Blockchain As a Tool for Corporate Governance

Dr Alexandra Andhov gave a presentation on ‘Blockchain As a Tool for Corporate Governance’ at October’s Tech&Law Breakfast, hosted by the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law. 

Dr Andhov has been working on a research project that addresses technology and trust in capital markets. Although skeptical at first about blockchain and all the noise around cryptocurrencies, Dr Andhow has devoted a lot of time in trying to understand this phenomenon and see its implications not only for capital markets, but also for companies and their corporate governance.

After the presentation, we caught up with Dr Andhov to dive a little deeper into this hot topic.

Welcome Risma!

Legal tech provider, Risma, joins Nordic Legal Tech

We extend a warm welcome to our third legal tech provider member, Risma Systems.

“At RISMA Systems we create IT solutions that help companies save resources and simplify the many complex Governance, Risk & Compliance tasks. Our solutions are designed to make it easier to identify risks and secure compliance by translating legal requirements into practical tasks and procedures, while always ensuring cross-organisational collaboration. Our vision is to create a compliance culture and it is our pleasure to work towards that vision together with Nordic Legal Tech.” Søren Kirketerp, Channel Partner Director

We’re looking forward to working with you!

A New Collaboration Between Nordic Legal Tech Members

Dansk Advokater and Schultz Legal join forces

The business association for Danish law firms, Danske Advokater, and Danish law firm, Schultz Legal, have come together to provide a new platform for lawyers to access and search for legal information. The new product will compete with the only service currently on the market and offered by Karnov.

The partners expect to launch their product in September 2020 and are hoping the collaboration will ensure competition in the legal information search market.

Read the press release here (in Danish).

Legal Tech Day, Stockholm

The fifth iteration of Legal Tech Day in Stockholm, organised by LegalWorks, was impressive. Not only was there a great speaker line-up, but the panels were dynamite and very well moderated. There were lots of international tech providers and the break-out sessions were well-attended. And it was a pleasure to see that the Swedes have solved the gender imbalance common at conferences in the industry. A key takeaway: less than half of Sweden’s general counsels have started to automate their work, representing a great opportunity for legal tech providers. 

Tech BBQ 2019

Nordic Legal Tech draws a crowd

The pelting rain didn’t hold us back at this year’s Tech BBQ. Nor did it stop the many legal tech enthusiasts who came to our two standing room-only panel debates at the Dive-In stage at Øksnehallen. 

The first panel was an insightful discussion on ‘What Startups Can Teach Law Firms – and the Consultancy Industry’ with digital consulting house, Nine, law firm Synch, a serial fintech entrepreneur and panel moderator, Nordic Legal Tech CEO, Nicholas Hawtin.

And startups have plenty to teach, it seems! It was clear from this debate that if law firms and traditional consultancies are to avoid their “Kodak moment”, they need to create value for their customers. Just like startups, they should start working with value propositions and building products their customers actually demand. This means building agile teams with entrepreneurial mindsets.

The second panel was a lively discussion with a customer-centric design expert, a research fellow from Stanford University, a professor of law at the University of Copenhagen, an entrepreneur and panel chair, Nicholas Hawtin, on the vexed question: ‘Can Technology Build Trust?’

What we took from the discussion was that we need to collectively engage with and agree upon how we can strike a balance between technology, innovation and the regulation needed to hold tech companies accountable.

We expect we’ll continue to discuss these massive topics at future tech events!

Welcome PREACT Insights Solutions

Legal tech provider, PREACT, joins Nordic Legal Tech

We are happy to welcome our newest member, our second legal tech provider, PREACT.

“After years of working with data solutions in the legal industry, PREACT have developed a solution to make insight simple and specifically customized for legal companies and their exact reporting and analytical needs. Therefore we are proud and excited to join Nordic Legal Tech. It is of great importance for us as a tech company to be close to and a part of the LegalTech community, so that we continuously can improve and develop smarter solutions to fit the analytical needs of the modern law company.” Lars Schultz, CEO

We look forward to working with you.

Speaking Out at Techfestival 2019

Techfestival was a hit!

Techfestival is a phenomenon. And we were there.

We held an event to gauge the views on whether technology can build trust. The topic obviously interests many, as the gig was one of the first to sell out and had to be moved to a larger venue.

Dr. Alexandra AndhovSarah Barslund Lauridsen and our CEO, Nicholas Hawtin, each gave brief presentations to introduce the subject, the format, and give a couple of perspectives on trust. Then the audience took over for 90 minutes of often intense debate. A fifteen-minute wrap up caught the main takeaways, while a big pile of post-its documented the work of the individual groups. We’ll be posting those on social media. (They make for good pictures.) 

Co-founder Dr Alexandra Andhov took time out at September’s Techfestival to chat with Charlie Tango. She touched on the issues of the day: whether we can trust companies, private or public, with our data and how do we regulate technology.

Dr Andhov also talked about the role of education in this discussion; how we need to train law students to deal with the digitalised world so they are able to communicate with tech providers with sufficient understanding of technology.

Check out the discussion here.

Dr Alexandra Andhov talking with Charlie Tango at Techfestival 2019

Director Nicholas Hawtin also stopped by Charlie Tango’s Techfestival studio to have a conversation. In this chat, he suggests that the Nordics are well placed to set the standard on how technology can provide solutions to the practice of law and legal compliance. Two factors unique to the Nordics – being the most digitalised place on earth and enjoying high levels of trust – make for great opportunities to deliver legal tech services. Let’s take advantage of it!  

