What can Dall-E teach the private client lawyer?

03 August 2022

If you have a spare moment, it’s worth playing around with a piece of software called Dall-E. Type in any combination of words and it will, eventually, render an image of what it thinks you have described. It sounds simple. But what it demonstrates is how far so-called “transformer models” have come. Which raises a question: if computer programs can produce engaging artistic output effectively at the push of a button, where does that leave the future of the creative industries?

Dall-E is one example of the cutting edge of technological innovation (if you have another spare moment try searching “epigenetic reprogramming”). Many of these projects have the capacity to transform the way we live, from extending life expectancy to allowing us to immerse ourselves fully in digital worlds. So why does this matter for private client lawyers?

Last week, the Law Commission published a consultation paper on law reform proposals focused on digital assets in a digital world. At 529 pages, it is a monumental piece of work (the more digestible 20 page summary is well worth reading). At its heart is the concept that the legal system has to be part of a wider social framework. In other words, as society changes, so must the law.

The paper considers that the law of England and Wales is well placed to meet these challenges. Whether or not governments can respond with appropriate law reforms in time, however, lawyers must be ready to adapt to the coming changes to how they, their colleagues and their clients live and work.

This is particularly true for private client lawyers. Ultra-high-net-worth clients invest in emerging technologies and are some of the first to hold new asset classes. To understand how these investments should be made and these assets should be treated, private client lawyers will need to take the initiative. And there we might learn something from Dall-E, taking all that it has learnt in the past and making something new.

...the legal system, as part of a wider social framework, can reinforce the overall strength of digital asset environments (which also rely on social elements), provided that the legal system works in-sync with the technical and other social elements of those digital asset systems. We consider that the law of England and Wales is well placed to do this.