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3 key takeaways from TechLawFest 2018

3 minute read

Did you make it along to the inaugural TechLawFest this year? If you didn’t, don’t worry. We took notes so that we could give you our three main takeaways and you could look smart at the watercooler.

#1. The future: Lawyers might still be around, but you’ll do a lot of work with non-lawyers.

When you go to a hospital for medical help these days, 90% of the work is done by non-doctors such as nurses, lab technicians, and orderlies. But at the end of the day, it’s the doctor that sits down with you, processes all the data points, and tells you the diagnosis and what your treatment plan should be.

Tomorrow’s legal profession could look the same (hat tip to Duc Trang for the analogy).  You may go to your lawyer for complex work, but simpler transactions will be templated, productised, commoditised, and outsourced to people who aren’t charging $600/hour.

Company incorporation and company secretary work is a great example of this – you don’t need to pay law firm rates to incorporate a company ranked one of the easiest places in the world to do business. Other internal processes that are ripe for technology include document automation and assembly, shared online workspaces

#2. People are expecting more for less.

Related to the above point – firms can no longer get away with inflated and opaque pricing structures.  Whether it’s through electronic document review that can do due diligence in seconds (like Pactly), or free templates for common company actions (like Simmonds Stewart), law firms will need to review their approach.  We expect firms to either build or partner with technology solutions that can make them more efficient such that they can lower their price-point and retain their margins.

#3. Don’t be distracted (or intimidated!) by the new shiny thing – tech is the means not the end

Using technology is not necessarily a shortcut to success.  Businesses should take care to define and scope their problems and ensure that the technology will actually provide the solution. This really resonated with us – we want to provide our clients with efficient, seamless service – the ‘how’ just happens to use the latest technology (#humblebrag) to do that.

All in all, not a bad ‘Fest! There were some great discussions and light thrown on some cool areas of innovation that will really revolutionise the legal scene in Singapore – a particularly conservative market in an already conservative industry.  As they say, watch this space.

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