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The Adoption of Legal Technology in Singapore

As technology is permeating every aspect of daily lives, it is also increasingly used in legal work. Legal technology employs information and communications technology tools to enable legal service providers to enhance productivity and deliver greater value to clients.

However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) cannot entirely replace lawyers to fulfil clients’ needs, such as formulating the best possible case for them. AI can help with the base material, but it cannot replace the creativity that the lawyer can bring to the team.

Lawyers cannot only have the knowledge of hard letter law, such as well-established legal principles on contractual, criminal and property issues, but they need to be familiar with how to use technology in legal cases.

Technology helps lawyers to be a lot more efficient and service-oriented. Technology can help with back-end operations such as billing and accounting.

– Second Minister for Law

The Second Minister for Law gave an example of an autonomous vehicle that knocks someone down. Lawyers need to understand the legal liability and the accountability of AI systems as far as that is concerned. Currently, technology is at the front and centre of almost everything that a lawyer either wants to do for himself and his practice or should be involved in, in the context of the substantive part of his practice.

Regarding technology in legal practices, Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap (TIR) has released a 10-year plan by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) that aims to help the legal industry harness technology.

The TIR is aimed at law practices and in-house legal teams. It highlights key trends that industry players should be aware of in deciding how best to forge ahead amidst a time of disruption and uncertainty. It also provides practical tips on the types of solutions they can consider when planning their transformation journey.

Technology plays a critical role in efforts to grow the legal industry in Singapore. The TIR builds on existing initiatives that support industry players in their technology adoption and development efforts. For instance, the Tech-celerate for Law programme helps Singapore Law Practices adopt curated baseline and advanced solutions. The Guide to Cybersecurity, launched by the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) in March this year, prepares firms to manage and mitigate the risks that come with increasing digitalisation.

To further support industry transformation, law firms, legal professionals and the industry can benefit from various initiatives that will be rolled out over the next two years. This includes, among others:

  • A Legal Industry Digital Plan – Put together by MinLaw and the Infocomm and Media Development Authority, this will provide law firms with practical assistance to assess their digital readiness and identify digital solutions to adopt at each stage of their growth.
  • An affordable and secure cloud-based platform for LegalTech – MinLaw is exploring the possibility of a platform that can aggregate plug-and-play solutions, to help firms manage core services, set up and coordinate workflows, and provide service bundles by practice areas
  • Supporting professional upgrading – MinLaw will work with relevant stakeholders to enable lawyers to count LegalTech upskilling programmes as part of their Continuing Professional Development.
  • Legal education – To develop a quality pool of tech-ready lawyers and better equip law graduates with the relevant digital skills, Institutes of Higher Learning will be encouraged to infuse more technology elements into their curriculum.

To foster the development of an innovation ecosystem and make Singapore a leading global LegalTech hub, MinLaw will continue to work with the Economic Development Board and Enterprise Singapore, as well as local research institutions and Singapore-based law firms, to attract global law firms, LegalTech firms, accelerators and incubators to establish operations.

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