countries”, prepared on behalf of the Arab Monetary Fund.
• Co-Authored the paper “Alternative Modes of Finance: Overview and Guidelines for the Arab Region” along with other members of KARM Team, prepared for the Arab Monetary Fund;
• Co-Authored Article Published in Oath Magazine, June 2019 Issue, entitled: “Bahrain leads the ‘Crypto’ way”.
• Co-Authored Article Published in the Oath Magazine, May 2019 Issue, entitled: “Regulating Digital Assets”.
Ratul is a Senior Associate at KARM Legal and worked in the technology regulatory and policy space in India earlier. He has advised global cloud service providers, online content platforms, fintechs, ecommerce platforms, gaming platforms, aerospace startups, and search engine platforms on government relations and policy advocacy. His advisory experience includes personal and non-personal data protection, privacy, content regulation, artificial intelligence, intermediary liability, and cloud infrastructure ownership, amongst others. He was also an active contributor to whitepapers, position papers and guidance documents released by global multilateral organisations on blockchain, smart contracts and the like. At KARM, he works across verticals and assists in matters relating to Data Protection, Gaming, AI Blockchain, Financial Technologies, AML/KYC, amongst other emerging technologies. He has advised clients on token offerings, fundraising, setting up of cryptocurrency exchanges, deployment of public and enterprise blockchains, and on digital wallets and payments solutions.
• LL.B., Faculty of Law, University of Delhi
• B.A. (Hons), Sociology, Hindu College, University of Delhi
• Speaker for RFMLR TechTalk: A Webinar Series on Digital Commerce and Fintech Law on ‘Smart Contracts’.
• Panelist for Indian Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, 2020 by Indian Society of Artificial Intelligence and Law on Algorithmic Trading & monetization and Policy Constraints.
• Trainer for the Personal Data Protection module of LawSikho’s Diploma in Cyber Law, FinTech Regulations and Technology Contracts.
• Co-authored a report titled “Strategies for Adopting DLT/ Blockchain Technologies in Arab Countries” for the Arab Monetary Fund’s Regional Fintech Working Group.
• Co-authored a chapter on blockchain technology’s untapped potential for Indian public service delivery to be published in a Thomson Reuters publication.
• Contributed to a WEF report on smart contract enforceability in India; reviewed a WEF report on interoperability between blockchain and legacy systems.
• Authored an article on the ‘F-A-T Debate in Indian AI Regulation’.
Praveena is a Senior Associate at KARM Legal with experience in financial services regulation, M&A and general corporate law. At KARM, she advises a broad range of clients including virtual assets exchanges, fintech companies, financial intermediaries, investment funds and emerging technology companies on several aspects of their business including regulatory licensing, compliance and governance.
Prior to joining KARM, Praveena practiced in India where she focused on cross-border M&A, private equity and joint venture transactions across a wide range of industry sectors such as infrastructure, financial services, banking and retail. She has worked on certain landmark M&A transactions and also advised clients on complex commercial agreements.
• B.B.A + LL.B, Symbiosis Law School, Pune (India)
• Diploma in Business Laws, NUJS Kolkata
Bar Council of India
Manav is an exceptionally versatile Senior Associate- Designate at KARM Legal, with a proven track record across multi-disciplinary legal facets through sustained exposure to regional and international legal frameworks.
He advises a diverse set of KARM clientele ranging from emerging technology companies, entrepreneurs to high-net worth individuals, government owned companies and corporate conglomerates within the Middle East, in the emerging technology, corporate and commercial, employment, estate & succession planning, and financial services sectors.
He regularly acts as strategic counsel for MSMEs and other high growth companies through all stages of the corporate lifecycle in matters ranging from formation to venture capital financings, liquidity events such as mergers and acquisitions and general day-to-day corporate governance and transactional matters, for whom regularly drafts, negotiates and advises on complex corporate contracts.
Alongside Manav’s practice areas, his experience includes contributions to the Arab Monetary Fund mandated policy guidelines on Digital ID and e-KYC within the Fintech realm and on New Age Alternative Finance Solutions.
• LL.B (Hons), Law with Business Studies, University of Birmingham
• Cybersecurity & Covid-19: The “BUG” stops here, Corporate Investment Times, May 2020
Ankita is a Senior Associate- Designate at KARM Legal. Consultants She has experience in advising emerging and established technology companies on a vast variety of legal and policy mandates. An antitrust lawyer by training, she now helps clients navigate complex legal, regulatory and policy landscape in the GCC. Her focus areas include competition, data, fintech and DLT.
Prior to joining KARM, Ankita practiced in India where she helped big-tech companies on their public policy positions on issues such as antitrust, e-commerce and data protection. She also practiced as an antitrust attorney, acting on behalf of tech clients in contentious antitrust enforcement and in obtaining regulatory approvals from the Competition Commmision of India.
She has also interned with the UN International Law Commission in Geneva and other organizations across the legal spectrum in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Before transitioning to law, she worked with Google as an Associate Account Strategist helping on adwords policy and public policy concerns.
