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Disruptive Innovation

Blockchain technology is a new infrastructure that can fundamentally change how people transact, communicate and operate. Most aspects of law is being touched by this new technology, whether it is by a new type of governing law, regulation or adaptation to new models, in the same way the internet has transformed modern day society. The IBA LPRU are currently contributing to a UN Whitepaper Chapter on Blockchain Security, Legal Identity and plan to form the LPRU Blockchain Forum to facilitate dialogue about legal and regulatory implications of blockchain technology.

Competition in the legal services industry has rapidly increased in the past few years, leading many commentators to talk about a fundamental reformation of the way legal services are currently provided, of particular interest is the evolution of legal services from the purely bespoke to the commoditised.

There are three main drivers of such a change.

  • The ‘more-for-less’ challenge, which refers to the growing number of clients demanding more efficient legal services for less money.
  • The gradual liberalisation of the profession, referring to the alternative business structures model.
  • The vast improvements in information technology and, in particular, ‘big data’ and artificial intelligence, which offer significant efficiencies for the profession.

Other drivers include growing competition from the ‘big four’ accounting firms and the spread of legal service providers using alternatives to the traditional law firm business model.

Innovations, particularly those transforming legal services into standardised or packaged services – are likely to yield significant benefits for consumers in terms of cost, quality and access to justice. They also offer substantial opportunities for those firms who are able to deliver real value to consumers. For traditional law firms seeking to become market leaders or stay atop their market they must overcome the conservative, risk-adverse culture that seems to pervade the profession, and may need to deconstruct their structure and pricing models.


Reports and Legal Papers

Rule of Law Versus Rule of Code: A Blockchain-Driven Legal World
Rule of Law Versus Rule of Code: A Blockchain-Driven Legal World

This comprehensive legal paper examines the current and future impact of blockchain on the legal profession and legal services including the challenges and opportunities. The paper describes the technological innovation, business impact and legal treatment to date in order to anticipate how this will affect the legal services sector and policy perspectives on a global scale.

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Times are - changin': disruptive innovation and the legal profession
Times are - changin': disruptive innovation and the legal profession

This report seeks to investigate Professor Christensen’s ‘disruptive innovation’ theory as applicable to the legal profession. It provides a brief analysis of various changes occurring within the legal market, their potential consequences for both buyers and sellers of legal services, and the drivers and barriers to innovation..

Innovation overcomes ‘more for less’ challenge and reinforces accuracy and efficiency in legal services

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Blockchain technology: Is it building a brighter future?
Blockchain technology: Is it building a brighter future?

The invention of a revolutionary encoding or crytographic technology known as ‘blockchain’ is already central to a significant proportion of business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce, legal products and processes.

Ultimately, those firms that are willing to adapt and embrace this technology will be able to provide more effective and efficient services, which may lead to a competitive advantage over those firms who do not evolve.

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The Not-so-Distant Future: Blockchain and the Legal Profession
The Not-so-Distant Future: Blockchain and the Legal Profession

Blockchain has been lauded as the most revolutionary technology since the advent of the internet in the 1990s, with the capacity to change fundamental practices across a variety of industries. According to the United Nations Global Compact partnered Global Opportunity Network’s project report ‘Global Opportunity Report 2017’, “Blockchain technology and artificial intelligence are the backbones of two of the four top opportunities this year, illustrating that all industries, including water, education, IT, and energy, will not just be disrupted by technological innovations – they’ll be entirely overtaken and reshaped. It’s therefore critical that every industry, even those already based on technology, take their digitisation and tech innovations to the next level to capitalise on future market opportunities.

In light of this, it is important that legal professionals are aware of the ways in which this technology may affect their practice.

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