Last month was another busy but exciting month. We co-organised the 6th edition of the International Conference of Legal Regulators (“ICLR”) with the Ministry of Law which took place at the Carlton Hotel from 5 to 6 October 2017. This was the first ICLR held in Asia and we hosted regulators from many jurisdictions including England & Wales, Australia, Canada, United States, Qatar, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Scotland and Hong Kong.
The theme for the Conference was “Legal Regulation in a Borderless World: Building Networks”, apt in the context of an evolving regulatory environment. Rapid technological development, globalisation, competition, new business models and other trends have impacted legal services across jurisdictions. In this increasingly borderless and complex regulatory landscape, regulators who attended the Conference recognised that they would benefit from adopting multi-level, global regulatory strategies. The Conference served as a platform to build collaborative networks and exchange views on emerging trends and issues such as the evolving roles and responsibilities of legal regulators, legal regulation in the age of data, risk-based regulation of lawyers, and disruption in the legal profession by automated/semi-automated online delivery of legal services. Best practices in relation to recurring considerations such as the wellbeing of lawyers and ways to ameliorate the stigma of mental illness, as well as the role of regulators in initiating and implementing access to justice schemes, were also shared at the Conference.
Lord Keen of Elie QC, Advocate General for Scotland and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice in the UK House of Lords was the Distinguished Guest Speaker of the Conference and in his speech on Day 2, succinctly summarised the success factors that placed both Singapore and London among the “premier league” of litigation and arbitration centres worldwide – legal certainty, a pool of outstanding lawyers and recourse to a respected judiciary. The Law Society of Singapore is proud to be the representative body and the guardian of standards for this pool of outstanding lawyers!
Law Society Pro Bono Services was officially launched at the Just Jubilee “Fun & Fair for All” fundraising carnival held on 7 October at the NUS Bukit Timah Campus. Despite the wet weather, all those who attended enjoyed the food, games, music and many other exciting activities. It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase various F&B establishments founded by fellow lawyers, such as Advocakes & Solicitarts, Udders and The Muffinry. Special mention goes to Mr Wong Meng Meng SC, past President of LSS, fully qualified barista and coffee connoisseur extraordinaire for volunteering to make latte art for a good cause at the Bettr Barista stall. Participants were also treated to a musical extravaganza at the Class Act Band Competition, with performances by full-time lawyers and part-time rockers. Congratulations to the joint-winners – “Guilty As Charged” and “NERF”!
We are grateful to all our donors and would like to express our appreciation to The Honourable Justices Tan Siong Thye, Vinodh Coomaraswamy and Debbie Ong for gracing the event. Last but not least, we would also like to thank the Just Jubilee Organising Committee led by Mr Tito Isaac, the National University of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and everyone else who contributed to the success of the event in one way or another.
The Annual General Meeting (”AGM”) of the Law Society was held on 11 October 2017 at 6pm at the NTUC Business Centre. The motions to confirm minutes of the previous AGM 2016, to receive the Annual Report for the period from 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017 and to receive the Audited Accounts of the Law Society of Singapore for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 were all duly carried. You can find the Annual Report of 2017 at https://www.lawsociety.org.sg/Portals/0/AboutUs/AnnualReport/2017/The_Law_Society_of_Singapore_Annual_Report_2017.pdf.
On the technology front, we have received 104 applications for Tech Start for Law as of 21 November 2017. The scheme will end on 28 February 2018. Baseline technology aside, Luminance, an AI platform that has the ability to read and understand legal documents in any language, and find significant information and anomalies without any instruction, has been adopted by Rajah & Tann Asia as well as WongPartnership LLP. It is expected to transform the way lawyers conduct transactional work in the fields of M&A and IPO due diligence. In addition, WongPartnership LLP became the first major Singapore headquartered law firm to adopt Contract Express, an advanced document automation technology from Thomson Reuters. If you are interested to find out more about how technology can transform your law practice, please contact [email protected].