LawTech.Asia

Southeast Asia's foremost Law & Technology Review

Category: Legal Research

TechLaw.Fest 2018 – Meeting Where It Matters

Written 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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People: Andrew Arruda

Interviewed by Josh Lee | Edited by Samuel Lim

Andrew Arruda is the CEO and co-founder of ROSS Intelligence, the successful legal technology company that harnesses AI and natural language processing to enhance lawyers’ research capabilities on the ROSS research engine. Recognised as an inspiring legal mind in the field of AI, Andrew made the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2017. He recently visited Singapore to deliver the closing keynote speech at TechLaw.Fest 2018, a legal technology conference that brought together the best minds in law and technology.

LawTech.Asia, a media partner of TechLaw.Fest, is honoured to have Andrew share with us the traits of a good legal technologist and the future use of AI in the legal industry.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Edmund Koh, INTELLLEX

Interview by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen | Edited by Amelia Chew

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4-6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together leading thinkers in the space of Technology Law and leading makers in the space of Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, 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.

This week, LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Edmund Koh, Chief of Staff & General Counsel at INTELLLEX. Edmund will be speaking at the Law of Tech Conference on the panel titled Legal Issues in Legal Tech.

Edmund Koh (far right) with the INTELLLEX team

What do you think of Singapore’s Legal Tech Vision released by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL)?

It is a very ambitious and timely roadmap for law firms in Singapore. It’s a call for law firms to start embracing technology and innovation. In other industries, there has been more of an impetus to adopt technology already as it clearly makes a person’s work more efficient. In contrast, for the longest time, lawyers have thought that our work is so different and unique that it is not susceptible to disruption by technology. I think that is changing. The Legal Tech Vision is really telling the legal landscape that everyone should sit up and take note of what’s going on.

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Alex Toh LawTech.Asia

People: Alex Toh, Masters in Law, Science and Technology at Stanford Law School

Interview by Amelia Chew & Stella Chen

Alex Toh is currently pursuing a Masters in Law, Science and Technology at Stanford Law School. After graduating from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law in 2007, Alex started his legal career with the Litigation & Dispute Resolution department of Drew & Napier, and worked as legal counsel for Asia Pacific at American semi-conductor company Xilinx. Alex was a committee member of the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA), and founded their young lawyers committee – Peers.

In this interview, Alex shares about his own experience searching for what he wants to do, how he ended up at the intersection of law and technology, and how law students should approach their future careers.

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Legal Tech 101: What it is and why it matters

Written by Micole Yang

Talk about impending ‘disruption’ in the legal industry is rife. But how well do these speculations actually hold up? This series aims to summarize and analyze the key legal technologies out there, using cases – past, present, and future – to show you what they do. In this article, we’ll be focusing on legal research and contract-drafting technologies.

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Four Species of Endangered Lawyers

Written by Lynn, David Ho & Lee Ji En

Littered everywhere in the Singapore media is a doomsday prophecy for “young lawyers”. Even if they manage to beat the odds of getting a job amid the ‘glut’ of young lawyers, they are now told to hold off the self-congratulations as junior lawyers’ jobs are on the verge of being cannibalised by artificial intelligence. Last October, the newspaper headline “Technology could oust junior lawyers” brought home the existential threat to young lawyers, through the words of Law Society President Thio Shen Yi SC in the Law Gazette:

“Soon, innovative legal services which mass produce legal solutions may not only be cheaper alternatives to lawyers, but may also become better alternatives as they gain economies of scale.”

But why should the line be drawn between ‘junior’ lawyers and their seniors? In fact, Mr Thio, in his article, explicitly mentioned that “senior lawyers will not be spared either: the development of predictive analysis software has meant that the experience and intuition that we value can now be replaced with a computer’s predictions as to the outcome of a case or its likely settlement value” (read the original article here ). We tend to agree too.

So instead of panicking over the rise of legal tech, or the “glut”, let’s dig deep into how to future-proof our careers — starting by identifying the potential pitfalls if we insist on inertia.

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