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Should Law Offices Go Paperless

At issue in the GasTOPS trial was the development and sale of a software program for the computerized maintain of jet engines and aircraft. The benefits of a Computerized Maintenance Management System are that it reduces maintenance mistakes while at the same time reducing labour costs.

When I fly on an airplane or ride on a train I am encouraged to buy my ticket online. I recently was at my family doctors office and instead of a thick file of handwritten notes covering 35 years of attendances, test results and prescriptions, she brought up my file on a monitor in . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law

Lawyering in a Time of Corona

IT WAS INEVITABLE: as the courts shut down and the work-from-home edict spread, I was reminded of Luddite lawyers sitting in their offices. It would be a gargantuan undertaking to take files to and fro between home and office, and impossible to convert to a paperless office in the blink of an eye. Not surprisingly discoveries and mediations were cancelled, revealing those behind the curve. What we have preached as best practice for decades is now the only practice: paperless remote work is the one game in town.

Speaking of behind the curve, the conservative-to-a-fault Law Society of Ontario relaxed . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Cashless but Not Lawless

Pundits have been predicting the cashless society for a long time, perhaps even longer than the paperless office. Nonetheless the evidence is mounting that we are getting closer (at least to the former). The Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association ran a program at its spring meeting in Montreal this year on the possible disappearance of cash and the legal consequences.

Here are some of the highlights of presentations by Ed Morse of Creighton University, who presided, Denis Rice of Arnold and Porter, Jillian Friedman of the National Bank of Canada, and Erin Fonté of Dykema in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Stresses & Challenges of Being a Lawyer: When Technology Doesn’t Help

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO Counsel at LAWPRO

In addition to all the pressures lawyers face described in the article The Day to Day Stresses & Challenges of Being a Lawyer, technology has increased the pace of practice. While increasing efficiency, the constant flow of new products and applications can create just as much anxiety. The key is to use technology – don’t let it use you.

Here are a few examples of how technology has complicated legal practice, and what you can do to cope: . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Lawyers + Software: The New Partnership Model

On 26 August 1996, Business Week asked: “What’s Wrong With The Internet”? One criticism was that “Good Stuff Is Hard To Find”. Their suggested solution was: “Artificial intelligence will make search engines more discerning.”

One year later along came Google. It found the stuff you were looking for, without scaring you off with talk of artificial intelligence. Google helped more of us join the information revolution.

Meanwhile, today we should be on the road to driving nirvana via real automobiles. A problem for too many is that the “driverless car” is as scary as the “horseless carriage” would have been . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Of a Social Media Evidence Checklist and Prepping for Lawmageddon

When it comes to technology, are we not always hearing about the breakneck speed of change? The inexorable pace and ubiquity of it? How technology is revolutionizing law and practice? Our magazines, CLEs and law bloggings are replete with calls to brace for one type of Lawmageddon or another—the imminent (or at least happening really, really, probably, rather soon) confluence of events that will change lawyers’ lives forever. Anything short of fully encrypted communication between lawyer and client will spell negligence. You will become or be devoured by an alternative business structure. Cybersecurity will become the mantra by which you . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Revisiting PDFs for Law Firm Websites & Mobile Publishing

Most law firms have a history of using Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) to distribute their brochures, papers and longer written pieces. That practice matches what web usability experts have long advised: “PDF is great for distributing documents that need to be printed,” but not much more than that. The well-traveled rule is that if a document contains more than five pages of text (hint: that excludes lawyer profiles), then PDF format is worth considering.

Now, let’s throw a wrench into this. As we approach the end of 2011, many firms and their their clients are moving toward paperless . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

LexisNexis PCLaw Practice Suite

At yesterday’s 5th Annual Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) Conference, Avvy Go and Julian Falconer spoke about mentorship and noted that large firms presumptively have resources that small and solo firms do not.

The future of legal practice management will invariably lie in technological solutions to strategic problems, especially for those with limited resources. I had a private tour earlier this week of the new LexisNexis product launched in Ontario, PCLaw Practice Suite, intended primarily for firms with 1 to 5 lawyers. The platform was developed after years of research and communication with small practitioners to assess . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

Appy Lawyering

A favourite quote of mine is by Fred Bartlit at the 1994 ABA Techshow

We experiment with software. We buy, we try, we fail. The key to making it all pay off is in the re-engineering process — that is starting off with a blank slate and working from there.

With evaluation periods becoming commonplace, maybe Fred would now say, “we try, we buy, we fail”. Regardless, desktop and smartphone apps are now so abundant and relatively inexpensive that it is all too easy to head down a path of dependance on a program without realising it.

While your main . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Managing eBooks in Smaller Law Libraries

In a previous article, I discussed some issues with loose-leaf subscriptions and suggested that a number of them might well be replaced by eBooks. The term ‘eBook’ is used for electronic material produced in a wide range of formats. These formats include, but certainly are not limited to, HTML, PDF, AZW (Amazon’s proprietary format for the Kindle), EPUB (an open e-book format used by the iPad) and Mobipocket. Not all these formats are compatible with all devices. Wikipedia has an excellent list of the various formats, along with a table showing which format will work on what device. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Paperless or Virtual Office – It’s a Mindset

There has been much written on Slaw and other places about the paperless office, or the virtual office. 

My personal view is that for the most part, we either already have the tools to accomplish it, or if we don’t have them, they can be acquired at low cost. The barrier is mostly our will to do it. Some people don’t see the need, or have a hard time giving up paper, or just find it hard to change.

Technolawyer points to an article that’s worth a read by New York lawyer Jay Fleishman entitled Being a Virtual Lawyer is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Office Technology

How to Make a Law Practice More Manageable

I am speaking today to the CBA BC Branch Civil Litigation and Young Lawyers Sections in Victoria on “how to make a law practice more manageable.” A “manageable” law practice is akin to “work-life balance” – one of those lovely theoretical concepts which is invariably noted by a perceived lack of achievement thereof. With that proviso in mind, here are some humble thoughts in this regard:

1. Money

One of our lawyers is fond of stating the truism that “charity starts at home,” meaning that if we aren’t taking the right steps to stay financially afloat, then we will be . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management