From 16-17 November 2018, LawTech.Asia co-organised the Legal Hackers APAC Summit together with SG Legal Hackers and the Singapore Academy of Law. This saw over twenty Legal Hackers chapter organizers from at least ten different countries in the Asia-Pacific region converge in Singapore to discuss the latest developments in law, technology and innovation in the APAC region.
The list tracks the likely movers and shakers of the legal industry in 2019, and LawTech.Asia is fortunate to be named alongside luminaries such as Ms Teresa Cheng (Hong Kong Secretary of Justice) and Ms Melissa Kaye Pang (President of the Hong Kong Law Society) for this year’s edition.
LawTech.Asia has an unwavering goal – to inspire legal innovation through partnerships and thought leadership. By the nature of our work, we walk alongside and are supported by giants who stand tall in their fields. Hence, this achievement has come very much as a pleasant surprise to all of us. We have met many leaders at the forefront of legal tech in the region, all of whom would more than deserve a spot on the list.
Nevertheless, this recognition only strengthens our resolve to work even harder towards our vision of become “The Economist of legal technology in Asia”.
We dedicate this to all of LawTech.Asia’s partners. This recognition belongs to you as much as it means to us.
From all of us at LawTech.Asia, a very big thank you.
It has been a joy working with you in 2018. All of us at LawTech.Asia would like to wish you a very fruitful 2019!
Looking Back at 2018
2018 has been a tremendous year for LawTech.Asia. We produced a total of 28 articles’ worth of thought leadership, industry insights, and conversation points (not too bad for a team of volunteers!). We were appointed Media Partner for major legal tech conferences (TechLaw.Fest 2018 and LexTech 2018). We co-organised local and regional legal tech events, such as the APAC Legal Hackers Summit 2018 and the SG Legal Tech Meetup. We engaged in collaborations with overseas legal tech companies, such as Resolve Disputes Online.
With these projects, LawTech.Asia’s visibility has grown. We’ve been told that our articles – which are known for their neutrality, substance and clarity of thought – are something to look forward to. These words of encouragement mean much to us, and strengthen our resolve to do even better.
Throughout 2018, LawTech.Asia has taken big strides towards its goal: to raise awareness, interest and thought leadership on the legal tech sector in Singapore and the region.
Internally, we’ve also expanded our team – from five members to the current 14, and are in the midst of expanding further to meet our manpower and resource needs.
Looking forward to 2019
There remains much work to be done. The legal tech sector in the region continues to develop, and there are still many minds and hearts that we can – and should – be touching. In this game, we are in a constant race against man, machine, and time.
With that, our focus in 2019 is to better position ourselves as The Economist of legal technology in Asia. To that end, we will put even more effort into producing thought leadership that is relevant, regional and respected. We also aim to strengthen our network of partners, with whom we hope to build a resilient community of legal innovators. We hope to share more details on these initiatives soon.
All of these would not have been possible without your continued readership and support for LawTech.Asia. For that, you have our deepest thanks. Thank you for partnering and journeying with us in 2018, and we hope you will continue to support us this year.
From all at LawTech.Asia, here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year!
Written by Maryam Salehijam (RDO) | Edited by Josh Lee
International commercial courts (“ICCs”) have been gaining attention as a new forum for the resolution of commercial disputes. Notable examples include the London Commercial Court, the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (“DIFCC”), the Netherlands Commercial Courts, and the Singapore International Commercial Courts (“SICC”). There are commentaries and articles that discuss the purpose of ICCs and how they complement arbitration in the international dispute resolution landscape. This article does not intend to wade into that well-traversed discourse. Suffice it to say that ICCs broadly serve the following purposes:
Provide a platform for cases that are better suited for a process that is “relatively open and transparent, equipped with appellate mechanisms, the options of consolidation and joinder, and the assurance of a court judgment”;
Allow disputants to avoid problems faced by arbitration (e.g. increasing judicialization and laboriousness in process resulting in delays accompanied by rising costs, unpredictability in the enforcement of arbitral awards, or lack of consistency in arbitral decisions); and
Facilitate the harmonisation of commercial laws and practices.
As ICCs are a modern development, they have attempted to incorporate modern technologies to enhance their ability to deal with the cross-border, large-scale nature of the cases that they deal with. This article takes a quick look at the following two questions:
To what extent should the adoption of technology be a priority for an ICC?
Would ICCs be able to leverage the upcoming wave of online dispute resolution (“ODR”)?
Organised by Malaysian legal tech startup CanLaw, LexTech Conference 2018is an APAC-wide legal technology conference taking place from 25 to 26 October 2018 in Kuala Lumpur. The Conference aims to drive legal tech adoption in the region and strengthen the regional legal tech community. In the lead-up to LexTech Conference 2018, LawTech.Asia will be bringing to you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent individuals who are involved in the conference.
LawTech.Asia spoke with Hannah Lim, Head of Rule of Law and Emerging Markets at LexisNexis (“LN”). Hannah will be speaking on the topic of “How technology will transform the business of law” at LexTech. Picking up on this exciting topic, we ask Hannah about how legal tech can play a pivotal role in shaping the rule of law in emerging markets, and how this interplays with the need to provide better access to justice for all.
What got you interested in the first place in exploring the advancement of the rule of law in emerging markets such as Myanmar?
