The Singapore Legal Futures Conference was held on the afternoon of 8 July 2015 at the Supreme Court Auditorium. The half-day conference, jointly organised by the Ministry of Law and the Singapore Academy of Law, invited participants to think about the driving forces that are shaping our legal landscape and the impact that such forces are likely to have in the near future. As ice hockey hall of famer Wayne Gretzkey once put, the secret to his success was that he skates “to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been”. Similarly, while it was accepted that nobody could say for certain what the future holds, it was hoped that by better understanding such driving forces, most of which are already manifesting themselves, we too would be equipped to skate to where the puck is moving. To this end, participants were treated to four very engaging presentations from four eminent legal futures experts, namely:
- Dr Sam Muller, the founding director of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law
- Professor Mark Lemley, the William H. Neukom Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and the Director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology
- Professor Ashish Nanda, Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a former Professor of Harvard Law School
- Professor Richard Susskind OBE, IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Chair of the Online Dispute Resolution Group of the Civil Justice Council of England and Wales, President of the Society for Computers and Law and the author of the book “The End of Lawyers?”
In addition, the conference also featured a panel discussion, moderated by Associate Professor Eleanor Wong of the National University of Singapore, in which a panel comprising Mr Choo Zheng Xi of Peter Low LLC, Ms Elizabeth Kong of Morgan Lewis Stamford, Ms Peggy Pao-Keerthi of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and Mr Anand Nalachandran of TSMP Law Corporation, shared their views on what were, based on their experience, the main driving forces manifesting themselves in the local context.
While each of the speakers and panellists brought their own unique perspective to the issue of what was the future of the legal industry, one could not help but notice that there were several themes that constantly recurred throughout the presentations. This report aims to summarise some of the key points presented at the conference under the rubric of these underlying themes.
Rapid Advancements in Technology
First and perhaps foremost, if one were to survey the participants of the conference as to what impressed itself upon them, it is likely that the majority would allude in one way or the other to the various examples of new and innovative technologies that were cited. Not only do such technological developments capture the attention of the inner sci-fi geek in each of us, but the role that such developments are likely to play featured prominently in each of the speakers’ presentations. Click here