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The Singapore Law Gazette

How AI is Transforming the Way Singapore Does Document Review

For over a decade, purpose-built AI has been infiltrating document review workflows, ushering in greater efficiency and cost reduction in litigation, investigations and dispute resolution. While manual review remains the status quo in Singapore at present, the imperative for AI-powered solutions has grown in response to the disruption of the changing size and shape of electronic evidence. However, there are lingering questions around the practical application of AI in the legal domain.

Almost overnight, the capabilities of generative AI have disrupted traditional practices by offering a new standard for how AI solutions address specific legal challenges, fostering increased efficiency, and promoting the need for transparency and responsible use across the legal industry worldwide. Its ability to generate content and insights has introduced unprecedented flexibility and adaptability, accelerated document review workflows and enriched the depth and breadth of analysis. The impact of this ground-breaking technology is evident as global companies continue to adopt and integrate this technology into their tech stacks and everyday workflows

Applying emerging technology like AI faces challenges without standardised regulations in place. However, governments worldwide are acknowledging the profound impact generative AI has made in our lives within a short span of time. The issues of regulation and legal ramifications persist as enduring considerations.

A notable progression is evident in the U.S. Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, representing a significant step forward in regulating AI usage. Governments universally are looking to this executive order for guidance, as it represents one of the first standards in the field. Singapore’s Approach to AI Governance emphasises the responsible and ethical use of AI, ensuring trust across all parties in the legal system.

AI functions in tandem with human expertise are reshaping the way we work. Law firms, compliance officers and in-house counsel leverage AI as a tool that enables their teams to focus on high-value tasks rather than tedious document reviews. By assigning AI to labour-intensive manual tasks, legal professionals can access critical insights more swiftly, fulfil their legal obligations, and alleviate the pressure associated with meeting tight deadlines.

The Evolution of AI and How It’s Defined Today

Law firms and legal institutions have already embraced AI for tasks such as contract analysis, legal research, document review and due diligence, significantly improving efficiency and accuracy.

Gino Bello, Senior Managing Director of FTI Consulting stated, “Document review over the past decade has primarily been used for large document populations” signalling the need for full AI adoption across all legal matters involving document review.

Today, legal teams are looking for an approach that accelerates the process of pinpointing key documents in a case — avoiding manual work and the threat of human error – and results in cost savings. Building on that, according to Bello another imperative consideration is that, “the process is acceptable by the courts and regulators worldwide.”

AI is Driving Cloud Migration

The rapidly unfolding impact of AI has spurred both companies and government agencies to migrate their operations to the cloud. By embracing cloud technology, organisations can securely capture, store and harness their data, leveraging advanced analytics and the latest AI innovations. In fact, most new AI applications, including generative AI, are largely dependent on the cloud.

Recent surveys, like the one conducted in the Australian public sector by Relativity, accentuated the significance of this trend, remarking 75% of government agencies expressed their intent to transition to cloud solutions in the next three years.

“Agencies are seeking to leverage the power, security and flexibility of cloud to be more data enabled and insights driven,” says Relativity’s APAC Government Advisor John Wallace, who was previously CDO and senior executive leader with Australia’s corporate regulator and has worked extensively with regulatory and law enforcement agencies in Australia and overseas.

Responsible AI

For law firms, legal consultants and customers to fully embrace and benefit from technological innovations, including feeling confident using AI, it is crucial that they prioritise standards, trust, and transparency. While Singapore does not have specific laws governing the use of AI, the introduction of responsible AI testing frameworks and toolkits like IMDA’s AI Verify and MAS’ “Principles to Promote Fairness, Ethics, Accountability, and Transparency (FEAT) in the Use of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics in Singapore’s Financial Sector” is a significant step, giving Singapore a head start on applying the new technology in the right circumstances.

These frameworks consider Singapore’s unique regulations and ethical considerations, helping organisations validate the performance of their AI systems through standardised tests. Partnering with technology vendors that prioritise responsible AI fosters trust among customers and sets a standard for ethical and transparent innovation in the field of legal technology.

Human-AI Collaboration

Embracing technological advancements is an inevitable and essential aspect of progress. Those who fail to evolve will struggle to manage workload and increasing volumes of electronic evidence. However, the ongoing discourse framing humans versus AI is somewhat misleading. Simply put, artificial intelligence cannot replace human intelligence.

What we are witnessing is the transformation of traditional roles. Integrating AI solutions into administrative and data-intensive tasks is crucial to thrive in today’s data-immersed environment. For instance, ChatGPT can provide an array of answers to various questions, but its knowledge is confined to what it is programmed to know. Although ChatGPT may sound eloquent, it can be factually incorrect due to outdated information or a misunderstanding of a question.

A comprehensive understanding and application of AI solutions in legal processes is increasingly essential for lawyers to perform their duties effectively. Given the rising volume and diversity of electronic evidence, document review workflows stand out as a prime area to realise tangible benefits from the responsible application of AI. With foundational knowledge and practical experience with AI, investigators can more quickly uncover facts, leading to faster dispute resolution.

However, the practical application of AI in legal contexts warrants careful considerations, especially in highly regulated industries like law. Cloud migration is pivotal to the success of AI adoption, ensuring both data security and continued innovation. Navigating the intricate web of responsibilities and regulations tied to these technological advancements is vital for aligning with the rigorous standards of the legal sector. Singapore’s AI governance framework has set the foundation for the responsible use of AI, ensuring ethical and transparent practices.

As we navigate the transformative landscape of AI in legal processes, the question becomes not only how can we adopt these innovations responsibly but also how can we strategically foster a collaborative environment that leverages the strengths of both human professionals and AI technologies to redefine the future of legal practices?


  1. Brittany Roush, “The White House Addresses Responsible AI: Key Takeaways for e-Discovery Teams” Relativity, (2023): Qualitative evidence representing a significant step forward in regulating AI usage for United States.
  2. “Singapore’s Approach to AI Governance.” Personal Data Protection Commission (January 2020): IMDA had developed AI Verify, an AI governance testing framework and a software toolkit.
  3. John Wallace, “AI drives public sector migration to cloud.” Government News,(2023): Qualitative data show that 75% of agencies expressed their intent to transition to cloud solutions in the next three years.
  4. “Singapore’s Approach to AI Governance.” Personal Data Protection Commission (January 2020): IMDA had developed AI Verify, an AI governance testing framework and a software toolkit.
  5. Ronald JJ Wong, “Can and Should We Rein in AI with Law?.” Law Gazette (July 2023): MAS’ “Principles to Promote Fairness, Ethics, Accountability, and Transparency (FEAT) in the Use of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics in Singapore’s Financial Sector”
  6. “Relativity’s AI Principles” (Relativity 2023) Relativity response to responsible AI.