Law and Business Tech: Cybersecurity, Blockchain and Electronic Transactions

This program addresses how new business technologies and concerns over information privacy are impacting businesses and the lawyers who represent them.

Learn how lawyers and business professionals can effectively navigate the complex cyber landscape with strategies designed to assess current risks, develop corrective action plans, implement best practices, and provide immediate and appropriate responses to cybersecurity breaches. Also discussed are the legal and technological issues relating to e-signatures and e-transactions, and the risks and emerging regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrency.

Breakout sessions include discussions of (1) the application of competition law to algorithmic pricing, several scenarios where AI can foster anticompetitive collusion, and the legal and ethical challenges that arise and (2) current legal ethics issues involving the use of technology in the practice of law, including Rules 1.1 (competence), 1.6 (confidentiality), and 4.4 (inadvertent disclosure). 

Available Programs

Session 1: Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Update
The speakers are a combination of academics, practicing lawyers, and other professionals, all of whom routinely deal with cybersecurity issues.

Kris Torgerson:  Kris Torgerson is the Director of the Information Technology Services Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

India Vincent:  India Vincent is a partner and chief privacy officer for Burr Forman. She chairs the firm’s intellectual property and cybersecurity practice group, and actively participates in the firm’s corporate transactions group as well as the blockchain, cryptocurrency and electronic transactions focus team. Her areas of practice include cybersecurity, data privacy, GDPR, technology, corporate transactions, block chain and intellectual property.

Amanda Swenty (moderator):  Amanda Swenty holds an LL.M. in International Telecommunications and Information Technology Law, specializing in data privacy and electronic commerce from the Norwegian Research Institute for Computers and Law of the University of Oslo. She recently completed a fellowship at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School’s National Security Institute. Prior to that, she served two decades in various positions throughout the federal government, advising the law enforcement, military, and intelligence communities in addition to serving two administrations as a Deputy Legal Adviser to the National Security Council. She has provided legal guidance on substantive topics such as Cybersecurity, Cybercrime, Covert Action, Intelligence Collection, Military Operations, and Information Sharing.  She will teach National Security Law and Cybersecurity Law & Policy at the University of Tennessee College of Law. 

Session 2: The Coming Wave of Digital and Other Electronic Signatures in Commerce

Pem Guerry: Pam Guerry is Executive Vice President of SIGNiX, a cloud-based, digital signature solution designed to make online document signing safe, secure, and easy. Previously, he served as Assistant Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee under Commissioner Bob Corker, with responsibilities including management of the state’s overall technology resources. Other positions include President of RiverValley Partners and of World Healthcare Systems. He earned his BA from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from The Wharton Business School.

Ed Snow: Ed Snow is a partner in the Atlanta office of Burr Forman in the firm’s Lending Practice Group. He has practiced law since 1988 and is admitted to practice in Georgia, Maryland and Tennessee. He represents banks, finance companies, funds and borrowers in the middle and large corporate markets and his clients include: Wells Fargo Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, BB&T, Regions Bank, Atlantic Capital Bank, Synovus Bank, First Citizens Bank, Chatham Capital and MidCap Financial Services, among others. Ed is also a member of the firm’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Electronic Transactions Group and advises banks, financial institutions and other businesses in these areas, including regarding blockchain financial transaction applications, electronic and digital signatures, electronic loan documents and other contracts (aka, electronic records) and collateral consisting of electronic chattel paper, transferable records and other electronic assets. Ed is a frequent speaker and author on these topics and is a member of The Electronic Signatures and Records Association.

Joan Heminway (moderator): Professor Heminway joined the UT Law faculty in 2000, where she is currently the Rick Rose Distinguished Professor of Law. She practiced transactional business law in the Boston office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP from 1985 through 2000. She has served as an expert witness and consultant on corporate finance and federal and state securities law matters and is a frequent academic and continuing legal education presenter on business law issues. She has written numerous article and book chapters on securities regulation, and her much of her most recent scholarship focuses on crowdfunding. Professor Heminway is an editor of the Business Law Prof Blog.

Session 3A: Pricing Algorithms and Collusion

This session explores machine learning, which raises many challenging legal and ethical questions as to the relationship between man and machine, humans’ control — or lack of it — over machines, and accountability for machine activities.

