Taylor Wessing, the global law firm, recently announced the launch of an innovative employee incentive programme which is built on, and operated using, distributed ledger technology. The programme, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the legal market globally, is designed to provide micro-incentives to the firm’s lawyers and enhance the firm’s leading blockchain, digital asset and cryptocurrency practice.
As part of the programme, lawyers operating within Taylor Wessing’s corporate, IP and financial services teams will each hold a Metamask wallet, enabling them to interact with tokens issued by the firm (“LAW Tokens”). LAW Tokens are minted on Polygon, a permissionless (public) EVM-compatible blockchain, which allows the firm to leverage the scalability, efficiency and security of a layer-2 Ethereum scaling solution. The token’s smart contract has been designed to allow LAW Tokens to be transferred between whitelisted individuals only, which prevents the creation of a secondary market. This secure and innovative structure allows for compliance with applicable regulations and has the benefit of falling outside the scope of Electronic Money Regulations whilst also not requiring Taylor Wessing to be registered with the FCA under the Money Laundering Regulations.
Under the scheme, lawyers will be able to award LAW Tokens to other lawyers who demonstrate an outstanding contribution to the firm’s culture and its responsible business objectives. In turn, these lawyers can either trade them with other lawyers on the blockchain or redeem them with the firm for benefits – including non-cash vouchers – and/or to make donations to a number of charities (including NHS Charities Together, St John’s Ambulance and The Honeypot Children’s Charity).
A core group of lawyers across the firm’s Corporate and Emerging Companies and Financial Services Regulatory teams, spearheaded by blockchain specialist Miguel Dinis Lucas, worked closely with Gerard Frith, the firm’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, as well as members of the firm’s tech, information and IP team to realise the project which exemplifies the firm’s reputation for innovation.
The initiative will give Taylor Wessing’s lawyers first-hand experience of interacting with distributed ledger technology and its unique characteristics – in short they will be understanding their clients’ technology and using it themselves.
Angus Miln, Partner, Executive Board Member and Head of Emerging Companies and Venture Capital, said: “A very significant number of our clients in the tech space are developing distributed ledger applications and we are representing an increasing number of blockchain and crypto businesses, as well as investors in – and acquirers of – those businesses. We want our people to develop the skills necessary for us to continue to expand our practice in these areas.
Corporate M&A Partner, Paul Thorpe, said: “The launch of the blockchain initiative harnesses the very best of Taylor Wessing’s specialist expertise in the blockchain sector and demonstrates our culture of innovating to provide technology focussed solutions. We have exciting plans in relation to how we further evolve this technology and potentially link it to some of our other tech projects. Watch this space!”
Further innovations are reportedly in the pipeline.
Photo by Leelo the First