How Important Is Blockchain For Your Law Firm's Future?
Takeaway: Blockchain will eventually make business processes and litigation quicker, easier, and more secure. But for now, invest your firm’s resources in exploring currently-available litigation tools like Cloud eDiscovery software.
Blockchain is a way of logging and tracking data securely and transparently.
It might seem like any hype around blockchain is connected to some new cryptocurrency or NFT ‘rug pull.’ But blockchain is really a powerful piece of technology. It’s a way of recording information securely and transparently – packing it into digital boxes called ‘blocks,’ and linking these blocks in chronological order. The result is a data chain we can trace back to its origin.
Importantly, data chains are tamper-proof. And this vital feature can revolutionize business.
Blockchain is a distributed virtual ledger. This means the data (i.e., the chain’s ‘ledger’ of information) is split up among multiple computers (called ‘nodes’) that work together to verify and synchronize all transactions. This cross-verification makes it near-impossible for hackers to tamper with the data – a vital feature that can revolutionize business and litigation.
For instance, businesses will be able to pay via tokens instead of fiat currency.
Cryptocurrencies have taken a beating of late, but there’s still a lot of interest in mainstream coins like Bitcoins and Ethereum. So, crypto will likely become popular enough for businesses to use for transactions. And this would create new litigation challenges involving crypto tokens instead of fiat currency or conventional assets, forcing attorneys to navigate alternate rules and protocols.
Blockchain will also redefine how intellectual property works.
It’s currently hard to prove that someone used a creator’s/artist’s intellectual property (IP) against their will. But blockchain can change that. For instance, creators would sign up on a blockchain-based IP platform, upload their content, and get it copyrighted. To view the content, consumers would create their own profiles and download the creator’s work after signing an NDA. That means, for example, that a comic who steals a joke can’t claim ignorance because blockchain would have recorded which parts of the original material/set they’d viewed and when they’d viewed it. This is valuable evidence when trying to prove IP theft.
Contracts become ‘smarter’ when on a blockchain.
Blockchain will help create ‘smart’ contracts, making business transactions more transparent. For instance, your firm could use a blockchain platform to automate clients’ deals (e.g., transferring real estate or business shares). The blockchain would record (irreversibly) all the stipulated details, rules, and penalties, along with a detailed transaction log. And the platform would keep payments in escrow, releasing them automatically when a deal is done. So, you get faster, hassle-free deals with minimal human error.
We can create entire automated organizations, too.
The concept of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) uses blockchain automation to create an entire business entity. An entity made up of rules and protocols (stored on a blockchain) to automate simple decisions and oversee smart contracts for a small network of decentralized users. Again, all transactions are recorded and monitored by a blockchain platform, making it easy to audit the DAO’s activities. (Of course, we’ll first need to figure out how to define a DAO’s legal status and which country’s/state’s rules it should follow.)
Attorney-client interactions will also improve using blockchain.
Blockchain platforms can help your law firm the same as content creators. You and your clients would register on one of these platforms and enter relevant personal details. (E.g., attorneys would enter their license details, area of specialization, etc., while clients would enter their occupation, ID proof, case details, etc.) The platform would then use a mix of blockchain algorithms and smart contracts to help match you with ideal clients and define the scope of their cases. Plaintiffs, defendants, and attorneys all interact via blockchain, so everything (exchanges, documents, agreements, etc.) is recorded permanently. And this makes it easier for courts to pull up time-stamped records of these interactions if needed.
Finally, blockchain will change how your law firm tackles eDiscovery for litigation.
Establishing a chain of custody for eDiscovery becomes effortless on a blockchain because it stores every exchange and modification as part of a permanent ledger you can refer back to later. And since this data is spread out over all the blockchain’s nodes, it’ll never get lost or destroyed. It’s a simple step forward, but one that will optimize eDiscovery significantly.
A blockchain revolution will take time, but there are valuable eDiscovery tools you can use right away.
Existing eDiscovery services can already streamline litigation without waiting for a blockchain revolution. For instance, the best applications help you collect files directly from the Cloud (instead of waiting for clients to send them in), review them using tools like an advanced search engine, document tags, digital redaction, and create multi-format productions.
Importantly, these tools are affordable and easy to use.
Cloud-based eDiscovery services can help you work faster while controlling costs. For example, GoldFynch is popular with small and midsize law firms because:
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
- It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
- It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support (our average response time is 30 minutes).
- Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to find out more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- A Complete Glossary of Essential eDiscovery Terms
- A Quick Primer on GoldFynch’s eDiscovery Software
- How to Download eDiscovery Data Remotely Using ‘eDiscovery Collect.’
- A Free PST Analyzer to Check If Your eDiscovery PSTs Are Intact
- Use This In-Browser PST Viewer to Explore Your eDiscovery Emails For Free
- The Secret to Choosing the Best Low-Cost eDiscovery Software for Your Small Law Firm
- How To Make Your eDiscovery Productions Less Hackable
- Is Social Media the Future of eDiscovery?