Digital disruptions are on the rise, and they are having a positive effect on traditional systems and industries on a global scale. Banking, procurement, healthcare, and government systems are all seeing overhauls to suit this modern, technologically advanced era. These technological advancements have now reached the legal world, which has traditionally used human processes of law implementation and courtroom judgments.

According to Thomson Reuters, LegalTech (legal technology) experienced an exponential growth of 484% across a five year period on a global level. Thus, the demand for more efficient and lower-cost systems has led companies to bring both LegalTech and RegTech (regulatory technology) into the Southeast Asian fray.

Southeast Asia has been a global hotspot for investment and tech development over the past few years. This region of the world is due, yet again, for further investment. On this occasion, the primary investment focus is on the eDiscovery (electronic discovery) market.

According to a report by Markets and Markets, the eDiscovery marketplace was valued at $9.96 billion USD in 2017, and is expected to reach $17.32 billion USD by 2023, with the majority of that growth coming from the Asia Pacific. The region is projected to have an annual growth rate of 22.5% between 2015 and 2020. This puts it at the top of the global charts for growth.

eDiscovery refers to the initial phase of legal proceedings, also known as litigation. In this period, opposing parties of a civil dispute have to exchange relevant information and records. Those involved also have to provide evidence to support their sides of the case. eDiscovery streamlines a lawyer’s workload by searching through electronic data to locate and secure relevant information.

Singapore

The Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) first announced its plan for the legal future in 2017. They unveiled the roadmap for the development of their Legal Technology Vision (LTV), which will be rolled out over a five-year period. The LTV implementation is now underway across the Singapore law scene, and it encourages lawyers to be at one with the modernisation and disruption that faces the legal industry.

Scrabble Tiles

The Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) first announced its plan for the legal future in 2017. They unveiled the roadmap for the development of their Legal Technology Vision (LTV), which will be rolled out over a five-year period. The LTV implementation is now underway across the Singapore law scene, and it encourages lawyers to be at one with the modernisation and disruption that faces the legal industry.

The Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) first announced its plan for the legal future in 2017. They unveiled the roadmap for the development of their Legal Technology Vision (LTV), which will be rolled out over a five-year period. The LTV implementation is now underway across the Singapore law scene, and it encourages lawyers to be at one with the modernisation and disruption that faces the legal industry.

As part of the Vision, SAL stated that, at the beginning of 2018, its Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) would be developed and implemented. This is a three-pronged initiative that is set to revolutionise the LegalTech startup scene.

The three components of FLIP include:

Legal Innovation Lab: a safe haven hosted within a Collision8 coworking space. Legal Innovation Lab gives both law firms and LegalTech startups a place where people and ideas can intersect to create opportunities and innovate new concepts and possibilities.

LawNet Community: a virtual platform designed for collaboration. LawNet is Singapore’s leading portal for legal information, research, and transactions. The platform allows legal professionals to network with one another and provides the latest technological tools. The platform also permits people from outside of the legal profession to access the documents for research or study purposes.

Accelerate!: Accelerate! is a three-month accelerator programme that is designed to hasten the development of early-stage startups. The programme provides participating startups with capital funding and business mentorship. For the startups that have already been through this programme, 10% of the companies that received seed funding have gone on to be profitable, successful businesses. This statistic puts Accelerate! in the top quartile of international early-stage venture portfolios.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, a collective of technology companies that provide tech-based solutions for the financial and legal sectors established the Indonesian RegTech and LegalTech Association (IRLA). The IRLA envisions a system that promotes technological innovations that harbour regulatory inclusion.

The platform hosts LegalTech and RegTech companies and allows them to connect and collaborate with law firms. The combination of these three powers is leading to the development of education and awareness for the legal industry throughout Indonesia.

Women's in Gray Turtleneck Sweater Pointing White Contract Paper

The use of RegTech allows businesses to access various tools and teaches them how to satisfy regulations. LegalTech, on the other hand, provides businesses with advice and services that assist with legal documents. The combination of the two technological developments is giving Indonesia a far more efficient solution for issues within the legal industry.

Thailand

Thailand is a world removed in many ways. The country hosts different systems and methods of governance, and there is a severe level of poverty and regulation across the majority of the country. The Land of Smiles keeps on beaming, mind, and the grins are only set to widen.

In 2018, leading law firm Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners (C&P) revealed that it would be collaborating with Luminance, a legal artificial intelligence (AI) company, based in the United Kingdom. This development was the first of its kind in the Thai legal industry.

Weerawong C&P has a team of over 100 lawyers and is classed as a top-ranking legal firm in Thailand. It is now adopting AI that provides an automated system for review work. This AI is pre-coded and knows exactly what it is doing and what it is looking for, thus removing the necessity of the traditional humanised system of training methods. Thanks to this development, lawyers no longer need to take the time out of their schedules to input the clauses and provisions that traditional legal software requires.

Being the industry-leading law firm in Thailand, Weerawong C&P is paving the way for other, smaller firms and partners to transition into the AI-developed LegalTech world. With this, the legal industry in Thailand is entering an enlightened and increasingly efficient era.

Malaysia

Malaysia is also a nation of technological innovation; however, for all of the notable achievements that LegalTech and RegTech have already brought to Southeast Asian nations, growth in Malaysia is proving to be hard going.

LegalTech came to the nation in the form of lawyer acquisition site CanLaw. Legal services are fast becoming a necessity in the modern world, and Malaysia still depends on a traditional legal system. The CanLaw founders were aware of this and knew of the difficulty and rising costs associated with hiring a lawyer to represent you in the courtroom. In response to these issues, CanLaw provided a platform that worked in a similar way to popular websites. The website featured ‘filters’, which allowed users to narrow down lists of lawyers by geographical location and specialty. Once a lawyer had been selected, CanLaw connected the user with the lawyer, who then sent over a portfolio and quote.

CanLaw’s target audiences were individuals, start-ups and small-to-medium-sized enterprises, most of which were searching for legal services online. The company acquired its users through social media and search engine marketing.

Alongside CanLaw’s success, two other major LegalTech startups spawned: DragonLaw and BurgieLaw. All three companies were evidence of advancement within Malaysia’s legal industry. Unfortunately though, what was good for the people was not so good for the powers that be; they fought the law, and the law won. The Malaysian Bar Council reviewed the three companies’ offerings and found them to be in violation of the Legal Profession Act 1976 – an Act that prevents any “unauthorised person” who is not a practising lawyer from providing certain legal services and soliciting clients. The Bar closed down CanLaw and its kinsmen, showing the world that Malaysia’s legal industry would like to adapt to technological times, but isn’t necessarily willing to do so.

Technology is chopping and changing traditional methods in all of the major hubs of Southeast Asia. The legal industry, which has hitherto been resilient to any sort of adaptation, has now begun to incorporate industry-changing technological advancements into their field.

There is still a long way to go within the industry, and with no end in sight for technological advancement, the developments are only going to get better. With the implementation of LegalTech and RegTech, Southeast Asian law firms can now feel empowered, knowing that their monotonous and mundane routines are being taken care of by AI. This means that lawyers can get stuck into the nitty-gritty that makes their profession so rewarding.

Advertisements