[Editors’ Note: Please note that LawTech.Asia’s Birthday Bash has been temporarily postponed given the present public health situation in Singapore. Please continue to refer back to LawTech.Asia’s website for updates.]
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Written by Cai Xiaohan, Tristan Koh, Utsav Rakshit | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong
In October 2018, LawTech.Asia published the first-ever detailed outline of the legal technology sector in Singapore. It was the result of a months-long project to map out the root, state and outlook of the legal technology sector in Singapore, and furthers LawTech.Asia’s fundamental purpose of improving awareness, knowledge and interest in legal technology. The article was imagined as a “living document” that will continue to be updated as more news comes to the fore.
Much has happened in the legal tech scene in Singapore since then. To encapsulate these developments, LawTech.Asia is proud to present the second edition of “Legal Technology in Singapore”.
Our first edition had argued that Singapore is currently in the midst of a “legal tech revolution”, which began sometime in 2015 and which was spearheaded by the government in Singapore. The past year has seen the government invest even more resources into new initiatives to support legal tech adoption, and this edition of our article has been updated to include the following new developments:
- Recent statements by the Judiciary on legal tech in Singapore;
- New assistance schemes to support the adoption of technology in Singapore, such as:
- Asia’s first legal tech accelerator, GLIDE by FLIP;
- Tech-celerate for Law by the Law Society of Singapore, which will fund legal tech adoption by law firms;
- Advancement of legal tech in the State Courts;
- The establishment of the SmartLaw Guild;
- The new creation of legal tech office-holders in public sector institutions; and
- The development of tech-related curricula in local law schools.
In this second edition, we also posit that the Singapore legal tech revolution has entered into a new phase: new ground-up initiatives in the legal profession to support legal tech adoption. We suggest that more law firms, law students, and legal tech solution providers have started their own initiatives to encourage legal tech adoption. This new edition of our article covers, in particular, the law firms which have championed legal tech adoption by being early adopters, producing their own technology, or launching their own legal tech incubators / accelerators.
In our first edition of the article, we had also outlined three forces influencing the development of Singapore’s legal tech revolution: the liberalisation and internationalisation of Singapore’s legal industry; the increasing sophistication of clients; and increasing technological capability. In this second edition, we introduce a fourth influence: the progressive changes in Singapore substantive laws. We argue that, as Singapore’s lawmakers introduce progressive laws which encourage, rather than inhibit, legal tech growth, this would also shape the course of the legal tech revolution for the better. Laws discussed include the passing of the Payment Services Act 2019 as well as the proposed amendments to the Electronic Transactions Act.
To access the updated version of the article, “Legal Technology in Singapore”, click here!
As before, the authors wish to express thanks for the innumerable sources of information available online, without which this project would not have been possible. Any mistakes herein remain the authors’ own.
We are proud to be recognised by the Singapore Academy of Law as an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2019!
Organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, TechLaw.Fest 2019 (happening from 5 to 6 September 2019) is a signature convention in Singapore that will be the focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law and technology.
Key highlights of TechLaw.Fest 2019 include:
- A main conference themed “The Net Effect of Data: Commerce, Connectivity & Control”, which will provide deep dialogues and deeper appreciation of legal and regulatory issues around responsible data use, access and control of data, data security and 5G, and the role of data in commerce.
- Over 60 prominent speakers speaking and leading panel discussions on law and technology. Notable speakers this year include Singapore’s Minister for Law Mr. K. Shanmugam S.C., Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web), Mr Bill Deckelman (Executive VP, DXC Technologies), Mr Antony Cook (Regional VP, Microsoft Asia), and many more!
- Deep Dive seminars, Innovation Journey dialogues, Firehose sessions, Legal Tech Exhibitions, Tech Talks, Business Networking, and more activities — allowing participants to engage, learn, share, inspire, innovate, connect, and be a part of shaping our collective future in law and technology!
From now to September 2019, LawTech.Asia will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest. These speakers include key leaders from:
- Bucerius Law School
- DXC Technologies
- Legal Mosaic
- Singapore Management University
- And more!
Our readers will also receive special perks, including a promo code that provides a 20% discount off tickets for TechLaw.Fest. To stay updated, do subscribe to our mailing list, follow our LinkedIn page, and like our Facebook page!
We’re raring to have you join us in exploring the constantly-moving intersection of law and technology. Remember to check back on our site regularly to ensure that you get the latest coverage, updates and news about TechLaw.Fest 2019!
The LawTech.Asia Team
LawTech.Asia is proud to announce a Strategic Media Partnership with the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL)!
Through this partnership, LawTech.Asia will be qualitatively supported by SAL through its networks, platforms and information, for LawTech.Asia to be the portal on all things law and technology in Asia.
With a proliferation of publications and platforms showcasing legal innovation and technology in the Western Hemisphere, lawyers in the US, UK and the Europe have no lack of sources of information and inspiration to embark on legal transformation.
But what about Asia? This is not a space lacking in innovation – from the blockchain courts in Dubai, legal tech firms in Korea, to Singapore’s Legal Technology Vision, Asia has long been a hotbed for legal industry innovation. There is a need to share this innovation journey with the rest of the world – to let them know that innovation is an essential element of the DNA of Asia’s legal industry.
Commenting on the strategic media partnership, Paul Neo, Chief Operating Officer of SAL shared, “This strategic media partnership with LawTech.Asia is a timely one. It allows us to support a neutral and credible partner in growing and driving thought leadership in law and technology in Asia.”
