Southeast Asia's foremost Law & Technology Review

Author: Amelia Chew (Page 1 of 2)

2018 UNCITRAL Emergence Conference

Interview by Amelia Chew & Ng Sock Cheng | Edited by Irene Ng

Interview with Luca Castellani, Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce)1

The Emergence Conference 2018, jointly hosted by the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific and the Asian Business Law Institute (ABLI), took place on 25 July 2018 in Singapore.

The conference took stock of emerging global and regional developments relating to the harmonization and convergence of international trade and commercial law, with a focus on their impact on regionalisation, especially for Asia. It provided a platform for experts and scholars to examine the impact of these developments and to consider various areas of political interest for UNCITRAL and ABLI from a regional perspective.

We sat down with for a chat with Luca Castellani, a legal officer in the Secretariat of the UNCITRAL, where he discharges the functions of secretary of UNCITRAL Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce) and promotes the adoption and uniform interpretation of UNCITRAL texts relating to sale of goods and electronic commerce.

What are your views on the discussions held at the Emergence Conference today?

This is the third such conference we’ve had and the first of its kind in Singapore. The goal of this conference is to elicit new views on different aspects of international trade law and international business transaction laws. I find it very interesting and particularly useful that many of the presentations are related to current developments in business and law. These presentations are welcome as they are not mere speculations and have practical application in the real world.

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#LexTech18 Quick Chats: Eddie Law, eLawyer

Interview by Samuel Lim | Edited by Amelia Chew

Organised by Malaysian legal tech startup CanLaw, LexTech Conference 2018 is an APAC-wide regional legal technology conference taking place from 25 to 26 October 2018 in Kuala Lumpur that aims to drive legal tech adoption in the region and strengthen the regional legal tech community. In the lead-up to LexTech Conference 2018, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing to you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent individuals who are involved in the conference.

LawTech.Asia spoke with Eddie Law, Founder and CEO of (“eLawyer”), about the state of the legal industry in Malaysia. Eddie is a lawyer turned legal recruiter who started his career in private practice before working as an in-house counsel.

Broadly, how would you characterise the legal tech scene in Malaysia? Are Malaysian law firms embracing machine language, artificial intelligence and cloud-based services?

I think that the adoption of legal technology in Malaysia is still in its infancy. Most law firms and in-house legal departments continue to do things the traditional way. Currently, I notice that there are very few Malaysian law firms that have embraced machine learning and AI. Similarly, cloud-based services most of the times are only used for the sharing and storage of documents.

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LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for LexTech Conference 2018!

We are proud to be recognised an official media partner for LexTech Conference 2018!

Organised by Malaysian legal tech startup CanLaw, LexTech Conference 2018 is an APAC-wide regional legal technology conference. It will be happening on the 25th and 26th of October 2018 at Mercu UEM, KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur.

#LexTech18 aims to drive legal tech adoption in the region and strengthen the regional legal tech community. This year’s event is bigger than before – with over 15 sessions covering leading-edge topics and opportunities to hear from and meet with industry leaders who are shaping the future of law. Some of the topics that will be covered in the conference include baseline technology, regulation of legal technology, AI and Big Data, as well as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

Image credits: CanChat

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LawTech.Asia Quick Chats: Sebastian Ko, Hong Kong’s A2J Hackathon

Interview by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen & Amelia Chew

In this edition of LawTech.Asia’s Quick Chats series, we bring some updates from the region: Hong Kong. We spoke with Mr Sebastian Ko, concerning the recently concluded Innotech Access to Justice Hackathon (“A2J Hackathon”) in Hong Kong. Sebastian was convenor of the A2J Hackathon, and is also a Member of the Law Society of Hong Kong’s Innotech Committee.

The A2J Hackathon took place from 7-8 April 2018, and featured 25 solutions ranging from chatbots to matching platforms to document assemblers.

There were other legaltech hackathons that took place in Hong Kong earlier this year, such as the LegalTech and RegTech Hackathon that was part of the Global Legal Hackathon. How did the A2J Hackathon differentiate itself?

With over 120 participants and over 60 mentors, guests and supporters, the A2J Hackathon should be the largest legaltech hackathon in HK so far. It’s other differentiating point is that it was the first hackathon in Asia to be led and organised by a professional regulator, and the first “law and tech” hackathon to focus specifically on enhancing the public’s access to justice.

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Joint Call For Papers Law x Technology: Transforming the face of the Law

Technology disrupts for the better of those prepared. Legal practice is hardly impervious to the implications that technology brings. The advent of blockchain and machine learning technologies is an opportunity, and a potential cost if not pursued. Conversely, the use of technology is equally subject to legal regimes and institutions. Developing a sensitivity to the mutual interaction of the two forces is of utmost urgency as governments and peoples search for a firm footing.

The Singapore Law Review (“SLR”), Asia’s oldest student-run legal publication, and LawTech.Asia, Southeast Asia’s foremost law and technology review, are collaborating on a special issue of the Singapore Law Review journal and LawTech.Asia online publication on the theme “Law x Technology: Transforming the face of the Law”.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Marlon P. Valderama, LexMeet

Interview by Amelia Chew | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen

LawTech.Asia had the privilege of being a media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018. The inaugural TechLaw.Fest held from 4 to 6 April 2018 saw the convergence of legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. During TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team met with various speakers, exhibitors and attendees to learn more about the work that they do and their experience at the conference.

LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Marlon P. Valderama, President and CEO of LexMeet, Inc. LexMeet, Inc. is a legal tech company from the Philippines which participated as an exhibitor that TechLaw.Fest. It was also a shortlisted contestant for the Singapore Legal Tech Venture Slam Pitching Competition and a speaker at the Tech Talk stage. Marlon is a lawyer by profession and manages his law firm, Valderama Law Office, specialising in corporate and litigation. He pioneered e-lawyering in the Philippines with his virtual law office, E-Lawyers Online. Marlon also uses his own legal practice management software, E-Law Solutions App (ELSA).

Could you tell us more about LexMeet?

LexMeet is a real-time online legal consultation platform, a webspace where lawyers and clients meet to solve legal problems. It is like the Uber of lawyers, where a client can seek a lawyer’s advice with just a few clicks. Instead of matching an Uber rider with the nearest Uber driver, here you have a client being matched to a lawyer. The client’s legal problem and needs are matched with the lawyer’s expertise, location and language. LexMeet serves as a bridge for lawyer and client to meet via videoconferencing.

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The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts: A Recap

Written by Chelsea Chan | Edited by Amelia Chew & Irene Ng

LawTech.Asia had the privilege of being a media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018. The inaugural TechLaw.Fest held from 4 to 6 April 2018 saw the convergence of legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. This article summarises one of the panel discussions held on 5 April 2018 titled “The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts”.

The discussion was chaired by Joyce A. Tan (Joyce A. Tan & Partners); and the panel comprised of Ashton Addison (CEO and Founder,, Sopnendu Mohanty (Chief Fintech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore), Hirofumi Aihara (General Manager of Digital Innovation, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), Tomasz Kurcyzk (Digital Transformation Director, AXA Singapore) and Stella Cramer (APAC Head of Technology & Innovation, Norton Rose Fulbright).

After the introduction by Joyce Tan, Ashton Addison elaborated on the basics of a smart contract and potential technological pitfalls. A Smart Contract is an agreement converted into a small piece of software, which stores the rules and terms of the agreement and when met automatically executes exactly how it was coded. The appeal of a Smart Contract lies in its automation and that it is fully transparent, so the code reflecting contractual terms can be seen by anyone regardless of privity to contract. However, bugs in the code may lead to loss of funds. Further, large transactions are currently not possible since Ethereum can only handle 13 transactions per second, potentially creating a significant backlog if applied to current business transactions.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Hugh Mason, JFDI.Asia

Interview by Amelia Chew

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will bring together leading Technology Law thinkers and Legal Technology vendors from 4 to 6 April 2018 at Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore. Within it, the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon will be an intense, fast-paced 48-hour event challenging legal professionals, software developers and designers to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems faced by lawyers, in-house counsels and users of legal services. The event has a particular focus on personal data protection and the challenges faced by data protection officers (DPOs) in Singapore. The top three teams will receive prize vouchers worth up to $12,000 and the opportunity to develop their solutions further under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) Accelerator Programme.

Hugh Mason, CEO of JFDI.Asia, is partnering with the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) to operate the FLIP Accelerator and will also serve as a judge in the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon. Here, the LawTech.Asia team asked him how he saw teams from the hackathon following through to make their ideas real.

We understand that you will be running the accelerator programme under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP). How does this fit into SAL’s Legal Tech Vision?

One way of thinking about innovation is to see it on three ‘Horizons’.

Horizon 1 is the known world of work we see today: the core business of lawyers and their clients as we know it. Here we are looking for efficiency savings by using off-the-shelf productivity tools. The LIFTED programme at SAL addresses this aspect of the SAL Legal Tech Vision, as does the incubator at Collision 8.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Alexis Chun, Legalese

Interview by Amelia Chew | Edited by Utsav Rakshit

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4 to 6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together leading thinkers in the space of Technology Law and leading makers in the space of Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will bring you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest. 

This week, LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Alexis Chun, Co-Founder of Legalese. Alexis will be speaking at the Law of Tech Conference on the panel titled Legal Issues in Legal Tech.

What are your views on SAL’s Legal Tech Vision? 

The Legal Tech Vision is a commendable effort and a step in the right direction. I applaud SAL for taking on the important task of thought leadership in the industry. It’s heartening to see the sentiment of LegalZoom’s Eddie Hartman being echoed, i.e., that we should enlist non-lawyers to help fix the legal market. Indeed, there is a distinction between the legal industry and the legal profession. Not drawing that distinction clearly obfuscates a couple of key points: What is the role of the lawyer? How much of advice hinges on having gone to law school? How much of it is applied experience or business strategy? Is law a service industry or one that sells products? What about the decoupled parts of “law” — corporate secretaries, legal executives, patent agents, etc?

I look at that and think, now, how will that change in this software eaten world?

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Initial Coin Offering: an Inaccurate Term with an Imperfect Regulator

Guest Post by Patrick Dahm

(Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Patrick’s blog here. We would like to thank Patrick  for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article on this site for our readers.)

This is my speech at the first Computational Law & Blockchain Festival – Singapore Node on 17 March 2018. In it, I tried to explain what initial coin offerings are, why governments all over the world eye them curiously, and how governments regulate them – if they regulate them. I also questioned why brick and mortar governments regulate something so digital.

Hi, I’m Patrick.

I’m a lawyer. I practise cyberlaw, as I like to call it. Although this is derived from the term cyberspace, which seems to be a bit vintage. It shouldn’t be, if you ask me.

I’m here to talk about initial coin offerings, or ICOs. I shall try to do so, and then some.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of initial coin offering as a term. Neither is the MAS, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which doesn’t call them that. The MAS calls them digital token offerings, which is so much better.

Here’s why.

Initial Public Offerings

Initial coin offering resembles the traditional term initial public offering. An initial public offering is the first time shares of a private company are offered to the public. Think of listings on the stock exchange.

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