INTELLLEX’s Launch @ NUS Law
Skimming the list of legal startups on Angellist (url: https://angel.co/legal) shows that they are by far concentrated in the US and Europe. Law firms overseas are ramping up on the incorporation of technology into their work routines, in the form of new research tools, business models and various other forms of automation. Local lawyers are playing catch-up, and that means we need access to new legal tools. Since last December, a clutch of former lawyers has been building tools for the legal community. Last Friday, NUS law played host to INTELLLEX, a local pioneer that seeks to relieve the tedium of legal research and knowledge management by applying the latest research technologies to legal content.
Justified covered the event despite coming off a rigorous and tiring criminal law seminar. After all, the game was changing, and us students would need all the help we could get.
The session was divided into 2 parts — INTELLLEX had also invited a senior down for a chat. This was Seow Tzi Yang. Class of 2011 valedictorian, former JLC, Clifford Chance lawyer, and someone who won book prizes like you caught Pokemon (just gotta catch ‘em all).
Tzi Yang promptly dropped the million-dollar question: “Anyone wants to know how to get a 1st class?” That was pretty simple, as it turned out: the trick was school days that start at 7am. Oh, and “people who tell you to study 8 hours a day are doing it wrong”. Tzi Yang promptly retracted the statement though, and explained that his (relatively) short workdays really involved a carefully curated system of using casebooks, textbooks and an objective understanding of exam requirements. No one ever said it was easy, but its possible, it seems. This claim, Tzi Yang stated encouragingly, was from the guy who flunked junior college with 4 ‘F’s.
On towards 5 actions he thought we should take in law school (on top of securing our grades):
All things considered, these were sound advice (peppered with many anecdotes drawn from his experience of legal practice). The slides above cover the grounds of the five habits – never let it be said that Justified doesn’t deliver exclusive scoops.
The founder of INTELLLEX, Zi Qian, stepped up to deliver his pitch. Despite the doom and gloom about lawyers losing their jobs, he was convinced that technology should not be in competition with lawyers, but should be doing something to help lawyers instead. To that end, he started INTELLLEX with the aim of building work companion tools that make our lives easier. A bit like Rey and BB-8, Justified supposes. (Is it too soon to spoil the latest installment of Star Wars?)
The audience was treated to a demonstration of INTELLLEX’s Platform, comprising an integrated legal search engine and knowledge management tool. The inspiration, it turned out, was the standard associate’s experience of legal research, as work that often takes up huge chunks of the <5 year PQE lawyer’s daylight (and night) hours, but which remained unbillable because of the need for competitive pricing of services.
Further, it stemmed from the frustration faced whenever law firm partners asked for quick answers or for extremely specific, fact-based research. Zi Qian shared an anecdote about the seemingly impossible task of needing to find a case that stood for the recognition of a global non-compete clause, and after exhausting use of the usual legal search platforms, finally managed to find a case through a Google search — therefore his dissatisfaction about the efficiency of the currently available platforms.
Zi Qian closed off the session with a question to challenge the crowd — “what is your niche?”
So, introducing Intelllex’s 3 integrated products:
INTELLLEX Source is an all-in-one search engine for legal commentary, statutes and cases that promises a better search algorithm with its composite database that understands case relationships, and what Zi Qian terms a “super algo” – additionally, they’re working on natural language input. INTELLLEX currently have a beta product out, and the team is working towards the gold standard of the ability to key in a set of fact patterns, after which the engine would be able to pull out the most relevant and important cases.
INTELLLEX Scribe, supposedly inspired by David Marshall’s engagement with the law by attempting to create a legal bible, is a interconnected version of law school notes, a personal casebook, and audio recording functions, all rolled into one item, that aids your organization, maintenance and ease of search. For now, scribe notes remain online-only. Scribe would only be launched in the later half of February.
Stacks is the most interesting function. For those who are chronically disorganized, Stacks is the tool for you. It acts as a central hub for consolidating accumulated research into neat…stacks.
(caption: The inspiration behind INTELLLEX scribe)
At this point, INTELLLEX’s focus remains Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, with planned expansion of the product into major Commonwealth jurisdictions including India, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Other jurisdictions may possibly being added depending on popular demand.
INTELLLEX is being released as a free beta now at intelllex.com
Written by: Eric (Year 1), with input from Jia Qing (Year 1) and Kenneth (Year 3) from Alt+law, the NUS legal technology community
Photography by: Eric (Year 1)