S$2.8m Tech Start Programme launched to boost capabilities for law firms in Singapore
In line with the recent Committee for Future Economy (CFE) report and Budget 2017’s stated objectives to boost the digital capabilities of the economy as whole, the Ministry of Law, the Law Society of Singapore and SPRING Singapore announced yesterday the launch of the ‘Tech Start for Law’ programme to help Singapore law practices embrace and leverage on technology. Technology can help law practices improve productivity and deliver better legal services. However, a consultancy study commissioned by the Law Society in 2016 showed that only 9% of the small and medium-sized Singapore law practices interviewed used technology-enabled productivity tools. One main reason cited for the low adoption rate was cost.
The ‘Tech Start for Law’ programme will help these law practices defray some of the initial cost and kick-start the wider adoption of basic technology. Under the programme, Singapore law practices can get funding support of up to 70% of the first-year cost of adopting technology products for practice management, online research and online marketing. Five technology products have been identified jointly by the Law Society and SPRING Singapore, as basic technologies that would help law practices perform their essential day-to-day tasks more efficiently. These five technology products are:
1) Three practice management systems (CoreMatter; Lexis Affinity; Clio)
These practice management systems help law practices streamline their work processes such as cases and client record management, timekeeping and billing, and calendaring. They then do not need to reply on paper-based records and manual processes, which are labour-intensive and less reliable.
2) One online legal research tool (i.e. INTELLLEX)
The online legal research tool helps law practices access a composite database of cases, commentaries and regulatory materials across jurisdictions on one platform, and organise the information into a personal knowledge library for easy retrieval. They then do not need to reply on hardcopy publications which are tedious to update. The tool also provides them with a systematic way of recording past research materials for knowledge management.
3) One online marketing tool (i.e. Asia Law Network)
The online marketing tool helps law practices establish their online presence at low cost and publicise their services to potential clients, including overseas ones, over the Internet. Without such online marketing tools, small law practices may find it tedious and expensive to build their own website.
Interested law practices can apply for funding support to use up to three of these solutions (i.e. one practice management system, one online legal research tool and one online marketing tool), depending on their needs. More information on these solutions can be found here. Up to S$2.8m has been allocated for the ‘Tech Start for Law’ programme. This can support up to 380 units of these technology solutions. The programme is funded by SPRING Singapore under its Collaborative Industry Project (CIP) initiative and will be administered by the Law Society.