Smart Contracts: the end of lawyers? (English Version)

According to Vitalik Buterin, inventor and founder of Ethereum, a smart contract is a program that directly controls digital assets
Jeff Garzik, co-founder of Bloq, is convinced that smart contracts will replace traditional contracts and, ultimately, lawyers: "Smart contracts provide a very specific set of results. There can be no confusion, so there can be no conflict. It simply involves a limited range of possibilities guaranteed by the computer. " 
To understand what we are talking about, we might need to step back. 
We have gone from the age of the pc to the era of the internet. From the era of internet to the era of mobile and now, from mobile, came the era of blockchain. 
Blockchain is often referred to as a distributed database that provides an unalterable and public register of digital transactions. The most popular blockchain application is Bitcoin, but in addition to the adoption of criptovalutes, blockchain can now be used both as a non-alterable digital transaction register and as a platform for executing transactions, that is, for smart contracts. Smart contracts allow you to transact safely, efficiently (without intermediaries), in a transparent way and without conflicts. Many online purchasing systems incorporate smart contracts, in the sense that there are automated procedures that are executed once the contract is signed or concluded, regardless of the subsequent wishes of the subscribers.
A smart contract is self-executing

Anatomia di uno smart contract

Come "si fa" uno smart contract?

1) Lingua codice per comporre il contratto
2) Un network di registri distribuiti per "inviarlo"
3) Elaborazione/Esecuzione 

Gli smart contracts funzionano attraverso dei software per la codificazione, quindi è molto importante programmarli in modo che il contratto rifletta la volontà delle parti. Il codice non ha le sfumature del linguaggio umano e, per gli smart contracts, si usa una logica "if-this-than-that". Una volta composto, il codice è inviato attraverso un network di registri distribuiti (distributed ledgers), come usa ad esempio la tecnologia blockchain.
Quando uno dei computer di questa rete di registri riceve il codice, verifica i risultati dell'esecuzione del codice e così fa ogni computer della rete. Se il 50% +1 dei computer della rete concorda sulla verifica, allora la rete aggiorna i registri. 

Il Libro Bianco sugli smart contracts identifica sei caratteristiche tipiche.

Più parti identificano un'opportunità cooperative e un risultato condiviso
Gli smart contracts potrebbero essere iniziati dalle parti stesse oppure al verificarsi di certe condizioni come, ad esempio il raggiungimento di un certo indice in un mercato finanziario, un disastro naturale, un evento che si verifica a certe coordinate GPS
Il programma è scritto in modo tale per cui l'esecuzione dell'accordo si avvierà al verificarsi delle condizioni prestabilite

Smart Contracts: la fine degli avvocati?

Secondo Vitalik Buterin, l'inventore/fondatore di Ethereum, uno smart contract è un programma che controlla direttamente degli asset digitali.

Jeff Garzik, co-fondatore di Bloq, è convinto che gli smart contracts rimpiazzeranno i contratti tradizionali e con loro anche gli avvocati: "gli smart contracts garantiscono una serie molto specifica di risultati. Non può esserci confusione, quindi non può esserci conflitto. Si tratta semplicemente di una serie limitata di possibilità garantite dal computer.

Per capire di cosa stiamo parlando, forse occorre fare un passo indietro.
Siamo passati dall'era del pc all'era di internet. Dall'era di internet all'era del mobile ed ora, dal mobile, è arrivata l'era del blockchain.

Blockchain viene spesso definito come un database distribuito che fornisce un registro inalterabile e pubblico delle transazioni digitali.
L'applicazione più conosciuta del blockchain è Bitcoin, ma oltre all'adozione di criptovalute, allo stato attuale blockchain può essere utilizzato sia come registro non alterabile di transazioni digitali, sia come piattaforma per eseguire delle operazioni, cioè per gli smart contracts.

Gli smart contracts consentono di effettuare transazioni in modo sicuro, efficiente (ovvero senza intermediari), trasparente e senza conflitti.