• Bachelor of Business Studies (Finance) from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi
• LLB from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi
• Post Graduate Diploma in EU Competition Law from King’s College London
Bar Council of India
Bryce is an Associate in the Corporate Commercial Team at KARM. He has a multidisciplinary background, having completed his Bachelors in Environmental Science and Masters in Law in UK. Bryce is well versed with the legal systems of both the UAE and the UK and brings with him over 2 years experience in corporate law, financial regulation and employment laws.
At KARM, Bryce advises on a broad range of corporate law and financial regulation matters. He has advised clients on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, shareholder arrangements, corporate governance matters, company incorporations, employment matters and regulatory compliance. He is also experienced in preparing fundraising agreements for start-ups such as SAFE’s and SAFT’s.
• Legal Practice Course & LLM in Professional Practice, University of Law, UK
• Graduate Diploma in Law, University of Law, UK
• BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, University of Plymouth, UK
Sarthak is an Associate at KARM Legal and has worked in the M&A and Private Equity space in India earlier. He has advised gaming startups, fintech startups, and startups in the virtual asset landscape in their regulatory applications and restructuring processes. He has also assisted clients in their general corporate transactions involving different verticals of commercial agreements. At KARM, he works across the verticals and assists in matters related to Gaming, Blockchain, Virtual Assets, Financial Technologies and other emerging technologies. He has advised multiple clients on fundraising through seed and crowdfunding and setting up of cryptocurrency exchanges. Additionally, he has also advised clients on their regulatory applications.
• BBA.LLB (Hons.), The ICFAI University, Dehradun
• Diploma, Entrepreneurship and Business Laws, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences
Bar Council of India, 2020
• Legal Challenges faced by E-Sports – The Legal 500 , (https://www.legal500.com/developments/thought-leadership/legal-challenges-faced-by-e-sports/)
• Legality of cryptocurrency in India – The Legal 500, (https://www.legal500.com/developments/thought-leadership/the-legality-of-cryptocurrency-in-india/)
Kabir is a Junior Associate at Karm Legal with experience in blockchain, data privacy, artificial intelligence, gaming and Fintech. At KARM, he assists KARM’s clients with research in specialised fields of Fintech, blockchain, data protection etc. He has assisted a multitude of innovative Fintech businesses in their regulatory applications submitted to various financial services regulators. Further, he has also worked on multiple virtual asset mandates. As an emerging tech aficionado, Kabir has a zeal for examining legal principals and regulatory approaches pertaining to an extremely agile tech sphere. Kabir was also the founder of TechLawHub, a repository of all the latest development pertaining to technology and cyber law.
BBA + LL.B, Amity Law School, Amity University
• IoT and Law: Collation of Legal Issues and Implications- Lexforti Legal Journal
• Blockchain and the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019- TechLawHub
• An overview of Stablecoins, Diem (Libra) and Regulatory Hurdles for the Diem Association- TechLawHub
• E-Commerce Regulations in India: A Regulatory Overhaul- TechLawHub
• Regulatory Framework pertaining to Open Banking in India- TechLawHub
• Washington’s AI Surveillance Law: An Overview- TechLawHub
• Safety and Liability ramifications of AI, IoT and Robotics: A European Perspective- TechLawHub
• APIs and Embedding: A Copyright Perspective- TechLawHub
• Drone Regulations in India: A Primer- TechLawHub
Aileen is a Business Set-Up Advisor at KARM Legal, having over 14 years of professional experience in company incorporation and has worked with leading law firms in Dubai. She has set up over a score of companies in different jurisdictions.
Her research skills are incomparable, thus ensuring that all legal documents and administrative needs are of the highest quality. She handles advisory works for setting up of diverse entities in different jurisdictions. She assists clients in registering trademarks in various jurisdictions, and handles business set-up for clients including notarisations, legalisations and attestations of documents in numerous Consulates and coordinates with many Government Departments and Ministries for issuance of approvals for company establishment in the United Arab Emirates.
• Masters in Management Bicol University, Legazpi City, Philippines
• Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Management with Honors – Bicol University, Legazpi City, Philippines
Priyanka is a qualified Company Secretary and Client Onboarding Specialist at KARM Legal Consultants, having 9 plus years of professional experience in various legal and finance operations in different geographies like India, Qatar and UAE.
She started her career in India with the Rights and Royalties division in one of the Multinational publishing houses where she worked on the Royalty Accounting
System and dealt with the royalty license agreements, contracts, and processes. She was responsible for royalty payment statements besides compliance with auditing and tax requirements. Later in her career, she worked in one of the largest banks in Qatar where she handled KYC, CDD, EDD, CRS/FATCA as part of the process of Retail Banking Operations for the customers. Under Institutional Operations, she worked for the Treasury Operations Department and worked on a variety of financial and derivatives instruments like Forwards, Futures, SWAPs, FX and Money Market Deals.
At KARM, she takes care of Client Onboarding. She possesses a keen and analytical mind with a strong legal orientation, as well as enhanced interpersonal communication skills and negotiation ability.
• Bachelor’s in Commerce (Honours) – Delhi University, India
• Company Secretary – Institute of Company Secretaries of India, New Delhi, India
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