Scheme to help law firms adopt tech extended

A programme to help law practices adopt technology has been extended to January next year.

The grant support for the Tech-celerate for Law programme covering the first-year cost of adopting baseline and advanced technology solutions has also been increased to 80 per cent, up from 70 per cent.

The programme, which was announced in May last year, was due to stop receiving applications on May 1 this year.

The extension to the programme was made in April this year.

Speaking about the extension yesterday, Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong said law practices here need to use technology to improve their services to stay competitive.

Under this "new normal", practices that are able to quickly adapt and capitalise on technology to enhance the accessibility, quality, value and delivery of their services will garner a lasting advantage, said Mr Tong in a keynote address at the RHT Caba Asean Summit, which is being held online.

The two-day summit, which ends today, is organised by regional law firm RHTLaw Asia and the China-Asean Business Alliance (Caba).

Mr Tong, who is also Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said that Singapore's legal regime has helped the country weather the impact of Covid-19 and remain a trusted place for business.

He cited South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motors and Indian IT firm Tata Consultancy Services as examples of companies that have invested in Singapore this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Our legal regime has been a key pillar of support during this period and it must remain so," he said.

To help the legal community further, a programme called the Technology and Innovation Roadmap will be launched next month to help law practices better understand the legal technology landscape and framework.

 
 
 
 

Firms can use the road map, first reported last year, to work out how to upgrade their technology services and to identify existing and new government initiatives such as grants to tap, he said.

Mr Tong said improvements had also been made to mediation services and the restructuring and insolvency framework in Singapore.

He expects the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which kicked in last Saturday, to attract more countries, given that mediation saves time and cost, and preserves business relationships.

Currently, the convention has 53 signatories.

Another example is the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act, which started on July 30.

"We constantly review our frameworks in various areas because a progressive legal regime is vital to meet the fast-changing demands of the commercial world," Mr Tong said.

"Such trust in Singapore as a business and financial hub is built largely on confidence in our robust legal system and strong adherence to the rule of law, but we cannot take it for granted," he added.

"If any investment disputes do arise, businesses are assured that they can be resolved quickly, fairly, cost-effectively and, most importantly, transparently."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2020, with the headline 'Scheme to help law firms adopt tech extended'. Print Edition | Subscribe