Has the Legal Sector Tech Revolution in Singapore Come at a Price?

Rapid advances in technology and the higher demands and increasingly complex international clients are forcing Singapore-based Lawyers to transform the way they work. An example of this is the huge of growth of Wi-Fi on airplanes, with many cities now providing coverage free of charge including on metros and trains.

A chance to be connected removes the opportunity for a withdrawal from work matters. We wrote an article about this, read more about how the use of Wi-Fi on trains has lengthened the office day.

Singapore-based Law Firm Dennis Chua & Co have also been publishing their experience of how the new and evolving technologies have given the legal profession in Singapore a noticeable rehaul. Artificial intelligence-driven platforms have introduced new discipline amongst solicitors, as due diligence processes involving historically a huge number of documents can be accomplished in a fraction of the time, with fewer lawyers and paralegals involved using a machine-learning platform that only improves as you teach it.

Increasingly complex client projects require the collaboration of a team of lawyers with diverse expertise across various fields in various geographies. Lawyers are now recognising that a customised suite of services across all practice areas can offer an efficient and cost-effective solution for clients. This sectoral approach is a departure from individual silo practices of the past.

How Technology is Benefitting the Singapore Law Scene:

  1. Singapore’s growth as an international finance centre has created demand for internationally-connected strategic legal services tailored to meet their clients’ requirements.
  2. The use of cloud-based services has made it easier for Singapore law firms to install document and contract assembly software.
  3. Artificial Intelligence-driven document review solutions and automated workflows have enhanced the role of lawyers.
  4. Digital marketing and specialised business development teams, public relation consultants, including technology teams have proliferated, giving law firms with new capabilities to stay in the loop.
  5. In basic merger and acquisition transactions, document drafting time is much lower and requires much fewer resources.
  6. In areas where work is repetitive and voluminous, technology solutions can automate entire workflow processes without the need of human intervention.

As globalisation continues to radically change the business landscape, law firms not only in Singapore are quickly evolving to meet the changing requirements of clients to stay competitive.

Singapore law firms, many of which were previously independent local practices focused on domestic work, have started networking further afield with foreign law firms and partners to better serve clients with complex cross-border structuring requirements.

 

What Are the Negative Aspects of the Technological Revolution?

This new revolution in Singapore law practice has given way to tremendous opportunities for open-minded and educated digital Solicitors. Unfortunately, many university curriculums today do not seem to address the evolving digital landscape. Proficiency in basic word processing applications are basic skills and are no longer enough to help law graduates maintain a competitive edge.

Paralegal positions are becoming less and less, as more automation becomes used in daily contract preparation. While more jobs are growing in the digital sectors, many of the skills required to build such front-end platforms do not require legal knowledge.

New developments in financial technology, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology can also have a disruptive effect on the ability to provide client services to a high standard.

Future lawyers and recent legal graduates in Singapore must keep track of technological changes and evolving market trends as these impact clients and the business landscape.


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