Legal Technology (or “LegalTech”) is technology that enables a legal services provider to better provide value to any person involved in understanding or applying the law. It can range from traditional legal research platforms and e-Filing systems, to Smart Contracts and Document Proofreading Software with Natural Language Processing algorithms.
TYPES OF LEGAL TECHNOLOGIES
Automated Contract Generation
Due Diligence Software
e-Legal Research Tools
Knowledge/Practice Management Software
Legal Business Consultancy Services
Marketplace for Legal Services
Online Dispute Resolution Platforms
AUTOMATED CONTRACT GENERATION
Existing software for automated contract generation are mostly web-based, and are based upon a questionnaire style system. This means that each answer (by the user) to a questionnaire prompts a different series of follow-up questions to tailor the final document to the user’s specific needs. In turn, this provides a larger, more customisable logic tree than one focused on only a single practice area.
With increasing digitisation and virtualisation, law firms and consumers of legal services are also increasingly at risk from cyber attacks. In addition, should these companies not take reasonable precautions to safeguard personal data, they could also find themselves in breach of the EU’s GDPR, or Singapore’s PDPA. For these reasons, there is an increasing need for law firms to procure cybersecurity solutions to safeguard sensitive information.
DUE DILIGENCE SOFTWARE
For law firms, a key part of opening a new client’s file is to conduct a conflict search, to ensure that the law firms is not caught in a conflict of interest when acting for the prospective client. Law firms also conduct extensive due diligence checks regarding conflicts, anti-money laundering and other regulatory requirements. Due diligence software assist firms in search for important information relating entities and persons related to them.
Electronic discovery (or e-discovery) helps law firms to identify relevant content and provides information oversight in legal cases. E-discovery solutions automate the e-discovery process, which is outlined in the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (“EDRM“) diagram. They are essential to managing the ever-changing nature of e-discovery processes. E-discovery processes change as litigation progresses.
E-LEGAL RESEARCH TOOLS
KNOWLEDGE/PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
e-Legal research tools essentially allow lawyers to access legal materials – be they case law, legislation, parliamentary debates, regulatory information, or even information about clients and opposing parties – to be done entirely online, in the comfort of one’s office (or home). Electronic legal research was conventionally done through boolean searches (with a user requiring a basic understanding of logic-based connectors).
Knowledge or practice management software address two key needs of
the legal professional: (a) consolidating the information of the law firm, and
(b) helping lawyers make sense of
the information so that lawyers are able to use the information more effectively. Such software address
these needs by categorising, consolidating and assisting in the management of a law firm’s information databases.
LEGAL BUSINESS CONSULTANCY SERVICES
Legal analytics software provide data analytics solutions specifically for the legal industry. Leveraging on data analytics, such software analyse documents for various insights, including potential legal risks, predictions of success, patterns in court rulings, etc. Legal analytics could also be used together with automated contract generation and document assembly to provide insights to best draft documents for a client.
Legal business consultancy services assist law firms and consumers of legal services in understanding and strategising the procurement of legal technology solutions. Some consultancy services also offer advice to in-house counsel regarding tools that assist in compliance management and workflow-monitoring. Such services are more targeted towards SMEs and new law firms through the incorporation of LegalTech.
MARKETPLACE FOR LEGAL SERVICES
ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PLATFORMS
Marketplaces for legal services connect potential clients with lawyers through an app or an online portal. In so doing, they streamline the process of finding a suitable lawyer. They often provide a searchable list of available and suitable lawyers. The client simply selects the preferred lawyer. The marketplace then acts as a middleman to connect the client with the lawyer.
In general, most ODR platforms cover mediation and arbitration service. Some platforms even offer a hybrid “med-arb” (mediation-arbitration) model of dispute resolution. ODR platforms allow the mediator to send documents electronically through the platform, conduct virtual meetings with each party and sign settlement agreements electronically.
There are numerous applications of smart contracts in different industries globally, such as real estate, insurance, and simplified contract generation services. The main advantage of smart contracts is that it leverages on blockchain technology, which means that the middle man is removed from the deal such that more nuanced processes can be automated.
LEGAL TECH COMPANIES IN SINGAPORE
Rajah & Tann Technologies