LawTech.Asia

Asia's Leading Law & Technology Review

Category: Internet Governance

Legal Technology in Singapore: Second Edition

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Written by Cai Xiaohan, Tristan Koh, Utsav Rakshit | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

In October 2018, LawTech.Asia published the first-ever detailed outline of the legal technology sector in Singapore. It was 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. The article was imagined as a “living document” that will continue to be updated as more news comes to the fore.

Much has happened in the legal tech scene in Singapore since then. To encapsulate these developments, LawTech.Asia is proud to present the second edition of “Legal Technology in Singapore”.

Our first edition had argued that Singapore is currently in the midst of a “legal tech revolution”, which began sometime in 2015 and which was spearheaded by the government in Singapore. The past year has seen the government invest even more resources into new initiatives to support legal tech adoption, and this edition of our article has been updated to include the following new developments: 

  1. Recent statements by the Judiciary on legal tech in Singapore;
  2. New assistance schemes to support the adoption of technology in Singapore, such as:
    • Asia’s first legal tech accelerator, GLIDE by FLIP;
    • Tech-celerate for Law by the Law Society of Singapore, which will fund legal tech adoption by law firms;
    • Advancement of legal tech in the State Courts;
    • The establishment of the SmartLaw Guild;
  3. The new creation of legal tech office-holders in public sector institutions; and
  4. The development of tech-related curricula in local law schools.

In this second edition, we also posit that the Singapore legal tech revolution has entered into a new phase: new ground-up initiatives in the legal profession to support legal tech adoption. We suggest that more law firms, law students, and legal tech solution providers have started their own initiatives to encourage legal tech adoption. This new edition of our article covers, in particular, the law firms which have championed legal tech adoption by being early adopters, producing their own technology, or launching their own legal tech incubators / accelerators.

In our first edition of the article, we had also outlined three forces influencing the development of Singapore’s legal tech revolution: the liberalisation and internationalisation of Singapore’s legal industry; the increasing sophistication of clients; and increasing technological capability. In this second edition, we introduce a fourth influence: the progressive changes in Singapore substantive laws. We argue that, as Singapore’s lawmakers introduce progressive laws which encourage, rather than inhibit, legal tech growth, this would also shape the course of the legal tech revolution for the better. Laws discussed include the passing of the Payment Services Act 2019 as well as the proposed amendments to the Electronic Transactions Act.

To access the updated version of the article, “Legal Technology in Singapore”, click here!

As before, 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.

LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for TechLaw.Fest 2019!

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We are proud to be recognised by the Singapore Academy of Law as an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2019!

Organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, TechLaw.Fest 2019 (happening from 5 to 6 September 2019) is a signature convention in Singapore that will be the focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law and technology.

Key highlights of TechLaw.Fest 2019 include:

  • A main conference themed “The Net Effect of Data: Commerce, Connectivity & Control”, which will provide deep dialogues and deeper appreciation of legal and regulatory issues around responsible data use, access and control of data, data security and 5G, and the role of data in commerce.
  • Over 60 prominent speakers speaking and leading panel discussions on law and technology. Notable speakers this year include Singapore’s Minister for Law Mr. K. Shanmugam S.C., Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web), Mr Bill Deckelman (Executive VP, DXC Technologies), Mr Antony Cook (Regional VP, Microsoft Asia), and many more!
  • Deep Dive seminars, Innovation Journey dialogues, Firehose sessions, Legal Tech Exhibitions, Tech Talks, Business Networking, and more activities — allowing participants to engage, learn, share, inspire, innovate, connect, and be a part of shaping our collective future in law and technology!

From now to September 2019, LawTech.Asia will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest. These speakers include key leaders from:

  • Bucerius Law School
  • DXC Technologies
  • Legal Mosaic
  • Singapore Management University
  • And more!

Our readers will also receive special perks, including a promo code that provides a 20% discount off tickets for TechLaw.Fest. To stay updated, do subscribe to our mailing list, follow our LinkedIn page, and like our Facebook page!   

