There is an article on the Asia Law Portal about a new book called A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets, written by John Grimley and published by Ark Group.
The book ranges from broad overview to in-depth analysis of a region which increasingly offers both challenges and opportunities to lawyers both collectively and as individuals.
One of the most interesting things I have done this year was to moderate a panel at the ALM / ILTA Technology Summit earlier this year on the cultural aspects of managing a law practice in the Asia-Pacific region. Our focus was relatively narrow – managing the changes in law firm technology – and we had only an hour. It was, nevertheless a fascinating glimpse into how legal practice in different regions is “different but the same”.
I contributed a short passage to the new book on what I see as the three paradoxes in the slow take-up of electronic discovery in Hong Kong. Why “paradoxes”? I would like to be able to explain why take-up of eDiscovery tools and techniques has been slow in a region which is the junction between US eDiscovery demands, English-derived common law and the vast Chinese market; it would be good to understand why a populace with the highest take-up of electronic devices in the world should be so slow to adopt electronic methods of working; it seems odd that Hong Kong looks on Singapore as a rival for legal business yet seems content to let Singapore make the running.
I offer no answers to any of this, but expressed the hope in my contribution to the book that the eDiscovery practice direction due to take effect in Hong Kong later this year will herald a change.
That is just a tiny part of a Guide which covers multiple jurisdictions of this large and diverse region whose legal services sector is undergoing all of the same changes as have happened in US and European markets. The list of relevant factors, from globalisation to ABS to changing relationships between clients and lawyers reads much the same everywhere.