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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Are legal career fairs becoming irrelevant?

The mid-year months of June to August are traditionally popular periods for legal career fairs in Malaysia. During these months, law students are either on a break in between semesters, or on their summer holidays before the start of the new school year.

In recent years, there has been a notable decline in interest in these legal career fairs. Employers who have been participating in these events started noticing a few years ago that the number of attendees was beginning to drop. After some time, we are now seeing employers beginning to lose interest too, and the number of law firms and other employers who are willing to spend on taking up spaces at legal career fairs have reduced dramatically.

The failure of the most recent legal career fair in Kuala Lumpur — the Bar Council’s “Legal Expo” (LEXPO) on 30 July — is a perhaps extreme example of this trend.

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Have coffee with The Malaysian Lawyers!

Careers website Office Parrots are kicking off a new ‘OP Kopi’ feature, and the founders of The Malaysian Lawyer have the honour of being the first invited guests.

It’s an opportunity for law students or recent law graduates to meet us (Lee Shih and Marcus van Geyzel) for a chat over coffee. Edited: Due to popular demand, this event has now been moved to Saturday 23 April 2016 at 11am.

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Law firm job applications and interviews — bootcamp with Office Parrots

On 29 September 2015, I was the featured speaker at a Career Kickstarter Bootcamp, organised by Office Parrots at Brickfields Asia College.

The two-hour event attracted a full-house crowd, made up of students pursuing their law degree and CLP.

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Speaking at the Office Parrots Career Kickstarter Bootcamp on 1 December

I will be speaking at Wisma HELP on 1 December at the Office Parrots Career Kickstarter Bootcamp. This is only open to HELP University students. Will be speaking with my friend and former colleague, Jeff Cheong, of Kaodim.

help event

I am looking forward to sharing my experience and perspective as an employer reading through applications from law graduates and interviewing them.

What will grab an employer’s attention in the first few seconds of reading a cover letter or CV? What makes an employer want to call an applicant in for an interview? How do you prepare for the interview?

After the event, I will share on themalaysianlawyer.com some of my thoughts and tips as well.