The 2022 installment of 30 People to Watch in the Business of Law in Asia is the 8th consecutive annual annual list in the series. 2022 will see more legal innovators from throughout the region gain more attention from alternative sources of legal information including legal bloggers, vloggers and thought leaders in innovative legal organizations. This years’ installment highlights some of the top people to follow in the coming year in legal innovation in-house, in law firms, legal startups, legal services organizations, NewLaw firms, and legal technology companies. The breadth of depth of talent from throughout the region’s legal innovation community will provide anyone with an interest in legal innovation much to follow in the coming year.
1. Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Edmund is Head of Chambers (Civil) at AmerBON Advocates. He is frequently consulted by private clients, multinational companies, the Malaysian Bar Council, public authorities, and governmental bodies on transactional and contentious legal issues and law reform. He was previously a 5-time elected member of the Malaysian Bar Council and chaired the Constitutional Law (2009-2011), Human Rights (2007-2009) and National Young Lawyers (2006-2008) committees. He was elected to the Bar Council for the term of 2016-2017 where he chaired the Innovation and Future of Law Committee. In 2016, the Government of Malaysia appointed him Representative of Malaysia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).
2. Kim Chan, Hong Kong SAR – Kim Chan is Founder and CEO of DocPro, a legaltech platform which combines legal documentation services with cutting edge technology. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, he explains what motivated his move from the practice of law to becoming a legal tech entrepreneur, how DocPro is unique in the legal documentation space, and DocPro’s goals for a future global presence
3. Jennifer Parks, Hong Kong SAR. JenniferParks is COO of White & Case Asia-Pacific region operations. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, she explains what inspired her to focus on managing the operations of a global law firm in Asia, how the firm is adapting to the ever-changing competitive landscape in legal services, and how others might aspire to a career in the senior-most ranks of global law firm management.
4. Santhi Latha, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Santhi Latha is Dean of the Rajah & Tann Asia (RTA) Academy, where she curates the RTA Academy’s in-house training content related to legal tech and practice innovation. She has worked with the Association of Women Lawyers in Malaysia for over a decade, helping initiate events and activities geared toward the empowerment of women and female lawyers specifically. She continues to contribute to the Malaysian Bar through the Common Bar Course Committee and the Innovation & Future of Law Committee.
5. Rasmeet Charya, Bangalore, India – Charya is Chief Innovation Officer of Algo Legal, a new age technology backed law firm focused on venture capital and private equity firms, VC-funded start-up companies and corporate businesses. The firm is Headquartered in Bangalore and has offices in Mumbai and Delhi. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, Rasmeet Charya explains what inspired the firm’s founding, it’s tech-enabled services focus on private equity and venture capital, and what inspired her to pursue a career as a lawyer, legal technologist and legal services sector entrepreneur.
6. Shashwat Sikka, Pune, Maharashtra, India — Shashwat Sikka is Co-Founder, ProVakil, a pioneering legal tech startup in India. Founded in 2015, Provakil seeks to make work simpler for legal professionals. In this interview with Shreya Vajpei of Prolawgue, he details how Provakil pioneered the software movement for the legal industry in India, becoming a leading software service provider to legal teams domestically and abroad. Today, Provakil services over 200 in-house teams and 5000+ legal professionals across law firms, chambers and solo practice.
7. Brian Tang, Hong Kong SAR – Brian Tang is founding executive director of the Law, Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship Lab (LITE Lab) at HKU Faculty of Law & Managing Director of Asia Capital Markets Institute (ACMI) – In an interview with Asia Law Portal, he detailed his extensive work in legal innovation and technology and the various implications it might have for legal practitioners and law students alike.
8. TAY Eu-Yen, Singapore — TAY Eu-Yen is a lawyer and entrepreneur with 15 years of management experience in the entertainment and hospitality sectors, having co-founded The Butter Factory Group as well as Coterie Concepts. She is of-counsel at Providence Law Asia LLC, advising businesses in the entertainment and hospitality sector. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, she described how she helps hospitality businesses.
9. Daryl Chew, Singapore – In 2021, Maxwell Chambers announced the appointment of Daryl Chew as the Chairman of their Board of Directors. Over the past decade, Maxwell Chambers has become a feature in the international dispute resolution landscape and helped to cement Singapore’s position as a leading global dispute resolution hub. He is Managing Partner of Shearman & Sterling’s Singapore office and acts as counsel and arbitrator with a focus on construction, energy, mergers and acquisitions, joint venture and general commercial disputes.
