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Alexis Chun: All CLAW is LegalTech, but not all LegalTech is CLAW (Part 3 of 3)

Reading time: 4 minutes

Written by Alexis N. Chun

In the first part of this 3-part series, we spoke about the status quo in law and how we at Legalese and the Computational Law Centre (CCLAW) at Singapore Management University are working together to make Computational Law a reality. Last week, we painted you a picture of what a computational law driven future might look like, and assured you that the approach of building a DSL is a rather well-honed tradition one in software that has transformed professional domains like accounting, architecture, and digital photography. This article is the final part of a 3-part series.

Alexis Chun: What a computational law future might look like (Part 2 of 3)

Reading time: 5 minutes

Written by Alexis N. Chun

Last week we spoke about the status quo in law and how we at Legalese and the Computational Law Centre (CCLAW) at Singapore Management University are working together to make Computational Law a reality. This is part 2 of this 3-part series. 

If you recall, we discussed the (natural) language problem of law and how perhaps a domain-specific language (DSL) for law might be the foundational technological innovation to fix it. Because a DSL gives “Law” (which term we use to collectively refer to statutes, regulations, contracts, guidelines, business process logic, rules, quasi-legal documentation, you name it) a common denominator, the disparate bits can now “talk” to each other. This is what makes “Law” computable and computational. And in our vision, this foundational technology gets us from pseudocode to real code. That’s what we suspect a contract wants to be when it grows up:  a program. And the marvellous thing about programs is that Law can graduate from simply expressing syntax (i.e. words on a page, legalistic expressions) that are essentially pseudocode to semantics (i.e. what does it mean in an objective or clearly defined fashion), to pragmatics (i.e. what does it mean for me). Semantics and pragmatics are the traditional demesnes of lawyers; these are things you’d pay and ask for a lawyer’s advice on. But lawyers’ service of semantics and pragmatics may be too much like a priesthood (and too expensive) for most end users: go forth with this blessed document, but don’t break your back carving out the laundry list of assumptions, professional indemnities, and deciphering what exactly it means for you. Take faith. This just might not cut it anymore for the increasingly tech-savvy and knowledge-driven common man on the Clapham omnibus who reviews and background checks everything including their drivers, romantic dates, and restaurants.    

Alexis Chun: From LegalTech to Computational Law (Part 1 of 3)

Reading time: 5 minutes

Written by Alexis N. Chun

In 2011, Marc Andreessen said “software is eating the world”. And with that in mind, a computer scientist and a lawyer decided to do just that. Legalese.com was born, and 5 years later, Singapore Management University’s Centre for Computational Law.   

The Status Quo

Commas alone have cost one million (Canadian) dollars, millions in taxpayers’ dollars, and even gotten someone out of a parking ticket. Richard Susskind OBE has written about The End of Lawyers and the law firm’s business model has been described as “risking obsolescence”, “rigged to fail”, and trapped “in a death spiral”. The Atlantic said the legal profession was “the only job with an industry devoted to helping people quit”. That’s all rather grim, but probably not news. You get it, the status quo sucks

TechLaw.Fest 2021 Quick Chats: Alexander H. Southwell, Partner, Co-Chair of Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Innovation Practice Group, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Reading time: 5 minutes

By Utsav Rakshit & Ong Chin Ngee | Edited by Wan Ding Yao

TechLaw.Fest 2021 (“TLF”) took place virtually from 22 September to 24 September 2021, becoming the virtual focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law, business, and technology. LawTech.Asia received the exclusive opportunity to interview Alexander Southwell, Partner at global law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Gibson Dunn) post his panel discussion titled “That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles” alongside Charmian Aw (Reed Smith), Steve Satterfield (Facebook) and Michael Kleber (Google). Alexander co-leads Gibson Dunn’s pre-eminent Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Innovation Practice Group with Ahmed Baladi, Ashlie Beringer and Connell O’Neill, who were also speakers at TechLaw.Fest 2021. The group advises clients in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Latin and North Americas.

While cookies track us, Alexander has been tracking them. We tapped into his knowledge on key issues relating to the evolution of cookies. We also sought his views on tangential topics he specialises in, particularly in the area of data protection, cybersecurity and legal technology and technology law (for which the latter two are key tenets of this year’s TechLaw.Fest!).

Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association launches the region’s first community-based legal innovation and technology awards

Reading time: 3 minutes

Today, the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA) launched the ALITA SOLIA Awards 2021, the Asia-Pacific’s first set of community-based legal innovation and technology awards. Powered by industry stalwarts such as Linklaters, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), Clifford Chance, the Singapore Academy of Law and Prophet.ru, the finals of the Awards will be held on 24 September 2021 – the closing day of TechLaw.Fest 2021.

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