Singapore’s legal sector embraces AI to enhance services

Leveraging AI in Singapore’s legal industry improves efficiency and client satisfaction, says Edric Pan, Deputy Managing Partner Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP.

Singapore’s legal industry is steadily embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to improve its services, mainly for enhancing efficiency and meeting the evolving demands of clients.

Edric Pan, Deputy Managing Partner Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP, said that digitalisation, particularly the integration of AI, is both a challenge and an opportunity for the legal industry as it aims to respond to demands for faster and more comprehensive legal services without compromising on quality.

“We see this to some extent as a challenge, but also as an opportunity to step back, analyze the work that we do, and realize the way we do that work, and to reinvent ourselves to serve this AI wave and not get swept under by it,” he said.

He mentioned that Dentons Rodyk has embraced the use of AI in automating time-intensive tasks traditionally performed by lawyers, such as document review, due diligence, and basic legal research.

“The discovery process in litigation, basic legal research, can now be automated to some extent. The use of AI to handle such time intensive work frees up our lawyers to focus on more complex legal tasks, such as deal structuring, strategizing, legal advice, court advocacy, and other types of high value work,” he explained.

Pan also noted the increased budget consciousness among clients, prompting a shift towards capped fee and alternative fee arrangements. This change requires law firms to rethink their billing and service delivery models.

He highlighted the areas experiencing increased legal demand, including tax planning trusts and family offices. White-collar investigations and crime, international arbitration, and transactional work, especially in corporate restructurings and establishing funds, are also areas witnessing growth.

“What I would attribute this work to, I would say, to a great extent, is the inflow of funds and investments into Singapore in recent years, and Singapore's growing importance as the global financial center, and linked to this increased scrutiny and enforcement by the authorities,” he said.

In addition, the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) sector has also seen increased demand, driven by sustainability and climate-related trends, which was already anticipated by the company for a couple of years now.

In terms of industries driving the demand for legal services, Pan points to technology, supply chain, logistics, luxury goods, compliance, and the healthcare sector. These sectors require cross-border advice and assistance, an area where Dentons, with its global presence, is well-positioned to deliver.

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