10. Annie Tang, Hong Kong SAR – In 2010, Annie Tang Co-Founded (along with her brother, Chris) Star Anise Legal, providing legal, compliance and professional recruitment services to diverse clients across the APAC region. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, Annie details what inspired the founding of the firm, her background in law, Star Anise’ services expansion, her work in a variety of volunteer activities focused on helping to expand opportunities for lawyers, and her hiring advice to in-house legal departments and other budding entrepreneurs.
11. Prashanth Shenoy Katpady, Karnataka, India. Prashanth Shenoy Katpady is Co-founder and CTO of UniCourt, a LegalTech SaaS solution focused on consumers and businesses in need of structured and normalized court case information via an app and legal-data-as-a-service. In his role he designs and deploys cloud native applications. He seeks to democratize legal data and connect it to other public data to make it more accessible and useful. Shreya Vajpei of Prolawgue recently spoke with him in an extensive video interview.
12. Robert Lewis, Beijing, China – Last year, Alliott Global Alliance (AGA) announced that Chance Bridge Partners, AGA law firm member in Beijing, had appointed Robert Lewis as Senior International Consultant. This comes as Chance Bridge also entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with docQbot, the legal technology platform co-founded by Mr. Lewis. As the first bilingual AI service platform in China, docQbot provides a suite of bilingual automated contract drafting and review tools as well as other systematized solutions for various categories of legal operations. Mr. Lewis, who is also co-founder of the China Going Global Think-tank (CGGT), an outbound investment information platform, has worked for top US, UK, and Chinese law firms for almost 30 years, and was one of the first senior foreign lawyers to move from a major international law firm to a leading Chinese law firm.
13. Anoosha Shaigan, Pakistan — Anoosha Shaigan is an international human rights and technology lawyer and a certified legislative drafter, having worked on various legal, policy and political reforms in human rights, international law, gender justice and legal innovation for over 13 years. As she detailed in an interview with Asia Law Portal: She serves as the Vice President and Editor of Courting The Law, Pakistan’s first legal news and analysis portal with various award-winning initiatives that leverage technology to improve access to justice. She has worked with various government ministries, judicial bodies and international organizations in reviewing Pakistan’s commitments to international treaty obligations. She has also had the honour of being elected as a member of the Governance and Accountability Council of the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum. Nominated as a Fellow of the American Council of Young Political Leaders by the US Department of State, she was appointed as the honorary Deputy Secretary of State in Indiana during the 2016 US Presidential Election. Ms. Shaigan has also authored the Legislative Brief on the Right to Information law for the Parliament of Pakistan and frequently conducts legal tech training for senior judiciary in Pakistan.
14. Ngo Nhat Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam — Minh is Founder of BLawyers Vietnam, specialized in helping foreign investors do business in Vietnam. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, Minh explains his practice focus and the work of BLawyers Vietnam, what foreign investors should consider when doing business in Vietnam, and the unique challenges of managing an elite boutique law firm in a fast-changing competitive legal market.
15. Bhagyashree Pancholy, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India – Bhagyashree Pancholy founded All Remotely, where she helps co-located and office-based teams transition to remote and helps remote teams understand their teams better with the help of proprietary assessments. She is also General Counsel at Lano, where she helps clients expand internationally by hiring and retaining talent in a compliant manner. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, she explains how remote work is impacting legal services in general and in India in particular, her legal background and how it led her to a career as a remote legal entrepreneur – and how others might also become remote lawyers.
16. Lim Seok Hui, Singapore – Lim Seok Hui is CEO of The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). As Asia Business Law Journal reported in 2021, SIAC was recently named the most preferred arbitral center in the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore and London were also ranked equally as the most preferred seats for international arbitration. In an extensive interview with Asia Business Law Journal, Lim Seok Hui outlined her strategies, emerging trends in arbitration, and what has made SIAC a success.
17. Lorna Chen, Hong Kong SAR – Lorna Chen is Asia Regional Managing Partner, Shearman & Sterling, Head of Greater China and member of the firm’s Executive Group. She founded and leads the firm’s asset management and investment funds practice in Asia. In the early 2000s, she graduated from Columbia Law School. Ten years later, she was promoted to Shearman & Sterling partner. Since then, she has reached the upper heights of the profession.
