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On May 27th, Rolf Guenter of the Swiss LegalTech Association (SLTA) met the Jur team for an informative discussion on the role of blockchain as a disruptor of the legal industry. Like our previous weekly webinars, the audience has taken an active role in leading the discussion through a series of professional questions. This is not surprising considering that the Swiss LegalTech Association is a fast-growing independent think-tank with over 250 individual members and 50 corporate members, all of whom are used to exchanging ideas and initiatives regarding legal technology.
Similar to previous webinars, Jur’s CLO Raffaele Battaglini introduced the audience to the concept of smart legal contracts. This time, the audience was quick to quiz him on the changing role of lawyers in the future. Battaglini was adamant that lawyers would need to adjust their styles to fit into the legal workspace of the future.
Lawyers will be needed to understand the legal implications of technology and make sure clauses are represented in a proper way. Lawyers need to be accustomed to IT and understand how a computer developer thinks. Most importantly, lawyers don’t need to be developers. What’s important is we start to talk with developers and computer scientists because in the future we will be working alongside software devs.CLO Raffaele Battaglini
This is a sentiment that Rolf Guenter agreed with. Rolf spoke about how many current lawyers were worried about the direction the legal space was heading, fearing obsolescence or the “cannibalisation” of the industry. Guenter believes that lawyers shouldn’t fear technology, but instead learn to work with it. That is one of the reasons he is so devoted to developing the SLTA.
I’ve had many discussions in Switzerland where people ask ‘Why are you pushing it [legal technology] so much?’ The possibilities and tools are coming — why not do it ourselves, with solutions closer to the customer needs. If we don’t do it, someone else, such as data-driven companies, will do it for us.Rolf Guenter, SLTA
Jur’s Legal Engineer Luigi Cantisani and CTO Luca Daniel also gave talks, on online dispute resolution and the business side of legal tech development, respectively. The audience was quick to engage, asking questions about how leads will be generated in a decentralized ecosystem. This is an interesting topic for a decentralized ecosystem that might lack the clearly defined roles of a traditional law firm. However, Luca believes that like a decentralized marketplace such as eBay, the individuals and platform both play a role in marketing the solutions. In fact, the combined efforts of all the ecosystem players will have a network effect, making lead generation more widespread, where the efforts of one member can benefit everyone. With everyone working together, the platform can grow much faster than a traditional centralized law firm.
The webinar ended with a reminder from guest host Rolf Guenter that legal professionals really need to open their mindset. When asked about mass changes to the legal landscape, Rolf replied “Absolutely, this is coming. It’s just a question of time.”
The webinar can be viewed in its entirety here: https://youtu.be/AdZagODKxxI
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