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Asian Innovation in the Legal Industry

Asian Innovation in the Legal Industry


Across Asia-Pacific, lawyers are turning their attention to innovative legal ideas and strategies.  Transforming the legal industry and a focus on building the industry in the Asia-Pacific area are important steps for innovating global law.  Implementing strategies including how to recast a lawyer from an adviser to one of a strategic business partner will be key to become an innovative legal partner in Asia-Pacific.


The legal framework is a fast-changing industry but in Asia-Pacific, signs point that lawyers there are much more innovative than those in Europe or the Western world.  In India, larger firms are beginning to dominate the industry, as opposed to smaller, family-owned practices.  Instead of being viewed as an over-paid scribe, lawyers are becoming an integral part in all types of industry.  In fact, six of the top 25 firms are in the Asia-Pacific region, showcasing their ability to innovate.  In Singapore, where becoming a lawyer was akin to a blue-collar workers, times are changing.  Modern, reputable, and well-known firms are making their way up the ladder in Singapore, including the four largest Japanese firms.


Asia-Pacific continues to boast some of the world’s most important economies and with that distinction comes unique and challenging legal issues.  A big concern is how to connect Western and European investors to businesses in Asia.  Ambitious law firms are now assisting Asian economies, particularly China, with its drive to internationalize its currency, a unique challenge that requires an innovative response.  Law and tech are combining in a very unique way and technology innovations will surely digitize law.  A well-known innovation to the field is LegalZoom – an online portal that’s easy to use and provides users with tips and advice, as well as the ability to create their own legal documents.


But, what about other innovations influence by technology? Legal startups in Asia are few and far between, with large, prestigious, and international firms dominating the area.  This is all well and good but these firms must be willing to take risks and make strides for innovation to occur.  London and New York have traditionally been the legal capitals of the world but the rise of Singapore brings a new challenger to the table.  Asia continues to outperform other countries in terms of output and economic success, setting the stage for legal firms established in Singapore to service other large economies.  Recently, Singapore launched the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), establishing an international arbitration center. This means that Singapore will soon required sophisticated legal services, which will, in turn, strengthen its brand as a resolution center in Asia-Pacific.


The design and development of legal innovations in Asia-Pacific will require a new focus in the way conflicts and resolutions are viewed.  A real opportunity to develop unique methods and models exists in Asia-Pacific.