The months of July and August have seen a flurry of conferences and news coverage dedicated to legal innovation in the Asia-Pacific legal markets. And this trend will continue into September. Here’s a list of what’s happened so far and what’s coming next:
On July 30th, Australia’s Beaton Capital and ZICO Holidings of Singapore hosted a one-day conference focused on innovation in the legal services sector in Sydney. The conference brought together representatives from listed law firms, alternative business model providers, tech-based firms, outsourcers, progressive BigLaw business model firms, and others from across Australia and South East Asia. Eric Chin (@) of Beaton Capital outlined via email some of the key takeaways from the conference:
- We can anticipate a “kaleidoscope future” where different types of legal services providers have a specified place in the market.
- Traditional law firms are innovating too, including Lexvoco (@) from McInnes Wilson and Orbit from Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
- The key agent of change for firms in a partnership environment is the client – and disruptive innovation should put the client service experience at the center of change.
- Law firms of the future will be characterized by different service/business models for different tiers in the market.
On August 10th, Alice Woodhouse (@) of the South China Morning Post profiled Hong Kong-based legal startup Dragon Law (@). She outlined how Dragon Law: “[F]ound success by offering cheap legal services online for routine matters [and] is now going after big corporate clients as its top executives harbour dreams of changing the way small businesses in Asia operate.”
On August 20th, The @ Pacific and Janders Dean 2015 Legal Innovation Index was announced at a private event held at Australia’s Gilbert + Tobin (@) law firm. As an article published immediately following the event by The Vue Post outlined: “The 18 finalists in the organisational category ranged from traditional big law to new, innovative challengers, from Allens to Advent Balance, from Herbert Smith Freehills to LawPath, and from Norton Rose Fulbright to View Legal.”
Justin North, Director, Janders Dean (@) summed up the event for The Vue Post: “Finalists in the 2015 Index clearly demonstrate the profession’s absolute commitment to continuing to find new and dynamic ways for adding significant and previously untapped value for firms and their clients.” And in a closing address: George Beaton @) of Australia’s Beaton Capital: “predicted the halving of partners’ profits in the next five years at firms that fail to recognise the changing landscape and adapt by embracing innovation and a new client focused approach.”
On August 20 and 21 the 3rd Managing Partners Forum focusing on boutique and small firms in Australia was held in Kingscliff NSW, organized byChilliIQ (@). Conference highlights included a presentation by Harriet Warlow-Shill, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Melbourne based KWS Legal (@), outlining the firm’s approach to harnessing technology to boost efficiency and offer staff greater flexibility.
On Sept 9-11, the 15th annual Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) Summit: “Tomorrow’s Firm: Digital, Divergent, Differentiated” will be held at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre. Among the event speakers will be legal futurist Jordan Furlong (@), who will provide practical advice for traditional law firms looking to import and integrate ‘NewLaw’ features into their businesses to improve competitiveness.
On September 17th, the Lawyers Weekly (@) Australian Law Awards 2015 will take place in Sydney. An Innovator of the Year will be named, recognizing “firms and legal departments that have successfully implemented innovative projects and/or strategic initiatives in the past 12 months.
According to the newly released CommBank’s Legal Market Pulse report: “The close of FY15 has seen optimism generally increase amongst Australian law firms although a backdrop of market volatility and an intensified competitive landscape has weighed on short-term sentiment in the last quarter.” With this in mind it’s likely we’ll see much more on the topic of legal innovation in the Asia-Pacific legal markets going forward.