Legaltech will not replace lawyers, it will enhance their working life – Interview with Malik Anwar, Director of Clarilis

 

The legal industry is swiftly moving towards exponential change in terms of its automation through the digital economy. Following on from a previous interview with Azmul Haque of Collyer Law, we sat down with SPECTRUM member Malik Anwar, Director of Clarilis SEA to find out more on how the company is delivering and maintaining automation projects within the industry:

[SPECTRUM]:
Can you tell us about Clarilis and what problems the company solves?

[Malik]:
Clarilis was conceived by James Quinn – a lawyer who left private practice to set up an ABS law firm that would administer the deregulation of legal services in the UK – following the Legal Services Act 2007.

The firm’s main aim at that time was to leverage technology to streamline the delivery of legal services to its clients. James was intent on creating licensed automation technology after realising that there was no other player in the industry that provided such services to their clients.

Clarilis thus developed its own intelligent automation platform to provide the implementation, delivery and maintenance of automation projects as a managed service. The company’s value proposition was strengthened by the fact that it was able to provide a multi-skilled team necessary for automation projects, both in terms of the implementation and maintenance of all deliverables going forward – a unique and risk free alternative for the industry at the time.

In short, the CLARILIS™ platform allows its clients to quickly and easily capture their firm or legal department’s best drafting techniques and extend them consistently across their entire practice, removing the risk of lawyers using out-of-date techniques. The repetitive and procedural aspects of drafting are automated, making the process straightforward and far more efficient, while ensuring complete consistency and quality control.

[SPECTRUM]:
We recently asked our member Azmul Haque, Founder & Managing Director of Collyer Law, if he agreed with this statement (published on Forbes): “Law is a Trillion-dollar global industry with no Goliaths. The legal industry is fragmented, growing, has a huge untapped market for its services, and is ripe for digital transformation.” We ask you the same question.

[Malik]:
The industry is definitely ripe for digital transformation, there’s no doubt about that.

It is, however, also a naturally fragmented industry and each country has its own laws. It’s great that the Singapore Government is committed to transforming its legal services market and supporting the fast evolving Legaltech market. Legaltech – specifically legal document automation – is increasingly in the spotlight as GCs and law firms focus more on proven technologies that drive efficiency.

[SPECTRUM]:
How is technology changing the Legal industry? To what extent can automation and AI help lawyers today and in the foreseeable future?

[Malik]:
The need for law firms to increase productivity and become more efficient has increased over the years as legal markets across Asia are attaining more liberalisation. With increased competition, there has never been a better time for firms to embrace the wealth of proven tech solutions that are out there, helping to transform the way in which lawyers work and enhance their competitive position. I believe that innovation in services and service delivery will become a key differentiating factor in the foreseeable future.

Document automation allows lawyers to focus on what they do best – providing expert advice to clients and handling non-standard aspects of transactions. We had a phone call recently from one of our customers to thank us as using the CLARILIS™ platform, which enabled him to turn things around so much quicker, essentially allowing him to leave the office at a reasonable time and spend more time with his family!

It’s hard to predict what the future will hold but I think we will see more platforms being introduced to the Legaltech sphere. Users don’t want disparate bits of tech that don’t talk to each other; they’re looking for more of a one-stop plug-and-play programme and ultimately a better user experience.

[SPECTRUM]:
What excites you the most about the future of the industry?

[Malik]:
It’s an exciting time to be in the Legaltech space. Technology is already helping firms to improve service delivery standards while creating new ways of delivering legal services. There’s still a long way to go but I think we will see a lot more collaboration between law firms and technology providers. We’re already seeing a lot of this in the UK with the larger law firms setting up incubators such as A&O’s ‘Fuse’ and Slaughter and May’s ‘Collaborate’ and Alternative Legal Service Providers like PwC running a Legaltech program. The incubators provide a great opportunity for the tech companies in terms of direct feedback from the firm’s lawyers and their clients, which is invaluable in terms of product development and establishing use cases.

[SPECTRUM]:
In terms of adoption of technology and automation in the Legal industry, have you noticed major differences in Asia compared to markets like Europe?

[Malik]:
We’re seeing an increasing demand for our automation platform here in Asia. I think that as the industry develops further, we will also experience wider regional adoption of legal document automation and new opportunities arising out of more mature implementations and wider data sets being available as a result of the use of this technology.

[SPECTRUM]:
Many law schools today emphasise the need to learn and have digital capability, what advice would you give to young aspiring lawyers to be future-ready?

[Malik]:
I recommend that any aspiring young lawyers out there should keep up-to-date with all Legaltech news, familiarising themselves with the products that are out there in the market and the problems they solve. They also really need to find out and explore the tech that law firms are currently using. Do your own research and don’t necessarily believe the hype! From what we have seen, there’s a lot of hype around certain types of legal technology but not a lot of it is actually being used in practice!

The lawyers of tomorrow have grown up with technology and expect to be using it as part of their working lives. Technology will not replace lawyers, it will enhance their working lives and for trainees and junior lawyers, it will mean that the boring stuff won’t be a part of the “right of passage.”

As far as being future ready, communication and strong interpersonal skills will always be the key characteristics of a successful lawyer!

[SPECTRUM]:
Can you tell us about your experience with SPECTRUM so far?

[Malik]:
We are really enjoying our time here so far.
This place is really so much like a family and everyone here has been extremely welcoming and always happy to create invaluable connections with other members.

For further news and updates on Clarilis, connect with the team on LinkedIn or get in touch directly with them at enquiries@clarilis.com. As always, you can keep up-to-date with what is going on around SPECTRUM here.