There’s no time frame on innovation. Some believe that blockchain technology will be everywhere in the legal industry within five years. Some think we’ll wait a decade or more to see its impact.
Timeline aside, industry experts agree that smart contracts have the best chance for mainstream adoption in the legal industry. They’re useful in firms large and small alike. It’s anyone’s guess when we’ll see industry-wide adoption. “Sooner than later” may even be too precise an estimate.
But this hypothetical future where blockchain is ubiquitous in the legal industry has several defining characteristics. All contracts are underpinned by smart, self-executing technology. Litigants settle disputes in real-time from remote locations using objective blockchain algorithms. Food vendors are legally required to track their shipments using blockchain ledgers.
The legal industry’s blockchain-enabled future may not be imminent, but now you’ll know it when you see it.
1. Charley Moore, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer
“The future of blockchain in law will include transparent and efficient legal transactions, as well as dispute resolution at scale, in real-time, on the blockchain.
We’ll see adoption and use of this technology not just among the most innovative, forward-thinking enterprise businesses, but also among small and midsize businesses, and even individuals. We’ll likely see increased regulation around blockchain’s use in the legal industry, which will provide critical compliance rules to sustain the trust that is essential to the growth and viability of the system.”
2. Casey Kuhlman, CEO of Monax
“Looking into 2019 and beyond, the legal industry is on the brink of evolution. The next step is to execute on our vision and to turn the possibilities into realities — to stop telling and start showing.
I have long said that blockchain technology may be seen by many as a fundamentally financial technology. However, I’ve always viewed it as fundamentally legal technology, because it offers the legal sector collaborative platforms and infrastructure with entirely new capabilities. It is going to be a very fun and interesting few years for the tech sector of the legal industry!”
3. Peter Buck, VP of Product Strategy at NetDocuments
“Blockchain technology will be ubiquitous in the legal industry within five years, though not in the ways that most people expect. Rather than fancy new applications (although there will be some), blockchain technology is likely to be integrated into virtually all legal documents, contracts, and workflows to provide dramatically high data integrity, security, and privacy. Doing so will streamline many legal processes and lower costs.”
4. Andrew Rossow, esq, Attorney, Adjunct Cyberlaw Professor and Editor for GritDaily
They are extremely useful, whether we talk about landlord-tenant law, a simple contractual relationship involving goods and services, intellectual property law, the authenticity of artwork, food safety and traceability, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, cybersecurity, or the criminal justice system.
The possibilities are endless.”
5. Matthew Shearing, Founder of BlockSense
“Currently, our legal frameworks are reactive. We write agreements on paper and rely on people to follow the terms of their own free will. Enforcement when things go wrong costs a lot of time and money.
Distributed ledger technology provides a way for lawyers to develop proactive legal solutions for clients. Contracts are programmed and the conditions enforced themselves. Compliance can be audited by all parties, which promotes trust and prevents expensive litigation. Blockchain presents an opportunity for firms to provide innovative solutions to complex problems and begin developing new tools with which they can separate themselves from their competitors.”
6. Daniel Tarr, Associate at Duane Morris LLP
“Blockchain is likely to become an integral part of the legal industry, whether firms lead the charge or are forced to adopt such technologies by clients and other outside forces. The use of blockchain enables the integration of technologies that will increase efficiency, streamline common tasks, and enable lawyers to focus on more complex work. As blockchain expands into other industries, lawyers will need to understand the use of blockchain in those industries so that they can meet client needs. As clients embrace these technologies, they will look for law firms that are adopting similar technologies to reduce costs.”
7. Robin Sosnow, Partner and Principal of Sosnow and Associates PLLC
“In my opinion, blockchain will become a major player in the legal industry revolutionizing the nature of legal work. Generally speaking, it will help to automate day-to-day operations in law firms, legal departments, and other law-related institutions. For example, smart contracts will challenge law firms as to how much time and business may be generated through drafting and disputing contracts, reviewing closing documents, and performing functions that can be replaced by smart contracts. The adoption of blockchain technology, however, enables the legal industry to pursue new lines of business and differentiate its services adapted to the 21st century.”
8. Hando Rand, CEO of Agrello
“Blockchain will certainly drive societies to stick more to regulations and agreed terms. Blockchain will disrupt auditing. The adoption of blockchain will reduce fraud and illegal activities, as it provides a rock-solid trail of evidence. At the same time, it does it in a fashion that significantly makes business processes quicker and more cost-effective.”