“Trust” and “efficiency” are two words that should theoretically apply to the legal system. But they often don’t.
Improving trust and transparency are the primary benefits that blockchain can offer the legal sector.
Trust comes from shared records accessible by all parties to an agreement. Blockchain’s decentralized ledger technology brings these shared records to life. And with smart contracts, it’s algorithms (not people) that oversee legal agreements. That’s one fewer intermediary to muddle and agitate.
Smart contracts may also lead to greater efficiency. The legal industry could automate itself to efficiency with smart contracts, but it isn’t there yet.
Lawyers are known to be expensive, but they’ll climb aboard the Blockchain Express when they see how much fat it can trim from their business.
1. Casey Kuhlman, CEO of Monax
“Blockchain technology within the legal industry provides vertically integrated solutions that are more accessible to users. It allows for the operation of legal agreements with increased speed and efficiency. As blockchain acts as a public ledger, all parties can expect more transparency.
We are already seeing this in blockchain-based collaborative platforms where all parties have an ability to understand and track the obligations they agreed to. This is driving second-level automation benefits, so that companies now have an ability to move toward digital contracting that puts the legal function of a company’s back office in line with other business systems.”
2. Charley Moore, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer
“The biggest benefit that blockchain technology offers is the opportunity to improve access to legal services. It’s costly and time-consuming to hire a lawyer and litigate; however, smart contracts can make the process more transparent and efficient, eliminating many disputes and making others less costly to adjudicate. So, by making legal services accessible via blockchain, we can ultimately improve access to justice.”
3. Daniel Tarr, Associate at Duane Morris LLP
“The number one benefit of blockchain for the legal industry is enabling additional technology solutions. Integration of artificial intelligence, smart contracts, and other technology-based solutions requires lawyers and clients to be comfortable that autonomous or semi-autonomous activities are being carried out accurately.
Blockchain provides a key technology for tracking and verifying these activities. For example, security, performance, and verification concerns are regularly cited among the largest obstacles to widespread adoption of smart contracts. By using a blockchain, these issues can be easily addressed and interested parties can satisfy themselves that smart contracts are being executed properly and according to each party’s expectations.”
4. Hando Rand, CEO of Agrello
“In legal industry, the most important thing is that when there is information with someone's consent, it should be immutable. When there is evidence, it should be untampered with and when there are timestamps, they should not be retroactively changed. Blockchain enables just that. Also, when we talk about program code on blockchain like Ethereum Solidity, it of course can limit the possibility of legal disputes, while of course it is not possible to automate everything in a legal relationship with Solidity code.”
5. Robin Sosnow, Partner and Principal of Sosnow and Associates PLLC
“Blockchain can disrupt the practice of law and the industries that the legal profession serves. That being said, blockchain will transform the legal industry in a way that it will significantly decrease the hours allocated to drafting and amending legal documents, such as contracts, while the time spent on supervision of these processes, and the specialization needed to do so, will substantially increase.”
6. Peter Buck, VP of Product Strategy at NetDocuments
“Trust in data. When you can trust your data (documents, contracts, etc.), many processes can be streamlined, re-engineered, automated, and secured. Everything from email to documents, contracts, calendar entries, legal bills, eDiscovery and artificial intelligence is impacted when there is greater trust in the underlying data and how it’s being shared.
Blockchain technology is likely to make the legal industry more efficient and productive, lowering friction and costs while increasing overall demand for legal services.”
7. Nick Gibson, Managing Director, Operem
“Blockchain provides a disintermediation function that will help accelerate and lower the cost of transactions and business collaborations among parties, partially by the introduction of smart contracts and ultimately because of the immutable nature of blockchain. This is unquestionably a good thing.”
8. Matthew Shearing, Founder of BlockSense
“Legal relationships are a natural fit for blockchain technology. Most involve money and many of the terms relate to the handling of that money.
Smart contracts, which are really just programmable blockchain accounts, allow us to turn rules we make in a paper agreement directly into code. Once deployed ‘on-chain,’ smart contracts automatically enforce rules with complete visibility to all parties.
This combination of money and business logic on an open, shared digital platform allows us to make active agreements which enforce themselves. From unit trusts which pay beneficiaries automatically to transparent commission contracts, it will change multi-party relationships forever.”
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