We’ve all heard the terms: Cryptocurrencies. Internet of Things (IoT). Augmented Reality. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Electronic signatures. Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Cloud.

They’re all part of a long, growing list of emerging technologies that are creating new frontiers for law firms and corporate legal departments and changing the landscape of how the law is practiced.

Keeping pace with rapid changes and their legal implications can be difficult, but literacy in digital and how it impacts your law firm are things that are worthy of investing time to learn.

Learning about technology is now a vital necessity.

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Is your law firm advising clients on many of the technologies mentioned above? Is it extremely busy advising on the acquisition of digital assets? Is it providing legal expertise to start-up clients that create technology assets?

Today’s law firm is not your dad’s law firm.

Gone are the days of Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers and Asteroids (any lover or one who appreciates nostalgia will appreciate the Atari references). Today’s senior lawyers may remember the vintage names, but they too are beginning to appreciate that we are moving toward and interacting more in a digital world.

Lawyers are now thinking about where the profession is going. Automation, blockchain, document management, and electronic signatures are part of everyday vernacular and business processes.

Running a law firm on the cutting-edge of technology–and within the structures of a traditional law firm–has it’s challenges.

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Agile methodology isn’t how firms normally work, but we’re quickly learning how working in an adaptive environment has become a competitive advantage, necessary to keep pace with evolving technologies and competitors.

Change is fast. And for firms advising start-ups with advice, they’ll need to be up-to-speed on technology and how impactful the digital assets developed by their clients can be. Consider the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and a host of others, and how they’ve all impacted our lives.

Taking the time to better understand and transition to an openly digital model for your practice will create benefits over time, to your firm’s bottom line and the clients it serves.

As defined by Gartner, “A digital asset is anything that is stored digitally and is uniquely identifiable that organizations can use to realize value. Examples of digital assets include documents, audio, videos, logos, slide presentations, spreadsheets and websites.”

That list is expanding to cryptocurrencies, digital art, and digital contracts, and it seems new terms are coming to light everyday.

As defined by Gartner, “A digital asset is anything that is stored digitally and is uniquely identifiable that organizations can use to realize value. Examples of digital assets include documents, audio, videos, logos, slide presentations, spreadsheets and websites.”

For your clients in product manufacturing, investing, and government for example, questions of how to regulate digital assets, by whom, and on what basis will be raised.

Additionally, and while physical assets remain true to their form, digital assets will continue to change as data increases. What was legally compliant today may not apply tomorrow. And as digital assets mature, so will the regulations around them.

Legal advice will be needed for start-ups in particular to ensure compliance.

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As the world moves to conducting business and interacting with others in ever-expanding digital realms and cyberspace, lawyers will want to get on top of this emerging area of law. They too are living in this new reality. And they too will need to take part to work with clients.

Yes, this can be complicated. But to truly understand the new direction, lawyers need to immerse themselves with change to better learn and accept.

Even Pac-Man has evolved.

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