Lawtech – The future is happening now

What has changed the legal market in Silicon Valley?

Recent changes in the technology industry have impacted the legal market. New solutions are attractive for lawyers tuned into technology and that look for more time to do things that really are important.

There is a growing concern among some lawyers that we need solutions to help with simple tasks, especially in process automation, legal research, e-discovery and consumers of legal service, in general. These tasks take a lot of time and are expensive for companies. Optimized professional workflows are a dream for all legal departments.

An unproductive legal department has lawyers concerned with repetitive tasks, who don’t have time to think about how they can help their companies grow, and who don’t understand the business. I have read many articles about lawyers’ roles and there is a big distance between expectation and reality.

In Silicon Valley, I can see entrepreneurs taking advantage of this vast “valley”, and they are creating solutions to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Lawtechs are startups that have disrupted this scenario, because they have created good solutions, with a new concept: open and for everybody.

In summary, legal startups have adapted this open mindset to the legal market; that is solutions that are easier, faster, and cheaper. By the way, are you ready for this?

Fortunately, in San Francisco we can see the transformations and we have already noticed that it is more important to have a team of lawyers who are more experienced and practiced in negotiation and business than lawyers who are conditioned to always repeat the same task. Legal departments are starting to give more value to lawyers with this profile and focus on strategic activities.

Finding an appropriate solution is part of the result for legal departments, including budgeting and transactional tasks, and especially, the management of massive amounts of litigation, contracts, deadlines, etc.

Definitely, all these changes lead to a conclusion: the new generation of startups proposes innovation and they already are causing disruption in the legal market.

Lawtech Silicon Valley – Contracts and blockchain technology

What are the trends in the legal market, when you live in the middle of a vast horizon?

Silicon Valley each week has showed me it is impossible to create any barrier that is able to stop the advance of what is happening in a huge scenario called the legal market.

Cryptocurrencies, bitcoin and smart contracts are buzzwords and are common nowadays, especially because blockchain technology has influenced a lot of transactions.

Originally, blockchain technology started with bitcoin – financial transactions and their processes and operations (including contracts). It is transforming the way business is done around the world. It reaches different areas, such as retail, that have started to use these kinds of transactions with their suppliers, supply chain management, IoT and small businesses.

Smart contracts started in financial services, specifically referring to the circumstances of the payments, but now they have business applicability.

Situations involving parts of the contracts (types of payment, the amount, the deadlines) can easily utilize smart contracts. There are numerous benefits, among them, (i) clear rules and, (ii) the parties can agree by using each one of their private keys without middlemen (lawyers or other intermediaries) in a peer-to-peer relationship.

The workflow happens in a platform that interacts with the parties, it provides direct communication, saving costs and time, with the use of precise information, at the same time, in the same way.

In other words, smart contracts are much more efficient and secure, and blockchain is the ledger that logs all transactions of a cryptography allowing the agreement between parties. The execution of the contract is transparent and safe, because none of the parties involved can manipulate the information.

In summary, blockchain will have a positive impact on the activity of a lawyer, even non-technology lawyers. Corporate lawyers should take note as their companies deal with these transactions in their business relations and learn how this new way will transform their jobs.

When transactions happen more frequently through smart contracts, in the near future, we will need to use and know how to deal with this technology and its applicability, including future disputes, private keys, blockchain ledger, regulation, etc.

At the least, we can say that contracts are suffering the first signs of disruption.