Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Does My Firm Need Blockchain? What For?

Many lawyers are afraid of blockchain technology because they don't know what it is.

"Is it really necessary for my law practice?" "Do I have to be a coder to use it?" "Will it take my job?!"

Yes, technology is transforming the legal industry. But relax, the professor will answer all your questions shortly.

Risk-Adverse to Technology

"Lawyers are wonderful as a profession, but we're a bit risk-adverse when it comes to new technology," explains Aaron Wright, a professor at Cardozo School of Law and a leader in blockchain technology for lawyers.

Wright is leading the development of OpenLaw, which allows lawyers to generate legal documents and smart contracts that can be executed and authenticated electronically. The technology creates an electronic ledger of the origins and history of such records, like an electronic DNA strand.

"We can use blockchain as a 'spine' to manage the entire legal industry, build more efficient systems, decrease the cost of legal services, and make sure people get the legal services they need," Wright told Bloomberg.

Law firms are starting to ramp up with programs like Integra Ledger, which provides a permissioned blockchain to increase the integrity of legal documents.. Last year, the legal industry was one of the fastest-growing in the the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance.

Some Skill Required

Attorneys do not need to write code with blockchain; software engineers do that. Lawyers will have to understand the process, however.

But is blockchain really necessary for law practice? Joe Dewey, a partner at Holland & Knight who is developing a platform called contractCode, says "yes."

"If clients adopt it and we have to interact with them on it, we will have little choice but to be on board ourselves," he said.

Whether smart software will take law jobs, that will depend on how lawyers adapt.

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