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Weblaw LegalTech Blog – Tagungsbericht / Conference Report Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018
26. Jun


Tagungsbericht / Conference Report Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018

Tagungsberichte zum Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018 in Deutsch und Englisch.


(Deutscher) Tagungsbericht im Jusletter vom 4. Juni 2018

Daniel Pfäffli hat im Jusletter vom 4. Juni 2018 den Tagungsbericht Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018 verfasst.

Conference Report (Englischer Tagungsbericht)

On 3 May 2018, the Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018 with the theme «Deeds, rather than words» (orginially: «Taten statt Worte») took place in Berne, Switzerland. The event was held in PROGR, a former school building close to the railway station, which made for a very comfortable atmosphere.

In the morning, Franz Kummer, Founder and CEO of Weblaw Ltd, welcomed the guests and introduced the audience to the subject of the proceedings: LegalTech. He then handed over to Mark Alder who acted as moderator for the rest of the event.

An impression of the audience at the Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018.

The Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018 was kicked off with the presentation of Ludwig Bull, Scientific Director of CaseCrunch Systems Ltd, who took a closer look at artificial intelligence (AI). He explained the effectiveness of AI by means of the lawyer challenge (see Daniel Pfaeffli, Man vs. Machine, Weblaw LegalTech Blog, 31.10.2017, https://legaltech.weblaw.ch/blog/case_crunch), but cautioned that AI may only be used for very niche or rather highly specialized areas.

Subsequently, Franz Kummer and Philipp Roth, both of Weblaw Ltd, discussed the state and development of document automation. Besides pointing out the possible automation of all written communication (not only contracts and deeds), the co-presenters demonstrated how the future of document automation might look like using DocEngine, an advanced document automation software.

After the morning coffee break during which sponsors and partners presented their LegalTech-related products in short breakout sessions, Salvatore Iacangelo spoke on blockchain technology. He listed the criteria for expedient application of blockchains and proved that for example commercial registers could make great use of that technology. At the same time, he advised against overusing blockchain technology for all business processes.

Andreas Glarner’s presentation revolved around Smart Contracts. After defining the term, he discussed the different levels that a Smart Contract consists of and the problems that can occur when trying to convert non-binary real-world situations into computer code. The speaker concluded that Smart Contracts might only be machines of declarations of knowledge or intent.

After an extensive lunchbreak (lunch was provided for), Simon Ahammer, Ludwig Bull, Gian Sandro Genna and Nora Teuwesen discussed, whether lawyers should be able to code or not. The panel’s opinions on the decision were split. While Ahammer and Bull encouraged legal professionals to at least try coding once, Genna and Teuwesen recommended focusing on legal proficiency first, but to cooperate with IT-professionals as much as possible.

Following the afternoon coffee break (with yet another set of breakout sessions from sponsors and partners), Roland Mathys discussed cross-border e-discovery. The presenter showed, on the one hand, how a party can get around sanctions in a third party state if evidence shall be disclosed and, on the other hand, how a party can avoid sanctions in its home state if disclosure of evidence is not wanted. In any case, he recommends taking fundamental measures early and preemptively.

A breakout session during the afternoon coffee break.

The last presenter, Leo Staub, spoke on the digital transformation as a challenge for leadership in law firms and in-house counsels. He showed that while the legal market as a whole is still growing, the market for legal services of law firms is sinking relatively. The shift, whereby legal departments of large companies are only willing to pay law firms for bespoke solutions, is already taking place.

The event concluded with drinks and snacks.

Overall, the experience at the Weblaw Forum LegalTech 2018 was very enjoyable. The presentations of the (inter-)national experts were fascinating and the panel discussion thought-provoking. The extensive breaks allowed for a lot of networking with other legal professionals and LegalTech aficionados.

Due to the huge success of this year’s event, another Weblaw Forum LegalTech will be held next year, on 16 May 2019. For more information visit: https://legaltech.weblaw.ch/forum.

For further information on this year’s event, including podcasts, see the special issue of Weblaw’s journal «Jusletter» on 4 June 2018: https://jusletter.weblaw.ch/archive/topics.html.

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