The collaboration represents yet another major step in the legal industry’s commitment to creating standards for smart legal contracts.

The Accord Project, the legal industry organization for smart legal contracts, has today announced new partnerships with leading international law firms Ashurst, DLA Piper, Fasken, Orrick, and Simmons & Simmons. The collaboration represents yet another major step in the legal industry’s commitment to creating standards for smart legal contracts.

Established last year by the innovative legaltech startup Clause, the Accord Project now counts leading international law firms, standards bodies, and technology organizations amongst its collaborators. The mission of the Accord Project is to establish open source techno-legal standards to facilitate the widespread adoption of smart legal contracts. The Project incubates a blockchain agnostic middleware layer that is interoperable with any distributed ledger, allowing smart legal contracts to operate both ‘on-chain’ and ‘off-chain’. The consortium brings together leading professionals in areas such as supply chain, financial services, and intellectual property law to develop canonical standards for a new generation of smart contracting. Industry-specific working groups will release open source standards for smart legal contracts that will support the growing ecosystem of connected contracting services in the legal industry.

Tae Royle, Head of Digital Legal Services at Ashurst, commented: “Smart contracts are already being used to manage hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and digital assets globally. But we lack common standards and frameworks for ensuring legal enforceability of smart contracts.  The Accord Project seeks to bridge the divide between code and law. Ashurst is proud to be part of this important project shaping the new digital economy.”

John McKinlay, Head of DLA Piper’s UK IP and Technology practice remarked: “Smart contracts have a huge potential to streamline and standardise the legal process, and are a perfect example of where lawyers and technologists can collaborate. We are delighted to be on board with the Accord Project to help shape the industry standard approach.”

Will Shaw, Partner at Fasken: “As the nature of legal contracts evolves, developing technical and legal standards will be critical for easing the growing pains felt by the legal industry and our clients. The Accord Project is leading the way on standardizing smart legal contracts and Fasken is excited to work with the Accord Project and its members to advance such a valuable initiative.”

Jacqui Hatfield, Partner and Head of the Financial Services and Regulatory team at Orrick commented: “Orrick are very pleased to partner with Accord Project. Creating standards and protocols for smart contracts is key for the growth of the Fintech sector.”

George Morris, ICT Managing Associate at Simmons & Simmons says: “We are pleased to join the Accord Project. Distributed ledger technology and smart legal contracts are likely to have a huge impact on the inner workings of industry in the future and we look forward to working with the Accord Project and its other participants to help to shape that future”

About the Accord Project
The Accord Project is the organization for the development of techno-legal standards for smart legal contracts and distributed ledger applications in the legal industry. The Project incubates the standard contracting protocol for the legal industry. The Accord Project protocol is blockchain agnostic. The purpose of the Project is to enable lawyers, law firms, trade associations, and corporates to help establish open standards for the future of contracting; and to produce open-source code for smart legal contracts and distributed ledger usage in the legal industry. The Project operates in collaboration with IEEE, the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management, Hyperledger, R3, Decentralized Identity Foundation, and a number of leading trade associations, industry and standards organizations, and world leading law firms. To learn more about the Accord Project, visit the website, follow on Twitter, and use and contribute to the open source code on Github.

About Ashurst 
Ashurst is a leading international law firm advising corporates, financial institutions and governments. The core businesses are in corporate, finance, dispute resolution and the development and financing of assets in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors. The firm has 25 offices in 15 countries, over 420 partners and a further 1,450 lawyers.

About DLA Piper 
DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries around the world. The firm is widely recognised for its pioneering approach and was named in the top five most innovative law firms in Europe by the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Europe Report 2017. 

About Fasken
Fasken is a leading international law firm with more than 700 lawyers on four continents with offices in VancouverSurreyCalgaryTorontoOttawa, Montréal, Québec City, BeijingLondon and Johannesburg.

About Orrick
Orrick is a global law firm focused on serving the technology, energy & infrastructure and finance sectors. Structured as one team, our lawyers work across 25+ markets in Europethe United StatesAsia and Africa. Orrick is the #1 most active law firm in European venture capital (PitchBook) and twice held the #1 spot on Financial Times’ list of the most innovative law firms in North America in 2016/17.

About Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons is a leading international law firm with around 250 partners and 1300 staff working in AsiaEurope and the Middle East across 21 offices. Our industry sectors are: Asset Management & Investment Funds, Financial Institutions, Life Sciences and Telecoms, Media & Technology (TMT).