Singapore | 5-6 October 2017

For the first time, the International Conference of Legal Regulators will be held in Asia, in the thriving metropolis of Singapore.

Abstract graphic for ICLR 2017

Singapore

Panoramic view of the Singapore skyline at dusk from across the bay.
Singapore has a vibrant and diverse legal industry. Law firms and lawyers from all over the world have a base in the city-state, adding to its cultural melting pot. As an international legal services hub, the Singapore experience is one that looks both east and west. As the regulatory environment continues to evolve, Singapore’s many stakeholders are actively involved in ensuring that its frameworks remain robust and relevant to modern legal practice. Perhaps uniquely, the regulation of Singapore’s legal industry is a continual collaborative effort between the courts, the profession and the government.

It is therefore with great pleasure that the Singapore Ministry of Law and the Law Society of Singapore invite members and prospective members of the ICLR to the 6th edition of the Conference in Singapore on 5 and 6 October 2017.

List of proposed topics at ICLR 2017

We are pleased to attach a list of proposed topics for ICLR 2017 which we have collated for feedback and discussion. View the list of proposed topics.
This is a tentative list based on the suggestions received from the ICLR community to date and we warmly welcome your views and comments. If you are interested in speaking or leading a panel of speakers on any of the topics or if you have suggestions as to individuals with particular expertise or interesting experiences relevant to specific topics, please indicate below. If you prefer to post privately, please log in and join the Singapore 2017 group under Regulator Community.

Register for ICLR 2017

If you intend to attend the Conference, please register on the Law Society of Singapore website.

21 comments on “International Conference of Legal Regulators 2017

  1. We are developing a ” Disruptive Attorney” Rule unique as we can tell that would allow quicker evaluation of certain disruptive attorneys both to more quickly help the attorney before they destroy their lives and careers and to protect the public. This is a different approach than the typical diversion program or even a forced disability or inactive status. I would love to present this and be part of what Tracy described as a wellness emphasis . ~John Berry, Florida~

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  2. It looks like a really interesting programme – thank you to the conference team! We’d be happy to contribute wherever is most useful. The whole question of using data – especially what we as regulators could and should offer consumers and how we can make it meaningful – is very topical for us and something we’d be keen to talk about with colleagues at conference. Access to Justice is also high up our agenda and , along with pro-active regulation, is something Paul is particularly interested in. And it’s good to see the the disruption session on the agenda, really relevant, and we are willing to share our experience and regulatory response in that session, if helpful.

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    • Thanks very much Jane and for letting us know which sessions are of interest to SRA. We have made a note. We have been receiving suggestions and are in the midst of fine tuning the list of proposed topics for further views and comments.

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  3. I would be happy to moderate the anti-money laundering/terrorist finance panel. I don’t know if she is coming to Singapore, but Laurel Terry would be great for this panel in my view. Perhaps speakers too from Singapore and Canada?
    Ellyn

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  4. I noticed that on the current agenda we do not have any program on attorney wellbeing. This subject is a passion of mine and one that I think is relevant, current, and comes into play no matter from what region of the world you hail. While we probably should have submitted this idea long before now, Jim Coyle (Chief of the Colorado Regulatory system-USA) and I would like to submit another program suggestion to be added to the list for comment. The working title and draft program summary are below. We believe that we can find other international panelists to fill the dais who would be entertaining and informative on this subject.
    Overcoming Stigma
    Substance abuse and mental illness can affect any attorney regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic status. But no matter what their background, attorneys dealing with these issues seem to suffer in silence. Why? Stigma – cultural prejudice and discrimination that labels an individual suffering from such illnesses as defective, or weak, oft-times have more damaging consequences than the illness itself and create a barrier to treatment. Through our discussion, the panelists will define the stigma, explain the reasons why stigma is so pervasive in the legal profession, and why it is critical to overcome these beliefs and identify effective means to ameliorate stigma and replace its effects with affirming attitudes for recovery. The discussion will focus on several different “life stages” of an attorney – law students, practicing attorneys, and judges, as well as unique challenges faced by under-represented minorities, and how stigma affects each group. The panelists will also identify practical and applicable ways to conquer stigma in the legal community as well as during the regulatory process, and discuss various regulatory efforts and objectives centered on increasing the wellbeing of our profession.

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  5. On behalf of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, I would like to propose a program relating to the FATF and terrorist and money laundering issues facing regulators of the legal profession. For example, the FATF has issued mutual evaluation reports recently for Canada, Singapore, and the U.S. The U.S. press has recently focused on the legal profession and how it is (or is not) addressing these issues, with concerns about impingement on the duty of confidentiality and on the attorney-client privilege at the fore. A suggestion has been made to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility that it consider amending the comments to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee is studying that request. Concerns have been raised in the US that not enough is being done to educate lawyers and regulators about these issues, and also that regulators are not doing enough to educate the profession about steps they should be taking to address money laundering and terrorist financing. This conference provides an optimal forum for regulators to discuss this topic, including the extent to which complaints about these issues are coming to their attention (including from other government agencies), and what role regulators can and should take in better educating the profession about its obligations and steps that it can take. I would be happy to work on the planning of this panel.

