Paul Williams is a PhD candidate at the University of Surrey School of Law. He has a BA in French from the University of Birmingham, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from the University of Westminster. He has extensive experience of working as a lawyer in the financial sector in London, and most recently as a senior consultant with D2 Legal Technology, a leading legal change and data consultancy firm operating at the intersection of FinTech and LegalTech.
A major aim of his PhD project is to explore how technology could be applied to the current processes of preparing and producing legal opinions (such as ISDA close-out netting opinions) in the context of business and financial settings, potentially resulting in their becoming more understandable and usable, and less vulnerable to inconsistent or incorrect interpretation and use. Additionally, it considers automation opportunities for the application of the legal advice the opinions contain, and possible interactions with smart contracts. It is envisaged that the study will include an evaluation of how legal opinions could be expressed in a more structured form, and whether this could improve the process of reaching conclusions and facilitate the use of data analytics.