Norton Rose Launches Consultancy For ‘AI, Blockchain + Crypto’

Global legal services business (LSB), Norton Rose Fulbright, has launched a technology consulting arm that will help clients with AI, blockchain and crypto currencies.

Computer scientist and professor Peter McBurney has been appointed to lead the new practice, which will provide technical expertise to help clients ‘take full advantage of new and emerging disruptive technologies’.

Among the tech areas listed are: AI (naturally….), but perhaps surprisingly, blockchain and crypto currencies. The latter two seem curious as of all the GCs Artificial Lawyer has met in the last few years not a single one has ever asked about crypto. Many are still struggling with getting templates and document automation right, let alone exploring DLT technology and the tokens that ride upon it.

This suggests that it will also be aimed at gaining new clients, perhaps ones looking at launching crypto assets, not just the current client base of the global LSB – though some Norton Rose clients, for example in Canada, are already working in this field. That said, it must surely be a minority of clients for the global firm that want crypto advice?

This also suggests that this is not a standard ‘legal ops’ play aimed at most inhouse legal teams, as one may expect, and is perhaps a little closer to Clyde Code – the smart contract offering of Clyde & Co.

The LSB said: ‘The new practice will work with clients across all sectors globally on projects such as the redesign of business processes to adopt new technologies; [and] the evaluation and design of proposed technologies for new business ventures.’

Sean Murphy, Norton Rose Fulbright global head of FinTech, said: ‘We are delighted to work with Peter McBurney who has exceptional technical knowledge that corresponds with our clients’ current and future priorities.’

And McBurney added: ‘Disruptive technologies have an unprecedented impact on information-intensive industries, particularly those subject to heavy regulation such as financial services. The adoption of these technologies is expected to lead to major redesigns of business processes, particularly in sectors relying on inter-company collaboration across a value chain. The firm’s new technology consulting practice is dedicated to helping financial institutions, corporations and start-ups develop and implement these new businesses processes.’