We’re raring to have you join us in exploring the constantly-moving intersection of law and technology. Remember to check back on our site regularly to ensure that you get the latest coverage, updates and news about TechLaw.Fest 2019!

The LawTech.Asia Team

The World Legal Summit: Informing and Taking Action – Physically and Virtually

Reading time: 5 minutes

Written by Josh Lee and Aileen Schultz (Founder, World Legal Summit)

The World Legal Summit (WLS) is a 30+ city, 20+ country initiative designed to bridge the gap between legislative understanding and emerging technologies. Part One will occur in physical locations simultaneously across a 24 hour window on August 1, while Part Two will occur between September 6  to 8. The WLS will also provide global networking and remote participation opportunities in a virtual world. 

Introduction

Technology and global systems are evolving at unprecedented rates, with humanity now poised at the tip of the exponential curve of technological evolution. There is, however, a lack of incentives to create required legislative and regulatory frameworks for the proper governance and responsible use of such technologies. Further, legal advances in technology governance – typically developed in silos – are not keeping pace with the development of technology. In turn, this creates a governance and trust deficit between emerging technologies, their associated global systems, and the necessary frameworks for a globally sustainable future.

While the legal industry has seen global initiatives to drive technology in legal practice (such as through global events such as the Global Legal Hackathon), the World Legal Summit (“WLS”) tackles the converse challenge of legal and regulatory issues relating to new technology. It is primarily focused on emerging technologies that are global in nature and that are facing complex regulatory challenges. In its inaugural year, the WLS will be focusing on the following three technology categories: 

  • Identity and Personal Governance;
  • Autonomous Machines; and
  • Cyber Security and Personal Data.

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#LexTech18 Quick Chats: Hannah Lim, LexisNexis

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Interview by Josh Lee | Edited byHuiling Xie

Organised by Malaysian legal tech startup CanLawLexTech 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.

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TechLaw.Fest 2018 – Meeting Where It Matters

Reading time: 7 minutesWritten by Josh Lee | Edited by Amelia Chew

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:

  1. Declining marginal cost of replicating, storing and transmitting information;
  2. Declining marginal cost of computing;
  3. Accelerated clock speed of technology;
  4. Wide deployment of sensors leading to an explosion of data;
  5. Increasing capacity to analyse data;
  6. Disruption caused by robotics; and
  7. 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.

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LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018!

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We are proud to be recognised an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018!

Organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, the inaugural TechLaw.Fest 2018 (held from 4 to 6 April 2018) is a convention that will be the focal point of leading thinkers in technology law and legal technology.

Key highlights of TechLaw.Fest 2018 include:

  • A main conference themed “Smart Regulations for a Digital Economy”, which will dive deep into novel regulatory approaches tested to help societies and businesses navigate the world of rapid technology growth and the accompanying legal issues.
  • Over 50 prominent speakers, who will speak about and lead panel discussions on smart regulations and technologies and the impact of technology on legal practice.
  • Sessions, panels, dialogues, exhibitions, hackathons, masterclasses and workshops on all things law and technology (and in-between), with a target audience of 3,000 visitors and 500 delegates comprising of lawyers, policymakers, technologists and business vendors.

From now to April 2016, 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. These speakers include key leaders from:

  • Intelllex
  • Law Society of Singapore
  • Microsoft Singapore
  • ROSS Intelligence
  • Singapore Management University
  • Uber Asia Pacific
  • And more!

LawTech.Asia readers will also receive special perks, including a promo code that gives you a discount off full-price passes for TechLaw.Fest. To stay updated, please like the LawTech.Asia Facebook page and join the Legal Hackers SG Facebook group.   

We’re raring to have you join us in exploring the constantly-moving intersection of law and technology. Check back on our site regularly to ensure that you get the latest coverage, updates and news about TechLaw.Fest 2018!

We also wish to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year!

The LawTech.Asia Team

Legal Ambiguities in Cyberspace

Reading time: 5 minutesWritten 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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