Malaysian Bar Council’s scrutiny of Dragon Law continues legal innovation debate

Legal innovation in Malaysia image

On 1 June 2016, legal startup Dragon Law announced its entry into the Malaysian market, with a promotional launch offer of free access to their suite of legal documents for a limited time. Dragon Law first launched in Hong Kong in January 2015, and in Singapore in the second half of 2015.

For now, users in Malaysia will be able to find and customise legal documents, sign and share the documents electronically, and organise and store these documents in the cloud. Users in Hong Kong and Singapore have access to various other services, including personalised training, access to a legal drafting help desk and legal clinics, invitations to seminars and events, and legal support from the Dragon Law team and their network of lawyers. The subscription packages for Malaysia have not been announced, but the pricing in Singapore starts at SGD175 per month.

On 12 June 2016, a story in The Star (Legal start-up’s services scrutinised by Malaysian Bar) reported that Dragon Law‘s entry into Malaysia has come under the scrutiny of the Malaysian Bar. It was reported that Malaysian Bar President Steven Thiru has confirmed that Dragon Law‘s services were being studied.

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Law for startups — the complete series

The Law for Startups series based on the content of my workshop at the Malaysian Global and Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is now complete.

It’s a basic introduction to legalities for startup founders, which also applies to small business owners.

My “Law For Startups” workshop at MA2015.

You can access the slides here.

This is the full list of posts on The Malaysian Lawyer:

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Law for startups — look out for common contractual landmines

This post is the final post in a series based on my Law for Startups workshop at MaGIC in September 2015. It’s a basic introduction to legalities for startup founders. You can access the slides here.

Read the earlier posts for context:

  1. Law for startups in Malaysia — building on the best foundations.
  2. The legal landscape in Malaysia for startups — a hybrid of traditional corporate practices and Silicon Valley models.
  3. Choosing the right business vehicle for your startup or small business in Malaysia.
  4. When should a startup hire a lawyer?
  5. Oversights which could destroy your startup or small business.
  6. The dangers of using “standard” or template legal documents.
  7. How startups can strive for clarity in contracts.

Having discussed in the above posts some principles which startups and small businesses should bear in mind when dealing with legal documentation, this post will address some of the more common contractual landmines — practical tips on some specific terms and conditions to look out for.

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How startups can strive for clarity in contracts

This post is a part of a series based on my Law for Startups workshop at MaGIC in September 2015. It’s a basic introduction to legalities for startup founders. You can access the slides here.

Read the earlier posts for context:

  1. Law for startups in Malaysia — building on the best foundations.
  2. The legal landscape in Malaysia for startups — a hybrid of traditional corporate practices and Silicon Valley models.
  3. Choosing the right business vehicle for your startup or small business in Malaysia.
  4. When should a startup hire a lawyer?
  5. Oversights which could destroy your startup or small business.
  6. The dangers of using “standard” or template legal documents.

A couple of posts ago, I explained the importance of bringing all the issues to the surface when reviewing contracts. This post will explain how to strive for clarity in contracts.

Turn to clear image.
Turn to clear vision.

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The dangers of using “standard” or template legal documents

This post is a part of a series based on my Law for Startups workshop at MaGIC in September 2015. It’s a basic introduction to legalities for startup founders. You can access the slides here.

Read the earlier posts for context:

  1. Law for startups in Malaysia — building on the best foundations.
  2. The legal landscape in Malaysia for startups — a hybrid of traditional corporate practices and Silicon Valley models.
  3. Choosing the right business vehicle for your startup or small business in Malaysia.
  4. When should a startup hire a lawyer?
  5. Oversights which could destroy your startup or small business.

Template and automated legal documents are increasing in popularity.

For years there have been many websites offering standard contracts for download. Most of these have a US/European law focus, but the past couple of years have seen some similar services launched in Asia.

Some of these websites offer a very comprehensive collection of legal documents which address the needs of startups and small businesses in particular — everything from NDAs to equity investment agreements are available for download, usually with a fee.

Say no to cookie-cutter contracts.
Say no to cookie-cutter contracts.

My cover slide for this part of the workshop reads: “Be very very very very careful when using standard contracts” — I’m not sure whether I should have added a few more ‘very’s to statement.

Business owners should be extremely cautious when using these legal documents.

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The complete series: DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — the end of lawyers?

We’ve come to the end of the series of posts based on my presentation at The End of Lawyers, the Future of Law, which was the launch event for the Collective of Applied Law and Legal Realism.

Those who think you can complete a conveyancing transaction without a lawyer please raise your hands.
Those who think you can complete a conveyancing transaction without a lawyer please raise your hands.

My overall conclusion is that obviously conveyancing lawyers aren’t going to be redundant anytime soon, but I’m hopeful for changes which will make the conveyancing process less of a maze. Certainty and clarity will be good for everyone (including lawyers).

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Ideating the future — how DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions can become the new reality

This post is the final post in the series.

Please read the following earlier posts for context:

  1. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — can we really do it without lawyers?
  2. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — why some people think you don’t need lawyers in a sale and purchase of property.
  3. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — understanding the basics of a sale and purchase property.
  4. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — sale and purchase and loan agreements.
  5. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — time for a reality check.

From what we’ve discussed so far, it’s obvious that currently the ideal is very far from reality.

The conveyancing ecosystem in Malaysia means that a non-lawyer intending to complete a sale and purchase agreement without a lawyer will end up entering a maze. It’s dangerous, it’s complicated, and it’s impossible.

Ideating the future of a conveyancing transaction.
Ideating the future of a conveyancing transaction.

I’m sure that the organisers know this — that “DIY conveyancing” isn’t possible now. But the purpose of the project is to ideate solutions for the future.

What needs to change for DIY conveyancing to be possible? Hopefully CALR and others can come up with some solutions. Here are my quick thoughts before everyone gets to ideating.

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