Nicholas Hawtin talking with Charlie Tango at Techfestival 2019

We also got to talk to idea management platform, Ideanote, at Techfestival about the importance of making mistakes and innovation. If you’re in innovation, get ready to be wrong. Failure, when thoroughly examined, is a fantastic way to learn.

Nicholas Hawtin talking with idea management platform, Ideanote, at Techfestival 2019

It was a bumper event!

Consensus 2019 and Blockchain Future

By Alexandra Andhov, New York, US

It is the fifth year that Consensus brings together developers, investors, executives, regulators and educators to discuss the current stage of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the United States and across the world. The blockchain technology summit offers not only interesting discussions, but also hands-on workshops and the possibility to directly interact with developers. Aside of an array of start-ups and financial institutions, you will also find established businesses such as IBM or Deloitte at Consensus. The amount of attendees can be overwhelming, but the organizers have done very well with an app that provides every participant with agenda, list of speakers and attendees, so they can individualize and narrow down their focus and interest.

Over the past months, I have been working on a research project that addresses technology and trust in the capital markets. Despite initially being slightly skeptical about blockchain and all the noise around cryptocurrencies, I have devoted a lot of time to try to understand this phenomenon and see its implications not only for capital markets, but also for companies and their corporate governance. During my Fulbright Fellowship at Cornell Law School this year, I had the possibility to discuss my project with numerous scholars at Cornell, but also across the United States, with scholars from Stanford, Wharton or Columbia, and many businesspeople and start-ups (more about my research in a future article). After substantial energy spent over tech and legal articles on blockchain, its character and limitations, I started to understand the possibilities that the blockchain is bringing. These are not necessarily connected to fully agent-free utopian markets, but rather a new way of corporate and market infrastructure. Blockchain is not only the technology behind the Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but rather a construction that can be applied across diverse institutions and industries.

Consensus, organized by Coindesk, is a fully business oriented conference, which in my eyes emphasizes the main raison d’être of blockchain – collaboration and openness. Titans of Wall Street and the Fortune 500 discuss with start-ups their projects and share their successes and failures. In some workshops you can see directly what is behind the front-end and people openly discuss their codes and structure. Regulators acknowledge their inexperience with some recent technologies and invite developers for further analysis. Despite the business-mode that is emphasized by the venue itself (Hilton in Midtown New York), it is obvious that all of the projects are “in-progress” and everyone is still learning and no one has yet figured out the best way around. This is extremely important to understand and to embrace also in our Nordic environment.

Listening to many discussions and workshops, I have heard three main topics over the last three days that I would like to share with you here:

  • Blockchain continues to be an experiment as we are still in the technology cycle. However, the new development is that many new industries are interested in exploring blockchain as a technology and establish new consortia;
  • The most discussed form of blockchain has been hyperledger fabric;
  • The most discussed issue among the developers seems to be governance, which in my understanding continues to show the need for human capital and value systems.

Over the upcoming weeks, I will elaborate more on these issues and share with you my thoughts.

Attending Consensus is truly an interesting experience and I would recommend it to those who are engaged and interested in technology, irrespective whether you are a blockchain supporter or skeptic. There are many opportunities to ask questions, even impertinent ones.

Lastly, the topic of blockchain consortia is extremely important for us in Nordics, and we will devote more time and focus to it during our conference on Law, Technology and Trust in September 2019.

Bio

Alexandra is an Assistant Professor of Corporate Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. In her research, she focuses on various issues of corporate law, corporate governance, CSR, FinTech, Legal Tech and Human Rights. She has worked with start-ups in the FinTech and Legal Tech industries for a number of years. She has established the Legal Tech Lab at the Faculty of Law, which collaborates with the Nordic Legal Tech Hub.

Oslo, You’re Awesome!

We had heard great things about the Oslo Legal Tech Meetup, but until we saw last Wednesday’s packed event on top of Wikborg Rein‘s Oslo offices, we hadn’t realized how well things are going. It’s impressive.

The crowd was a healthy mix of legal professionals, tech people, startup folk, and much more. There were four presentations: one legal tech provider each from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, plus one Nordic organization – us, Nordic Legal Tech! Shoutout to Lexolve for organizing the event, and Green CounselJustify, and Digital AML for great talks. 

The audience was really engaged. There were lots of good questions and lots of opinions, and when the formal portion of the event ended, people stayed to keep talking. And talk they did. Wikborg Rein were super hosts – and very patient. The last guests didn’t leave until after nine pm…

Read more about the event in Advokatbladet.


Nicholas Hawtin viser frem Nordic Legal Tech Hub til en av Advokatforeningens fagkonsulenter, Silje Ljåstad. Picture by Thea N. Dahl, Advokatbladet

Hello Norway!

Norway’s Simonsen Vogt Wiig joins as Nordic Legal Tech’s first Norwegian Founding Member

We are very pleased to announce that Simonsen Vogt Wiig has joined Nordic Legal Tech as our first Norwegian Founding Member. Simonsen’s Chief Digital Officer, Peter van Dam, was quick to support our vision of connecting the  industry. He has already contributed with a lot of good on how to build cooperation across the region and how to create value for all stakeholders.

We look forward to working together – and to growing our membership across the Nordics!

Simonsen Vogt Wiig