How and why teams work

 This is a review of “Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators, & Guardians” by Suzanne M. Johnson Vickberg and Kim Christfort which appeared in the Harvard Business Review. March-April, 2017

Christfort is the national managing director of Deloitte Greenhouse experiences and one of the original architects of the Business Chemistry system. Vickberg is a social personality psychologist and Deloitte’s lead researcher on the Business Chemistry system.
Deloitte, a multi-national consulting corporation, found that many of their clients had a common problem of disappointing team performance, regardless of the level of the team members. Were the team members at fault? The leaders? What could be done to improve team results? Deloitte began a study to determine the cause and to formulate solutions to improve team performance.
With the assistance of biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, a survey development company, and molecular biologist Lee Silver, the Deloitte team derived four work styles it labeled as the Pioneers, the Guardians, the Drivers, and the Integrators.  More than 190,000 people representing the four work styles have completed an assessment to further define the characteristics of each work style.
This study created a common language to address this problem for leaders and teams. The organization of the study’s results became the Deloitte Business Chemistry system defined by the authors as a system that “…identifies four primary work styles and related strategies for accomplishing shared goals”:
·         the strengths and weaknesses of each work style
·         the work style of each team member
·         the challenges inherent in bringing different styles together, and
·         the benefits to the host organization of style diversity.
The styles first must be understood.
The study concluded that each team member has a dominant work style characterized by certain traits described as follows:
  •             Pioneers value possibilities, and they spark energy and imagination on their teams. They believe in taking risks and that it’s fine to go with your gut. They focus on the big picture. They appreciate bold, new ideas and creative approaches.
  •             Guardians value stability and bring the team order and rigor. They are pragmatic and hesitate to embrace risk. They see data and facts as baseline requirements, and details matter. Guardians think it important to learn from the past.
  •             Drivers value challenge and generate momentum. Getting results and winning count the most. Drivers tend to view issues as black-and-white and to tackle problems head on, armed with logic and data.
  •             Integrators value connection and draw teams together. Relationships and responsibilities to the group are paramount. Integrators tend to believe that most things are relative. They are diplomatic and focused on gaining consensus.

Negoziazione Assistita - a brief outline. Part 2

The Department of statistics of the Ministry of Justice has yet to publish any statistics on assisted negotiation since the statistic sample that has been gathered so far would be too small, hence non-representative.
Nevertheless, on 3rd March 2016, during his speech before the National Bar Council, the Minister of Justice said[1] that a sample of 3.019 agreements successfully reached through an assisted negotiation proceedings attests to a good use of the new ADR instruments. The agreements regarding family law (separation, divorce and proceedings to modify the relevant conditions) represent the 75% of the agreements. 62% out of that 75% are agreements signed by childless couples.

Cognition and Biases in Negotiation Research - a review

The first chapter of The Handbook of Negotiation and Culture by Michele Gelfand and Jeanne Britt describes the emergence of negotiator bias as an area of negotiation research. The chapter, The Evolution of Cognition and Biases in Negotiation Research: AN EXAMINATION OF COGNITION, SOCIAL PERCEPTION, MOTIVATION AND EMOTION was written by Leigh Thompson, Margaret, Neale, and Marwan Sinaceur. They march purposely from the seminal studies in behavioral decision theory and the social cognition movement in social psychology to new studies focused on the emotional negotiator. Throughout, they concentrate on the negotiator rather than on the negotiation process.
Within cognitive negotiation research, they identify four categories of biases: cognitive biases, social perception biases, motivational biases, and emotional biases. They examine how landmark studies in each of these areas impacted the science and practice of negotiation.
Cognitive biases are systematic deviations from the norm in negotiation and decision-making situations. Two approaches characterize the research on cognitive biases. The first relates to misjudging the risk. The second assumes that people attempt to use previous knowledge structures to make sense out of a new situation. The authors provide a most helpful table which links type of cognitive bias, such as framing or anchoring, with the studies directed at that bias. Cognitive biases promote an individualistic approach to negotiation which is an inherently social situation. A good negotiator will attempt to reduce the effect of her or his own cognitive biases while recognizing and incorporating the counterpart’s biases into the process.

Negoziazione Assistita - a brief outline. Part 1

The Legislative Decree n. 132 of 12 September 2014 is a part of a series of measures recently adopted by the Italian legislator in the ADR field in order to deal with the huge backlog of the Italian civil courts. This Legislative Decree laid the foundation for a new institute in the Italian Legislation, a negotiation proceedings assisted by one or more lawyers, in brief “assisted negotiation”.

The law distingueshes:
  • ·         the agreement on the conduct  of an assisted negotiation;
  • ·         the negotiated agreement as a result af an assisted negotiation.

