LawTech.Asia

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Tag: law firms

Out-of-office: Preparing your firm for a remote-working future

Reading time: 8 minutes

Written by Josh Lee | Edited by Jennifer Lim, Andrew Wong

Introduction

The outbreak of the CoViD19 epidemic has had a chilling effect on many. The virus’ continuous spread after the Lunar New Year holidays meant it continued to make its presence felt even as businesses re-opened for work.

Anticipating a worsening of the global health situation, businesses are beginning to prepare themselves for an extended period during which business operations could be impacted. “Business continuity” has become a widely-mentioned theme, with many organisations beginning to implement drawer plans to reduce physical interaction. These plans could include telecommuting and working through remote-workplace tools. For example, the Hong Kong government asked some of its staff to work from home to reduce human-to-human contact. MNCs like DBS, Rio Tinto and UOB have also activated work-from-home plans.

In the legal industry, while established and technology-focused law firms with the necessary infrastructure may be able to make the switch relatively seamlessly, other firms may find it more challenging to do so. This is in particular so for firms that have yet to see a disruption to business of the scale similar to that seen during the SARS or swine flu epidemics.

Notwithstanding the doom and gloom, it remains prudent to take a long view of the present situation, and to see the silver lining in the clouds. While it may appear at first blush to be troublesome to begin implementing business continuity plans, the present generation of telecommuting and remote-workplace tools are more than capable of sustaining businesses for extended periods of time. In fact, the present situation might prove to be just the encouragement for more firms to begin switching permanently to a nimbler, telecommuting-based structure, with communication driven primarily by remote-workplace tools. Indeed, this is the first (and critical) step to the implementation of “virtual law firms” – law firms that work nearly-entirely remotely without the need for a dedicated office space. 

Focusing on remote-working, this article covers the following points:

  1. The benefits of a remote workforce;
  2. The telecommuting tools needed to enable and maintain a remote-working environment; and
  3. Other considerations needed to ensure a successful transition into permanent telecommuting.

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TechLaw.Fest 2018 – Meeting Where It Matters

Reading time: 7 minutesWritten 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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The Future of Law Conference 2017: Charting the Converging Paths of Law and Technology

Reading time: 4 minutesWritten by Amelia Chew & Jerrold Soh

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Singapore Law Blog. We would like to thank Singapore Law Blog for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article on this site for our readers.

Jointly organised by the Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia at the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Law and Osborne Clarke, the inaugural Future of Law Conference that took place from 26 to 27 October 2017 brought together leading academics and practitioners from around the world to tackle issues at the intersection of law and technology. This article provides but a snippet of the insights discussed at the conference.

The Relationship Between Humans & Artificial Intelligence

In his opening keynote speech, Professor Ian Kerr (University of Ottawa) spoke about the ethical and legal concerns surrounding delegating previously exclusively-human decisions to machines. Given that we are only at the stage of artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) at the moment, the concern is less about a dystopian future where robots may potentially overthrow humans and more about how we can manage the relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and humans. As an increase in machine autonomy correlates with a decrease in human control, it is crucial to establish safeguards to deal with a situation where a machine demonstrates emergent behaviour.

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What Will The Lawyer’s Office Of The Future Look Like?

Reading time: 8 minutesWritten by Josh Lee | Edited by Amelia Chew

Introduction

During his speech at the Opening of the Legal Year in 2017, the Honourable Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon spoke about a determined push by the legal profession towards embracing technologies that will enhance effectiveness and productivity in the legal workplace. With this backdrop in mind, as well as the mainstream acceptance of technologies, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and cloud storage, what sort of workplace might lawyers expect to see in the future?

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