Branded CLICKS @ State Courts, Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) aims to expand access to justice by future-proofing small law firms through technology. CLICKS, stands for Collaborative Law, Innovative Co-creation and Knowledge-Sharing, and will open in the first quarter of 2020.
Affordability and auto-bots
The space will make it easier for firms to adopt technology by providing them with shared amenities and facilities, like meeting rooms and office equipment. By reducing operational costs and inefficiencies, firms can focus on uplifting their legal practice, and in turn, continue to provide accessible and affordable legal services to the person-on-the-street. SAL will offer a limited number of workspaces for rent in its first phase. The space will initially house a mix of law firms of various sizes representing legal practitioners specialising in criminal law, family law, and community or relational disputes. Preference will be given to lawyers with a strong record in pro bono work. In addition to lawyers, there will also be spaces for tech companies, stakeholder representatives, academics and students. Ms Serene Wee, chief executive of SAL, suggested technology adoption could include ‘an auto-bot that guides court users through each stage of the different court processes for the individual user.’ She said, ‘this could also automate referrals to and from Family Service Centres and other community resources.’
Ms Wee said, ‘advancing the access to justice is an important agenda for the legal profession, but the solution is not in the hands of the legal profession alone. We hope to achieve two key objectives with CLICKS @ State Courts. Firstly, we want to help our small law firms future-proof themselves. Technology is an unstoppable force and they must keep up, so they can transform into next-generation practices. Secondly, we hope that domestic users of legal services, in particular the lower income and ‘sandwich’ groups, can continue to benefit from the accessibility and affordability offered by small law firms.’ Justice See Kee Oon, presiding judge of the State Courts, said ‘a benefit of locating these practitioners within the New State Courts Towers is the increased convenience and casework for practitioners undertaking pro bono work, which will be mandatory under CLICKS @ State Courts. This will hopefully translate into enhanced access to justice for litigants-in-person who would thereby have greater and more convenient access to pro bono services and general legal advice and information.’