Doc automation company Clarilis has opened its first international office in Singapore, as it targets expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. The move underlines the growing appetite for legal tech in the key Asian market, which has seen strong Singapore Government support for innovation in the legal sector.
It’s also an interesting move in terms of an established legal tech company in the UK looking for new markets to expand into, and in this case choosing Singapore rather than the US for its first office abroad.
However, Singapore is also a Common Law jurisdiction, with strong links to the UK. Many UK law firms have offices there, as well as large US-based firms.
Some of Clarilis’s clients include: Addleshaw Goddard, Baker McKenzie, Gowling WLG, Herbert Smith Freehills, Slaughter and May, TLT and Travers Smith.
The South East Asia base will be headed by Malik Anwar (pictured above), who joins Clarilis from Singapore law firm Oon & Bazul, where he was General Manager and managed a team of 12 professionals covering finance, IT, HR, marketing and BD functions.
Before that he worked as COO at the local office of international law firm, Taylor Wessing, operating as RHTLaw Taylor Wessing.
Clarilis is a little different to some doc automation companies in that it maintains a sizeable team of experienced lawyers to help complete more complex doc automation projects for clients – rather than leaving it all up to the firm to simply buy the software and figure out how to do it.
The company has Professional Support Lawyers, Document Analysts and Document Automators, who help firms to complete the design, implementation and testing of their doc automation projects.
Anwar said of his move: ‘It is no secret that the Singapore government is committed to creating a first-class Smart Nation by harnessing and leveraging technology, networks and data to create solutions and innovations across the country. Clarilis South East Asia is poised to leverage and contribute to this growth.’
While James Quinn, CEO and co-founder of Clarilis, concluded: ‘Malik has a strong background in business development and has worked with a wide variety of businesses across the region, in particular working with global organisations to test bed and commercialise their technologies in Singapore. His appointment comes at an interesting time for the SEA market, where there’s a strong focus on legal technology that can drive efficiencies in the delivery of legal services.’
Is this a big deal? Whenever a company launches its first base abroad it’s always a major step. Running your operation from a familiar location and succeeding is one thing, doing it in a new country is something else.
This kind of move always marks an important step in the life of any company and the team they hire to help lead such new ventures is always of critical importance.
As seen with law firms during the late 1990s, when many started to venture out into new markets, the teams they put in place did not always work out, and in some cases several years of growth were lost. Meanwhile, others that put together the right teams to lead new offices and that were able to gauge the right way to do business in a new market, prospered and created the foundations of what would later go on to become global law firms.
As for Singapore, it already has a fast-evolving legal tech sector, albeit smaller than that in the US and UK. That said, if more companies such as Clarilis join it with permanent bases this could help to accelerate the city state’s development in this field.
All in all, an ambitious move by Clarilis that’s to be applauded. Good luck to the team.