Herbert Smith Freehills launches digital law group to advise on ‘digital transformation’


Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has formed a digital law group to advise clients on the risks and opportunities that accompany digital transformation, with a particular focus on smart contracts.

The new global group comes as customers and Herbert Smith Freehills himself face a significant digital transformation, said chief executive Mark Rigotti.

“Our employees need new skills to be able to provide our clients with the guidance they need in this new and changing business environment. We know it’s not something that can happen in one part of our business – it has to happen across the business, ”he said.

The Digital Law Group will provide the firm’s lawyers with more skills and support them with technical experts who understand the opportunities, risks, ethics and regulatory requirements brought about by digital transformation, he said, noting that the most pressing current hot spots are man-made. intelligence, data, digital assets, robotics and automation.

The group is made up of a permanent team of senior lawyers, supported by a rotating cohort from the entire firm.

“Because digital expertise is increasingly ‘business as usual’, we want as many of our lawyers as possible, including graduates, to participate,” said Rigotti.

One of the main initial goals of the Digital Law Group will be smart legal contracts, which HSF describes as contracts capable of self-executing, as their operational provisions have been replicated in computer code and ‘plugged in’ to a secure digital system. . ecosystem that efficiently executes the contract, including performance recording, payments and notifications.

All contracts can be made smart, and most will be over time, HSF said. This complex but inevitable transition will require new skills, new collaborations and new processes. The new group will help clients draft smart legal contracts and advise them on the legal issues around them.

“The next 10 years will see an unprecedented level of change in the way legal services are delivered. The main tool of our business – the contract – is being digitized, ”said Natasha Blycha, Global Head of Digital Law at Herbert Smith Freehills.

“If we look at the impact of the digitalization of money on the financial sector and on the economy, we begin to glimpse the enormity of the impact that we can expect from the digitalization of contracts. Our clients will need truly informed and thoughtful advice on this – that’s what we’re doing with this initiative.

The firm said the group will work closely with the alternative legal services team at Herbert Smith Freehills, which provides cutting-edge solutions for high volume, document-intensive legal work.

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