–The Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”) is seeking a technology partner to provide electronic discovery (eDiscovery) services to law firms. Companies are invited to submit proposals for a programme to provide eDiscovery Software as a Service (“SaaS”) for law firms and client organisations in Singapore.
The successful service provider will be given a three-year contract starting from January 2013 to provide services that will enable law firms and their clients to identify and manage the large volume of electronically generated information such as emails that are used as evidence in legal disputes.
This initiative is supported by the Singapore Judiciary, the Law Society of Singapore and the Info-communications Development of Singapore (“IDA”). Since August last year, SAL has worked with these organisations and law firms to gather inputs on the requirements for such services.
To spur the adoption of this new technology, IDA, in collaboration with SPRING Singapore, is providing eligible law firms with funding support under the iSPRINT (Increase SME Productivity with Infocomm Adoption & Transformation) scheme. Eligible law firms can claim up to 70% of the costs incurred, including one-time implementation costs and up to a maximum of 24 months of subscription costs, to pay for eDiscovery services.
Many law firms in Singapore, especially the small firms which make up over 80% of the 800 firms here, experience challenges in harnessing technology.
Ms Serene Wee, Chief Executive of SAL, said, “We recognise that, unless steps are taken to lower the barriers to adoption of technology for these firms, any efforts to drive technological innovation in the legal industry would be futile. This programme is meant to boost the technological readiness of lawyers by making e-discovery services easily available to them on a secure and trusted platform, at an affordable price.”
Bryan Ghows, Chairperson of the Law Society Information Technology Committee said, “Lawyers deal with immense amounts of data every day. The adoption of technology is essential for Singapore lawyers to increase productivity and to remain price competitive. We look forward to working with the Singapore Academy of Law in implementing the eDiscovery platform."
Justice Lee Seiu Kin, Chairman of SAL’s Electronic Litigation Committee said, “The common law discovery procedure was developed in an era when the physical limitations of making and retaining paper imposed a natural limit on the volume of documents that can be generated. There is no longer such constraint today as businesses and even individuals exploit, as they should, the full advantages of IT. The challenge for the legal sector is to ensure that the cost of compliance with discovery obligations is contained so that litigation costs remain reasonable and proportionate to the amounts in dispute. With this initiative, the Bar will have access to a set of tools to review and mark electronic documents for disclosure, and soft copies of discoverable documents may be exchanged online. This will make for more cost-effective discovery and inspection in civil cases.”
The Singapore Academy of Law is a body created by statute. It is the umbrella body of the legal profession in Singapore and its members include all legal practitioners, the Judiciary, the Legal Service and in-house legal counsel of corporations, and legal academia in Singapore. The work of the Academy is focused on three key areas: supporting the growth and development of the Legal Industry; building up the intellectual capital of the legal profession by enhancing Legal Knowledge; and improving the efficiency of legal practice through Legal Technology.