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Dentons Law Firm in Hong Kong Scoops Pro Bono Award Trophy

Pro bono work is legal advice or representation provided free of charge by legal professionals in the public interest. This can be to individuals, charities or community groups who cannot afford to pay for legal help and cannot get legal aid or any other means of funding.

Dentons Hong Kong has received the Bronze Law Firm Award from the Law Society Pro Bono and Community Work Recognition Programme 2019. This programme aims at promoting and encouraging Hong Kong legal practitioners serving pro bono and community work.

Dentons is a multinational law firm. Dentons was the world’s 5th-largest law firm by revenue, with $2.9B gross revenue in fiscal year 2019. The firm is called Dentons in all languages other than Chinese, in which it is called 大成.

Hong Kong Partner Julianne Doe was also recognised for her outstanding dedication to pro bono and community service, by being the recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award and the Individual Gold Award at the same programme.

Commenting on this achievement, Julianne, who is also Chair, Dentons’ WomenLEAD for Hong Kong, said: “These awards reflect our ongoing commitment to volunteering pro bono/community service, demonstrating creation of social value in our community and in line with our professionals’ global commitment to apply our legal and business skills, passionate commitment and boundless energy to helping others.

Not only do we get involved personally, we create a platform for young people to do so by participating in university initiatives which allow law students to come into our office and be inspired by the pro bono work we do.”

Dentons Hong Kong has a track record of assisting clients with business issues across the Asia Pacific region, including the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and India.

Given the ease of doing business in Hong Kong and its status as an international financial hub, Dentons have become highly skilled in working with specialist colleagues from around the world on truly cross-border transactions.

UK lawtech not yet disruptive, new research shows

Lawtech in the UK has a long way to go if it is to reach its potential, the Law Society of England and Wales said as it launched new research into the development and adoption of sector-specific technology.

In its Lawtech Adoption Report, the Law Society explores the UK’s burgeoning lawtech sector and highlights key developments in this area and what this means for the legal profession and the business of law.

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: “A range of drivers is accelerating development and adoption of lawtech, from an escalating need for efficiency, increasing workloads and complexity of work to client pressure on costs and shorter turnaround times.

“Some of the most notable growth areas are legal analytics, legal project management, governance and compliance and contract management.

“Lawtech in the UK is largely focused on efficiencies and automation rather than on delivering ‘new types of law’. As such it is less mature than other fields of digital disruption – such as fintech, where there is more funding and regulatory alignment.”

The business-to-business legal services market is the most mature, particularly within large law firms, where AI and machine learning-driven applications are ubiquitous. Some of the more established areas include collaboration tools, document management, IP management and e-billing.

The business-to-consumer legal market seems to be lagging behind. There is most traction in those law firms that are delivering large-scale commoditised services, where automation is principally all about driving efficiencies. For instance, chatbots, DIY law, robo-lawyers and triage tools are all becoming more common with a greater focus on the consumer experience.

“Our research found that law firms face barriers to adoption of many lawtech solutions that are fundamental to the industry, such as risks around compliance, the partnership and billable hours models,” Christina Blacklaws said.

“After several years of start-up activity, the sector is now ripe for a wave of consolidation and later stage funding. Adopting and pioneering new technologies will give firms a strong competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving legal services market.”