An international group of law firms and legal technology companies are joining forces as the first cohort to help launch a public, permissioned, blockchain-based, smart-contract management system, the Agreements Network.

The network is intended to serve as a decentralized platform for law firms to productize contracts as scalable “active” (or smart) agreements and for consumers of legal services to realize cost savings and greater security through a blockchain-based contract management system.

Law firms can use the system to create and market what it calls Active Agreements. These are essentially legal document templates combined with smart contract workflows to create packages called Archetypes.

Consumers purchase Archetypes to produce Active Agreements that are individual smart contracts that automate many of the rights and obligations of parties.

Casey Kuhlman

The Agreements Network was developed by London based blockchain company Monax, whose CEO, U.S.-educated lawyer Casey Kuhlman, believes that traditional contracts fail to meet the needs of a modern networked business model.

“The advent of smart contract and blockchain technology opens up – for the very first time – a technical basis on which scalable, technically enabled legal products can be built and delivered to the market,” Kuhlman wrote in a recent blog post. “And with The Agreements Network, an ecosystem is emerging to provide a strong and stable base on which to build those products.”

An Agreements Network white paper describes this combination of blockchain and smart contracts as an opportunity to create scalable, compliant, automated and verifiable legal processes for a networked world.

Blockchain and smart contracts present a unique market making opportunity to turn legal processes into products. The Agreements Network meets a ubiquitous, yet previously unaddressed, market for legal product at scale, whether through support of new commercial use cases, automation of traditional legal services, or designing innovative access to justice tools.

The first cohort of participants in the project are the law firms BakerHostetler, LegalBono and ErdosIP and the technology companies Clause, Crowdcube, LexPredict, Libra, Mattereum, Monax, Rymedi, TransparentNode and Wolfram Blockchain Labs.

These founding participants will collaborate to validate, refine and test the technology.

The network is inviting other companies that would like to participate to visit its website to learn more.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.