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New State Courts Towers to offer co-working space for small law firms

THE Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) will unveil a co-working space for small law firms at the upcoming State Courts Towers on Havelock Road.

CLICKS @ State Courts, which stands for collaborative law, innovative co-creation and knowledge-sharing, will open in the first quarter of 2020, the same time State Courts Towers is expected to be operational. 

The law academy hopes that by helping small law firms cut operational costs and inefficiencies through providing shared amenities and facilities - such as meeting rooms and office equipment, these firms can focus on adopting technology at their law practices.  In turn, they can continue to provide accessible and affordable legal services to the man-in-the-street.

CLICKS @ State Courts will tap existing SAL programmes, such as Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP), and collaborative tech projects.

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The space will initially house a mix of law firms of various sizes representing legal practitioners specialising in criminal law, family law, and community or relational disputes. Preference will be given to lawyers with a strong record in pro bono work.

There will also be spaces for tech companies, stakeholder representatives, academics and students. SAL, a promotion and development agency for Singapore’s legal industry, hopes that tenants will share ideas and work together for the future of the legal sector.

SAL will hold an information session on CLICKS @ State Courts at the end of March this year. Details on pricing and lease matters will be released by this July. Lawyers and law firms will then be invited to apply to operate at the co-working space. A committee will assess applications and successful candidates will be notified by this September.

The State Courts, Community Justice Centre and Law Society's Pro Bono Services (LSPBS) will be SAL’s partners in this project.

Serene Wee, chief executive of SAL, said: “Advancing the access to justice is an important agenda for the legal profession, but the solution is not in the hands of the legal profession alone. We hope to achieve two key objectives with CLICKS @ State Courts. Firstly, we want to help our small law firms future-proof themselves. Technology is an unstoppable force and they must keep up, so they can transform into next-generation practices.

“Secondly, we hope that domestic users of legal services - in particular the lower income and ‘sandwich’ groups - can continue to benefit from the accessibility and affordability offered by small law firms.”

Said Lim Tanguy, chief executive officer of LSPBS: “We have observed that there are cases deserving of assistance that fall through the cracks - especially among the ‘sandwich’ class, which may be too rich for legal aid, but too poor to hire a lawyer.

“We hope that CLICKS @ State Courts’ emphasis on partnerships and collaborations will go a considerable distance towards addressing this issue, by leveraging developments in legal technology to deliver services more efficiently.”