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Chika Minami LLM’22 awarded ‘Innovator of the Year’ award by Asian Legal Business and Thomson Reuters

February 03, 2022

Minami is a corporate lawyer from Japan who works for ZeLo, the country’s fastest growing law firm.

In recognition of her work with a legal service that helps clients wade through business regulations, Chika Minami LLM’22 was recently named “Innovator of the Year” by Asian Legal Business (ALB) and Thomson Reuters. Minami was recognized at the inaugural ALB Women in Law Awards ceremony in December 2021.

According to ALB, the “Innovator of the Year” award recognizes the woman lawyer who has initiated the most impactful innovation across the region. The finalists are from Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Korea, the Philippines, and Japan.

A corporate lawyer from Japan, Minami chose to pursue her LLM, deepen her professional knowledge of corporate and technology law, and broaden her global network at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and looks forward to continuing to pursue innovative legal services to help her clients succeed.

“Penn Law provides a rich and varied curriculum, which perfectly matches my interests,” said Minami. Minami added that she has especially enjoyed “Corporations” with Professor of Law Elizabeth Pollman and “AI and the Law” co-taught by John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science Christopher S. Yoo and Lecturer in Law Lee Tiedrich L’91.

Minami began her legal career at Japan’s largest law firm, Nishimura & Asahi, and after two years, went to work for ZeLo, where she has been a key member of the fastest growing law firm in Japan.

“At ZeLo,” said Minami, “I have supported a variety of clients, including especially innovative venture start-up companies, and in 2020, ZeLo colleagues and I launched a legal service called Public Affairs. In the regulatory field, there are often certain ‘gray zones’ in new and innovative business activities because technological development often outpaces regulators’ ability to update relevant regulations. Accordingly, the legality of particular business activities sometimes is unclear, and start-ups are uncertain how to grow their businesses in such circumstances. Consequently, ZeLo’s Public Affairs group provides comprehensive, strategic support for clients that seek to clarify or challenge certain regulated areas or, conversely, undeveloped areas of regulation. The service areas cover Fintech, AI, mobility, healthcare, blockchain, and the sharing economy, among others.”

Minami is also the co-author of Strategy and Practice of Rulemaking, published in 2021, about how to craft and amend laws in order to accelerate innovation and foster the development of new business models and activities.

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