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Hong Kong Legal Tech Market Is Booming
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Summary: The legal tech market in Hong Kong is seeing a rise in legal technology, even their own homegrown providers.

The legal tech market is strong in the United States and the United Kingdom where there is a strong demand. However, it is not surprising that the market is starting to pick up in places like Hong Kong that are strongholds of international trade and business.

  
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Hong Kong’s legal technology has been focused on e-discovery and compliance because that is what multinational law firms have needed but with growing clientele, the industry is able to provide more services, according to Law.com.

Brian Tang founded Asia Capital Markets Institute, which consultants and acts as a startup investor, providing education and policy solutions to companies. As the managing director of ACMI, Tang explains that law firms are just starting to take on innovative legal technology in Hong Kong. Of course, some law firms have fully grasped all that legal technology has to offer, such as offices for international and U.S.-based firms.

These firms are using e-discovery platforms like Epiq and Relativity in their daily work. Kirkland & Ellis partner Cori Lable of the Hong Kong Government and Internal Investigations Group said, “I would say there have been significant developments in the state of forensic technology, particularly in the e-discovery space over the time I’ve been in Hong Kong.” She has been in Hong Kong for four years.

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Lable added that four years ago, Epiq and FTI “were two of the biggest providers” but things have changed now with “a lot more competition” filling the market. These new e-discovery tools are much more sophisticated and can handle non-English languages.

Still, with these advancements, regulators in the region are unfamiliar with the e-discovery. They tend to rely on paper documents for investigations, according to Lable. China’s Cybersecurity Law is starting to change that. Lable said, “I think that is a large reason why you have seen major companies over the past years setting up data centers” here.



The city is also experiencing a grassroots movement that is pushing legal tech mainstream. Last year, University of Hong Kong law student and research assistant David Law started the Hong Kong Legal Hackers group, an official chapter of the International Legal Hackers Summit. He told Law.com that they will be supporting “ABC” or artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud. They are also trying to bring legal tech companies, innovators, and legal professionals together to collaborate. “I would say that it’s about community building, because the legal tech landscape in Hong Kong has various pieces, but they are not reaching out to each other.”

Lam believes the increased legal tech activity is due to two causes, the first being a push from the Law Society of Hong Kong. They are urging local legal professionals to be “more open-minded to these innovations and technologies.” The second cause is a push from the financial sector, the power-players in Hong Kong’s economy. They want legal professionals to use more cost-effective and innovative services.

Hong Kong is a unique place. It is in China but exists as a Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong has its own set of laws and regulations separate from China, due to the UK’s 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China requiring “one country, two systems.”

From this emergence has come some local legal tech and managed services providers like Zegal. CEO of Zegal, Daniel Walker, said, “There was no product offering in this part of the world that could allow businesses to create their own legal documents.”

Do you think major cities will end up with their own local legal tech companies that can address their region’s needs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the legal tech market, read these articles:

Photo: ellsworth.af.mil



 

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