In April 2018 Singapore Academy of Law organised yet another successful event with its Tech Law Fest meeting. Delegates from across the world gathered to hear about the latest developments in technologies relevant to all aspects of law and legal practice.
Tech Law Fest Meeting 2018
The conference programme included an introductory talk by Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, and an opening keynote from Ashton Addison, CEO and Founder of Eventchain International Smart Tickets. The main conference also hosted talks and panel discussions around themes such as the regulation of intelligent systems, the management of the digital economy, and many legal issues around the mass distribution of false information. In a series of fascinating presentations, a number of international experts reported on the latest developments in their countries, drawing on a huge breadth of experience covering many different industries and services.
The goal of the event was to showcase the latest innovations in technology for law and offer a welcoming space for legal professionals to update their knowledge, be inspired by the latest developments, and discuss both the technical and the social implications of the seismic technological change that is taking place at the present time. The organisers also ensured that CPD credits were available for participants, along with an opportunity to take part in a hackathon around the theme of privacy laws, data protection and the proper oversight of data flows within an organisation.
Other dimensions of the event included an exhibition space displaying information on some exciting innovations in the space of Legal Technology and a series of short tech talks. Speakers illustrated some of the potential that new technology has brought to the legal field or is likely to bring in the very near future. A special Venture Day on April 5th was devoted to value propositions from selected start-ups, with a focus on optimising access to legal systems and providing support for new projects that aim to improve the common good.
A vast array of new technology was described and discussed. The Tech of Law Seminar Series started with a review of current and future Legal Technology Adoption in ASEAN countries. Detailed aspects of legal research, document review and knowledge management tools were also examined. Key issues were identified with the help of examples from existing law firms and legal departments who are already engaging with digital systems and tools. All technologies that promote and develop legal infrastructure and solutions were welcomed.
One of the most promising new technologies that delegates discussed was the use of smart contracts with emerging blockchain functionality. It was acknowledged that smart contracts are already changing the way legally binding transactions are carried out in the world today, and yet the many implications of blockchain theory and cryptocurrency operations have not yet fully emerged. New technologies based on both Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, were discussed, along with some of the challenges and barriers to their application in day-to-day business transactions. Valuable experience on the adherence to privacy laws, scalability, distributed ledger transactions and other technical details were shared. This enabled delegates to enhance their understanding and take steps towards preparing their law firms and legal departments to become enablers of digital technologies in their own settings.
In summary, then, this Tech Law Fest Meeting 2018 offered a much-needed networking and sharing opportunity, positioning Singapore as a natural hub for innovation and improvement in the ASEAN legal industry. This event provided many insights to inform short- and long-term strategy, and to bring world-class thought and enhanced legal knowledge to this forward-looking part of the world.