Before joining LN, I was a corporate lawyer based in Myanmar, which explains my focus on Myanmar. I had been doing Myanmar legal work since 2011 and during my time there, I could really see how important a strong legal system was to society, and how it would affect the man on the street. It was something that I had taken for granted, and my experience has taught me that a robust society with a strong legal system and healthy institutions (such as the rule of law) is something that has to be deliberately built and maintained. It doesn’t materialize on its own and the process of building and maintaining these institutions is not easy. So, advancing the rule of law isn’t just a job for me; it’s closely tied together with my journey as a legal professional.
Written by Amelia Chew, Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen, Josh Lee Kok Thong, and Tristan Koh
The LawTech.Asia is proud to publish the first-ever detailed outline of the legal technology sector in Singapore (as far as we are aware)!
This article is the result of a months-long project to map out the root, state and outlook of the legal technology sector in Singapore, and furthers LawTech.Asia’s fundamental purpose of improving awareness, knowledge and interest in legal technology. It is hoped that this article will be a helpful piece for legal professionals, legal technologists and law students to have a bird’s eye-view of legal technology in Singapore, and to assist in the building of a thriving legal tech community in Singapore.
While intended to be extensive, the article does not purport to be exhaustive or authoritative, or to express the position of any particular organisation or initiative. This article will be a “living document” that will continue to be updated as more news comes to the fore.
At the outset, the authors wish to express thanks for the innumerable sources of information available online, without which this project would not have been possible. Any mistakes herein remain the authors’ own.
Interview by Jennifer Lim, Josh Lee, and Ong Chin Ngee | Edited by Josh Lee
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. LexTech Conference 2018 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 Aditya Shivkumar, Co-Founder of Resolve Disputes Online (“RDO”), about smart contracts and online dispute resolution (“ODR”) – a topic that Aditya will be speaking on at the LexTech Conference.
What are smart contracts, and what sort of transactions can it be used for? How specifically do you think smart contracts can be applied in ODR?
Smart contracts are not your conventional paper-based contracts. It actually consists of lines of code. There are multiple coding languages for smart contracts, such as Solidity or Bamboo (if one is executing a smart contract on the Ethereum network). Smart contracts utilise blockchain technology. The former is the front-end, while the latter is the back-end.
What is technology? What can it be? What can we shape it to be?
While we aren’t entirely sure – yet – of what technology is and what it can be, what we know about technology is that it is a force. It knows no boundaries. We also know that it is ever-changing: the dreams of yesterday become the technologies of today, while the technologies of today become the antiques of tomorrow.
Let’s face it too – we all know lawyers secretly can’t get enough of technology.
In this spirit, Resolve Disputes Online (RDO) and LawTech.Asia are proud to announce a special collaboration to answer these questions and share our vision – our vision in which technology can revolutionise the practice of law, and where the law can regulate new technologies for the betterment of society. We also look forward to uncovering for our readers, and ourselves, a little more about what technology is, and its impact on the legal industry.
For both our readers, this means that RDO and LawTech.Asia will be co-writing and co-publishing articles relating to law and technology. Some of the possible topics we intend to explore include:
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)
Access to Justice
The role of Blockchain in law
AI and the courts
Justice on the go
We can’t wait to get started.
This collaboration had its roots in Singapore (over coffee and kaya toast). As much as RDO is a legal tech company focusing on online dispute resolution – an area LawTech.Asia also covers, we realised that both our teams embraced the philosophy that technology can impact all parts of the legal industry. Advancements in one area of legal technology could easily generate lessons applicable to dispute resolution and ODR. After all, some say ODR is simply the adoption of technology in dispute resolution.
Through our contributions, we hope to foster and create a spirit of togetherness amongst societies, and to leave an indelible impact in the quest to provide a sneak peek into access to justice through ODR.
Look out for us.
This collaboration is proudly spearheaded by Ms Maryam Salehijam, Head of Content and Blogs, RDO, Mr Aditya Shivkumar, Co-founder, RDO, and Mr Josh Lee and Ms Jennifer Lim, Writers and Editors of LawTech.Asia.
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 more than 1,000 legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and regulators to participate in critical conversations about the future of the legal community. This article shares some of the common themes that emerged across the three days of TechLaw.Fest, highlighting the state of legal technology in Singapore and situating its development in Southeast Asia and the world.
Keynote address by Mr Brad Smith (President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft) at the Law of Tech Conference, TechLaw.Fest 2018 (Photo credit: Singapore Academy of Law)
The state of law and technology in Singapore
In recent years, there has been a growing buzz around law and technology in Singapore. In his opening address at the Law of Tech Conference, Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation initiative Dr Vivian Balakrishnan highlighted seven major technology trends making a global impact today:
Declining marginal cost of replicating, storing and transmitting information;
Declining marginal cost of computing;
Accelerated clock speed of technology;
Wide deployment of sensors leading to an explosion of data;
Increasing capacity to analyse data;
Disruption caused by robotics; and
Progress in artificial intelligence.
Minister Balakrishnan observed that these technological trends “interact and catalyse virtual cycles, feeding and accelerating one another”. The interaction and reinforcement of these trends have political and socio-economic ramifications, such as the creation of echo chambers and filter bubbles that threaten to disrupt the fabric of society.
Andrew Arruda is the CEO and co-founder of ROSS Intelligence, the successful legal technology company that harnesses AI and natural language processing to enhance lawyers’ research capabilities on the ROSS research engine. Recognised as an inspiring legal mind in the field of AI, Andrew made the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2017. He recently visited Singapore to deliver the closing keynote speech at TechLaw.Fest 2018, a legal technology conference that brought together the best minds in law and technology.
LawTech.Asia, a media partner of TechLaw.Fest, is honoured to have Andrew share with us the traits of a good legal technologist and the future use of AI in the legal industry.