LawTech.Asia

Southeast Asia's foremost Law & Technology Review

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LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for LexTech Conference 2018!

We are proud to be recognised an official media partner for LexTech Conference 2018!

Organised by Malaysian legal tech startup CanLaw, LexTech Conference 2018 is an APAC-wide regional legal technology conference. It will be happening on the 25th and 26th of October 2018 at Mercu UEM, KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur.

#LexTech18 aims to drive legal tech adoption in the region and strengthen the regional legal tech community. This year’s event is bigger than before – with over 15 sessions covering leading-edge topics and opportunities to hear from and meet with industry leaders who are shaping the future of law. Some of the topics that will be covered in the conference include baseline technology, regulation of legal technology, AI and Big Data, as well as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

Image credits: CanChat

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LawTech.Asia Quick Chats: Sebastian Ko, Hong Kong’s A2J Hackathon

Interview by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen & Amelia Chew

In this edition of LawTech.Asia’s Quick Chats series, we bring some updates from the region: Hong Kong. We spoke with Mr Sebastian Ko, concerning the recently concluded Innotech Access to Justice Hackathon (“A2J Hackathon”) in Hong Kong. Sebastian was convenor of the A2J Hackathon, and is also a Member of the Law Society of Hong Kong’s Innotech Committee.

The A2J Hackathon took place from 7-8 April 2018, and featured 25 solutions ranging from chatbots to matching platforms to document assemblers.

There were other legaltech hackathons that took place in Hong Kong earlier this year, such as the LegalTech and RegTech Hackathon that was part of the Global Legal Hackathon. How did the A2J Hackathon differentiate itself?

With over 120 participants and over 60 mentors, guests and supporters, the A2J Hackathon should be the largest legaltech hackathon in HK so far. It’s other differentiating point is that it was the first hackathon in Asia to be led and organised by a professional regulator, and the first “law and tech” hackathon to focus specifically on enhancing the public’s access to justice.

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Joint Call For Papers Law x Technology: Transforming the face of the Law

Technology disrupts for the better of those prepared. Legal practice is hardly impervious to the implications that technology brings. The advent of blockchain and machine learning technologies is an opportunity, and a potential cost if not pursued. Conversely, the use of technology is equally subject to legal regimes and institutions. Developing a sensitivity to the mutual interaction of the two forces is of utmost urgency as governments and peoples search for a firm footing.

The Singapore Law Review (“SLR”), Asia’s oldest student-run legal publication, and LawTech.Asia, Southeast Asia’s foremost law and technology review, are collaborating on a special issue of the Singapore Law Review journal and LawTech.Asia online publication on the theme “Law x Technology: Transforming the face of the Law”.

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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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Cross Platform App Development for the Legal Tech industry

Guest Post By Wilson Foo Yu Kang | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen & Josh Lee

Wilson is an Advocate & Solicitor of the Singapore Bar. He works at Trident Law Corporation. He is also a Cross Platform App Developer. He has developed the legal apps JusQuaere and Caselist.

What is cross-platform app development?

The term “cross platform” has been bandied about in a variety of ways, especially since the creation of the Java language which allowed programs to run on different types of devices and operating systems. In this article, cross platform app development will be used in the sense of writing a single software application which runs across multiple platforms. A platform can mean many things – it can mean hardware architecture (e.g. ARM, the usual chips used in phones as compared to AMD64/x64, the usual chips used in desktops and laptops), operating system (Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux), type of deployment (native versus web) etc. I will generally be focusing on the applications which can run across the web/native divide as well as multiple device type (i.e. iPhone, Android and desktop), and how it impacts the legal tech landscape.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Marlon P. Valderama, LexMeet

Interview by Amelia Chew | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen

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 legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. During TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team met with various speakers, exhibitors and attendees to learn more about the work that they do and their experience at the conference.

LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Marlon P. Valderama, President and CEO of LexMeet, Inc. LexMeet, Inc. is a legal tech company from the Philippines which participated as an exhibitor that TechLaw.Fest. It was also a shortlisted contestant for the Singapore Legal Tech Venture Slam Pitching Competition and a speaker at the Tech Talk stage. Marlon is a lawyer by profession and manages his law firm, Valderama Law Office, specialising in corporate and litigation. He pioneered e-lawyering in the Philippines with his virtual law office, E-Lawyers Online. Marlon also uses his own legal practice management software, E-Law Solutions App (ELSA).

