R3 launches Corda blockchain center of excellence to collaborate with law firms

Financial blockchain coalition R3 has launched the Legal Center of Excellence (LCoE): a platform to help educate and collaborate with the legal global community on blockchain technology. Ten law firms have joined the LCoE, including Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Crowell & Moring, Fasken, Holland & Knight, Perkins Coie, Shearman & Sterling, Stroock, and White & Case.
The platform will be used to share and disseminate knowledge and best practice on blockchain generally and, more specifically, R3’s soon-to-be-released Corda Enterprise Platform. Law firms are increasingly working with clients to provide specialist advice on how to handle the legal aspects of blockchain technology, such as structuring Corda business networks and drafting smart legal contracts. R3 has developed the LCoE to collaborate with and gather feedback from the legal sector, helping law firms to better engage with the technology, while updating R3 on the specific needs of the legal community and their clients.
Members of the LCoE will have access to R3’s research on blockchain that provides a view into the concerns of their clients, monthly project demos that give members a practical understanding of real world blockchain applications, as well as Corda training workshops that have specifically been developed for attorneys. This will ensure that law practitioners have a strong understanding of the technology and are optimally equipped to advise their clients on new and emerging legal and regulatory issues associated with blockchain and Corda.
In an interview with CoinDesk, Jason Rozovsky, R3’s senior counsel and head of the new centre, sought to portray the move as one that would lay the legal foundation for a wide range of enterprise applications. He told CoinDesk: “These are some of the last pieces that we need to ensure that folks, including our membership, get comfortable with using the technology.”
Corda is an open-source blockchain platform designed to record, manage and automate legal agreements between businesses. These agreements take the form of smart contracts on Corda, linking business logic and data to associated legal prose in order to ensure they are rooted firmly in law.
Richard Gendal Brown, CTO at R3, said in a statement out today (20 February): “A key feature of Corda is its ability to record an explicit link between human-language legal prose documents and smart contract code. This enables agreements between businesses to be executed automatically with minimal need for human intervention. The LCoE will allow R3 to directly engage with the lawyers that will be advising on and helping draft the smart contracts used by the network of Corda users across the globe.”
Jason Rozovsky, Senior Counsel and Head of the LCoE at R3, comments: “Lawyers hold a key position in the financial services ecosystem.  Many of our clients are also clients of the world’s leading law firms, a number of which have joined our Legal Center of Excellence. There is an overall benefit to our membership and the Corda community at large to collaborating with these firms about Corda and its capabilities early on, and to obtaining their valuable insights into the legal and regulatory environments in which Corda operates.”
R3 is an enterprise software firm working with a network of over 200 banks, financial institutions, regulators, trade associations, professional services firms and technology companies to develop on Corda, its blockchain platform designed specifically for businesses.