Are you a corporate lawyer or law student fearing recent news of hi-tech contracts that will make the profession less influential in American business? Never fear, commercial litigation will be different, yet, still play an important role in protecting corporations and consumers.
What are smart contracts?
Commercial transactions are evolving because of the invention of smart contracts. These legal devices allow parties to immediately block access to a product or service when someone reneges on their promises. A simple example being a car rental company embedding a device to shut down a vehicle taken beyond the agreed upon range.
The Future of Commerce
Today, people still have to write out paper contracts because it is impossible to trust each other. Ultimately, contract law is based on the principle that people may ultimately dishonor their promises, necessitating a legal means to push parties toward compliance. When things break down, lawyers step in.
Smart contracts will change the nature of commerce. Businesses will be better able protect themselves from abuses of their products and services through immediate termination of use. On the other hand, consumers will be able to receive an immediate refund when purchases fail to operate as promised.
Will smart contracts mean the demise of corporate law?
There are many who believe that smart contracts will mean the end of corporate law. After all, the devices will negate the need to dispute the interpretation of contracts, a central function of these lawyers. In effect, once parties have engaged in a binding agreement, they are on their own to enforce compliance.
However, those who believe society will get along fine without experienced corporate lawyers are incorrect. These litigators will still have to help businesses and consumer advocates draw up the terms of contracts.
Smart Contracts Both Empower the Marginalized and Pose a Danger
The future of commerce is changing, especially for those living in communities presently ignored. More than ever, the poor and powerless will need increased protection of commercial litigators. Yes, smart contracts will provide new opportunities for the poor, marginalized and disenfranchised. Corporations will more readily offer services to inner-city neighborhoods, developing countries and rural areas knowing they are protected by the immediacy of smart contract enforcement.
Yet, the presence of smart contracts mean people on the margins of society can suffer punishment immediately for failing to keep their part of an agreement. Thus, lawyers skilled at commercial litigation may have to ensure that contract terms are as fair possible from the start. There is little room for error.
Corporate Lawyers Ever More Needed in a Hi-Tech Era
The terms of smart contracts must be drafted in a way that protects both consumers and businesses. Corporate lawyers can help in this regard and, when needed, engage in commercial litigation to get all parties to act in good faith.
To learn more, contact a company like Vandeventer Black LLP.