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Lawyers and Technology

Reading time: 7 minutes

Written by Thomas Lee (Associate Author) | Mentored by Ong Chin Ngee | Reviewed by Rakesh Kirpalani

LawTech.Asia is proud to have commenced the third run of its popular Associate Author (2020) Programme. The aim of the Associate Authorship Programme is to develop the knowledge and exposure of student writers in the domains of law and technology, while providing them with mentorship from LawTech.Asia’s writers and tailored guidance from a respected industry mentor.

In partnership with the National University of Singapore’s alt+law and Singapore Management University’s Legal Innovation and Technology Club, five students were selected as Associate Authors. This piece, written by Thomas Lee and reviewed by industry reviewer Rakesh Kirpalani (Drew & Napier and DrewTech), marks the second thought piece in this series. It scans the landscape of lawyers and technology, and sets out steps that lawyers should take to meet a future technologically-driven paradigm.

The Evolution of Legal Ethics with the Advent of Legal Technology: LRD Colloquium Vol. 1 (2020/06)

Reading time: 18 minutes

Written by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen* and Lee Ji En**

Editor’s note: This article was first published by the Law Society of Singapore as part of its Legal Research and Development Colloquium 2020. It has been re-published with the permission of the Law Society of Singapore and the article’s authors. Slight adaptations and reformatting changes have been made for readability.

ABSTRACT

The advent of new technologies has presented (i) legal technological tools which assist lawyers in dispensing legal services (e.g. Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’)-powered eDiscovery, contract review and legal research tools); and (ii) technologies which shaped the type of legal services lawyers offer or adopt (e.g. smart contracts, online and decentralised dispute resolution).

This paper explores the scope and extent of ethical duties that should be imposed on practitioners in terms of (i) the duty to advise clients on new technologies that would facilitate the best running of their cases; (ii) the duty to advise clients on considering the existence of these new legal services and adopting them in their work products; and (iii) the duty to ensure that the tools used comply with the necessary ethical and professional standards.

The Epistemic Challenge Facing the Regulation of AI: LRD Colloquium Vol. 1 (2020/07)

Reading time: 25 minutes

Written by Josh Lee* and Tristan Koh**

Editor’s note: This article was first published by the Law Society of Singapore as part of its Legal Research and Development Colloquium 2020. It has been re-published with the permission of the Law Society of Singapore and the article’s authors. Slight adaptations and reformatting changes have been made for readability.

ABSTRACT

The increased interest in artificial intelligence (‘AI’) regulation stems from increased awareness about its risks. This suggests the need for a regulatory structure to preserve safety and public trust in AI. A key challenge, however, is the epistemic challenge. This paper posits that to effectively regulate the development and use of AI (in particular, deep learning systems), policymakers need a deep understanding of the technical underpinnings of AI technologies and the ethical and legal issues arising from its adoption. Given that AI technologies will impact many sectors, the paper also explores the challenges of applying AI technologies in the legal industry as an example of industry-specific epistemic challenges. This paper also suggests possible solutions: the need for interdisciplinary knowledge, the introduction of baseline training in technology for legal practitioners and the creation of a corps of allied legal professionals specialising in the implementation of AI.

Smart contracts and blockchain-based crowdsourced arbitration: A primer

Reading time: 11 minutes

Written by Tomoe Suzuki (Associate Author) | Mentored by Amelia Chew | Reviewed by Paul Neo 

LawTech.Asia is proud to conclude the second run of its Associate Author (Winter 2019) Programme. The aim of the Associate Authorship Programme is to develop the knowledge and exposure of student writers in the domains of law and technology, while providing them with mentorship from LawTech.Asia’s writers and tailored guidance from a well-respected industry mentor.

In partnership with the National University of Singapore’s alt+law and Singapore Management University’s Legal Innovation and Technology Club, five students were selected as Associate Authors. This piece by Tomoe Suzuki, reviewed by industry reviewer Paul Neo (Chief Operating Officer, Singapore Academy of Law), marks the third thought piece in this series. It examines the rise of blockchain-based crowdsourced arbitration platforms.

Introduction 

An earlier piece on “A brief analysis of the legal validity of smart contracts in Singapore” (“A Brief Analysis) by Louis Lau on LawTech.Asia has explored the issues surrounding the adoption of smart contacts in terms of validity. This piece seeks to build on the aforementioned piece and add on to readers’ understanding of issues that arise in the implementation of these contracts and solutions that have arisen. 

In particular, this article will compare various dispute resolution methods such as court-based litigation, mediation, arbitration (administered by arbitral institutions) to blockchain-based crowdsourced arbitration platforms (“BCAPs”) that have emerged in recent years. This piece will also provide a relatively abstract overview of how BCAPs work, the use cases they may be suited for, and highlight some of the challenges faced in increasing the adoption of smart contracts and BCAPs. 

Enhancing the development of legal technology in the region with new leading initiatives from the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association

Reading time: 5 minutes

ALITA marks first anniversary

The Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA) has marked its first anniversary with a slew of initiatives to further promote the development and implementation of legal tech in the region. These initiatives were announced at the final day of TechLaw.Fest 2020 and include:

  • State of Legal Innovation in Asia-Pacific (SOLIA) Report 2020: The SOLIA Report was first published in 2019 at Stanford University’s Future Law Conference, and then at TechLaw.Fest 2019. Building on these successes, the SOLIA 2020 Report contains several substantive improvements. These include covering new jurisdictions like Brazil, Indonesia and New Zealand, featuring updates from four regional law firms (Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Rajah & Tann and White & Case), and covering the impact that COVID-19 has brought to this sector. Much like a kaleidoscope, the SOLIA 2020 Report was made possible by contributors across APAC, and published in conjunction with the Singapore Management University School of Law, whose academic expertise was instrumental in putting the Report together. The Report may be accessed at https://bit.ly/solia2020.

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