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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 Use of Chatbots as a Way to Create a Two-Step Approach to Providing Legal Services: Case Study: LRD Colloquium Vol. 1 (2020/06)

Reading time: 16 minutes

Written by Elizaveta Shesterneva*

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

Chatbots have already been deployed by law firms and Legal Technology (‘LegalTech’) start-ups to perform some law-related activities as a way to provide better assistance to clients. The widespread use of chatbots may further deepen existing issues relating to the scope of legal functions chatbots undertake, the unauthorised practice of law and the competitiveness in the legalsector. This paper examines the aforementioned issues and suggests a two-step approach to providing legal services which incorporate the use of chatbots with help from qualified attorneys. The goal of the suggested two-step approach is an attempt at a peaceful collaboration between technology and legal professionals, where the use of chatbots do not threaten the ‘status-quo’ of qualified persons, but rather, encourages further innovation in the legal profession.

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.

CLOC Global Institute – major announcements expected

Reading time: 2 minutes

Written by Josh Lee

LawTech.Asia is proud to be an official media partner of the CLOC Global Institute, an online event that focuses on outstanding educational content for legal operations and the business of law. It will see esteemed speakers like Adam Becker, CLOC Vice-President and Anushree Bagrodia, Vice-President at Mastercard, speaking on such topics as growing the influence of legal operations, planning for 2021, and using legal operations to increase diversity and inclusivity.

LawTech.Asia has also been receiving exclusive updates from CLOC, and we understand that as a body and a movement, CLOC intends to shift its focus from in-house professionals to embrace its identity as a global community focused on redefining the business of law. “The wording was intentional,” CLOC President Mary O’Carroll says. “It is more than just in-house legal departments and teams. It is about transformation”.

While more details are expected at CLOC Global Institute, which will be happening in a few short hours, we understand that CLOC intends to leverage scale to solve problems collectively. This means shifting CLOC’s global and long-term strategy, and scaling up its organisational infrastructure, to gather voices perspectives and resources to answer global questions, and to allow individuals to find support, resources and networks to find answers to the global disruptive challenges facing us. Ostensibly, this means bringing in new entrants, new technology firms and new law firms onto the CLOC table.

When asked about how CLOC intended to facilitate conversations between groups of stakeholders who often talk at cross-purposes or, by dint of culture, find it challenging to build understanding, Mary was hopeful: “We must first start with opening the conversation, and we are here to learn through that expansion. It has always been in our DNA to take risks and try. The important thing is not be an echo chamber, and to build conversations that can be rich and engaging. There may be difficulties in communicating, but I believe that creates a learning and teachable opportunity that CLOC is uniquely positioned to bring.”

Greater collaboration is always helpful and appreciated, but the devil, as always, lies in the detail. LawTech.Asia will be here to provide more clarity as CLOC makes a more detailed announcement at the 2020 edition of CLOC Global Institute.

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