The Legal Productivity and Innovation Department (LPI) of the Law Society of Singapore aims to
Increase Competitive Advantage
Promote technology adoption amongst law firms to increase productivity, efficiency and achieve a competitive advantage
Enhance Law Practice
Assist law firms with innovation and capability development initiatives to enhance their practices
Administer grants and subsidy schemes to support the cost of adopting productivity and capability development solutions for the law firms
We engage members by adopting the following 4-pronged approach:
Some of our initiatives include:
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1. Needs Analysis
(a) 2016 Legal Industry Needs Analysis
The Law Society collaborated with the Ministry of Law to embark on a detailed half year industry study in 2016 to understand business models and the level of technology adoption by small and medium sized law practices.
- One key finding was that there were good technology practices with proven impact: e.g. going paperless and running a virtual office reduced 66% of the operating costs; a shared database of precedents and past case knowledge had a 40-50% time saving for the lawyers
- One critical gap was in innovation: 95% of the participants did not experiment and innovate within their firms, citing lack of time and resources as barriers
- Another issue was the lack of business acumen: There was a need to equip the law practices with sharper commercial appreciation and new business capabilities including leveraging on technology as an enabler to competitiveness
(b) 2018 Legal Industry Technology Study
1. Legal Industry Technology Survey
To assess the current level of technology adoption amongst our law firms and to determine what further support should be rolled out for our members, a legal sector wide technology survey was commissioned by the Law Society of Singapore and supported by the Ministry of Law in 2018.
The study, which took place between May and August 2018, comprised two parts: 1) an online survey including 495 decision makers, end users (e.g. lawyers, legal secretaries, paralegals etc.) and technology personnel working in law firms and 2) focus group discussions with non-adopters of legal tech and high-adopters of legal tech.
2. In-House Counsel Technology Survey
Another online survey was commissioned by the Law Society together with the Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”) to assess the current landscape and demand for adoption of legal technology among in-house counsel teams in Singapore as well as in-house counsel’ considerations when engaging external law firms in Singapore. The survey received a total of 126 responses.
Click here for the Legal Technology Study summary report.
2. Capability Development
The purpose of the study trip to Sydney (31 July to 2 August 2018) was to learn about technology and innovation developments in Sydney’s legal landscape and best practices of legal practice management. We visited 4 award-winning law firms in Sydney – Allens, Salvos Legal, LegalVision and Nexus Law Group and sat in for a panel discussion organised by the Centre for Legal Innovation to hear “legalpreneurs” share their product features and latest industry trends and insights.
Two legal technology roadshows were held for legal tech vendors to showcase their products and services to our members. “The Law Society Technology Day” held on 8 July 2016, and the “Legal Technology Roadshow”, held on 27 & 28 March 2017, featured sharing of experiences and challenges by law firms in adopting technology. Vendors were also allowed to give talks on their products and engage with prospective clients.
In collaboration with legal technology vendors, the Law Society organises SmartLaw events and product training sessions covering a range of topics such as:
- The New Path to Legal innovation – Law, Technology & Collaboration by Law Switch
- The Lawyer vs Big Data – How Do We Make This Work? by LexisNexis
- Beyond Keywords: Making the Case for Visual Analytics in e-Discovery by NUIX
- “In the Face of Change, What’s Left for Lawyers to Do?”A Roundtable Session in collaboration with the Centre for Legal Innovation
This video provides an overview of the different types of legal technology available in the market.
3. Cost Management
This programme was developed together with the Ministry of Law and SPRING Singapore and launched on 1 March 2017. Singapore law practices looking to adopt technology to improve their productivity will receive funding support of up to 70% of the first-year cost of adopting technology products in practice management, online research and online marketing. Five technology products in these 3 areas were identified as basic technologies that would help law practices perform their essential day-to-day tasks more efficiently. Interested Singapore law practices could apply for funding support to use up to 3 of these solutions (i.e. one practice management system, one online legal research tool and one online marketing tool), depending on their needs. The scheme ended on 28 February 2018 with 143 successful Tech Start applications.
(b) SmartLaw Assist
SmartLaw Assist Round 1 was launched together with Tech Start for Law on 1 March 2017. Each Singapore law practice could apply for a 70% subsidy of the first-year subscription fees of one out of three approved online knowledge databases.
Following the successful first run of the SmartLaw Assist scheme which saw 80 successful applications, the second run of the scheme commenced on 4 April 2018 and ran until 29 June 2018. The focus of SmartLaw Assist Round 2 was on niche products and greater offerings for the medium-sized law firms. Each Singapore law practice could apply for a 60% subsidy of the first-year subscription fees of one of the approved online knowledge databases. There were 35 successful applications.
4. Marketing Advantage
We aim to provide law firms who have adopted technology to improve productivity and increase business capabilities with a marketing advantage under the SmartLaw certification scheme. The certification aims to give recognition to law practices which have 1) adopted a practice management or accounting software; 2) an online knowledge database; and 3) have an online presence (whether through a marketing portal or their own dedicated website) by allowing them to display a “SmartLaw” logo on their websites and marketing collaterals.