Linklaters has partnered with the Accord Project to launch a new and industry leading smart contract consortium. The project has been created to connect key players in the world of smart contract technology, blockchain and legal tech companies so that ideas and formats can be shared across the industry.
The Accord Project has been formed by US-based legal tech pioneer Clause in association with the International Association for Commercial and Contract Management (IACCM)and blockchain platform Hyperledger. The Accord Project will enable the legal industry to move from manual, paper-based processes to a natively digitised and data-driven environment. Richard Hay, UK Head of Fintech at Linklaters, comments: 'This is a pioneering consortium project which we feel will drive change in the legal industry. We’re at a critical juncture for the industry – if we can come together to finesse how smart legal contracts operate, including the standardisation of format and protocols, then we really could be on the cusp of seeing the adoption of smart contracts for complex commercial cross border transactions.'
A joint statement by the group said: 'With support from leading law firms and other organisations, including the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, the IACCM, the Trusted IoT Alliance, Clio, and the Open Identity Exchange, the Accord Project has launched to develop open source technology and standards for computational contracting.’ Linklaters has previously supported exploring smart contracts and blockchain technology in a joint paper with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).
Drive towards innovation
Linklaters has a number of initiatives in place as part of a drive towards Innovation. The firm will be working with The Blockchain Connector, a training and recruitment company focussed on Blockchain technology, to run a series of blockchain developer workshops. Running 25-26 January 2018, several Linklaters lawyers will be attending the hands-on workshop, with sessions on coding smart contracts.
Richard Hay says: 'We know that the ability to work with and harness technology will play an ever-larger role in future lawyers’ professional lives which is why we are investing in technology and giving our lawyer the training to use it.'