Tomorrow’s Lawyer Today? Platform-Driven LegalTech, Smart Contracts & the New World of Legal Design

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Marcelo Corrales Compagnucci, Mark Fenwick, Helena Haapio, Erik P.M. Vermeulen

Legal Technology (LegalTech) is profoundly disrupting the legal profession and the development of Blockchain-based technology has triggered the emergence of new business models. As a result, companies (including law firms) are becoming more like “decentralized platforms.” One of the technologies offering an alternative to traditional models are smart contracts. Since these technologies are code-based, lawyers—as active “transaction engineers”—need to be able to understand and communicate in and about code to participate in the design of such technologies. Although smart contracts are currently still in a nascent phase, they will become increasingly more complex and capable of handling all kind of business transactions. How can we improve the current state of the art of smart contracts? How can we develop user- friendly systems and interfaces in order to capture the true intent of the parties? This article introduces the new world of Legal Design using design patterns as a possible way forward. Design patterns—reusable solutions to recurring problems—are especially useful in legal information design: organizing and displaying information in a way that maximizes clarity and understandability. As such, it focuses on the needs of users who may need to grasp both the bigger picture and details of legal transactions, and seamlessly switch between these two different perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Internet Law
Volume22
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages10
ISSN1094-2904
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • The Faculty of Law - LegalTech, AI, Algorithms, Platforms, Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Legal Design, Contract Design, Design Patterns

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