Legal Tech, Smart Contracts and Blockchain

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There is a broad consensus amongst law firms and in-house legal departments that next generation Legal Tech - particularly in the form of Blockchain-based technologies and Smart Contracts - will have a profound impact on the future operations of all legal service providers. Legal Tech startups are already revolutionizing the legal industry by increasing the speed and efficiency of traditional legal services or replacing them altogether with new technologies. This on-going process of disruption within the legal profession offers significant opportunities for all business. However, it also poses a number of challenges for practitioners, trade associations, technology vendors, and regulators who often struggle to keep up with the technologies, resulting in a widening regulatory gap. Many uncertainties remain regarding the scope, direction, and effects of these new technologies and their integration with existing practices and legacy systems. Adding to the challenges is the growing need for easy-to-use contracting solutions, on the one hand, and for protecting the users of such solutions, on the other. To respond to the challenges and to provide better legal communications, systems, and services Legal Tech scholars and practitioners have found allies in the emerging field of Legal Design. This collection brings together leading scholars and practitioners working on these issues from diverse jurisdictions. The aim is to introduce Blockchain and Smart Contract technologies, and to examine their on-going impact on the legal profession, business and regulators.