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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 2020 Cyber Edition – A virtually transformative conference experience

Reading time: 11 minutes

By Josh Lee | Edited by Elizaveta Shesterneva

Supported by: Lenon Ong, Utsav Rakshit, Benjamin Peck, Ong Chin Ngee, Tristan Koh

“In a year when a certain pesky virus turned the world upside down, how can a conference engage, encapsulate and elaborate upon all of the disruption seen in one year?”

This must have been the key question on the minds of the planners of TechLaw.Fest 2020, as they went about organising Asia’s largest law and technology conference. What followed was a signature conference held with a virtually (pun intended) uniquely signature.

In this article, LawTech.Asia will take our readers on a quick recap of TechLaw.Fest 2020, as we look forward to another exciting edition of TechLaw.Fest in 2021. LawTech.Asia is grateful for our ongoing strategic media partnership with the Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”), and for the opportunity to be a media partner for TechLaw.Fest once again.

Regulation of legal technology in Singapore – Issues, international scans, and ideas

Reading time: 15 minutes

Written by Cindy Chua (Associate Author) | Mentored by Josh Lee | Reviewed by Joey Pang

LawTech.Asia is proud to conclude 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 Cindy Chua and reviewed by industry reviewer Joey Pang (DBS), marks the fifth and final thought piece in this series. It examines the various issues arising from the use of commonly seen legal technologies in Singapore, and conducts an international scan of legal technology regulatory pictures in several jurisdictions before proposing a potential way forward for Singapore.

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