Legal Tech, Smart Contracts and Blockchain

  • Corrales M
  • Jurcys P
  • Kousiouris G
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There is a broad consensus amongst law firms and in-house legal departments that next generation "Legal Tech"--Particularly in the form of Blockchain-based technologies and Smart Contracts - will have a profound impact on the future operations of all legal service providers. Legal Tech startups are already revolutionizing the legal industry by increasing the speed and efficiency of traditional legal services or replacing them altogether with new technologies. This on-going process of disruption within the legal profession offers significant opportunities for all business. However, it also poses a number of challenges for practitioners, trade associations, technology vendors, and regulators who often struggle to keep up with the technologies, resulting in a widening regulatory "gap." Many uncertainties remain regarding the scope, direction, and effects of these new technologies and their integration with existing practices and legacy systems. Adding to the challenges is the growing need for easy-to-use contracting solutions, on the one hand, and for protecting the users of such solutions, on the other. To respond to the challenges and to provide better legal communications, systems, and services Legal Tech scholars and practitioners have found allies in the emerging field of Legal Design. This collection brings together leading scholars and practitioners working on these issues from diverse jurisdictions. The aim is to introduce Blockchain and Smart Contract technologies, and to examine their on-going impact on the legal profession, business and regulators. Intro; Preface; Contents; Editors and Contributors; Acronyms; Digital Technologies, Legal Design and the Future of the Legal Profession; 1 Introduction; 2 Blockchain and Smart Contracts; 3 The Legal Design of (Smart) Contracts; 4 The Future of the Legal Profession?; 5 Chapters; References; Smart Contract This! An Assessment of the Contractual Landscape and the Herculean Challenges it Currently Presents for "Self-executing" Contracts; 1 Introduction; 2 Self-executing Contracts-How They Work; 2.1 Smart Contracts; 2.2 Smarter Contracts; 3 Why Creating a New Book of Smarter Contracts Is Easier 4 Why Transforming an Existing Book of Contracts into Smarter Contracts Is Harder, But Still Desirable4.1 Difficulty; 4.2 Desirability; 5 Cleansing the Augean Stables: The Need for Digital Contract Optimization to Prepare Existing Books of Contracts for Smarter Contracting; 5.1 What Is Digital Contract Optimization?; 5.2 Benefits of a Digital Contract Optimization: Resolving Inefficiencies, Eliminating Blind Spots; 5.3 What a Digital Contract Optimization Might Look Like; 5.4 The Potential of Semantic Computing or AI as Tools in Digital Contract Optimization 6 Twelve Herculean Challenges on the Road to Self-executing Contracts6.1 General; 6.2 External Factors; 6.3 Internal Factors; 6.4 Expert Mindset; 7 Risks; 7.1 Unravelling Existing "Agreements"/Waking Sleeping Dogs; 7.2 New Black Boxes; 7.3 Other Risks; 8 Need for Change in the Legal Industry; 8.1 Legal Education: From Fixed Mindset to Growth Mindset; 8.2 Delivery Models; 8.3 Resistance to Change; 8.4 Renaissance Lawyers; 9 Conclusion; References; Successful Contracts: Integrating Design and Technology; 1 Introduction; 2 Simplification, Visualization, and Codification 2.1 Contracts as Documents Written by Lawyers for Lawyers2.2 Simplification and Visualization: Contracts as More Than Documents, Shaped by More Than Lawyers; 2.3 Computer Codification and Smart Contracts: Contracts not just Written and not for Lawyers Alone; 2.4 Emergent Properties of Integrating Design with Data; 3 Elements of the Contracting Process: Builders, Users, Layers, and Stages; 3.1 Summary of System Elements; 3.2 Builders and Users; 3.3 Information Layers; 3.4 A "Background Repository" Layer; 3.5 Stages in the Contract Process; 4 Conclusion; References Exploding the Fine Print: Designing Visual, Interactive, Consumer-Centric Contracts and Disclosures1 Introduction; 1.1 Research Question, Output, and Audience; 1.2 Methodology and Initial Findings; 1.3 Chapter Structure; 2 Literature on User-Centered Computable Contracts; 2.1 The Call for Usable, Visual Contracts; 2.2 Imagining a New Generation of Tech-Enabled Consumer Contracts; 2.3 Making Contracts More Modular and Machine-Readable; 2.4 Behavioral Economists' Choice Engines as One Model; 3 Others' Insights and Existing Models; 4 Design Experiments to Understand Future Computable Contracts




Corrales, M., Jurcys, P., & Kousiouris, G. (2019). Legal Tech, Smart Contracts and Blockchain. (M. Corrales, M. Fenwick, & H. Haapio, Eds.), Legal Tech, Smart Contracts and Blockchain, Perspectives in Law, Business and Innovation (Vol. 4, pp. 2019–2020). Springer Singapore.

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