Legal and IP News

Accord legal group adds Clifford Chance, Perkins Coie

legal, law, regulation

The Accord Project is the blockchain consortium that targets ‘smart legal contracts’. The group already boasts many of the world’s leading law firms as members. Their primary goal is to develop standards for distributed ledger applications for the legal industry.

Yesterday they announced several new members: Clifford Chance, Perkins Coie, Steptoe & Johnson, Pinsent Masons, Allens, and Baker Donelson.

The existing high profile members include Linklaters, Freshfields, and Allen & Overy. The group doesn’t have quite as many of the leading US law firms, but they’re making progress.

Technologies supported by the Accord project include Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, and Ethereum. Plus it’s associated with a wide range of organizations including IEEE, Hyperledger, and the Sovrin identity network.

Peter Hunn, Founder of the Accord Project, said: “These new memberships are an important addition to other recent developments at the Project, such as the release of our legal domain-specific language and flagship technology partnerships with IBM and R3.”

Commenting on joining the Project, Bas Boris Visser, Global Head of Innovation at Clifford Chance said: “If we want to help our clients realise the great potential that technology like smart contract brings we need to collectively create a legal framework to make that happen.”

Representing Perkins Coie, Michael Henson commented: “Perkins Coie was the first legal practice focused on decentralized cryptocurrencies and shared ledger technologies and is committed to deepening its engagement with industry leaders in this rapidly evolving space. We recognize a need to address legal uncertainties in the industry by defining standards, and the Accord Project provides an ideal platform for us to contribute to such efforts.”

Legal blockchains

Activity in the legal sector is gaining momentum, both in terms of using blockchain for intellectual property monitoring and licensing, but also for creating contracts.

The Agreements Network, created by Monax, enables the creation of blockchain based contracts using Accord standards. Last month a new Australian National Blockchain was announced. The aim is to digitize legal agreements and exchange data relating to them. And in the US, OpenLaw is an Ethereum focused Consensys project for contract creation.