LawTech.Asia

Southeast Asia's foremost Law & Technology Review

The Future of Law Conference 2017: Charting the Converging Paths of Law and Technology

Written by Amelia Chew & Jerrold Soh

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Singapore Law Blog. We would like to thank Singapore Law Blog for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article on this site for our readers.

Jointly organised by the Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia at the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Law and Osborne Clarke, the inaugural Future of Law Conference that took place from 26 to 27 October 2017 brought together leading academics and practitioners from around the world to tackle issues at the intersection of law and technology. This article provides but a snippet of the insights discussed at the conference.

The Relationship Between Humans & Artificial Intelligence

In his opening keynote speech, Professor Ian Kerr (University of Ottawa) spoke about the ethical and legal concerns surrounding delegating previously exclusively-human decisions to machines. Given that we are only at the stage of artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) at the moment, the concern is less about a dystopian future where robots may potentially overthrow humans and more about how we can manage the relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and humans. As an increase in machine autonomy correlates with a decrease in human control, it is crucial to establish safeguards to deal with a situation where a machine demonstrates emergent behaviour.

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Recent Growth and Developments on Online Dispute Resolution in Southeast Asia

Written by Josh Lee and Professor Thomas G. Giglione

This is the first part of a two-part series on recent developments in online dispute resolution. These series was co-written by Josh Lee and our guest contributor, Professor Thomas G. Giglione.

Professor Giglione is an experienced commercial mediator, and is the Convener for the 2017 Asia Pacific Mediation Forum Conference in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Introduction

Notwithstanding the continued importance of “traditional” dispute resolution mechanisms such as litigation and ADR, online dispute resolution (“ODR”) has continued to grow in influence and importance as an enabling tool for lawyers in assisting clients with the resolution of disputes.

This development, however, has been patchy at best. Certain regions, such as South-East Asia (“SEA”), do not seem to have embraced ODR as compared to regions like the European Union (“EU”). This is in spite of the sustained explosion in growth of mobile usage and e-commerce in SEA – between January 2016 and January 2017, for instance, the number of internet users and mobile subscriptions in SEA jumped by 80 million and 62 million respectively.

In this 2-part series, we intend to bring attention to major ODR developments in the EU, and to explore the possibility of applying such developments in the SEA context. In particular, our two mini-articles will cover the following areas:

  1. Briefly trace the global development of ODR, and to identify the development phase that ODR is in today;
  2. Identify the latest major development on ODR in the EU, the pan-EU ODR system, and to examine its main features, strengths, and criticisms;
  3. Broadly assess the desirability and feasibility of implementing a region-wide ODR network in SEA, with suitable modifications, if any; and
  4. To this end, identify certain inroads that have been made so far towards the implementation of such a region-wide ODR network in SEA.

The first part of this series will cover (a) by tracing the global development of ODR, and attempt to identify the phase of development that ODR is currently in.

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The 8th Asia Pacific Mediation Forum Conference in Vietnam

Interview by Amelia Chew & Josh Lee

Interview with Thomas G. Giglione, Online Dispute Resolution expert and Convenor of the 8th Asia Pacific Mediation Forum Conference

The 8th Asia Pacific Mediation Forum (APMF) Conference taking place in Da Nang, Vietnam from 11 to 13 November 2017 aims to enhance cooperation, collaboration and networking on issues relating to mediation and other conflict transformation processes. The theme for the conference this year is “The Future of Mediation in the Asia Pacific Region” and the role of technology in dispute resolution processes is set to be a key topic discussed at the conference. We sat down with the Convener for the 2017 APMF Conference, Thomas G. Giglione, to find out more about the plans for the conference.

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What Will The Lawyer’s Office Of The Future Look Like?

Written by Josh Lee | Edited by Amelia Chew

Introduction

During his speech at the Opening of the Legal Year in 2017, the Honourable Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon spoke about a determined push by the legal profession towards embracing technologies that will enhance effectiveness and productivity in the legal workplace. With this backdrop in mind, as well as the mainstream acceptance of technologies, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and cloud storage, what sort of workplace might lawyers expect to see in the future?

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Alex Toh LawTech.Asia

People: Alex Toh, Masters in Law, Science and Technology at Stanford Law School

Interview by Amelia Chew & Stella Chen

Alex Toh is currently pursuing a Masters in Law, Science and Technology at Stanford Law School. After graduating from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law in 2007, Alex started his legal career with the Litigation & Dispute Resolution department of Drew & Napier, and worked as legal counsel for Asia Pacific at American semi-conductor company Xilinx. Alex was a committee member of the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA), and founded their young lawyers committee – Peers.

