“shaping Precedents: Legal Advocacy’s Benefits To Society” – It gives me great pleasure to be here this evening to address you as part of this illustrious conference; An occasion that calls on all of us to reflect on the current and anticipated interactions between technology, business and the law. And what a timely invitation it is because, at least in my view, technology will be the most powerful force reshaping our profession in the years to come.

Anyone doubting technology’s ability to transform an industry need only look back to the relatively recent past when everything was a bit slow. Letters were sent in envelopes with stamps, which today with some derision are called “snail mail”; It took some effort to find the answer; breaking news delivered to our doorstep; And we often get lost.

“shaping Precedents: Legal Advocacy’s Benefits To Society”

But these experiences are now in a sepia tinted past as our lives have been changed so extraordinarily by the internet that, some of you may be surprised to learn, it is only in its third decade of existence. It is remarkable to consider that what began as a modest proposal for an information management system is today an essential part of the global communications infrastructure.

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A more recent but less notable example of the transformative potential of technology is of course the smartphone. Think back to more than a decade ago and you’ll remember life a lot different without it. At that time, our mobile phones were just that; A device that we can use to make and receive calls on the go. But then came the iPhone in 2007 and it revolutionized our lives. Today, we can check the news, retrieve our email, access all kinds of information, take pictures, play music, plan routes, send messages to multiple groups, shop for a variety of goods, and even improve our quality of life. Rely on your smartphone to monitor. Sleep It’s truly remarkable, and while it may not have struck us immediately, just proves that technology can quietly change our experiences and expectations in ways we could never have imagined.

Against this backdrop, there is no reason for those of us in the legal community to think that these stories of the Internet and the iPhone will not do similar things to transform our operating environments at a catastrophic pace. As I hope to demonstrate in the remainder of this address, the profession is undergoing a sea of ​​change and the challenge before us is multifaceted and formidable. But my message to you is this: If we all begin to think deeply about the impact technology is having and will have on the law now, and if we don’t stop taking the necessary and perhaps painful steps to embrace these changes, hesitate. we can give ourselves a chance to secure a future in which we can continue to play an important role in the delivery of a vital public service.

Let me begin by outlining the changes happening all around us. I see this manifesting itself in at least three concrete ways.

The first is related to the massive dissemination of new products that have become available to all executors of the legal profession. Lawyers are being able to rely on a number of digitized programs to perform a variety of legal tasks. For example, in the area of ​​document review, advanced platforms such as Luminance can combine pattern-recognition algorithms, statistical analysis, and unsupervised machine learning to read, understand, and learn from past interactions between lawyers and documents. All of these capabilities allow the program to flag potential areas of concern in a contract with remarkable accuracy and experience has shown that it can cut the time required for contract reviews by up to 85%.

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Or consider the field of legal research. Several leading law firms internationally have already “hired” Ross, the world’s first “robot lawyer”, capable of understanding search queries in natural language, retrieving exact passages in question related examples, and ranking Relies on artificial intelligence to do that. Based on scoring them of their relevance. Judges are also becoming increasingly familiar with the availability of new technological tools in their jurisdictions. Compass Core is software that relies on algorithmic patterns to help sentencing judges assess an offender’s risk of reoffending, and it is already being employed in courtrooms in many parts of the US. Is. Whereas in China, speech recognition technology and two-way translation systems are just two ways in which technology is being used to facilitate court proceedings.

As far as consumers of legal services are concerned, they can now demand new products that seek to provide legal aid directly to them and, as I said in my response to the opening of this Legal Year, this has no doubt created a culture will lead to. “Self-sourcing” among members of the public. For example, OCBC Bank launched an online service here late last year to help Singaporeans prepare a will. Compared to hiring a lawyer for this purpose, which can cost anywhere from $100 to more, and maybe many times more, this online service is provided free of cost and users can complete the process of making a Will in just 10 minutes. enables completion. Another way that technology is making an impact on the legal profession is through the new players it has created. Many of us are familiar with “Alternative Legal Service Providers” or “ALSPs” who have broken the mold of the traditional legal service delivery model by leveraging technology. A highly instructive report on ALSP was published this year by Thomson Reuters in partnership with Georgetown University Law Center on Ethics, Oxford University’s Said Business School and UK-based legal research firm Acritas. It remarkably showed that, based on their total revenue, the size of ALSPs in North America and the UK increased by a quarter over the past two years. Independent legal process outsourcers such as the well-known Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer are the most typical of such ALSPs, but, importantly, they also include major accounting firms, who have perhaps the greatest potential to make significant inroads into legal services. market. Indeed, the largest accounting firms “spend more on technology and training each year than any law firm’s revenue combined”. It is surely only a matter of time before they “will be able to run an entire legal department through a managed service or outsourcing model”.

Finally, a third perspective from which we can appreciate the impact of technology on law is by looking at the new processes that are being adopted to facilitate wider access to justice and more efficient delivery. For example, UK courts are undertaking significant reform, with almost £1 billion being earmarked for a program that hopes to see most civil disputes resolved via online court by 2022.

In Singapore, the Community Justice and Tribunal System (“CJTS”), an online filing and case management system with dispute resolution capabilities, was first launched in July 2017 in small claims tribunals. The positive user experience there led to its introduction to the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal in February 2018 and the Employment Claims Tribunal in January this year. In fact, since the launch of CJTS till the end of February 2019, more than 1,700 claims filed in Small Claims Tribunals have been e-negotiated through the online platform, of which about 35% have reached an amicable settlement and this Kind of like parties have been saved a lot of time. and cost.

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Looking ahead, we are also aiming to launch an online dispute resolution platform for motor accident claims in phases during the coming year. To facilitate resolution of such claims at low cost, we expect the platform to have an outcome simulator and a means for parties to enter into an online settlement with each other without coming to court. Looking beyond the courts, private companies have also developed online processes to enable efficient resolution of disputes. An often cited example is eBay, which uses a tiered method to resolve disputes through online negotiation, online arbitration and, finally, e-adjudication.

From whatever angle you analyze our present situation, it is clear that the ground has shifted under our feet. Technology will continue to give rise to a multitude of new products, players and processes, and as it does so, the professional landscape we live in will evolve until, without warning, it reaches a point where is where it becomes completely unrecognizable from the past; Where, like our experiences with the Internet and the iPhone, we suddenly find ourselves entering an era of a new normal. Until then, the expectations of clients and how justice should be served and how legal services should be provided may be radically different from what we are accustomed to. that’s why I suggest to you it’s important that we become

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