The Edge Singapore
The glamour and big bucks of the law has long been a key pillar of the “Singapore Dream”, but the trials and tribulations of the legal profession have often been cause for second thoughts. A day in the life of a high-flying attorney involves poring through piles of legal documents written in arcane language under severe time pressure. Small wonder, then, that three out of four lawyers leave the profession within 10 years.
Memories of stressful all-nighters, dealing with difficult bosses and having meals at odd hours remain vivid in the mind of one young lawyer. “You will also become heavily reliant on coffee or energy drinks, and drink copious amounts of alcohol on nights off to combat the stress and calm the nerves. Your social life will suffer. And trust me, you are going to be cancelling a lot of lunch and dinner appointments,” says RV, a member of the Law Society’s Young Lawyer’s Committee in an op-ed for its Law Gazette publication.
Much of this stress stems from how law firms manage the reams of information that come their way. As Singapore’s common law legal system requires lawyers to cite legal precedent from past cases, attorneys need to deal with large amounts of information gleaned over several years.
Borrowing a line made famous by former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former lawyer Chang Zi Qian says that attorneys often “don’t know what they don’t know”. The process by which they obtain information from databases and colleagues is often uncoordinated and manual.
Intelllex has met with significant success so far, winning US$2.1 million ($2.9 million) in startup funding despite weak investor confidence following Covid-19. Led by Quest Ventures, investors include Thomson Reuters, Creative Technology founder Sim Wong Woo, and early Razer investors Chandra Mohan and Chong Chiet Ping. “We like that Intelllex’s ‘brains with AI brawn’ offering is well-positioned to resolve age-old productivity and delivery problems across multiple B2B industries,” says Quest Ventures partner Jeffery Seah, who will join Intelllex’s Board after the funding round.
The legal industry appears to agree, with Intelllex boasting a star-studded portfolio of clients. Besides government bodies and several of Singapore’s “Big Four” law firms — Allen and Gledhill, Drew and Napier, Rajah and Tann, and WongPartnership — Intelllex also works with one of Britain’s prestigious “Magic Circle” law firms in the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. Smaller law firms are also well-represented among the start-up’s clientele, with such outfits constituting the bulk of its earliest clients since its founding in 2015.