The Accord Project Launches Tools and Standards for Smart Legal Contracts with Hyperledger and IACCM
Clause, with support from leading law firms and other organizations, including Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger, the International Association for Commercial and Contract Management (IACCM) and Clio, has launched the Accord Project to develop open source technology and standards for computational contracting. Clause is the first startup to pioneer data-driven or “smart” legal agreements.
The Accord Project addresses the needs of the legal industry as it moves from manual, paper-based processes to a natively digitized and data-driven environment. The launch of Accord is particularly noteworthy for being the first consortium driven by the legal industry. While finance and open source software projects have been used to various consortia, collaborative work on this scale has remained largely absent from law.
The partnership with Hyperledger is a milestone event for the development of blockchain and distributed ledgers in legal contracting. Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. The Linux Foundation hosts Hyperledger under the foundation.
“Hyperledger is delighted to partner with the Accord Project. The Accord Project is an industry first that will facilitate the setting of much needed technical and legal standards for smart/computable legal contracts” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director at Hyperledger. “Accord is an initiative from Clause — a legaltech startup and member of the Hyperledger Project. The work that they are doing in changing the nature of the contract using distributed ledger and other technologies will be greatly advanced with this initiative. Their contribution through Accord is a valuable asset to the Hyperledger Project and the entire Hyperledger community. We hope that many law firms, corporations, and trade bodies both from Hyperledger and outside will take the opportunity to join” he continued.
“The legal industry is poised for the biggest change in centuries with a number of nascent, but fast growing, technologies that will fundamentally change contracting and commercial transactions. But with this new paradigm, there is a requirement for standards — both technical and legal — that typically build up in legal practice over time but have no comparator in computable contracting. Accord achieves that, and creates industry defining standards, for the very first time.” said Peter Hunn, Founder of Clause. “Ushering in fundamental changes to the infrastructure of markets takes wide ranging coordination from a variety of participants. Accord’s mission is to facilitate the coordination and openness needed to bring contracting in line with broader efforts at enterprise digital transformation” added Clause co-founder Houman Shadab.
Central to the Accord Project is creating the new ‘techno-legal’ foundation upon which legal contracts for a variety of uses can be developed using open source software. The aim is to produce a technology layer that will advance the transition to legally enforceable smart contracts by incorporating widely accepted standards relating to transactional legal practice, the use of data and distributed ledgers in contracting, and dispute resolution.
Accord is forming a number of vertical-specific working groups and committees, all with the mandate of developing specific use cases for the next generation of legal contracting. Unlike blockchain-based smart contract initiatives, the purpose of the Accord Project is to integrate computable functionality into legally-enforceable contracts, while drawing upon a range of experts to establish an industry-first set of standards for the inevitable transition to computable contracting.
Marco Santori, partner at Cooley and Legal Ambassador for the Delaware Blockchain Initiative, stated that: “Clause is fundamentally changing the nature of the legal contract from static, text-based, documents to data-driven components that interact with business systems and external data. This is no mean feat. The transition from paper or PDF contracts to smart legal contracts will fundamentally change many industries but requires the broad-based coordination of attorneys and other contract users. The Accord Project is a crucial initiative that will help to set the technical and legal standards required for efficient and effective mainstream adoption of the contracting technologies of the future. Cooley is proud to be involved with, and to support, the Accord Project.”
Tim Cummings, CEO of the IACCM noted that:
“[w]hether for business efficiency or to assist in restoring social trust, it is essential that we simplify contracting. The development of standards is a fundamental step, increasingly enabled by the dynamic technologies now available to us. It is a daunting task to address the years of tradition and the volume of contract types, but initiatives such as Accord demonstrate the momentum for change.”
The Accord Project will hold a series of Launch Evenings in September in New York, London, and Berlin. Registration for all Launch Evenings are available now on Meetup. Spaces are limited!
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Clause is tech startup building a variety of innovative technologies that are transitioning contracts from static documents into real-time, integrated, components of commercial systems. Users can draft and host a wide array of contracts integrated with data, and monitor their state in real-time. Clause built the world’s first Internet of Things and data-driven legal contracts. With a growing list of pre-built integrations across numerous enterprise and SMB solutions, Clause is the leader in bringing data-driven contracting to the forefront of global commerce.
About the Accord Project
The Accord Project is an open source software initiative established with the leading technical body for blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (Hyperledger) and contracting bodies (IACCM) to establish a hybrid of legal and technological standards for the future of legal contracting. It will enable the development of data-driven contracts across a variety of platforms and enterprises, while establishing the essential standards for this inevitable shift in the way contracts are drafted, monitored, and enforced.
N.B. Public Slack and Telegram to coincide with Launch Evening