The #LexTech17 conference — exploring the impact of legal tech and innovations on legal practice

The LexTech Conference 2017 — Malaysia’s first legal tech conference, which aimed to raise awareness on legal tech and to promote technology adoption — was held on 4-5 November 2017. Among the legal tech experts and innovators, lawyers, general counsel, and other interested parties who assembled from all over Asia, was our own intrepid reporter Janice Tan Ying. She prepared this report on what she managed to glimpse of the future of law. You can read our other coverage via the #LexTech17 tag.

‘Blockchain’, ‘Smart Contract’, ‘NewLaw’. Dubbed the ‘uberisation’ of legal services — is this just fleeting hype, or are these new legal tech trends here to stay? If it is the latter, will it disrupt the livelihoods of legal practitioners, or enable lawyers to enhance their practice? While these buzzwords may sound like gobbledygook (read: tech jargon) to the everyday lawyer, talk about impending ‘disruption’ in the legal industry is rife.

According to Malaysian Bar President George Varughese, “legal technology is still somewhat an enigma in this region”. He said this during his welcoming address at #LexTech17 — the inaugural LexTech Conference 2017 which took place on 4-5 November 2017 in Cyberjaya. He also added — “Some of us know it well and welcome it with an embrace but many of us are threatened by its penetration and understandably so. It’s disruptive, it’s innovative and it’s necessary.”

Image 1 Malaysian Bar President George Varughese delivering the conference welcoming address
Malaysian Bar President George Varughese delivering the conference welcoming address | Photo credit: CanLaw Asia

Jointly organised by CanLaw Asia and Brickfields Asia College (BAC), the two-day conference saw the region’s leading legal practitioners and legal tech innovators come together to share their ideas and solutions on legal innovation. Topics that were discussed throughout the expert panel and breakout sessions on both days centred around four issues: The role of regulators and accelerators in legal innovation, blockchain and smart contracts, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal research, and how legal practitioners can future-proof their practice.

The following are four key themes from the conference:

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5 things I learned from pupillage that law school didn’t teach me

Guest writer Janice Tan Ying has recently completed her pupillage, and has been retained as an Associate in one of the most well-regarded tax teams in Malaysia.

Call to the bar
An exuberant and fresh-faced Janice on the day of her Call to the Bar of England & Wales, before commencing pupillage in Malaysia. Post-pupillage photo not supplied for comparison of exuberance or freshness of face.

Pupillage. The budding legal eaglet’s nine-month rite of passage (read: baptism of fire) into a career at the Bar.

These nine months will shape and mould your career and personal development. Your pupillage period may be the springboard towards a flourishing legal career, or one that will (gasp shock horror!) turn you off practice permanently.

These are the five key takeaways that I have gleaned from my pupillage journey. They are by no means hard and fast rules, but are my personal take on some of the usual ‘how to’ advice dished out by lawyers.

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