Asia Law Network together with the Law Society of Singapore, the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association and our Australian Counterparts, AlphaCreates and ASEAN Legal Tech Association, co-hosted the 2-day event which saw lawyers from Singapore and within the region visiting some of Singapore‘s companies and law firms to exchange ideas, share progress and fostered relationships between countries.
The first roundtable took place at the Law Society of Singapore and saw prominent speakers from the legal landscape sitting on the panel discussing the topic: “Does the rise of NewLaw firms disrupt “traditional” legal services?”
Speakers for this roundtable include:
Faith Sing, Director, FS Law
Steven Liew, CEO, Cosmic Cafe
Deepesh Daya, Nexus Law Group
Peter Moran, Principal and Founder, Peer Legal
Julian Uebergang, Managing Director APAC, Neota Logic
Graeme Grovum, Principal, Alpha Creates (Moderator)
What is a NewLaw firm?
The term ‘NewLaw firm’ has been thrust into the limelight with the rising numbers of law firms coming up with unconventional ways to solve a conventional problem – the rapidly evolving industry coupled with the disruption of technology.
Traditional or BigLaw firms are said to be facing a surge of NewLaw firms offering competition and these firms can take on many forms. There is a concept of traditional law firms which have always charged by billable hours so time based charging in a fixed location. Lawyers are mostly salaried for the firm and anything that doesnt fit that structure is now termed NewLaw. There are however a lot of other processes that don’t fit into the traditional structure. Increasingly there other evolving law firms who are doing fixed fees and looking for ways to combat the changes. It was suggested that it can begin with simply allowing the lawyer to be remote and strive to be paperless.
Using ‘disruptive’ technologies are often the characteristic of NewLaw firms and these firms are highly receptive to the adoption of tech. Remote working is the new normal and flexibility is paramount. The remote working characteristic therefore calls for a leaner, client-focused team.
Impact on the industry
The biggest impact at the moment is the pricing of legal services in the industry. Law is one of the last industries in the world to go from pricing its input, to pricing its output, compared to most other sectors. The smaller law firms seem to be able to combat the impact better and more receptive to change.
The behaviour of consumers is changing as well, people tend to now google for a lawyer as they use google to solve all other problems they have, and firms will have to change how they market and deliver services. Clients now expect response via other avenues including Whatsapp or Telegram.
Technological disruptions can no longer be ignored or swept under the carpet. Law firm successes are often dependent on the means to adapt to keep up with changing needs and client behaviour, there is much for BigLaw firms to learn from the emerging law firms that deviate from the traditional structure.
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