A group of legal and technology experts in South East Asia have come together to launch the region’s first legal tech organisation, focused on the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), in what is further evidence of the global impact of technology on the law. The new grouping will be called ALT – or the ASEAN Legal Tech Association.
It joins a growing number of regional legal tech groupings around the world (see below), showing that tech knows no borders, and that although several well-known firms and tech companies associated with legal tech innovation are in North America and the UK, the reality is that innovation in the legal market is increasingly spreading around the world.
The move is especially important given that ASEAN includes the key legal centre of Singapore. Meanwhile, Vietnam has steadily evolved into a centre for tech development. Indonesia and Malaysia are also both significant regional markets.
One of the co-founders of the group, Eric Chin, Principal, Innovation & Strategy, at consulting firm Alpha Creates, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘While the global Legal Tech narrative has been dominated by mature legal markets like Australia, Europe and North America, there are no shortage of LegalTech startups in the South East Asian region developing solutions that range from legal research, practice management tools to artificial intelligence driven solutions.’
‘It takes a village to raise a child, and it is no different for ASEAN Legal Tech. Our founding board and founding country ambassadors have played an important role in taking the first step for the LegalTech ecosystem in South East Asia,’ he added.
The regional organisation is the brainchild of Chin, Principal at Alpha Creates. He is joined by a Founding Board consisting of senior members of the legal and Legal Tech community in the region:
- Andrew Stoutley, Chief Operating Officer at Tilleke & Gibbins,
- Cherilyn Tan, Founder at Interstellar Group,
- Hanim Hamzah, Managing Partner at ZICO Law,
- Michael Lew, Chief Operating Officer at Rajah & Tann Technologies, and
- Thomas Thoppil, Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
“It takes a village to raise a child, and it is no different for ASEAN Legal Tech”
One of ASEAN Legal Tech’s goals is to provide a voice to the emerging market, and to inform discussions with regulators who are in the early stages of determining how to regulate legal tech.
The group said that it will focus on:
- Building, connecting and growing a community for LegalTech in the ASEAN region through an online platform and monthly events (meet ups, legal hackathons, industry presentations, etc).
- Starting the LegalTech dialogue in the ASEAN region and specifically in the region’s legal industry.
- Building a platform to feature and cultivate the growth of the LegalTech scene in the ASEAN region.
- Promoting entrepreneurial culture amongst legal industry constituents, namely lawyers (private practice and in-house lawyers), technologists and regulators.
- Building the go-to platform for thought leadership initiatives on LegalTech in the ASEAN region.
They have also published a useful white paper about the state of the LegalTech market in South East Asia, you can download it here.
This is all welcome news. It also reflects a growing level of global and regional organisation as seen with:
- Australian Legal Technology Association(ALTA),
- European Legal Technology Association(ELTA),
- Legal Tech New Zealand(LTNZ).
- Legal Tech Latin America
- Legal Tech Africa.
- And of course, there is the already very well established International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), which has largely had a US audience for many years and is organised in America, although it does also do events and has engagement in the UK and elsewhere.
It’s not known if there is yet an official ‘Legal Tech Association’ of China, or India, but there probably should be. And while there is an active legal tech scene in Israel, and a growing one in places such as the UAE, there doesn’t yet appear to be a formal regional umbrella legal tech group for the whole of the Middle East – although there are several conferences along those lines held each year. And we do now have the Global Legal Hackathon, and other global groups such as the Accord Project for smart contracts.
Maybe the next stage is for everyone to come together and form a truly Global Legal Technology Association? Artificial Lawyer offers its services if anyone fancies a try.
For more information about ALT see www.aseanlegaltech.com
For queries about ALT, please email firstname.lastname@example.org