July 24, 2017

“A well-crafted apology law will help to strengthen Singapore’s position as an international dispute resolution services hub in Asia” said Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat in the Business Times’ Views from the Top

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat shared his views in this week’s topic in the Business Times’ weekly column, Views from the Top. This article was first published in The Business Times on 24 July 2017. "Sorry" - the magic word? Monday, July 24, 2017 THIS WEEK'S TOPIC: Should Singapore consider introducing an apology law? What would be the pros and cons? Tan Chong Huat Managing Partner RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP INTRODUCING an apology law in Singapore has its merits as it is likely to facilitate settlements and is consistent with Singapore's policy, as seen by the recently introduced Mediation Act, to promote the use of mediation. Moreover, apology legislation has been enacted in a number of leading common law jurisdictions, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Hong Kong also conducted a comprehensive study before enacting its own apology law. We will therefore have a good base on which to formulate our own apology law. Some issues that will need to be addressed include the definition of an apology, the types of proceedings that the apology law should apply to and the extent of the immunity that will be granted. Ultimately, a well-crafted apology law will help to strengthen Singapore's position as an international dispute resolution services hub in Asia.
July 24, 2017

Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth shares options on handling family disputes, on Channel 5 News segment Talking Point

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth was interviewed by Channel 5 on the topic of family dispute resolution. The interview was featured on Channel 5 News segment Talking Point on 20 July 2017. This interview makes relation to the rise in the number of family disputes and cases handled by the Family Justice Courts in Singapore over the years. Michelle, a certified IMI Mediator and Collaborative Family Practitioner, pointed out that many come to her thinking that court is the only option, unaware of other alternatives such as Collaborative Family Practice (CFP) and Mediation. She elaborated how CFP is “an interest-based process and is non-tactical” and is “meant to bring parties to the table to talk about each other’s needs, their own needs, and then come up with solutions for themselves”. She added that families ended up in court when “they could not put themselves through an alternative process”, including Mediation and Negotiation; or when one does not find the right kind of support to accommodate their needs, for instance if a party involved has a mental health issue.  Please watch the video for the full interview.
July 14, 2017

Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail shares his views on the strong signals sent out by MAS on anti-money laundering controls in an interview with Channel NewsAsia

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was interviewed by Channel NewsAsia on the strong signals sent out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to enforce anti-money laundering (AML) controls in Singapore. The interview was featured on Channel NewsAsia’s Singapore Tonight segment on 12 July 2017. This interview makes relation to the additional jail time sentence to former BSI banker, Yeo Jia Wei, by the Singapore courts after MAS wrapped up a two-year investigation linked to the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. Nizam pointed out that MAS’ AML controls and intensified supervision of financial institutions sends “a very chilling effect on the Management and Board of Directors of banks”. He noted that these signals are important for banks to assess the extent to which they understand AML and terrorist financing risk, and what they are putting in place to protect their institutions. He added, “this is also a reality for Singapore being an international hub for private banking and wealth management. The fact is that we are located in a region where there is a risk for corruption, and when there is a risk for corruption, there is always a risk for money laundering.”
July 13, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing contributes an article to Singapore infocomm Technology Federation on digital transformation disrupting the legal sector