The agreement on the conduct of an assisted negotiation (convenzione di negoziazione)
As per art. 2 of the mentioned Legislative Decree, “The agreement on assisted negotiation (negoziazione assistita) is an agreement by which the parties agree to cooperate in good faith and with loyalty to resolve the dispute amicably through the assistance of lawyers .”
The agreement must specify:
  • ·         the agreed period for the application of the procedure  (between one and three month, but the period can extend for 30 further days upon the parties’specific agreement);
  • ·         the object of the dispute (labor disputes and inalienabile rights are excluded);
  • ·         the agreement must be in writing otherwise it is null and void;
  • ·         the agreement must be concluded with the assistance of one or more lawyers;
  • ·         lawyers certify the authenticity of subscriptions;

It is a deontological duty for the lawyers to inform their clients of the possibility to undertake an assisted negotiation.


A brief review of “Intentions in the Family Business: the Role of Family Norms” by Malin Brännback and Alan L. Carsrud.

The study says that despite its increasing importance, intentions in family business are largely un-researched. The intentions of family members to enter, not to enter or even exit the family business, as well as the intentions of the founders on the succession have not been completely understood, so far.

The model applied by the majority of researchers is the so called Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) although some other study prefer to relay on the Theory of Trying (TOT). In doing so, they argue that TPB only applies to volitional behavior, while TOT "allows for the inclusion of unforeseen events in the process, such as illness or death".

Brännback and Carsrud state two main reasons why the Theory of Trying should be more suitable to this kind of studies. First of all they say that "succession in a family business appears by far more nonvolitional", secondly they point out that intentions in a family business are far more complex than those of a simple business venture.

Moreover, they propose the concept of "Family norms", a narrower concept in respect to "social norms", which they suggest should be studied by means of empirical observation.


Rick is the eldest son of a family that owns a successful agricultural business. The business has been in the family for five generations and it is run at present by Rick's mother, Elisabeth. Rick's parents have six children, three males and three females. Rick and his sister Jill are the only two involved in the family business, but while Jill loves working there, Rick doesn't. He'd rather prefer to start a business in the music field, his true passion. When Rick's father becomes very ill, Elisabeth asks his eldest son to take over her duty in the firm and she wants Jill to move out with her, her husband and the younger siblings in order to help out.

  • It's time to take important decisions in this family.
  • Rick has never given up the idea of running a music business, but everyone in his community thinks that he should carry on the family business,
  • Jill wants to run herself the family business.
  • Elisabeth expects Rick to run the business and Jill to become a second mother for her younger siblings.

The TPB assumes that an intention is volitional which means that there is no obstacle between intention and action.
In Theory of Trying, intentions are non-volitional, meaning that something can get in the way between intention and action, such as conflict, for example, as in the mini case above.

"Intentionality studies represent a research approach for predicting various behaviors". While it is difficult, predicting human behavior is a primary interest for many researchers. Family firms present a context where understanding intentions is crucial, especially regarding the succession process. The basic model  (Entrepreneurial Intentions Model) combines social norms as well as some individual centered factors as shown in the schematic below.

To the basic model, Brännback and Carsrud added family norms which potentially interact with any and every other part of the model itself. The authors suggest that within the context of family business social norms and family norms are distinct concepts. 

The authors say that a research to understand intentions and decisions making process in the family is needed. This research should involve both social and family norms, as well as self-efficacy (i.e. one's sense of competence) in order to explain how intentions get inacted.

ВОЛШЕБНЫЙ БЛОКНОТИК - The magic notebook (Russian)

Центр содействии медиации и альтернативным способам разрешения споров (СОМЕДИАРС)
«Актуальные вопросы семейного права и практика применения медиации по семейным спорам».
Круглый стол 22 мая 2013 года
Мария Франческа Франчезе,
медиатор, адвокат, президент Ассоциации ИнМедиа (Милан, Италия)
Как-то раз супружеская пара, испытывавшая сложности во взаимоотношениях после
развода, попросила меня выступить в качестве медиатора. У супругов было двое детей, 11ти
и 14 лет. Дети остались жить с матерью, в то время как отец переехал жить к другой
женщине и ее детям. Отец проявлял нормальную эмоциональную привязанность к своим
детям, но на самом деле с практической точки зрения поддержка от него была не слишком
велика. Он не участвовал в их воспитании ни деньгами, ни в повседневной заботе о детях, он
также физически не присутствовал, когда это было нужно. Он не ходил на встречи с
учителями в школе, не присутствовал на детских общественных мероприятиях и
религиозных праздниках, и так далее. Он был не в состоянии соблюдать график посещений,
напротив: испытывая определенные трудности с тем, чтобы приспособиться к новому
семейному положению, он просто хотел заявляться домой к бывшей жене, когда ему это
было угодно. Он звонил в дверь, ожидая теплого приема, и просто отказывался понимать,
почему его бывшая жена отказывается открывать дверь и сердится.
Все эти «сюрпризы» с папой на пороге приводили бывшую жену в ярость и выливались в
кошмар воплей и взаимных обвинений. Родители завязли на разных позициях вроде: ты не
вправе показываться у меня на пороге; или «ты не имеешь права не пускать меня к детям»,

