What’s more important to a lawyer than money?
Did you think the answer would be nothing? Depending on your experience with lawyers, it may or may not surprise you that there really is something more important than money to lawyers.
Thanks to popular representation of lawyers in film and television, most people think those pursuing a law degree are focused on using it as a ladder to a large salary and a country club membership no matter what it takes. Despite the thousands of jokes about lawyer’s lack of morals there is a currency that can make proving a client’s innocence or someone else’s guilt a walk in the park. In fact, a lawyer’s job centers around getting it and showing a jury or judge how much of it they have.
So what’s more important to a lawyer than money?
In any argument the more objective facts you have supporting your argument the easier it is to win, and right now advances in cybersecurity are making it easier to find and represent objective facts.
That’s why Blockchain could be a major innovation in the legal industry.
While you may have heard of Blockchain as the foundation of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or litecoin, Blockchain’s strengths give it the potential to change how every industry approaches protecting its data. In terms of the legal industry, Blockchain’s most important feature is that once data has been published it is unalterable, distributed, and time-stamped making. For lawyers that means that you can debate whether or not something is true, but you can’t debate who said it, when they said it, and there is little chance that that will ever change.
Blockchain is simply a more secure way to publish and store data as well, and private legal information is some of the most sensitive, and consequentially valuable, data on the internet. Besides the fact that blockchain data is unalterable, it is also distributed. That means instead of being stored at a central repository, data is stored at multiple, sometimes thousands, of different locations. Distributing data this way is known as a distributed ledger technology (DLT) and is an effective solution to ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks because in order to have any leverage over a company or organization a hacker must compromise multiple servers instead of only one, and that makes a huge difference for law firms.
If a law firm wants to attract clients, clients must believe that their information will be safe with the firm meaning that Blockchain and DLT’s are major advances for law firms, but Blockchain still has more to offer than just clear and secure data.
Blockchain offers secure smart contracts that release payments upon notifications of requirements met and also offers the ability to notarize documents without sending a notary to witness the signing. For example, a document notarized by Blockchain is signed by a party after they prove their identity with a cryptographic signature. That document is then added to the chain with a time stamp and the party’s identity and is then unalterable and easy to access from there. While there is still debate over whether cryptographic signatures are secure enough to prove identity, there are already companies like Stampd and Blocksign that offer Blockchain supported notary services.
Along with acting as a notary service, Blockchain is more efficient at accessing data in general. As mentioned, Blockchain data is unalterable once published which mean it can be easily shared between two parties. In some cases, the data can even be made public without fear of cybercriminals compromising what it says, and when it comes to the massive amounts of files that go back and forth between a legal team you can see why it would be difficult to ensure that all that data was being transferred securely.
Whether it’s a search history ledger or an email discussing where to go to lunch, legal data is incredibly valuable to cybercriminals, and Blockchain is one of the most promising ways to protect and share it.
Most importantly, Blockchain creates facts that no one can argue with or alter, and objective facts are as good as gold for lawyers. If you’re a lawyer or work for a law firm, Blockchain could be a future cornerstone of your industry so learning about it now will put you ahead of the competition.
Even if you’re not a lawyer, learning about Blockchain and other cybersecurity technologies could be the difference between a quiet day at work or a day when a ransomware attack brings you and your company to its knees. Knowledge is power, and if you take the time to educate yourself about cybersecurity now you’ll have ground to stand on if an attack comes.