In this interview, Alex shares about his own experience searching for what he wants to do, how he ended up at the intersection of law and technology, and how law students should approach their future careers.

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The Changing Role of Lawyers in the Next Few Years

Written by Josh Lee

(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the May 2015 edition of the Law Gazette (a publication of the Law Society of Singapore). We would like to thank the Law Society and its Publications Department for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article on this site for our readers.)

Introduction

Since the start of the year, the legal fraternity has been involved in much debate. There has been the on-going discussion about the glut of lawyers in Singapore. There was also a big debate over the dropping of certain UK universities from the approved list of overseas law schools. These discussions have spurred much thought about the attractiveness of lawyering as a career (especially among fresh-faced undergraduates) and the changing role of lawyers in society.

Thus, it was fortuitous that on Friday, 13 March 2015, the Young Member’s Chapter under the Professional Affairs Committee of the Singapore Academy of Law and SCCA PEERS Sub-Committee jointly organised the Singapore Legal Career Forum 2015, entitled, Being a Lawyer in the Next Five Years. Mirroring the on-going discussion in the wider fraternity, the aim of the Forum was to give those present an idea about the changing role of Singapore’s lawyers amidst the fast-evolving legal landscape. Held at the Viewing Gallery on the eighth floor of the Supreme Court, the impressive skyline of the Central Business District provided a fitting backdrop to the Forum.

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Virtual Fighter – Online Dispute Resolution

Written by Josh Lee | Edited by Stella Chen, Micole Yang

Introduction

Predictions of the future often tell us that we will soon have robot housekeepers, cars that drive themselves, and holidays in space. While these may be still some time away, it is already possible today to imagine a future where we no longer think of going to a physical location (the courts) to resolve our disputes. The ongoing revolution in communications technology and artificial intelligence systems may soon allow us to dispose most of our problems with a click of a mouse button.

This article seeks to give a general introduction to our readers about the phenomenon of “online dispute resolution” (“ODR”). This includes: (a) covering the definition of ODR and what ODR generally entails, (b) a brief coverage of current and prominent examples of ODR, and (c) examining the opportunities for ODR in light of growth trends in the region, and what young lawyers and law students can do (now) to leverage on the ODR trend.

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Legal Ambiguities in Cyberspace

Written by Micole Yang

Recently, instances of statecraft through cyberspace have captured headlines worldwide—but the terms and concepts used are not known to enough people. This is partially due to the mainstream media conflating all of them as ‘cyber-attacks’. There is a gap between what most people understand from reading the news and the conceptual legal framework offered by academics. There are clear opinions, grounded in international legal theory, that could form the foundations of a cyberspace legal regime. ‘Cyberspace’ itself is a contested definition—making the meaning of ‘cyber-security’ and ‘cyber-crime’ contingent on getting that first definition right.

For the purposes of this article, I borrow from the American National Security Directive: cyberspace is defined as an “interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, and includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries.” From here we can delineate what cyber-attacks are, why cyber-space is unique, what the existing legal regime to govern cyberspace conduct is like, and, ultimately, why we must come to a better understanding of this common space of opportunity and vulnerability.

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How Technology Is Changing Your Future Careers

Written by Amelia Chew | Edited by Stella Chen

 

How is technology transforming the legal industry and the practice of law today?

What does this mean for a young lawyer starting out in practice?

More fundamentally, why does it matter?

These are the questions that confronted the panellists at How Technology Is Changing Your Future Careers, co-organised by alt+Law, Asia Law Network and the Centre for Future-Ready Graduates at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law and held on 26 October 2016. Moderated by Co-Founder and CEO of Asia Law Network, Cherilyn Tan, the event saw a diverse panel comprising:

Lee Ee Yang, Managing Director of Covenant Chambers LLC;

Nuraziah Aziz, Legal Associate at Via Law Corporation;

Patrick Dahm, Partner (Foreign Lawyer) at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing;

Andrew Barnes, Financial Controller of the Lantern Legal Group (Skyping in from Australia); and

Alex Toh, General Committee Member of Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA) currently pursuing a Masters in Law, Science and Technology at Stanford Law School (Skyping in from the United States).

Here, we condense the 1.5-hour session into 5 key takeaways.  

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Legal Tech 101: What it is and why it matters

Written by Micole Yang

Talk about impending ‘disruption’ in the legal industry is rife. But how well do these speculations actually hold up? This series aims to summarize and analyze the key legal technologies out there, using cases – past, present, and future – to show you what they do. In this article, we’ll be focusing on legal research and contract-drafting technologies.

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