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(Webinar via Zoom) A Technophobe's Introduction to Law and Technology: Non-fungible Tokens, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Smart Contracts, Artificial Intelligence and the Law
Steven Gallagher, Professor of Practice in Law, Associate Dean (Academic & Student Affairs), The Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Date: 30 November 2021 (Tuesday)
Time: 2:30pm - 5:45pm
Level: E (Elementary)
Language: English
Fee: HK$ 1,700
Accreditation: (Law CPD Points being applied for)
Ref: L21OT11
Venue: Webinar Course
Presenter's Biography:

Steven Gallagher was awarded a first class LL.B. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2006. Steven teaches the equity and trusts courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Steven also teaches a course on art, antiquities, cultural heritage and the law on the LLM programme. Steven has presented continuing professional development courses for solicitors in Hong Kong on many topics associated with property. Steven's research interests include equity and the law of trusts, cultural heritage law and legal history. He is not a technologist.

In 2018, Sir Geoffrey Vos, then Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales, gave The Law Society of England's Inaugural Lecture on the Future of Law. Toward the end of his lecture, Sir Geoffrey noted,
"Business lawyers will… need to understand the ever-more-complex regulatory regime that affects commercial life online: this will ultimately affect smart contracts, digital ledger technology and AI…They will need to know some computer coding; they will require business and technological training, as well as legal training."

Today, lawyers are told they must embrace digital technology, as, seemingly, going digital will solve all their problems. Artificial intelligence will identify issues humans miss and perform mundane tasks without complaint or favour. The advances of blockchain and digital sequencing will provide immutable and therefore indisputable information resources. Smart contracts will ensure automatic performance and eliminate breach - there will be no contractual litigation. For technophobes, such as the presenter, these are worrying developments, predominantly because of this new "tech" language. Do lawyers have to understand the intricacies of coding, data mining, e-disclosure, distributed ledger technology, blockchain, smart contracts, crypto-currencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs)? For many lawyers these terms are at best confusing and sometimes meaningless- often, the presenter suspects, because those using them do not fully understand them or have a vested interest in not explaining them.

This three-hour course will consider the impact of technology on the practice of law in three ways: the practice of law using technology; how law affects technology; and how law may be considered technology. The seminar will commence by trying to explain these digital terms in what it is hoped is plain non-technical English. The seminar will conclude by considering some of the legal issues which may occur in these areas.

  • What is technology?
  • What is blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT)?
  • What is a cryptocurrency?
  • What is a non-fungible token?
  • What is artificial intelligence?
  • What are smart contracts?
  • How may digital technologies affect the practice of law?
  • What is e-discovery?
  • How may artificial intelligence help in the practice of law?
  • How does law affect new technologies?

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