Huiling Xie, Head of Partnerships & Revenue in LawTech.Asia, said, “We are proud that SAL has chosen LawTech.Asia to be its strategic media partner. This is a testament to the credibility and quality of LawTech.Asia. We look forward to paving the way forward in the law and technology space with SAL, and driving Singapore and more broadly Asia as a hub for innovation in this space.”
LawTech.Asia is proud to embark on this ambitious journey to cover and push the frontiers of innovation in Asia’s legal industry!
The LawTech.Asia Team
On 23 January 2019, the Personal Data Protection Commission (i.e. the Info-comm Media Development Authority) (the “PDPC”) published its Model Artificial Intelligence Governance Framework (“Model Framework”). The PDPC also launched a public consultation to receive feedback on the Model Framework.
As an organisation committed to thought leadership in law and technology (with AI regulation a key area of focus), LawTech.Asia produced a response to the public consultation on 24 June 2019.
LawTech.Asia’s response comprised the following two sections:
- A framework tailored for the implementation of the Model Framework to the legal technology sectors. Tapping on LawTech.Asia’s familiarity with the legal and legal technology sectors, LawTech.Asia produced a customised framework tailored specifically for the implementation of the Model Framework to the legal technology industry. We hope that this customised framework may shed some light in allowing legal technology firms deploying AI to have greater guidance in aligning their practices with some of the implementation guidelines set out in the Model Framework.
- Comments and feedback on each specific section covered by the Model Framework. These sections are, namely: the overall principles set out in the Model Framework, internal governance measures, determination of the AI decision-making model, operations management, and customer relations management. Tying our comments together is the thread that the Model Framework could go further in elaborating on some of the guidelines that it had set out, as well as to set out more specifically the ends that the Model Framework is targeted at achieving.
Our response may be downloaded for reference here:
In closing, we emphasise that the views set out within our response are wholly independent. They do not represent the views of any other organisation save for LawTech.Asia.
LawTech.Asia is also grateful to our partner and friend, Ms Shazade Jameson from the World Data Project, for her guidance and assistance in the preparation of our response.
The LawTech.Asia Team
Written by Emily Tan | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen, Josh Lee, Maryam Salehijam (Resolve Disputes Online)
Cases turn on their facts. Lawyers depend on both the law and the specific circumstances of their client’s case to make a convincing argument for their client. This makes the discovery process, where the available information is sifted through to identify relevant evidence, a crucial step in any case.
However, discovery is by its nature a slow and laborious process. Countless hours are spent digging through documents, emails and other such sources, searching for the key factors which may make or break a case. This “time-drain” has been exacerbated by the digitalisation of work, which has exponentially increased the volume of documents that lawyers have to analyse. In addition, it is typically the junior lawyers who are delegated to do the discovery task — which explains the television stereotype of young lawyers poring over cartons and cartons of documents late into the night.
Written by Tristan Koh | Edited by Ian Lee, Josh Lee, Utsav Rakshit
Student readers of LawTech.Asia would be familiar with interviews and opinion pieces available on this site on Singapore’s legal technology (“legal tech”) industry. Nevertheless, interested students may be curious to explore further avenues into this buzzing, high-tech industry.
Written from the perspective of a university student, this article covers several basic ways of journeying into legal tech in Singapore. While this article aims to be comprehensive, the examples raised herein are certainly non-exhaustive. The ideas shared here may also be useful for working professionals.
In our view, there are four broad ways of entering the legal tech industry: (a) developing skills, (b) enrolling in a relevant degree(s), (c) participating in legal tech activities and events, or (d) through writing.
Interview by Josh Lee & Wan Ding Yao | Edited by Amelia Chew
In June 2018, the Singapore Management University (“SMU”) School of Law won a major grant of $4.5 million from the National Research Foundation (“NRF”) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) following a competitive application process among several Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore. With the grant, the SMU School of Law set up a new Centre for AI and Data Governance (“CAIDG”). CAIDG aims to drive thought leadership on AI and data governance in Singapore, and serve as a centre for knowledge exchange with experts worldwide.
LawTech.Asia received an exclusive opportunity to interview Associate Professor Goh Yihan, Dean of the SMU School of Law and Director of CAIDG. Here, Prof Goh shares his view on how and when technological disruption will make a major impact on the local legal industry, and how the SMU School of Law is preparing its students to face that disruption.
LawTech.Asia is proud to have a place in the inaugural Asia-Pacific State of Legal Innovation Report 2019! We have been described as a “leading law and technology review that aims to be a thought leader in legal technology in Asia”.
The Report, which was released at the Stanford University’s FutureLaw 2019 Conference on 4 April 2019, is a product of the academic partnership between the Singapore Management University and the Singapore Academy of Law’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP). The Report aims to be an authoritative industry reference on legal innovation in the Asia Pacific, and comprehensively surveys the state of legal innovation in such jurisdictions as Australia, China, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, and Singapore.
Besides being mentioned alongside heavyweights and notable names in the legal technology industry, we are proud that our Josh Lee also served as the Report’s lead designer.
We would like to thank and congratulate the Singapore Management University, the Singapore Academy of Law and the Future Law Innovation Programme, as well as all who contributed to the Report for a job well done!
Get your copy of the Report at this link today!
Written by Josh Lee | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen, Wan Ding Yao
It is a classic Gordian Knot. A legal industry that is highly risk-averse, and heavily reliant on precedents and traditional ways of work. Lawyers who are too occupied with work to generate innovative ideas, let alone implement them. Technology that is believed to be too inaccessible and alien to a profession that is beginning to struggle with disruption. All these, with the backdrop of rising costs, inefficiencies (and long hours), and barriers to access to justice.
The legal industry’s solution to this? The hackathon.