The following story is one in a six-part series devoted to the pioneering teams that comprise the firm’s new Digital Asset and Data Management Practice Group.
A prime example of BakerHostetler’s preeminence in the legal industry is on display in its latest Practice Group, Digital Asset and Data Management (DADM), which offers holistic, enterprise-wide risk solutions to clients around “everything data.” The multidisciplinary new addition – led by Theodore J. Kobus III, chair of the DADM Practice Group – is a strategic outgrowth of the firm’s world-class Privacy and Data Protection and Advertising, Marketing and Digital Media teams, combined with the innovative legal technology R&D team, IncuBaker. It is comprised of more than 100 award-winning attorneys, technologists and support professionals from six diverse teams, enabling clients to better understand and navigate the intersection of digital business, emerging technologies and the law.
The following offers an introduction to one of those six teams.
Thoughts on Emerging Technologies and the tasks Legal Professionals are poised to perform.
Who: The team leads are Partner James A. Sherer and Director of Practice Services Katherine Lowry.
What: The Emerging Technology team addresses those new, often groundbreaking technologies transforming our clients’ operations and raising novel business challenges. These include data analytics, machine learning, natural language processing and other types of artificial intelligence (AI), smart contracts, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital and social media, blockchain, self-sovereign identity (SSI), cryptocurrencies, and financial technology (fintech) applications. The Emerging Technology team combines the practice of law with legal practice innovations to support clients considering, developing, implementing and using emerging technology.
Why: Quite simply, our clients and the bar are demanding it. Attorneys are now expected to maintain an informed, up-to-date understanding of new technologies as emerging solutions enter the market and offer new opportunities for our clients. Clients are asking us to help them address fundamental strategic considerations created by the effects of these technologies and their impacts on corporate and litigation issues, not to mention overall governance strategies. Our clients have always expected rigorous analysis of legal and market risks, and emerging technologies and their benefits and complications are directly affecting legal and market risks now more than ever before.
How: Our approach is multifaceted and brings together unique elements not always found at law firms, including tech-savvy attorneys, technologists and our innovative IncuBaker R&D team. We work to address clients’ legal needs involving emerging technologies while engaging BakerHostetler attorneys and professionals who use some of those same emerging technologies for client work and in support of the practice of law. Our work does not begin solely when a client brings a new technology to our attention. Rather, our attorneys are proactively engaged in understanding and shaping the practical and ethical impacts of new technologies as they develop by speaking at leading conferences, participating in academic fellowships and authoring thought-leadership pieces for leading organizations and publications. Similarly, the Emerging Technology team (especially through IncuBaker) seeks out new technologies in advance of our clients’ and attorneys’ use to ensure that we are correctly positioned when asked for advice, counsel and assistance.
“We’re excited to be positioned here,” remarked Sherer, stating that “the Emerging Technology team is expected to be aware of and informed about what’s new and what we expect we’ll see on the horizon. Developing expertise on these topics, especially when advances are happening so rapidly, is a challenge – but it’s one we’re gladly embracing.”
“This unique opportunity, to build a forward-focused function within BakerHostetler that we leverage for client needs and attorney support, has been one of the favorite parts of my career,” stated Lowry. “My team understands what we need to do for BakerHostetler’s clients presently, and has the opportunity to think unconventionally about how client and attorney needs will change in the future with the advent of these technologies. Better than that, we get to execute on those changes and act on certain parts of our conjecture as well.”