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Singapore Ministry of Law launches Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap

Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap

Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap to promote innovation, technology adoption and development in Singapore’s legal industry

The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) launched the Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap (TIR) today, outlining its plans to promote innovation, technology adoption and development in Singapore’s legal industry in the next decade. The full report can be found below.

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. (Refer to Annex A for more details.) 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.

Speaking at the launch of the TIR at TechLaw.Fest 2020, Minister for Community, Culture and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong SC said:

“Technology is disrupting the delivery of legal services. It has been for some time, but is accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our legal industry needs to be nimble and quick to adapt to the changing environment. It is important for our legal industry to recognise key global and legal industry trends, and take stock of important LegalTech solutions. We hope that the Technology and Innovation Roadmap will be useful in guiding law practices in their journey of technology adoption.”

About the TIR

The TIR is the result of ongoing engagement efforts with industry, first sparked off by results of a 2018 survey conducted by LawSoc, which solicited views on the future of LegalTech and its relevance to Singapore law firms. The majority of respondents saw technology to be crucial to the future development of the profession and the sector. The full survey findings can be found in Annex B.

Since then, MinLaw embarked on an effort to understand industry perspectives and draw up plans to address the industry’s demand for thought leadership and ecosystem development in technology and innovation. In addition to frequent industry engagements, MinLaw conducted a series of deep-dive workshops facilitated by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) beginning from April 2019. 90 participants from across the legal industry and related sectors came together to explore four key questions that inevitably arise when considering how the legal innovation ecosystem in Singapore should be developed:

  • Global trends shaping the legal industry;
  • Impact on legal services;
  • Ops-Tech solutions to mitigate or take advantage of such trends; and
  • How the Government can support adoption and development of solutions.

Further research and consultations were then conducted with industry players at the forefront of legal innovation, to validate the workshop findings and sharpen ideas into initiatives.

Annex A: MinLaw’s Legal Industry Digitalisation Initiatives

Tech Start for Law
  • A programme to provide funding support for baseline solutions.
  • Launched by MinLaw in 2017 in partnership with the Law Society of Singapore and Enterprise Singapore, and concluded in February 2018.
  • $2.8 million of funding support.
  • In total, 115 Singapore Law Practices collectively adopted 143 units of technology solutions under the programme. 99% of these Singapore Law Practices were small and medium firms.
Tech-celerate for Law
  • An expanded programme providing funding support for advanced solutions, on top of the baseline solutions covered under Tech Start for Law.
  • $3.68 million of funding support.
  • Launched in 2019 in partnership with the Law Society of Singapore, Enterprise Singapore, and the Infocomm and Media Development Authority.
  • The end-date of the programme has been extended from 1 May 2020 to 15 January 2021, and support increased from 70% to 80% to aid firms in their digitalisation and business continuity plans.
  • As of mid-September 2020, a total of 118 Singapore Law Practices have collectively adopted 156 units of technology solutions under the programme.

Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap

Singapore Ministry of Law — Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap

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