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing submitted a response to Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) on “Digital Transformation”. The article was first published on Singapore infocomm Technology Federation’s (SiTF) website on 8 June 2017. Digital Transformation Source: Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) ©  Date: 8 June 2017 Digital transformation is a process that involves the accelerated evolution of our business model that leverages on digital technology. In today’s world, digital transformation helps us remain relevant, competitive and profitable. In our context, digital transformation is a strategy that will cover four main areas of our business: (a) enhanced engagement within the client ecosystem (b) stream-lining the internal processes (c) innovation (d) scalability 1.  Can you describe RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP and how is the firm embracing digital transformation? Legal services are a segment of the professional services sector and it is primed for major disruption.  Advances in technology have made the client or customer a central feature in business. The clutter is no more as clients can now engage and interact directly with businesses and services.  Company incorporation and government services are now available online. Transparency and efficiency is a given and the layering of the various touchpoints has become a matter of history.  The legal services sector faces considerable challenges.  The pressure on fees, the commoditisation of work product and external disruption by law and non-law service providers are some of the growing challenges law firms face in the region. Legal practitioners must adapt to the changing circumstances and embrace technology to bring about disruption to their own practice.  It is no longer true that “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”.  Self-disruption is the only way to ensure a law firm’s continued survival. We have long recognised these challenges and embarked on a long-term strategy to force the evolution of our business models and processes.  Being clued in on new technology is essential for this transformation process.  Digital transformation is enabled by new technology.  However, technology isn’t the endgame.  People are. Client insight is an interesting aspect of this transformation process.  Cutting edge technology that will benefit clients counts for nothing if our people are not motivated to change the way we work.   On the other hand, rolling out a fantastic online client engagement tool will fail if we do not understand client behaviour, preferences and needs.  There are reasons why some apps succeed and why some fail miserably. The analysis of data must precede the change.  We cannot undertake the transformation process without an analysis of client behaviour, preferences and needs.  2.  Could you describe your strategy for digital transformation Our strategy for digital transformation encompasses four pillars of execution: enhancing the client experience internal processes continual innovation scalability Enhancing the Client Experience: Client insight is an interesting aspect of this transformation process.  Cutting edge technology that will benefit clients counts for nothing if our people are not motivated to change the way we work.   On the other hand, rolling out a fantastic online client engagement tool will fail if we do not understand client behaviour, preferences and needs.  There are reasons why some apps succeed and why some fail miserably.  What we think should be the client experience can be very different from what the client is inclined to prefer.  The analysis of data must precede this. We cannot undertake the transformation process without an analysis of client behaviour, preferences and needs.  Internal Processes: The internal process is invisible to the client.  For every shift in the client experience transformation, the internal processes will experience change.  Automating processes from submission of expense claims to document generation are the in thing today.  They make processes more efficient and seamless.  Filing systems and document management systems are also made flat to facilitate collaboration across departments.  Changes must be based on the analysis of real data and strategic decisions are made more quickly and in greater detail as a result.  Invariably, the redesign of the operational processes will impact our ability to provide our clients with not only good service but also a great experience. Continual Innovation and Scalability: In today’s world, it is not enough to undertake this exercise on a piecemeal or one-off basis.  There will have to be a cultural revolution to change mindsets.  Innovation must be a continual process with owners constantly thinking of the next best thing.  The business model of the firm will have to evolve; with new service offerings being constantly rolled out using new technology.  New technology must also be scalable in order to have economies of scale.  In the end, there must be the ability to do more with less.  It is key to understand that this is about efficiency, not productivity.  Productivity is about doing more with the same. Recent changes in the legal landscape show that the Singapore government is keen to see law firms evolve to change with the times. This is a move in the right direction. In fact, the legal industry is not the only sector set to embark on a digital transformation; other industries including transport, transportation, hospitality and education are affected as well, from the likes of Uber, Deliveroo, Airbnb and Coursera. 3.  How far ahead is RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP in implementing these changes? We’re collecting data.  A customer relationship management system is being put into place to collect client and prospect information into a common database.  Together with our practice management system, we will be able to analyse client trends and behaviours.  We are streamlining our internal processes: from the management of human resources, to expense claims and financial management, to digitising the entire workflow.: We already have in place a document management system and have begun studying our options for document assembly.  We are closely watching the artificial intelligence space for the latest developments. Replacing paper and manual processes with apps and software is the easier part.  It is more challenging dealing with the client ecosystem and understanding how clients want to be engaged.  There is unlikely to be a one-size-fits-all situation.  More sophisticated clients will want a bespoke client experience. To do this, we need to personalise the enhanced client experience to allow us this flexibility.  This aspect of the transformation is still underway. 4. What has been the  impact of Digital Transformation on your organisation? The jury is still out there but we are confident that the strategy that we have developed is the correct one for us.  We hope that the completion of the digital transformation will lead to increased efficiency and will give us a competitive edge in the crowded marketplace.  An enhanced client experience is a unique differentiator in the digital business world.  This transformation will continue over time as technology evolves. Contributed by Arcis Communications (SiTF PR Agency) Courtesy of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP  Published date: 8 Jun 2017