Many significant events have occurred here in Indonesia during the last few months, varying from constructive and hopeful to shocking and heart breaking. Indonesia, again proved that we could practice democracy as elegantly as we have seen for hundreds of years in the US and Western Europe, and decades in India. The parliamentary and presidential elections were recently held peacefully and with almost no incident. This is a remarkable achievement, especially only after about a decade of democracy. Instead of using violence, the leaders opted to settle any disputes from the elections through the courts of justice, including the Constitutional Court, which was just established for less than a decade, but nevertheless proved to be a strong defender of our constitution. We have been amazed and puzzled by competition between the Police Force and the Commission on Eradication of Corruption (KPK) that has been triggered by a murder case involving the non-active chairman of KPK. This has dragged us into an futile condition, which would only give more room for corruptors to fight back and diminish the success of anti corruption efforts led by the KPK. The latest was the merciless bombing of Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta that took the lives of important business leaders and badly injured others. The impact of the bombing is very destructive to the confidence of Indonesians. It is sad that we still have to deal with violence and terror to this day in the midst of praises by the international community that Indonesia is not adversely affected by the global economic crisis.
These events give us a new insight on the future of Indonesia. It is rapidly becoming a more integrated part of the world. But many problems have not been solved yet. Corruption, government inefficiency, terrorism, economic recessions, inflation, energy, environment, ethnic tensions, separatist movements, inter-religion dialogue, reform efforts, democratization process, and others have become generally accepted issues here. We have to live with all of such problems. We must keep trying to improve all parts of the spectrum no matter whether it is a small win or major leap.
The good news needs to be capitalized on, and the momentum must be used now. The trust of foreign investors, economic stability, stimulus programs, strengthening of the Rupiah, anti corruption efforts, bureaucracy reform, and soon the new administration and parliament with a stronger coalition, would yield a better investment climate. New direct investment will come. Capital markets will be bullish. Infrastructure will be built. This means a lot of work to be done by lawyers, foreign and Indonesian. The main question is, who will get it? All law firms claim they have the expertise, offer a more cost-effective rate work faster, provide high quality services and that they are associated with leading global law firms. These are all good or very good. But good or very good is not enough to be the chosen one.
Let me borrow statements by Richard S. Granat (From Legal Services to Information Services, Digital-lawyer.com):
“The practice of law is experiencing extraordinary changes that will have a lasting impact on the structure of the legal profession and the ways in which lawyers approach their practices. Within the next five years, the practice of law will change even more than it has during the past five years, because of new developing information and communications technologies which will enable anyone to access any legal resource essentially for free, or at very low cost. There has been a gradual adoption of computer technology to automate both law firm “back office” operations, word-processing, and “front office” functions such as case management and automated litigation support. What is new about the accelerated rate of change of developments in information technology is that there are developments which are now converging to create a new platform for computing a platform that is extraordinary powerful, ease to use, and connected to the rest of the world. In the domain of legal practice technology it is now much easier to create, without being a programmer, electronic diagnostic checklists and procedural forms; data-bases with natural language and intelligent front-ends that are easy to search and report results in a variety of formats; intelligent document assembly systems; multimedia interactive forms that incorporate the lawyer’s expertise, audio, and video annotation; hypertext documents that can reach out into the Net and up-date themselves automatically; and powerful searching tools that can literally find one two documents or a string of words among thousands or even millions of documents. The convergence of these technologies provide the foundation for new legal information services that threaten and challenge the existing configuration of law practices. While lawyers computerize more and more of their work, the use of information technology in the delivery of legal services is not limited to existing law practice. The technology that is being used to automate law practice is about to escape out of the control of lawyers, not longer a servant, but an uncontrolled force in its own right. … The day when people can ask their computers an intelligent question and get a relevant answer at low cost from the convenience of their homes is the day that many lawyers will be looking for work. … While much of today’s lawyer’s work is advisory and consultative, on a one-to-one basis, as access to the internet expands, some law firms will emerge as a new kind of hybrid organization, part publisher, part legal advice supplier, part legal engineers. These firms will create new legal information services and products that will customize themselves to the needs of each individual client.”
Richard Susskind (The Future of Law: Facing the Challenges of Information Technology, Oxford Press, 1996) adds:
“ The ultimate deliverable will be reusable legal guidance and information services pitched at a level of generality considerably higher than the focused advice which characterizes legal advisory work today. … The information society will always need access to legal knowledge and expertise. What will not be sustainable is any continuation from he position in today’s legal paradigm whereby the legal profession enjoys an exclusive position as the interface between individuals and businesses on the one hand and access to the rule of law on the other…the legal profession of the future will be constituted of two tiers, not the solicitors and barristers today, but the legal specialists and legal information engineers of the information society.”
In line with the prediction of Granat and Susskind, we introduce for the first time in 2003, our legal services using the data, information, documents, forms and opinion of the law firm Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo, in addition to the thousands of laws and regulations we have collated and further developed by www.hukumonline.com, the largest legal database provider in Indonesia.
The re-launching of our online services with new attractive design, ease of access and of course, more content, shows our belief that the future of legal service lies with digital lawyers and legal online services replacing conventional one-on-one time provided by most law firms in Indonesia and the rest of the world.
With the purpose of creating digital legal services, LGS Online will be faster, cheaper and satisfy the needs of clients. However, this does not prevent you from having a one-on-one discussion with LGS partners and lawyers, as the firm has boosted its capacity to be the largest law firm in terms of number of lawyers in Indonesia by the end of 2009. The six partners remain active in law, and are available round-the-clock as clients may urgently require.
The re-launching of LGS Online on the 17th of August 2009 at 10.00, the time when our father of the Republic proclaimed the Indonesian independence in 1945, is not without reason. We are convinced in the future of Indonesia, lies with the nation, the government, the people, the business sector and ourselves. We will always be here providing whatever the best we could offer to you and Indonesia.
August 17, 2009
Arief T. Surowidjojo
A New Cornerstone of Legal Services in Indonesia
Periodical Review of Indonesian Politics, Economy and Other Public Issues
LGS Newsletter on Various Legal and Business Issues
Government Officials and Prominent Business Actors in Indonesia
Important Addresses You Should Know