Resistance to legal tech innovations in Malaysia — a threat to the rule of law?

 

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Image from growthbusiness.co.uk

Guest writer Pang Jo Fan—Head of Marketing & Communications at legaltech lawyer-discovery service CanLaw—presents his views on why Malaysia’s Bar Council should be encouraging the development and introduction of legaltech to ensure access to justice.

Of late, there has been a spike in legal technology startups in the Malaysian market providing innovative tech solutions to assist both the public and lawyers in their day-to-day legal needs. Other than the more veteran players such as eLawyer and OfficeParrots who have been tirelessly serving Malaysian law firms with their human resource needs, there are also recent players such as Lesys Tenancy (tenancy agreements), BurgieLaw (legal directory), Dragon Law (document drafting), EasyLaw (calculators for lawyers), Locum Legalis (MOB app) and, of course, CanLaw (lawyer-discovery).

Much has been said about the Bar Council’s denial of Dragon Law’s entry to the Malaysian market and the infamous lawsuit against Answers-In-Law. The Malaysian Lawyer also provided an insightful update on the said matters based on the report by the Legal Profession Committee dated 1 December 2016 contained in the 2016/17 Annual Report of the Malaysian Bar. As it stands, it appears that the legal industry remains rather cautious of any form of tech innovations that are being introduced into the profession, mostly due to the general misconception that technological innovations pose a threat to the livelihoods of law practitioners in the country.

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Bar Council finds BurgieLaw and Dragon Law in breach of Legal Profession Act; yet to decide on CanLaw

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[edit: Burgielaw has responded to this article to clarify matters: “Burgielaw.com wishes to clarify that, as of today, Bar Council has neither disapproved nor disallowed the application of Burgielaw.com.”]

In June 2016, TheMalaysianLawyer.com published an article titled “Malaysian Bar Council’s scrutiny of Dragon Law continues legal innovation debate”, written by Marcus van Geyzel.

The article was prompted by a report that the then Malaysian Bar President, Steven Thiru, had confirmed that Dragon Law‘s entry into the Malaysian market was being scrutinised. Do re-read that article for an analysis of the state of legal innovation in Malaysia at the time.

This article seeks to provide an update on the Bar Council’s stance on services in the innovative legaltech sphere—BurgieLaw, CanLaw (which was launched after the earlier article), and Dragon Law—based on the report by the Legal Profession Committee (“LPC”) dated 1 December 2016 contained in the 2016/17 Annual Report of the Malaysian Bar.

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A Bird’s-eye View of Drone Regulation in Malaysia

Our guest writer, Jillian Chia, shares her insight on the laws regulating the use of drones in Malaysia. Be aware of these laws.

You place an order for pizza on your smartphone. Minutes later you hear a ‘plop’ on your front lawn. Your pizza arrives! No ring of the doorbell, no pizza delivery man. Your late-night snack has arrived, delivered by an unidentified flying object. No, we are not talking about pizza delivery of an extra-terrestrial kind, but what could become a real possibility in the near future- food delivery by way of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or more commonly known as drones.

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The scenario described above is no fiction and has in fact taken place in November 2016 where a couple in Auckland received a Dominos’ peri-peri chicken pizza and a chicken and cranberry pizza by way of drone. Other contemplated uses of drones include package and postal deliveries (such as Amazon Prime Air), provision of internet connection to remote areas and for security purposes (such as a police patrol). Most recently in 2017, Google has also announced its ‘telepresence’ project involving use of drones in office buildings, to conduct virtual meetings.

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Axiata Arena: The 4 Sports Law Issues for Malaysia’s First Sponsored Stadium

Guest writers Richard Wee, Lesley Lim and Vincent Lim write on the ground-breaking corporate sponsorship deal for the Axiata Arena. They share on the 4 sports law issues that arise in this deal.

Introduction

Alongside the growth of the sports industry in recent times, there has been a trend for corporations and individuals of means to invest in sport stadiums through naming rights, a form of collaboration between two parties resulting in a company name being synonymous with a sporting team for a set period of time in exchange for a financial payment.

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England has the 02 Arena while Shanghai has the Mercedes Benz Arena. Now, Malaysia has its very own multi-sport stadium, the Axiata Arena. Axiata Group Berhad has secured the exclusive sponsorship to work jointly with the Malaysia Stadium Corporation (Perbadanan Stadium Malaysia) on the redevelopment, modernisation as well as the rebranding of the Putra Indoor Stadium to Axiata Arena, making a mark in history as Malaysia’s first corporate named stadium.

A 10-year agreement worth RM55 million between the Malaysia Stadium Corporation and Axiata Group Berhad has been reached. The Malaysia Stadium Corporation will continue to be responsible for the maintenance while other upgrades will be to the extent of which Axiata had agreed upon as per the terms and conditions of the agreement.

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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 released

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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 rankings were released on 9 November 2016.

The Legal 500 directory is widely viewed as the most prestigious legal rankings in the world, as the recommendations are based on work done, and feedback from clients and other lawyers worldwide.

The Malaysia section is divided into 13 sections, and the following is an excerpt of The Legal 500’s overview:

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Five Malaysian lawyers in Asia’s 40 Under 40

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Five Malaysian lawyers, including one of the co-founders of themalaysianlawyer.com, Marcus van Geyzel, have just been named in Asian Legal Business“Top 40 Under 40” of Asia’s lawyers for 2016.

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Moving In-House: 8 Things to Consider

Guest writer Lee Quin shares her thoughts of having moved from being an intellectual property lawyer in a law firm to a regional in-house legal counsel role. She gives advice on the 8 things to consider if you are thinking of making the move in-house.

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Just another typical working day for Quin

Starting Out

I started my career as an intellectual property and data protection lawyer in one of the top tier law firms in the country. My career path officially began when I was called to the Malaysian Bar aptly on the day the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010 came into force. On a day-to-day basis, I assisted with advising GLCs, FMCG companies, and Fortune 500 companies on intellectual property issues, IT and data protection matters, and everything else in between that largely dealt with technology.

One of the highlights of my career as a practising lawyer was the opportunity to advise a technology company on the viability and compliance of their business model in Malaysia, and to then go on to see it change the lives of Malaysians every day (this information is significant here, you’ll see why further along).

Immersing in Startup Culture

Sometime in 2015, I started to witness a trend amongst young lawyers. Many of my peers increasingly started to make the move from being a practising lawyer to either working in or building a startup. A black hole of curiosity with an unforgiving gravitational force started to emerge in my life and sucked me in.

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