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  6. Hello everyone
    We would like to suggest the following topics for ICLR 2017 –
    (1) Future of lawyering and the role of the regulator
    (a) Disruptive technology and changes in the market
    • Are regulators responsible for predicting changes or developments in the legal services market. Must regulators always play catch-up to market changes.
    • How can we regulate emerging technology without stifling innovation. What should the regulator’s response to disruptive technologies be.
    • Should there be legislation requiring lawyers to keep up to date with the developments in technology and the risks.
    • Should there be training on entrepreneurship and innovation – should the regulator collaborate with other disciplines to provide appropriate training.
    • Should regulators plan for the future of lawyering in their strategic or work plans.

    (b) Competition:
    • Accountancy firms – are there policies in relation to the accounting firms providing legal services.
    • Non-lawyers providing law-related services online (e.g. LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, Dragon Law) : does or should the regulator have a role in policing.

    (c) Risk management (to be elaborated)

    (2) Access to justice – role of regulator in promoting access to justice and increasing public legal awareness
    (a) Should pro bono work be a mandatory requirement.
    (b) How does the regulator deal with issues such as:
    – Funding
    – Resources (volunteers, collaborations, development of materials)
    – Encouraging pro bono volunteerism
    (c) How to measure the success or impact of access to justice/legal awareness programmes.

    (3) Discipline – alternatives to disciplinary process
    Law Society has recently developed a new protocol to deal with lawyers who exhibit inappropriate conduct in court. Normally, the court may complaint to the Law Society which initiates a disciplinary process against the lawyer involved. Now, the Law Society can communicate the court’s feedback to the lawyer and counsel him or her without initiating disciplinary proceedings. We could talk in detail about this protocol.

    Would be grateful for your views. Thank you.

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    • in Canada the leading work on promoting access as the law socieyt/regulator level can be found in Ontario where the law Society hosts TAG – The Action Group on Access to Justice – vert sophisticated endeavor that brings widely divergent groups together to address how access can be enhanced for all – See https://theactiongroup.ca/

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    • Kenneth, I like the list. I thought that an addition to access to justice item might be how regulators’ licensing schemes might create greater access to justice. For example, it may be that regulator might agree not to require a license for provision of some levels of legal services or might create a limited or ‘scaled’ licence, which may create economies of scale and greater consumer choice for a range of legal needs.

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  7. Hi everyone,

    One topic which we are keen to include in the programme for ICLR 2017 is a session on the topic of automated/semi-automated online delivery of legal services, which we understand several jurisdictions are studying. The session could take the form of a debate, with speakers on each side of the House making the case for and against the regulation of such models, and those with experience in regulating such service providers could share their experiences. This is quite novel and we would be grateful for your views.

    Li Jie
    Ministry of Law, Singapore (Legal Services Regulatory Authority)

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    • We are developing a research program to measure the impact of our new approach to regulating legal services (what we call Triple P (principled, proactive, proportionate) and risk-focused form of regulation) on
      a) the public individually, and collectively in terms of enhanced confidence in the regulation of lawyers,
      b) lawyers individually and within firms/entities , and
      c) the regulator and its staff.
      For details of our work to date see: http://nsbs.org/legal-services-regulation
      Our work has involved simple shifts in approaches to regulation which do not require a dramatic legislative or structural change, more a culture change. We are aware that a number of American states have also adopted this approach in an effort to be more focused on improving lawyer behavior by addressing issues early and providing lawyers the tools to do so.
      Our hope is to be able to present the initial results of our research at ICLR in Singapore if the program can accommodate this.
      Victoria Rees, our Director of Professional Responsibility. is leading this work and would be the presenter if it is included in the program.

      Darrel Pink
      Executive Director, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

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    • One Canadian initiative that would be worth considering as part of this comes from British Columbia and involves its new online Civil Resolution Tribunal. See: https://www.civilresolutionbc.ca/ . It is having some very significant early success and clearly shows how some disputes between individuals can be resolved with a very simple process.

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  8. Hello Everyone,
    The Law Society of BC has been working on proactive regulation similar to other regulatory bodies. We have been active in using large amounts of data to formulate some of our theories and solutions. This is a common occurrence with regulators and corporations. As data analysis is here to stay, and creates many opportunities and challenges, we would like to suggest the following topics/themes/round tables:

    Proactive regulation: strategies and tactics to prevent issues before they require a regulatory response
    Regulatory analytics: infrastructure and methods to become a data-driven regulator
    Ethics of member regulation in the era of big data: how proactive should regulators be in their pursuit of public protection?

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    • Hi Kensi,

      These are interesting suggestions, in particular the topic on regulatory analytics which I think has not been explored at previous editions of the Conference. We will take these suggestions into consideration as we work on the programme. Thanks so much!

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    • It’s a good idea. SRA does some interesting stuff on combining horizon scanning, data matching and sharing from other sources and our own data. Its used to target specific market segments, emerging issues, firms etc. We’d happily talk about that.
      Crispin

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  9. It would be good to have a session on sharing regulatory data in the consumer interest. What do consumers need to know to make good choices about legal services – what they would they find helpful and from where? What can a regulator provide directly and how can we add value to other sources, such as consumer support organisations or comparison websites?

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    • Hi Jane and Gregory

      Thanks! This is a great idea and it’ll be interesting to find out more about the approaches of various jurisdictions. On a related note, I’d be interested in finding out views on the role of the regulator with regards to protection of the public interest, and the extent to which more or less information contributes to this.

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