While these issues have long captivated our interest, few would envision the day when these developments (and the legal and ethical challenges raised by them) would become an antitrust issue. Sophisticated computers are central to the competitiveness of present and future markets. With the accelerating development of AI, they are set to change the competitive landscape and the nature of competitive restraints. As pricing mechanisms shift to computer pricing algorithms, so too will the types of collusion. We are shifting from the world where executives expressly collude in smoke-filled hotel rooms to a world where pricing algorithms continually monitor and adjust to each other’s prices and market data.

Professor Maurice Stucke: Professor Stucke addresses these developments and consider the application of competition law to algorithmic pricing, several scenarios where AI can foster anticompetitive collusion, and the legal and ethical challenges that arise. Stucke joined the UT College of Law faculty in 2007. He previously served as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division. He has co-authored two books, Big Data and Competition Policy (Oxford University Press 2016) and Virtual Competition (Harvard University Press 2016). His research on the digital economy has been featured in The Economist, Guardian, Harvard Business Review, New York Review of Books, New Yorker, New York Times, Science, Times Higher Education, Wall Street Journal, Wharton Business Radio, and Wired. He was invited by the OECD and governmental authorities from Canada, the European Union, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, United States, and United Kingdom to discuss his research.

Session 3B: Legal Ethics Issues Involving Technology in the Practice of Law

This session addresses current legal ethics issues involving the use of technology in the practice of law. Topics include new ABA and state ethics opinions concerning technology as it relates to the ethical duty of competence; client confidentiality issues related to technology, including cybersecurity and inadvertent disclosure of client information; and how the increasing use of artificial intelligence is shaping the practice of law and the ethical issues involved. 

Professor Alex Long: Professor Long is the associate dean for academic affairs and the Doug Blaze Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law where he teaches professional responsibility. He has published numerous articles on legal ethics issues and is the co-author a casebook on the subject. He regularly presents on professional responsibility topics at CLE events and contributes a semi-monthly column on legal ethics for Dicta, the Knoxville Bar Association magazine.

Session 4: Legal Issues Surrounding Blockchain and Cryptocurrency/Bitcoin

This session provides a general understanding of blockchain and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and their implications for legal clients and law practice. Panelists discuss current legal developments in the field, regulatory issues, and challenges and opportunities faced by companies. The speakers are a combination of academics, practicing lawyers, and other professionals, all of whom routinely deal with cybersecurity issues.

Joshua A. Ehrenfeld: Ehrenfeld is a partner in the Nashville office of Burr Forman. He is a member of the firms’ Corporate and Tax Practice Group with a focus on domestic and international taxation, mergers & acquisitions, venture capital, early-stage and start-up companies, private equity and corporate finance. He advises clients worldwide on a wide-range of domestic and cross-border transactional and business-related issues. He is also a member of the firm’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Electronic Transactions Group and advises businesses on a variety of matters relating to the use, incorporation and impact of blockchain technology, as well as the issuance and utilization of cryptocurrencies.

Ryan Gallagher: Gallagher is a law student at the University of Tennessee College of Law and co-founder of Tynewoods Blockchain, LLC, which provides practical instruction regarding Blockchain. Gallagher left the U.S. Navy to study law and cybersecurity and graduated in December 2018.

Thomas K. Potter: Potter is a partner in the Nashville office of Burr Forman with over 30 years experience representing business interests in securities, corporate and intellectual property disputes. Potter is an author and speaker on a number of legal matters. He is also a frequent contributor to Burr’s Securities Litigation Blog. He is also a member of the firm’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Electronic Transactions Group.

Josh Rosenblatt: Rosenblatt is senior vice president of development and general counsel for BTC, Inc. in Nashville, a media group and information source for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Prior to joining BTC Inc, Rosenblatt spent the past three years as an attorney and co-chair of the blockchain and cryptocurrency practice at Frost Brown Todd, where his work focused on financial technology, mergers and acquisitions, securities and other liquidity events. 

Gary Pulsinelli (moderator): Professor Pulsinelli joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee College of Law in August 2001. He writes and teaches in the area of intellectual property law. He earned his J.D. degree at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California-Berkeley in 1997, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif. Prior to attending law school, Pulsinelli earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994, then continued his doctoral research as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Oncology.