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New Group Promotes Growing Southeast Asian Legal Tech Ecosystem

July 26, 2019, 6:25 PM

A new group in Southeast Asia is aiming to take advantage of the fast-growing legal tech industry in Singapore and nearby countries.

The ASEAN LegalTech Association includes legal tech startups, law firms, legal departments, and regulators in the region.

Like similar national and regional trade groups in different corners of the globe, the group tied to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was designed to build and nurture a legal tech “ecosystem” in the region.

The new group will provide Southeast Asian attorneys a chance “to leverage on Legal Tech to provide speedier, more cost-effective and quality legal advice,” wrote Gregory Vijayendran, president of the Law Society of Singapore, in a white paper on the state of legal tech in the region.

“Our challenge is how to lift the bar and equip lawyers across the region to tap into the potential bonanza,” Vijayendran wrote.

The 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations include Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines and boast almost 250,000 attorneys and more than 400 law schools, collectively comprising a powerful market for legal services, according to the white paper.

The group has identified 89 legal tech companies in five countries, with Singapore boasting the most at 25, followed by Indonesia at 21 and Malaysia with 15. Twenty new startups opened in both 2016 and 2017, according to ASEAN LegalTech Association research, after many years in a row in which fewer that 10 such companies took root.

More legal tech startups in Southeast Asia focus on legal research, 25, than on other topics; 16 develop document automation solutions. Many of their products incorporate artificial intelligence.

Several other groups worldwide also promote legal tech, including the International Legal Technology Association, which is based in the Chicago and includes more than 1,400 members, 85% of which are U.S.-located.

Other legal tech trade groups include the European Legal Technology Association, the Australian Legal Technology Association, and Legal Tech New Zealand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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