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.


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

Welcome Synch!

Synch signs as Nordic Legal Tech’s first Nordic corporate member

We are very pleased to announce that Synch has joined Nordic Legal Tech as corporate member – it’s great having a member who is present across the Nordic countries to grow and nurture our ecosystem.

Synch is a Nordic law firm with innovation and technology at its heart. “Our collaboration with Nordic Legal Tech Hub is an obvious match. We have a strong focus on legal tech. With our offices in Nordic offices and we offer established relations with strong stakeholders within legal tech”, says Michael Brandt.

We look forward to working together with Synch!

Read the press release here and an article by AdvokatWatch here.

Do lawyers need to learn to code?

Published by LegalTechWeekly

There is a new class of lawyer in town – one that is just as comfortable with code as appearing in court. They are being called the “techno-legals” by some, “lawyer-coders” or “lawyer-developers” by others. Whatever the title, their dual set of skills are becoming increasingly valuable in a digital driven world. Some in the legal profession even believe that the new literacy of coding is now a requirement of lawyers.

Certainly, this is the view of Australian firm, Gilbert + Tobin, who embarked on a new initiative in 2016 to teach its lawyers to code. While an advanced ability to code may not be necessary for lawyers, said Petra Stirling, former head of Legal Capability and Transformation at the firm, at least a proper understanding of the basics is essential. 

This week in Legal Tech Weekly we explore this new imperative in the legal profession with a Swedish lawyer-developer and a Danish lawyer with a good understanding of coding. While there is no doubt that coding has become an essential component of some lawyer’s toolkit the big question remains: do all lawyers need to learn to code? 

Read the full article here.

New Nordic Legal Tech Hub

We’re happy to be featured in LegalTechWeekly, who give an introduction to Nordic Legal Tech and key founding partners.

This initiative has been well received in the legal industry and the hub has already formed an important partnership with the Danish law firm Bech-Bruun. “It is a great addon in our approach to get more structure on our work with legal tech. The hub can map out and engage with the market in an unbiased way and thereby have the ability to create a bigger platform for the market in general. We would like to collaborate more closely with the legal tech startups, and we believe that our collaboration with Nordic Legal Tech Hub can help us getting closer to the market and introduce us to startups and peers when we need sparring and to discuss new ideas,” explains Head of Legal Tech Innovation in Bech-Bruun, Torsten Torpe. 

Read the full article here.

Nordic legal tech trends 2019

Published by LegalTechWeekly

Things are going well in legal tech. According to this 2018 legal tech trends report, as of November 2018, 899 legal tech companies existed worldwide. That is an increase of 32% compared to 2017. Investments are also increasing to stand at almost 700 million US dollars, while the technologies have become more refined. It is even possible to trace a veritable breakthrough in the press’s attention to subject these days. The fact that this major breakthrough came in the year of the big tech-lash and the year where GDPR put privacy op top of the agenda proves that the development is both strong and lasting. The question is, what comes now? 

There is no shortage of futuristic scenarios and more or less speculative revelations about the destiny of the legal profession. And while some of these crystal ball epiphanies becomes a bit tedious, our Danish short-term predictions of the Legal Tech Trends in 2019 were such a success that we have decided to make an updated Nordic version in English. 

We have gathered some of the key players in the digital transformation of the legal industry from Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark to get a more complete perspective on Nordic legal tech. All contributors have answered the simple and yet urgent question:

What will be the biggest legal tech trends in 2019?

You can read their answers in the complete article here.

Bech-Bruun signs as Nordic Legal Tech’s first corporate member

We are very pleased to announce our first corporate member, the Danish law firm Bech-Bruun. A new initiative like this needs strong partners and support early on if it is to succeed. The first movers are critical to helping us get off the ground.

Bech-Bruun has an innovative partnership model and are actively engaging with the legal tech ecosystem, so we are very happy that they want to collaborate. Active members play a key role in creating the value of an organization like the Nordic Legal Tech Hub and give us insights into the needs of the industry.

We look forward to working together with Bech-Bruun, as we support the development and implementation of legal and governance, risk management, and compliance tech across the Nordics. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Read their press release here (in Danish)

“Bech-Bruun Enters Partnership with Nordic Legal Tech Hub”

”Is the Legal Industry Approaching it’s Kodak Moment?” – Oslo Legal Tech Meetup

”Is the Legal Industry Approaching it’s Kodak Moment?”
The timely title is especially appropriate for those of us who grew up with cameras that used film. The Kodak Moment in question is not the perfect snapshot that Kodak once made possible, but rather the company’s failure to see the potential of a technology they had invented. That failure put them out of business. (read more here)

The eighth Oslo Legal Tech Meetup was arranged by Lexolve by Lawbotics together with Quesnay. Superbly moderated by Ingunn Solheim, the debate featured good insight and analysis from a panel consisting of Anne Dingstad Vabø, Cathrine Moestue, Thomas Reppe Wetting, and Karl-Axel Bauer, with an introduction from Marius Koestler on what the Kodak Moment actually was and why it is relevant.

Around 150 participants were at Gyldendal House and more joined the live stream. The answer to the debate’s question: about half of the audience answered yes, we will see big changes in the next five years.

The whole debate can be seen here.

Thank you Gyldendal Norsk Forlag (Ed: one of the largest Norwegian publishing houses ) and JUS – Juristenes Utdanningssenter (Center for Continuing Legal Education )- for sponsoring the event!

Photo credit: Quesnay