Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 09:25



“As a technology lawyer, we encounter contracts which are not commonplace… perhaps even novel,” says Pinsent Masons partner Mr Bryan Tan, reflecting on nearly 25 years in practice. “So you will seldom find a tailor-made solution for your cutting edge technology situation. However, there are parallels that you can draw from existing situations and a wide precedent collection will be helpful, if properly selected.”

That collection is now at your fingertips, thanks to LawNet’s new bank of commercial precedents. While Mr Tan admits that the bank can make your life easier, he is quick to add that it cannot be used blindly. “The selection of precedents is extremely important as a starting point. If you start wrongly, it will go south quickly. But even after selecting an adequate precedent, we need to be alert that there are areas which would differ and hence require adaptation.”

 “There’s a good spread of documents available: corporate mergers and acquisitions, commercial, employment, e-commerce, intellectual property and finance,” he shares. “It’s a helpful resource if one can master the art of using precedents.”

Read on for Mr Tan’s tips on using online precedents.

How important are precedents to your area of work?
They help young lawyers learn the art of drafting by identifying the necessary provisions and how they interact with each other. It gives younger lawyers the confidence that they have a base document to start from instead of re-inventing the wheel every time they draft.

What advice do you have for practitioners using the precedents?

Do not blindly use precedents. Select your precedent carefully and read through your choice before using it. Use the drafting notes to help you understand the operative clauses.

Are there things they should be conscious of when using precedents?
The boilerplates are typically common clauses stretching across most contracts so I would expect to see them. I would then concentrate on the operative clauses and understand how they work and interact with the other clauses. The age-old skill of proofreading is still required to check the contract.

Commercial Precedents are now available on LawNet at no extra cost to existing subscribers.


Mr Bryan Tan
Called to the Bar: 1997

Called to the bar in 1997, in what seems like a throwback to a past far far away, Bryan Tan spent most of his legal career as a TMT lawyer, working with clients in the technology, media and telecommunications industries.  As a young lawyer working in firms in Singapore and Hong Kong for some of the best lawyers in practice, he could observe the 360◦ nature of legal practice exhibited by these leading lights.

Most excited working in areas where few have gone, Bryan has also worked with start-ups, venture capital, fintech, health tech, artificial intelligence and finds great pleasure to seeing start-ups transform into empires.

In addition to writing a number of textbooks, Bryan has also served in domestic committees such as the Media Literacy Council and the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore and for international  bodies such as the Internet Society, Asean Single Window and the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific.



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