Is blockchain technology the future?

Clare Knowles, Marketing Consultant19 March 2018

A new, modern technology comes along and understandably so, we all get a little nervous.  What is it?  Is it safe?  Will we be able to use it?  Will it replace us in our day jobs? 
Blockchain is one such technology, one that not everyone may have heard of, although you will probably be familiar with Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system that uses blockchain technology.

The question is, what can blockchain technology do for the legal sector?  From the security to streamlining processes, we delve into the world of tech to find out. 

First off – what is blockchain technology?
Starting of its life as a financial tool, blockchain technology works like a ‘distributed ledger’, sharing transactional data stored across an entire computer network.  The process is about storing and processing sensitive information, allowing everyone involved to keep an eye on what’s going on, without giving sole control over that information.  Blockchain allows a digital and fixed trail of transactions, an accurate record of validated information, which can be shared and made immediately available for all those running the same software across the network, without risking the information being stuck in one place.

Who can use it?
With most transactions being of a financial nature, it’s understandable that finance is where blockchain technology made its earliest impact, however it’s still early days for this exciting, emerging technology across other industries.  Think any situation where trust is paramount, from voting to drafting contracts, to cryptocurrencies and the blockchain platform can remove possibility of fraud, revolutionising processes.  Likewise, for those industries where the risk of cybercrime is prevalent, the level of complexity surrounding blockchain would make a cyberattack both more time consuming and difficult, thus making it a safer and more secure technology for those looking after a lot of valuable and sensitive information. 

Can the legal sector embrace it?
Historically, the legal sector has always been very slow to adopt any emerging technologies. Some international players in the market recognise the value of innovation and are listening to what blockchain has to offer, even if only at the very early stages, asking what can it do?  Many firms are exploring, and some are implementing AI technology at present, recognising its productivity benefits and so may not have the budget or resources to look at blockchain for the time being.
That said, blockchain technology offers lots of scope for law firms by way of making data and processes more secure, with highly encrypted databases across an entire network of computers.  Rolling out smart contracts, processing motor claims, being more sophisticated with due diligence, dealing with intellectual property - there’s masses of potential for many different angles of the law.  

Benefits for recruitment too…
As legal recruiters, we’re interested in what blockchain can do not only for us but also for HR departments within firms.  The recruitment process itself is very much digitalised, with online job boards and the growing use of the networking site LinkedIn to search for candidates with the right skills and experience.  The search process itself can be time consuming, open to error and to fraudulent claims, yet blockchain technology can simplify the process as much as make it accurate.  From creating a database of people’s skills and experiences, to CV verification processes and even workforce planning, blockchain can benefit recruiters, prospective hiring companies and candidates alike.

Interlink Recruitment is very much a forward-thinking legal recruitment company and while we love to share news of the latest emerging technologies, we also value the importance of building relationships in our recruitment processes.  If you are looking for a new role within your legal career, or perhaps you need advice on what’s out there for you, contact us to speak with one of our expert legal recruitment consultants today.   

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