Evolution in progress


Preparing for a world beyond our imagination

Whether it’s for personal or business use, one doesn’t need to be an expert to take advantage of generative artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a new world, and it’s here to stay. The march towards AI is unstoppable and the legal profession is not immune to these changes.

A Goldman Sachs report in March predicts that up to 44% of legal work tasks in the US and Europe can be automated using AI. Although there are no comparable data for Asia, it’s reasonable to assume a similar percentage.

Volume 7, Issue 6
Asia Business Law Journal

Our Cover story argues why lawyers should start adapting to incorporate generative AI into their practice without fear of losing their jobs. On the contrary, AI can potentially help lawyers to deliver efficient services and offer greater value to clients.

Despite the potential benefits of generative AI, the perils and constraints that come with it cannot be ignored. Prudence and vigilant oversight at private and governmental levels is vital to properly assuage risks and ensure reliable deployment and use of AI.

The winds of progress never yield to the ways of the past. Transforming the old, the Philippines finally opens its doors to foreign investment after being held back by bureaucracy, corruption and strict pro-local ownership rules. Telecoms, infrastructure and energy sectors especially are expected to flourish with the influx of expertise and resources.

All eyes on Philippines gathers first-hand insights from local counsel, who tell us that clients from around the world are seeking advice on navigating the new laws. Despite positive indicators, caution is advised to investors as warning signs also need to be heeded. The protectionist attitude seems to be shifting, but careful navigation must be employed before diving in.

A positive outlook can also be found in Malaysia, which has survived domestic political and global health crises. Impressively, as the world drew breath after the pandemic, the country found a path in balancing the accommodation of the two largest economies at odds, the US and China.

In Tiger’s eye, Malaysia’s legal experts recognise the critical importance of the government’s proactive approach towards policies on liberalisation, tax and investor protection. However, domestic regulatory hurdles and mounting apprehension regarding environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors provide potential complications.

The wealth of knowledge and experience of legal counsel can help to navigate the often-complex laws and regulations of different countries. It is essential for them to cultivate a strong community, both within and outside of the law, which encourages networking and collaboration, as well as the sharing of best practice.

In Expansive counsel, we asked general counsel for their views on navigating business perplexities, leading legal teams, and supporting companies’ expansions. Having different views from various fields yields a treasure trove of data and insight, gaining a wider perspective that enables richer comprehension and the confidence needed to succeed in the global market.

In Pursuit of parity, we acknowledge South Korean female practitioners and assess their views just over a year from the establishment of the Women’s Interest Committee at the country’s sole arbitral institution. The forum provides a platform for female practitioners to build networks and voice their concerns, and we take their views on its success and the future of arbitration in the nation.

In this issue, we are excited to bring you a Head to Head series comparing M&A law around the region. It is a must read for dealmakers keen to keep up in the competitive market and stay relevant by being aware of the latest regulatory environments.

We also compare ESG regulations and their rapid development in the region. Companies worldwide are striving for higher standards of accountability due to the increasing awareness of the impact of business practices on ESG, where Asia is gradually catching up.

Be sure to not miss our Japan A-List, showcasing our choices of the top 100 lawyers practising in Japan, and Indonesia’s Future Legal Leaders, where we put the spotlight on 50 young and upcoming lawyers who are making a name for themselves.

Finally, we are also proud to present our Malaysia Law Firm Awards, which recognise the best legal advisory firms in the country, as well as winners in 25 other categories, each of equal standing.

Best wishes,
Putro Harnowo
Asia Business Law Journal