Traditionally, the legal sector is regarded as laggards when it comes to using technology. However, Singapore is leading the pack in changing this conception about the legal industry.
FREMONT, CA: Singapore has always been identified as one of the most accessible markets to run a business. The stable and thriving commercial environment of the country provides a gateway to conduct business in the Asia Pacific Markets. Also, English being the most commonly spoken language makes it easier to incorporate the latest technology across any business without having to face the language barriers. The Singapore government's commitment to create a technology-driven nation attracts more investors to start their business here.
Traditionally, the legal sector is regarded as laggards when it comes to using technology. They are skeptical of technology and preferably stay away from its consequences. However, Singapore is leading the pack in changing this conception about the legal industry. Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of legal firms in Singapore, most of which are associated with legal tech services.
Globally, the legal tech market is estimated to be worth USD 15.9 billion. Legal tech solutions use a combination of data analytics and machine learning, to help lawyers with relevant cases and also predict probabilities of case outcomes. The use of legal tech enables law firms to improve their legal operations, with the use of tools like knowledge management solutions, matter management solutions, contract management solutions, practice management solutions, billing solutions, communication solutions, and collaboration solutions.
The Southeast Asian legal market consists over 24800 lawyers. Singapore ranks second among Southeast Asian nations in terms of population per lawyer ratio. The country also boasts of the largest legal tech ecosystem in this region with 25 legal tech firms. This is mainly due to the high concentration of multinational companies and law firms in Singapore. It has a legal market worth USD 2.1 billion and over 900 law firms.
The Future Law Innovation Program (FLIP), set up by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL), is a major contributing factor for the growth of legal tech in the country. This initiative, supported by the government, aims to drive innovation and encourage adoption of new technology across the legal sector. It has facilitated the use of dedicated co-working spaces to incubate legal technology startups. The initiative also enables virtual collaboration platforms for innovators in the legal industry.
The new generations of tech-savvy lawyers in Singapore have recognized that the legal industry has been stagnant for way too long and requires a redo. What was once regarded as a disruptive technology is now being identified as beneficial to the country's legal service sector. Law firms have realized that legal technologies drive efficiency in an organization. There has been an increase in the number of firms relocating their operations to Singapore. This can be attributed to the ripe nature of the market for legal technology entrepreneurs to test their innovative products.
It is well known that the Singapore government is committed to create a smart nation by harnessing the latest technology across all sectors. As a result, there is a growing importance for legal tech day by day. Singapore, with all its traits, has not just managed to attract more law firms to invest in their country, but also for the existing legal firms to adapt and develop.
Recently, the Singapore Ministry of Law, the Law Society of Singapore, Enterprise Singapore, and Infocomm Media Development Authority launched a new program worth SGD 3.68 million. This project is aimed to aid legal firms that use legal tech in their functioning. According to the scheme, there shall be 70 percent funding for the first year for companies that adopt baseline and advanced technology solutions into their business philosophy. It is aimed at incentivizing legal firms to incorporate legal tech into their business.
Besides, the country's Smart Nation Program also emphasizes on legal technology and manifests itself in initiatives such as the Community Justice Center's Self Help e Web as an online support center for litigants in person, who are not represented by a lawyer. With the current plan showing positive results, there is no doubt that there will be a significant leap in investment and resources attributed to legal technology in Singapore over the coming years.