As Chinese philosophy goes, the yin must have yang. One man’s loss is another’s gain.
This co-dependence is the law of nature, something that might not sit well with crypto traders. But the present climate of the bear in the crypto markets, a silver lining is seen by the adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire [UNH] Law School, Jason Civalleri; especially for his ilk.
He notes that “A crypto winter for the price is a crypto summer for attorneys. As the price sinks, you have a lot of demand for legal services.”
The Law faculty at UNH, in line with this thought, has been working on offering a new certificate program geared towards blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Highlighting the need for such a program, Tonya Evens who is a professor and program director at the University said “The law student that comes out today needs to be technologically proficient,” also adding that this will be a good way to show the university’s backing of the technology. The program is already generating interest.
The constant exposure to cryptos has resulted in catching the attention of students, independent of market activity. Along with that, the program has already generated a fair bit of buzz, with over 100 students expressing interest in the program.
In light of this, the program has many people who are closely associated with the industry, as guest lecturers. The list includes the perspectives of regulators in the form of Hester Peirce, from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), academics such as Ethereum Foundation researcher Vlad Zamfir and has the views of the Crypto industry presented by Taylor Monahan, the CEO of MyCrypto.
As a matter of fact, this is not an isolated instance. Andrew Hinkes, an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law has also noted that the new blockchain course at his university already has 80 students enrolled, with growing demand. In addition to this, the professor has seen the request for his lectures rise from just a few in a year to one a week now.
Talking about the huge interest in crypto law he stated that “When the value of these assets go down, there are people who have presumably lost money and therefore might want to sue.”
While the regulations surrounding the nascent industry are also in their infancy, the statute of limitations is usually given about half a decade.
With clearer laws and a better understanding of what transpired during the boom and bust cycle of 2017 and 2018, Hinkes expects the demand for legal expertise will balloon.
“That’s class-action defense, class-action prosecution and all sorts of civil and criminal litigation work emerging from this rush to obtain funding in ways that might not have been compliant, and all the regulatory and enforcement actions that we presume will come.”
More Than Just Suiting Up
As the complexity of the digital age spills into the modern world, lawyers will undoubtedly need a firm grasp of how the technology actually works in order to apply their expertise on systems and cases. Thus, it is imperative that lawyers across the board are constantly in touch with the tech and with their clients. This way innovation can be counterbalanced with the needs for consumer protections; thus ensuring a harmonious synergy of the law with blockchain.
While the fields of software and law seem vastly differing, their co-dependence is hugely important. Lack of legal expertise can do irreparable damage to a tech firm and vice versa for lawyers. Thus a deep understanding of multiple fields is imperative. Something not lost on an attorney, Lisa McGunnigle.
In an attempt to incorporate her hobby of cryptos into her practice, she has signed up for the UNH course. Explaining the attractiveness of online courses, especially for those who work,
she says “Flexibility is a large factor, though overall the quality of the courses and the teachers was key.”
With new and innovative alternatives to learn about the blockchain technology, it not only offers a possibility for those practicing law but is a promising gateway into a world-altering technology. With such options, one only hopes that it is only a matter of time before blockchain and the digital assets sector is more entrenched in the public consciousness.