Open Space Technology in Moscow, May 2013

This is a brief video of myself participating at a conference on law and environement at the Ministry of Natural Resources in Moscow. In this exreact I explain some of the basics of Open Space Technology.

Mediation in Italy, 2013

At the end of June 2013 the Italian government issued a legislative decree providing urgent measures that also involve important changes to the Italian litigation system. The aim of the decree is to simplify the administrative and regulatory framework, as well as to shorten the duration of civil proceedings, reducing the high level of civil litigation and promoting the use ADR methods. This decree reverses a ruling in October 2012, where the Italian Constitutional Court quashed compulsory mediation finding that by enacting the law, the government had exceeded the scope of both the Mediation Directive and Law 69/2009, which empowered the government to adopt a legislative decree introducing administered mediation procedures. 
Consequently, mandatory mediation has been reintroduced for a wide range of reserved matters such as: tenancy in common (eg, in condominiums); real property rights; division of assets; inheritance; family estates; leases of real property and of going concerns; gratuitous loans for use; medical liability; defamation in the press and other media; and insurance, banking and other financial agreements.
When mandatory mediation was originally introduced in 2011, notable results were brought to light, with more than 220.000 mediations started and with a settling rate of nearly 50% when both parties participated. This is why the Italian Government pushed for a return to mandatory mediation. 
This was an effort to eliminate some of the current backlog of disputes pending before Italian Courts, putting forward a revised policy which takes into account at least part of the criticisms that have been made in an obvious solution. Amongst other things, the new discipline allows the litigants to opt-out from the trial at a nominal cost.

The Decree has been converted into a law by the Parliament and it will enter into force by the end of September. If successful, this model could be adopted by other EU member states, which is why mediation in Italy is now under close surveillance.


Di seguito un estratto del mio intervento ad una conferenza sulla mediazione familiare organizzato dall'Istituto Statale di diritto comparativo di Mosca il 22 maggio 2013.
Nelle note racconto di un mio caso di mediazione durante un divorzio e di uno strumento che ho utilizzato.

I once was asked to act as a mediator by a married couple going through a divorce with two children aged 11 and 14. The children were staying with the mother while the father had moved in with another woman and her children. The father showed a normal emotional attachment to his children, but in fact he was not very supporting from a practical point of view.  He did not contribute with money, nor with the daily care, or with his physical presence when it was needed. He was missing the meetings with the teachers at school, at the kids’ social events and religious celebrations and so on. He was unable to keep up with his visits schedule, on the contrary, having some trouble in adjusting in the new family situation, he just wanted to show up at his ex-wife’s home whenever he felt like it. He used to ring the doorbell  hoping for a warm welcome and he simply refused to understand his ex-wife’s repeated refusals and anger.


SECONDA PARTE (per la prima parte clicca qui)
Stefania ed io abbiamo da subito pensato che fosse importante trovare un’immagine che contraddistinguesse l’OST Mediazione. L’idea del logo è nata spontaneamente parlando dell’organizzazione, tra una cosa e l’altra. Ricordo perfettamente le esatte parole che ci dicemmo: la prima cosa che mi viene in mente pensando all’OST è un gruppo di persone sedute in cerchio. Così è stato: un cerchio con le lettere OST MEDIAZIONE tutte attorno, come le persone nell'OST.
Il cerchio, ovvero il fatto di essere seduti in circolo, senza gerarchie, potendosi tutti guardare negli occhi è un tratto fondamentale dell’OST. Harrison Owen, spiegando perché il cerchio è importante, dice: avete mai visto un quadrato di amici? Il fatto di essere in cerchio fa “circolare” le idee, gli spunti, crea lo “spazio aperto” dell’open space ed inoltre è ciò che simbolizza più chiaramente il cambio di paradigma (alla maniera di Thomas Kuhn) che si produce con le tecniche partecipative, come l’OST. Non c’è più un rapporto frontale, da docente a discente, da autorità a suddito e così via. Si è tutti sullo stesso piano di collaborazione, pronti a sfruttare lo spazio aperto del cerchio che è, in un certo senso, vuoto, pronto ad accogliere ciò che le persone in cerchio propongono. Un OST non sarebbe possibile con le persone sedute in file di sedie come al cinema, non solo per la relazione uni/bidirezionale del rapporto tra chi sta nelle file e chi sta sullo schermo (riprendendo l’esempio del cinema), ma anche perché non c’è nessuno spazio aperto, libero per favorire il nascere e lo scambio di idee.

