Spotlight on Tech-celerate for Law: Breaking the Mould and Giving Back
Singapore Law Practices today face far more challenges than before. Despite this, the opportunity exists to be bold and reward those that venture out.
Thankfully, schemes like Tech-celerate for Law and its predecessor, Tech Start for Law in 2017, have been designed to help Singapore Law Practices adopt the right platform for their practice and provide funding support.
In this article, we share how two Singapore Law Firms have taken broad steps to advance on their own paths, broken the mould and built community-service focused firms.
We first speak with Mr Eugene Low from Ark Law Corporation, an individual who has learnt to thrive as a legal professional and who recognises the importance in giving back to the society.
What it means to be a good lawyer
Eugene started his career at the Disputes Department in Tan Kok Quan Partnership specialising in Commercial Litigation and Restructuring & Insolvency, where he grew to love his job.
“The years at the firm helped shape my outlook on what it means to be a good lawyer – not merely as a competent advocate but also as a responsible and ethical member of the profession.”
Top-notch work, and a vessel for giving back
“After much consideration, I believed I had a different calling, one that would guide me for the next 15 to 20 years. I wanted to build a firm known for top-notch commercial work that would also consciously devote itself to giving back – to society and to the community. When I was younger, my family went through difficult times and our parents had to take on tough jobs to feed and raise the four of us. We would not have been able to come this far without the support structures Singapore has built as a society, and the generosity of people who decided to give back.”
“Ark Law has allowed me to continue my work in church and with Justice Without Borders, an NGO that helps foreign domestic workers with cross-border civil claims after they return to their home country.”
“It is a priority that we ride the waves of disruption in the legal industry and heed the Ministry of Law’s call for law firms, especially the smaller ones, to be future-ready. The volume of work has been tremendous, and it would not have been possible without the help of technology and the productivity solutions that Ark Law has adopted.”
Eugene also shared the evolving nature of work the firm is involved in, echoing the need to be ready for today and tomorrow.
“It’s interesting to see how the nature of legal work has undergone continuous evolution. We have seen ourselves involved increasingly in matters and industries with “tech-forward” elements – these include matters involving cryptocurrency, binary options trading and online travel reservation.”
Ark Law Corporation applied for the Tech-celerate for Law scheme to adopt CoreMatter and NetDocuments to form the firm’s practice and document management systems in 2019. This has allowed the firm to go largely paperless and reduce time spent on invoicing and administrative matters.
Mr Muslim Albakri from Albakri LLC took the opportunity to share with us how technology has played a major role in allowing the firm to deliver high-quality yet accessible legal services. Part of the firm’s ethos is to include regular interactions with the community, and empowering organisations that provide support and help.
Eschewing the traditional law firm model
Embracing digitalisation and innovative technology solutions
Muslim shared his motivation towards building his own practice, after a number of years in a mid-sized boutique commercial litigation law firm.
“Albakri LLC was birthed from a desire to create a more accessible and cost-effective legal experience, while maintaining high standards of service and work deliverables.”
Even before its inception, the firm wanted to pride itself as an early adopter of legal technology.
Doing more with less
Employing digital resources such as CoreMatter has resulted in greater efficiencies and productivity. It allows the firm to operate with minimal manpower support.
“Keeping our costs low has enabled us to pass on such cost savings to our clients and make high quality legal services accessible to everyone.”
One of the firm’s first decisions was to implement CoreMatter, a one-stop practice management platform that integrates workflow, invoicing and accounting processes with the help of the Tech-celerate for Law scheme.
“The Verlata team, who implement CoreMatter in Singapore have been extremely responsive and a pleasure to work with. An added benefit to the platform is its ability to grant our external service providers restricted access to relevant information easily and without delay.”
“Given that CoreMatter is a Practice Management Solution offered under the Tech-celerate for Law scheme, that makes it a natural and obvious choice for newly incorporated law practices.”
The community and support
“One of the clear benefits of incorporating my own firm is autonomy in the planning and usage of my time. We wanted to define the firm’s character as one that provides a layer of support to the community.”
One such opportunity came in the form of training sessions for case offices and volunteers of the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) carried out in conjunction with Justice Without Borders.
The training session focused on the frontline services that FAST provides for foreign domestic workers and ended with a case clinic where participants had the opportunity to discuss the types of issues and problems encountered in real-life cases. FAST is a non-government organisation that aims to enhance the future employability of foreign domestic workers by providing them with vocational training and professional skill programmes.
“It was a privilege to help FAST, understand the work that they do and a bonus to learn that the organisation provides support in the form of pro-bono legal service and humanitarian assistance.”
Albakri LLC adopted CoreMatter as its practice management system through the Tech-celerate for Law scheme in 2019.
The Tech-celerate for Law Scheme is an initiative by the Law Society of Singapore, the Ministry of Law, Enterprise Singapore and the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) to enable Singapore Law Practices to adopt pre-approved legal technology solutions to strengthen their capabilities and increase their competitiveness. Eligible firms can select from 7 pre-scoped solution categories and receive up to 70% funding support for the first year of adoption.
For more details: https://www.lpi.lawsociety.org.sg/tech-celerate-for-law/
Verlata Consulting specialises in the implementation of legal technology platforms for private practice law firms and corporate legal departments across the Asia Pacific region. These include practice management systems, document management systems, business improvement software.
Verlata is represented in the Tech-celerate for Law scheme as an approved vendor in both the baseline and advanced categories:
- Practice Management Systems: CoreMatter
- Document Management Systems: NetDocuments
- Document Review Software: Litera Microsystems (Contract Companion, DocXtools Companion, Clause Companion)