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Japan has had an up-and-down year so far, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt life and business, even as the country successfully hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Leaders of law firms in Japan say that while they had to institute new ways of work in order to adapt to this “new normal,” they have been heartened by the resilience shown by their firms, which will hold them in good stead going forward. 
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Hong Kong has long been renowned as a key international wealth management centre, but a number of recent developments – such as the GBA Wealth Management Connect – has solidified its status. And lawyers specialising in private wealth have found themselves very busy too.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has battered economies across the Asian region, and governments are currently scrambling to get back on the growth track. One way is via a substantial increase in infrastructure investment, but with the public purse stretched thin, funds are being sought from private investors as well as other governments.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that working from home is here to stay across the APAC region. However, this has also led to an increase in risk for white-collar crime, and lawyers say that companies need to be extra vigilant when it comes to compliance, and intensify their due diligence and training accordingly.
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The pandemic has heightened the risk of data breaches that could expose corporations to a great deal of liability, so it’s imperative that they start to take steps to mitigate the risk immediately.
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During a year when technology became front and centre of people’s lives, TMT lawyers became more in demand than ever before. ALB’s first-ever Asia Top 15 TMT Lawyers salutes the standout practitioners in this space across the region.
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Anyone with the slightest knowledge of India’s judicial system will be aware of the listless pace at which cases crawl through, but even then, the hard numbers are quite impressive. As of last July, 33.3 million cases were pending in the district and subordinate courts, and an additional 4.1 million in the high courts. The Supreme Court had more than 65,000 pending cases at the start of this year. This is, of course, not counting the hundreds of thousands of cases pending before tribunals. Apart from causing suffering to millions of ordinary individuals, the case clog can also impact growth: Experts say it is one of the biggest factors in deterring private investment in India. 
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India’s new data protection law has been months in the making. The Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 was tabled in parliament by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in December that year; since then it is being analysed by a Joint Parliamentary Committee in consultation with experts and stakeholders. Key aspects to the bill include sweeping mechanisms for protection of personal data, setting up a Data Protection Authority of India (DPA), a provision that the central government can exempt any government agency from the bill, and the “Right to Be Forgotten.” Since it was tabled, reaction has been mixed: There is the acknowledgement that India does need to fortify its data protection laws, coupled with the anxiety that the bill could be a serious threat to Indians' privacy. You can play a really cool card game to understand the bill better, and do also read this recent piece about the “arduous task” that lies ahead of the proposed DPA.
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In today’s world, general counsel face an ever-increasing demand to manage exponentially more risks, involving greater complexity, in much shorter time frames and with more potential impact on business performance. As expectations upon them evolve, law firm networks are assisting GCs in making their organisations more agile and effective. 
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This year promises to be an exciting one for Indonesia’s fintech sector. While it still focuses on two main verticals—electronic payment and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending—the Indonesian fintech sector has grown to cover other verticals, such as aggregators, innovative credit scoring, financial planning, and project financing. Lawyers talk about what’s on the horizon for this booming industry.