18. Naina Pachnanda, Delhi, India – Naina Pachnanda is a lawyer, innovation specialist, and author. Her study of law and legal career, combined with her love of her country, led her to pursue a career with Invest India (The National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of the Government of India), where she helps simplify India’s business environment through innovation and technology regulation. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, she recounted her inspiration to follow this career path and how the law students of today might follow in her footsteps in a non-conventional legal career.
19. Shreya Vajpei, New Delhi, India — Shreya Vajpei is a legal innovator, legal technology writer and advisor, and practice development professional – having begun her career as a lawyer. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, she details the journey that led her to her focus on legal innovation – and how the law students of today might engage with non-conventional roles. Her interviews of legal innovators on ProLawgue are a must-watch for anyone interested in legal innovation in India and the greater APAC region.
20 Anshul Gupta, Delhi, India – Anshul Gupta is Co-Founder & CEO of MikeLegal, which empowers legal teams by building AI based software to automate various legal processes. In 2021, Shreya Vajpei of Prolawge interviewed him about his journey in legaltech, the rise of legaltech in India, how to pitch lawyers and law firms, and everything about entrepreneurship.
21. Naz Schinder, Bali, Indonesia — Naz Schinder is the Founder and CEO of the Schinder Law Firm and the non-profit, Bali International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (BIAMC), Bali’s first and only arbitration and mediation center. She specializes in a broad scope of projects within the Indonesian infrastructure and energy fields, and has assisted numerous foreign investment companies, institutions, and organizations successfully invest in the Indonesian market. In 2019, she was a Member of the Indonesian Delegation to the UNCITRAL Working Group II on Arbitration and Conciliation Dispute Settlement.
22. Catherine O’Connell, Tokyo, Japan — A former in-house counsel in Japan, Catherine O’Connell is originally from New Zealand. In 2018, she founded her own law firm focused on providing flexible legal services to businesses in Japan. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, O’Connell details the inspiration that led her to found her own firm, her practice focus, what impact technology has had on her practice, how she uniquely markets her firm (including as host of the Lawyer on Air podcast), as well as her insights into what it’s like to practice law in Japan.
23. Doreen Jaeger-Soong, Hong Kong SAR – Doreen Jaeger-Soong is Chair and Managing Director, Hughes Castell HK Ltd. – For over 30 years, she has helped legal, compliance and C-suite professionals advance their careers. Hughes-Castell is the largest and longest established legal, compliance and executive recruitment firm in Asia, with offices in Hong Kong, and affiliate offices in Shanghai, Singapore and San Francisco.
24. Mariyam Shunana, Maldives – Mariyam Shunana is Managing Partner of leading Maldives law firm Shunana & Co. LLP, where she specializes in litigating and negotiating complex business transactions. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, she details her eleven years of legal experience in representing the Government of the Maldives, Government companies, and major private corporations including foreign investment companies, and individuals. Mariyam also explains how she has helped clients establish foreign investment companies, engaged in extensive pro-bono legal work, become a legal technology entrepreneur – all while navigating the unique competitive challenges of a changing legal market.
25. Shanice Choo, Singapore — Shanice Choo is currently on the Clifford Chance Legal Innovation Team in Singapore, helping spearhead the disruption of the way legal services are delivered, in partnership with the Economic Development Board of Singapore and Future Law Innovation Programme. She is also a researcher at the Emerging Technologies Policy Forum, a non-profit policy think tank aimed at promoting technically informed discourse on emerging technologies policy and law.
26. Khushbakht Shah Jillani, Pakistan — Pakistan High Court Advocate Khushbakht Shah Jillani is the youngest lawyer in Pakistan to build a career independently in litigation pertaining to family laws, domestic violence, human rights and women’s rights advocacy. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, she explains her practice, her involvement in Pro Bono work on behalf of domestic violence victims, her advice for law students interested in a career in legal advocacy, and Adal Aur Sehat Project.
The 4 law student founders of Myanmar-based legal startup JusWise:
JusWise has a vision to provide legal services in an easily accessible manner by using technology driven innovative solutions. In an interview with Asia Law Portal, the four founders of JusWise reflect on what inspired their entry into the world of legal innovation while still at law school
29. Hein Htet Zaw, Myanmar — Law Student University of Mandalay, Founder, JusWise Tech Team Leader.