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Our takeaways from Singapore's TechLaw.Fest 2019.

The KorumLegal team were a supporting partner of the 2019 TechLaw.Fest event held in Singapore last week represented by Founder & CEO Titus Rahiri, General Manager for Process & Tech, Bill Novomisle together with our newly expanded Singapore team of General Manager, Rob Shakespeare and Head of Client Solutions, Estefania Altuve

Key Takeaways

There were so many takeaways from a fantastic two days but a few that really stuck in the mind were a number of strongly felt and much-repeated messages from General Counsels (GC), including:

  • If clients and businesses are going digital, there is no way that lawyers cannot afford to do the same. If they do not, they simply won’t be able to keep up with the speed of business and will be a drag on revenue generation. One GC gave a great example of how through process optimisation they halved the contract negotiation and execution time frame which made a huge contribution to enterprise value.

  • If a business team requires instant fulfilment on the customer side, legal teams need to be able to do the same for their business team or client. That is a massive challenge for the industry but one that will need to be met; lawyers that do not will be left behind.

  • To meet shorter time frames, in-house teams will have to assume more legal work and therefore must explore ways in which process and technology can help them with this increased burden.

  • ‘Customer-centric’ should not just be a buzzword – it will become the baseline requirement of legal services. Traditional lawyering, whether in-house or private practice, is not customer centric.

  • Lawyers need to use data to inform decisions; old fashioned “gut feel” will no longer be enough.

  • Lawyers must actively develop and sharpen their non-legal skills so that they are able to operate at the intersection of law, business and technology. The so-called ‘T-Shaped Lawyer’ will be the lawyer of the future and it will be essential to establish a culture where this kind of lawyer can pursue and continually improve these skills.

  • Soft skills like adaptability, empathy and the ability to collaborate effectively are also extremely important.

More on the event itself

It was the second time the event has been held and with a significantly larger turn-out than last year and a stellar list of speakers and sponsors, it has now unquestionably positioned itself as a must-attend event on the SE Asian legal tech and innovation calendar. Attendees alongside KorumLegal included representatives from legal tech vendors (both large and small, domestic and international), government, regulators, incubators & accelerators, law firms, academia, journalists, law schools and commentators.

The title of this year’s event was “The Net Effect of Data: Commerce, Connectivity and Control” and amongst the various talks and discussions there was a healthy dose of data privacy and cyber security topics and the many related legal issues. The common thread throughout the event, however, were the themes of legal technology and innovation, and in particular, the digital transformation journeys that so many legal teams are embarking on. The diverse mix of participants from across the legal industry’s ecosystem led to some fantastic and thought-provoking presentations and discussions.

Bill Novomisle kicked off the KorumLegal thought 1-5leadership contributions on the opening morning by facilitating a discussion amongst a panel of private practice lawyers at a mix of international, local and boutique firms. It offered some interesting perspectives from lawyers’ own experiences of how technology is changing the way that they are working day to day, and in particular how many associate level lawyers are starting to think differently about the way they want to practice law.

Thursday afternoon saw the official launch by Justice Lee Seiu Kin of the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA), of which KorumLegal was invited to be a founding member. ALITA has been set up with the aim of promoting cross border collaboration and knowledge sharing across the space and KorumLegal is very excited to be a part of it.

2-4On Friday morning, Rob Shakespeare and Estefania Altuve were on stage for a fireside chat titled “Legal Tech & Innovation in SE Asia: Progress, Products and Predictions”. They ran through the various notable developments in the region, as well as picking out some of the challenges that both the sell side and the buy side are facing in the legal tech market. Rob also shared a few predictions around how legal technology is changing the way in which legal services are delivered and how new innovative ways of delivering those services are impacting on the traditional practice of law; as legal advisers are being forced to become a bit less like lawyers and deliver their advice in a faster, more customer-centric manner.

Finally, KorumLegal’s Founder & CEO, Titus Rahiri, was part3-1 of the conference-closing panel discussion excellently moderated by Mark Cohen, titled “Innovation journeys for in-house legal departments”. Titus and the GCs (including DBS and DXC Technologies) on the panel discussed their views on the way in which business needs are pushing legal teams to evolve and Titus shared some milestones from his own digital journey from private practice lawyer to general counsel and on to his motivations for founding KorumLegal.

All in all an absolutely fantastic event and one that KorumLegal is very proud to have been a part of.

We are already looking forward to next year!