Emergence of New Digital Technology Will Reshape Practice Of Law, Challenge Lawyers to Learn New Skills

By Rebecca Melnitsky and David Alexander

April 1, 2023

Emergence of New Digital Technology Will Reshape Practice Of Law, Challenge Lawyers to Learn New Skills


By Rebecca Melnitsky and David Alexander

Futuristic user interface concept. Graphical User Interface(GUI). Head up Display(HUD). Internet of things.

The emergence of decentralized digital technology is set to reshape the practice of law, and the New York State Bar Association is helping lawyers and other professionals prepare for the wide-reaching implications.

In an interim report approved by the association’s House of Delegates today, the Task Force on Emerging Digital Finance and Currency details the legal issues surrounding the use of Web3 technologies and the Metaverse. The initial report also educates the legal community on the importance of understanding and engaging in this rapidly changing environment.

These technologies — such as blockchain, smart contracts, non-fungible tokens, and cryptocurrency — have the potential to change legal practice as case law develops, legislation is proposed, and state and federal regulations are put into place.

“NYSBA members who have not already encountered blockchain-related issues in their legal practices likely will soon,” stated the task force’s report. “The technology is not just relevant to financial services lawyers; it has the potential to broadly impact everything from how elections are held to how the supply chain is managed. Anywhere that is reliant upon whether information or data is trustworthy has the potential to be impacted by the technology.”

In adopting the report of the task force, the association voted to:

  • Explore NYSBA’s future presence in the Web3 and Metaverse and potential engagement with the technology
  • Support prioritizing consumer and environmental protection while balancing the growth of well-regulated digital finance and related business within New York State
  • Recommend regulation, legislation and licensing that is consistent across the country to prevent inequities in the use of currency and assets
  • Examine the regulation, legislation and licensing of digital finance and currency, digital assets, and Web3 across the country and globally

In continuing NYSBA’s efforts to educate and inform, more than 30 worldwide experts in the legal profession and technology industry will offer their analysis during a two-day New York State Bar Association event on the transformative impact of digital technology on the legal profession.

The program will examine the global nature of Web3, the Metaverse and digital assets with talks targeting the regulatory and legislative landscape in New York, the United States and around the world.

“The rapidly growing digital space is having and will continue to have a profound impact on all practice areas within the legal profession and our lives,” said Sherry Levin Wallach, president of the New York State Bar Association. “Our task force asserts that as an organization we should continue to explore the digital landscape. This symposium does that by providing a unique opportunity for our members and attorneys worldwide to engage with world leaders and leading attorneys on a breadth of topics including digital copyright, NFTs and smart contracts.”

The program: “Deep Dive Into the Metaverse and Web3: The First Global Symposium” is being hosted by The Metaverse Collaborative at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. Journalists are invited to attend but must register here. They should also contact David Alexander at [email protected].

The symposium will take place on April 28 and 29 from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at NYU’s School of Professional Studies, Midtown Center, 20 West 43rd St., New York City.

On April 28, a fireside chat will kick off the program; it will explore what issues are arising from the use of this technology and how legal systems and governments are addressing those issues.

Breakout sessions will include Understanding the Impact of Web3, the Metaverse, and Digital Assets and Legal Practice Areas Around the World.

Pitfalls for Attorneys and Clients Operating in the Web3 Space will be explored in a pair of breakout sessions on April 29.

Other scheduled panels include:

  • How Cities Across the Universe are Using the Metaverse
  • Web3 Issues Arising in Dispute Resolution and Mediation
  • Embracing and Understanding Web3: NFTs Are Here to Stay!

