White & Case is developing a proof-of-concept for use of blockchain technology that would help the firm more efficiently process questionnaires routinely required by clients.
The firm plans to use a new Blockchain Smart Technology from the legal vendor Integra to aid the exchange of environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) procurement questionnaires that are designed to ensure contractors—such as law firms— comply with regulations.
According to a statement announcing the project, the idea came about several months ago when White & Case Chief Information Officer Tony Cordeiro and the firm’s chief procurement officer, Jose Pariente, were discussing the onboarding of vendors. They found that the legal procurement market contains “ecosystem inefficiencies” similar to those in the back office environments of large industrial supply chains.
“We have been working with Integra to determine how a blockchain-based solution might be able to help drive efficiency and improve the integrity of the process,” said Cordeiro in the statement. “While our work continues, the early returns are promising.”
Blockchain allows computerized information to be distributed—but not copied—through cryptography. It can be used to create a permanent compliance record that is verifiable over time.
ESG questionnaire compliance is historically manual and time-consuming process for both law firms and clients. The new tech will allow for a streamlined process to meet client requirements.
“The team at White & Case has a very sophisticated understanding of how blockchain technology can be applied in an ecosystem setting between law firms and clients,” said Integra CEO David Fisher in the statement.
Integra is the developer of the Integra Ledger blockchain, designed to aid with data integrity and security in law offices.
In addition to its use of blockchain, White & Case has worked on developing other legal tech. The firm is a member of Reynen Court, for example, a consortium of 18 top firms that’s in the process of developing a type of legal tech “app store” platform set to be launched later this year.
Several other law firms have been actively investigating how to implement blockchain technologies, including Perkins Coie and BakerHostetler, which have been named “founding stewards” of the blockchain-based ID network called Sovrin, which creates portable, self-controlled digital IDs.
Perkins Coie intellectual property lawyers also have been working with blockchain developers to write software code and legal agreements that can transfer ownership of patents and trademarks, said firm partner J. Dax Hansen.