On the 5th of September, Wintertaling, together with the ‘Vereniging voor Juridische Interim Professionals (VVJIP) organised a seminar about Legal Tech – technological developments which already have or will have in the near future a direct impact on legal services as we currently know.
The top of the bill speakers and the fantastic engaged audience made this seminar a great success. A brief impression:
A Tuesday afternoon in the beginning of September. Down the road children are playing football on the fields of AFC, rush hour has started early on the near ring road and a little further away the sun reflects off the high-rise block of lawfirms and banks on the Zuidas.
Slowly but surely Wintertaling’s room fills up with members of the VVJIP and clients, about 40 legal counsels in total. It’s not a surprise to see such an audience: this afternoon’s topic is hot, it’s Legal Tech!
Erik Vermeulen is the first speaker of the day, a professor of Business and Financial Law at Tilburg University and VP Governance of Philips Lightning. Don’t expect a dull person or story: in his jeans and trainers Erik flies through the fast global developments in tech, bedazzling his audience.
Witty and competently, Erik explains how the legal world will change: now similar to Suits, but soon more like Silicon Valley. In other words: lawyers will become engineers from Delft.
The second speaker of the day: Dan Diogo Pereira Nunez, Portuguese, and like Erik also connected to both Philips and the University of Tilburg. Just as catchy as the first speaker, (“You would not expect such vibrant speakers with a topic like this”, somebody commented during the break), Dan deepens the subject AI – Artificial Intelligence and explains the audience how AI may, or rather will, simplify the work of legal counsels, but at the same time shall automate the work as well. This will result in many legal counsels, lawyers, notaries but also judges becoming obsolete, simply because the computer knows best.
(Break, and a necessary one too)
Third speaker is Guido Visman, a student. Again: now Law & IT, roughly 30 years ago a student in Delft who became an engineer. ‘Nerds making smart contracts even smarter’, that’s his topic of the day. Told with the same enthusiasm as the speakers before him did. “How well are you prepared?”, he asked the audience, “How tech-savvy are you?” (Probably more tech-savvy than his fellow students at the University of Groningen, he notices with dismay that most of the lecture they are actually spending their attention on visiting online shops like Zalando, without having any clue or interest in finding out what is happening behind the scenes of that website to keep it up and running).
Last but not least, Kristina Kalcheva. Young, Bulgarian and quite brilliant. Her company Jelurida focuses on Blockchain (their ICO currently in process). She explains how it works, that it’s safe to use and what purpose it serves.
Followed by a heated panel discussion, lead by chairman of the day Mark Schalekamp (legal counsel turned journalist). The afternoon ends with a drink, still enough to discuss.
Quite a bit of potential, the internet has…
Contribution by Mark Schalekamp.