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CHAPTER 02 LEGAL TECHNOLOGY
Innovative technologies by definition potentially affect the whole legal ecosystem, including regulation and education, as well as how solicitors structure practices and deliver services. 30 They have been predicted to include the technologies listed in the box below.
As a corollary to the changes in the sector, new jobs will emerge in new disciplines that “will give rise to services that can only be provided by people with deep legal training and experience”. 33 The Canadian Bar Association has pointed to the emergence of Knowledge Engineers, Legal Process Analysts, Legal Support System Manager, and Legal Project Managers. 34 Testimony to flip demonstrated that solicitors and court administrators in New South Wales are working with technology in ways that span the continuum of automation and innovation. The full array of testimony can be viewed online, but a sample of the wide range of experiences described is provided overleaf. Further information can be found in chapter 3, where we examine new ways of working, and in chapters 4 and 5 which focus on the legal assistance sector and the courts and tribunals respectively. Blockchain is a technology as yet mentioned only briefly, which warrants close engagement. 35 The Committee sought witnesses’ views on blockchain during sessions of the flip Commission and received a compelling submission in writing on the subject from solicitor David Coleman, Lawyers and Legal Services. Flip also heard from Standards Australia about a three-year international program being coordinated from Standards Australia’s Sydney office to develop shared global protocols for interoperability, security, privacy, smart contracts, and other areas of fundamental importance to the continued viability of the technology. The Committee is of the view that blockchain is a technology with which the Law Society should actively engage and agrees with Mr Coleman that “there is an urgent need for lawyers to supplement their existing skills with knowledge of emerging smart contract technology and blockchain networks.” 36 The Law Society’s engagement with blockchain should seek not to frame blockchain as a risk, but to balance a healthy assessment of risk with an appreciation of the enormous potential efficiencies to be gained by supply chains, asset transfers, provenance checks and more being automated in the way envisaged by blockchain developers and enthusiasts.
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND PRACTICES SHAPING THE FUTURE
• automated document assembly • relentless connectivity • the electronic legal marketplace • e-learning • online legal guidance • legal open-sourcing • closed legal communities • workflowand projectmanagement • embedded legal knowledge 31
• online dispute resolution • intelligent legal search • Big Data • artificial intelligence-based problem-solving 32
THE FLIP REPORT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY THELAWSOCIETYOFNEWSOUTHWALES
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