K&L Gates Becomes One of First Major Law Firms to Implement Own Private Blockchain

Contact: Jeffrey J. Berardi

K&L Gates has undertaken plans to establish an internal, private and permissioned blockchain to assist in the exploration, creation, and implementation of smart contracts and other technology applications for future client use.

“We are hearing from our lawyers globally who are excited about getting hands-on experience working with blockchain applications,” commented K&L Gates Global Managing Partner James Segerdahl. “By investing in this technology that is expected to significantly impact the practice of law, K&L Gates is committed to finding practical and timely solutions that benefit both our clients and the firm.”

K&L Gates plans to utilise identity, asset, and encryption modules from UK/Swedish technology company Chainvine in order to allow K&L Gates lawyers and IT staff to explore and create intelligent contracts.

Judith Rinearson, a partner in K&L Gates’ New York and London offices and one of the co-chairs of the firm’s Fintech practice leading the project, said: “The first stage of our blockchain initiative will be a ‘sandbox’ that will allow our lawyers from around the world to get direct experience working with blockchain applications. We are next planning to develop use cases that our clients want and need, working both with Chainvine and clients to explore and build on the distributed ledger platform.”

The final step in K&L Gates’ blockchain initiative will be to create an internal private permissioned blockchain, a commitment that very few, if any, other major law firms have made.

“We are delighted to be working with such a leading global Fintech law firm as K&L Gates,” stated Chainvine Chief Executive Officer Oliver N. Oram. “It is extraordinarily prescient of K&L Gates to recognise early-on the importance of both understanding and accessing blockchain technology.”

Several members of K&L Gates’ FinTech team, as “counsel to the global FinTech industry,” are present at this week’s Money20/20 conference to discuss this development. This includes Rinearson, who moderated the 24 October panel discussion “Taking Stock in Blockchain: How Emerging Tech Is Transforming the Modern Equities Exchange,” speakers for which included David Harris, Head of Commercial Innovation Technology, London Stock Exchange Group, and Frederik Voss, VP – Blockchain Strategy, Nasdaq. The conference opened on 22 October and concludes today 25 October at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

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