Could you tell us more about LexMeet?

LexMeet is a real-time online legal consultation platform, a webspace where lawyers and clients meet to solve legal problems. It is like the Uber of lawyers, where a client can seek a lawyer’s advice with just a few clicks. Instead of matching an Uber rider with the nearest Uber driver, here you have a client being matched to a lawyer. The client’s legal problem and needs are matched with the lawyer’s expertise, location and language. LexMeet serves as a bridge for lawyer and client to meet via videoconferencing.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Yeong Zee Kin, PDPC

Interview 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 legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. During TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team met with various speakers, exhibitors and attendees to learn more about the work that they do and their experience at the conference.

LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Yeong Zee Kin, Assistant Chief Executive of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Deputy Commissioner of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC). Zee Kin was a panelist on the Smart Regulation for a Smart Nation panel and the chairperson of the Legal Issues in Legal Tech panel.

Having participated in two panels over the course of TechLaw.Fest 2018, what were some of your key takeaways from the two panels that you were in?

Both panels revolved around the same theme but we approached it from different directions. The first panel (“Smart Regulation for a Smart Nation”) approached it from the perspective of the regulator and examined what kind of regulations are required. This panel focused more on potential regulatory models and discussed different perspectives of how regulatory sandboxes are used. The FinTech Regulatory Sandbox by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is one such regime that allows for the ability to control license terms. There are some guidelines that we can potentially look to, such as the materiality test for determining when the risk becomes material and regulation should kick in.

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The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts: A Recap

Written by Chelsea Chan | Edited by Amelia Chew & Irene Ng

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 legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. This article summarises one of the panel discussions held on 5 April 2018 titled “The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts”.

The discussion was chaired by Joyce A. Tan (Joyce A. Tan & Partners); and the panel comprised of Ashton Addison (CEO and Founder, Eventchain.io), Sopnendu Mohanty (Chief Fintech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore), Hirofumi Aihara (General Manager of Digital Innovation, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), Tomasz Kurcyzk (Digital Transformation Director, AXA Singapore) and Stella Cramer (APAC Head of Technology & Innovation, Norton Rose Fulbright).

After the introduction by Joyce Tan, Ashton Addison elaborated on the basics of a smart contract and potential technological pitfalls. A Smart Contract is an agreement converted into a small piece of software, which stores the rules and terms of the agreement and when met automatically executes exactly how it was coded. The appeal of a Smart Contract lies in its automation and that it is fully transparent, so the code reflecting contractual terms can be seen by anyone regardless of privity to contract. However, bugs in the code may lead to loss of funds. Further, large transactions are currently not possible since Ethereum can only handle 13 transactions per second, potentially creating a significant backlog if applied to current business transactions.

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UNCITRAL E-Commerce Law 2.0: Blockchain and Smart Contracts

Guest Post by Irene Ng

Irene Ng is a Fellow at the Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum and a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Vienna. On March 17, 2018, Irene shared about how UNCITRAL e-commerce texts can interact with blockchain and smart contracts at the Computational Law & Blockchain Festival, Singapore Node. The following post is a summary of her presentation and answer to some queries that were asked.

1. What is UNCITRAL?

UNCITRAL stands for the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law. It is the main body of the United Nations that aims to promote trade amongst states through modernizing and harmonizing rules for international commerce. UNCITRAL has undertaken work in a wide range of commercial law issues, such as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), arbitration and conciliation, investor-state dispute settlement reform, electronic commerce, insolvency law, security interests and international sale of goods.

2. What are UNCITRAL E-Commerce Texts and how are they related to Singapore’s e-commerce laws?

In the field of e-commerce, UNCITRAL has released four texts in the last two decades or so. The first legislative text was the Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996). Subsequently, UNCITRAL released the Model Law on Electronic Signatures (2001), the Electronic Communications Convention (2005), and, more recently, the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (2017). These texts intend to facilitate e-commerce transactions by establishing rules to allow the electronic equivalent of paper-based documents to be legally recognised, thereby removing obstacles encountered by the use of electronic means.

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