Prominent speakers include:

  • Jennifer V. Abelaj, principal at Jennifer V. Abelaj Law Firm, New York, NY
  • Arturo H. Banegas Masia, partner, Akerman, New York, NY
  • Marc Beckman, founder, president of DMA United, New York, NY
  • Roger Brown, global head, tax strategy, Chainalysis, New York, NY
  • Daniel N. Budofsky, partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, New York, NY
  • Yamina Sara Chekroun, U.S. general counsel for Ramp, New York, NY
  • Ernest Chrappah, director, Washington, D.C., Department of Buildings
  • Michael Clare, head of digital assets and fintech operations at Liongate Bahamas Limited, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Shardul Desai, partner, Holland & Knight, Washington, D.C.
  • Robert Donovan, managing director, PwC, New York, NY
  • Jackie J. Drohan, Drohan Lee, New York, NY
  • Zeynep Ekinci, Kabine Law Office, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Jeremy Evans, president, California Lawyers Association, and founder of California Sports Lawyer, Los Angeles and Newport Beach, CA
  • Matthew H. Feinberg, of counsel, Law Offices of Gerry E. Feinberg, White Plains, NY
  • Marc Gallardo, president, Technologies and Communication Law Section, Barcelona Bar Association, Barcelona, Spain
  • Elizabeth Haas, professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies/Metaverse Collaborative, New York, NY
  • Nicholas G. Himonidis, president, The NGH Group, New York, NY
  • Shobaná Iyer, barrister, Swan Chambers, Strand, London
  • Justin M. Jacobson, Law Office of Justin M. Jacobson, New York, NY
  • Michael Kanovitz, partner, Loevy & Loevy, Chicago, and chief executive officer, Jurat
  • Amanda Katzenstein, product, privacy and Web3 attorney, Salesforce, New York, NY
  • Matthew Kimber, Law Commission, UK
  • Neal H. Levin, Freeborn & Peters, Chicago, IL
  • Sherry Levin Wallach, president, New York State Bar Association
  • Maria Londono, general counsel at Klym/co-founder Disrupt3rs, Los Angeles, CA
  • Brandon Malone, advocate, barrister, arbitrator, Quadrant Chambers, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • George Mastoris, Winston & Strawn, New York, NY
  • Moish Peltz, Falcon Rappaport & Berkman, Long Island, NY
  • Kimberly A. Prior, partner, Winston & Strawn, Miami, FL
  • David Reiss, professor at Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Steven M. Richman, partner at Clark Hill, New York, NY
  • Marcos Rocha, partner, Veirano Advogados, Brazil
  • Ella Rosenberg, AFIK & Co, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Jason Schwartz, partner, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, Washington, D.C.
  • Pablo E. Segarra, Segarra Consulting, Dominican Republic
  • Oyango A. Snell, chief executive officer and executive director of California Lawyers Foundation
  • Christopher Sprigman, professor, NYU School of Law, New York, NY
  • Daniel Tramel Stabile, partner, Winston & Strawn, Miami, FL & New York, NY
  • A. F. David Steiner, partner, Meister & Steiner, New York, NY
  • Yamicha Stephenson, senior manager, Regulatory & Legal Support, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics, New York, NY
  • Meg Strickler, partner, Conaway & Strickler, Atlanta, GA
  • Dana V. Syracuse, Perkins Coie, New York, NY
  • Eliana A. Torres, associate, Nixon Peabody, Chicago, IL
  • Jared Wachtler, Sheppard Mullin, New York, NY
  • Oren Warshavsky, partner, Baker Hostetler, New York, NY
  • Rich Weber, partner, Winston & Strawn, New York, NY

The symposium is being presented by the NYSBA Task Force on Emerging Digital Finance and Currency in partnership with:

  • NYSBA International Section
  • NYSBA Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section
  • NYSBA Intellectual Property Law Section
  • NYSBA Committee on Technology and the Legal Profession
  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Bar Council of England and Wales
  • American Bar Association International Section
  • NYU School of Law
  • Ukrainian Bar Association
  • California Lawyers Association
  • Barcelona Bar Association

The event is being sponsored by:

  • Nixon Peabody
  • Winston and Strawn
  • Drohan Lee
  • Jurat Blockchains
  • Falcon Rappaport & Berkman

A video recording will be available for purchase for those who are unable to attend the program.

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