Open Space Technology on Mediation

In my capacity as the President of In Media, I designed and organized, together with Stefania Lattuille, another Open Space Technology which will take place next 1st February in Milan.
The theme of this new OST Mediation comes from the new scenario that mediation and mediators are now facing in Italy: "Mediation: what now?"
By its decision issued on 24 October 2012, the Italian Constitutional Court has ruled that the Italian Government overreached its legislative authority implementing the "Compulsory Mediation" through the provision of the Legislative Decree n. 28, dated 4 March 2010. Since then, we have been experiencing the many faces of uncertainty on the future of mediation, we sense a growing hostility towards mediation and the discomfort of empty mediation tables. Too many times I have recently heard expressions of disapproval that could sound like this: "Mediation... is it that thing against the Constitution? Which means against the law, isn't it...?".
We have to win back the trust of the pubblic opinion and of the professionals it is a challenging task. But this is also an opportunity for a fresh start, with new insight on mediation.
At the same time, there are hundreds and thousands of practicing Italian mediators who are not willing to step back while someone else decides on their professional future. We, as mediators, in our professional capacity, have developed and practiced skills and technologies that allows us to formulate new proposals for ourselves and for mediation in general.
Given our expertise and our ability to work proactively, no one is in a better position than we are for finding a satisfactory solution. These are times in which we do have to use our creativity and ability to both find a solution and clearly state our professional status as mediators. The OST Mediation uses a collaborative and participatory method, which focuses on the passion and on the responsibility of the participants to find answers and practical solutions. Therefore I think that this is one of the correct and appropriate ways to deploy our resources as mediators in order to truly transform this depressing scene into an opportunity.
If you are passionate about mediation, if you have something to say, if you want to do something about this situation with other fellows mediators, you are welcome to participate.
more info on

Conversation on Yoga and Mediation

One evening, during one of the mediaperitivi events that In Media regularly organises, Cinzia, you came to me with a sheet of paper in hand and said: “I’d like to do something with yoga, meditation and mediation”, and gave me your paper with the draft of what would subsequently become Medi(t)ation, yoga at the service of mediation.
I can’t remember exactly what I said to you on the spur of the moment, but I must have raised an eyebrow and furrowed my forehead because – and this I do remember – I wasn’t sure I understood what you were saying to me.
Well, yes, it was something new after all, never seen before: meditation, yoga and mediation all together.
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about civil and commercial mediation, about Decree 28, mediation bodies, caucuses, reports. Your idea seemed so unorthodox that...
It breaks old patterns!
Exactly! It breaks old patterns! But I have to say that it wasn’t this that convinced me to propose your lessons.
So what did convince you?

Storytelling is about relationship

I recently had the opportunity to invite one of the most talented and experienced storyteller of the world to hold a seminar in Milan for the Association which I represent: In Media. Here's a little story of what happened and some thoughts about it that I dared to put into words.

When I started organizing the Seminar “The voice of Justice- storytelling for mediation and negotiation” which took place in Milan last 30th October with Inno Sorsy (UK), I couldn’t help but notice other’s people reaction to to the word “storytelling”.  I could almost read into their minds: what is that?
The general reaction was something between disappointment and sincere concern: are you sure that you want to go on with this? What this once-upon-a-time –thing  has to do with lawyering and mediation?
The best explanation starts directly from Inno Sorsy, actress, musician, storyteller and international trainer who opened the seminar telling her own story.

Si è svolto a Milano il primo OST sulla MEDIAZIONE

Quali opportunità e quali criticità nel futuro della mediazione?
In un posto appartato e tranquillo, a pochi metri dal trafficato Corso Buenos Aires di Milano, un gruppo di persone decide di passare un’intera domenica a cercare di immaginare il futuro della mediazione. Come questo sia possibile, si capisce solo pensando alla passione per la mediazione che muove ogni partecipante come qualcosa che dà valore e arricchisce la vita di orizzonti nuovi.