Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Is Windows 10 Spying on You?

It’s hard to find statistics identifying how many people are currently running Windows 10. One thing we do know is that there were 14 million downloads within 24 hours of the release. Some estimates put the installed base at over 75 million devices. No matter what the right number is, it appears that Microsoft has added another hit operating system to its list. But is everything about Windows 10 a good thing? Not so fast. When Microsoft released Windows 10, it also updated its privacy policy. Should attorneys be concerned? The answer attorneys love to hate is…it depends. Perhaps if . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

SmartLaw

We have smartphones and smart cars are on the way, so we should not be surprised that SmartLaw gets added to the tags of BigLaw/SmallLaw, NewLaw/OldLaw, NextLaw and even LessLaw etc. But, like so much of the legal world, the “bleedingly obvious” can take a while to be noticed. While I have talked about smarter lawyers in relation to our Lawyers Workstation approach to IT, Ryan McClead’s blog article “SmartLaw: The firm of the future” was interesting due to its emphasis on the firm, rather than the lawyer.

“Smart” is a neat word: it includes connotations of style, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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

De-Automate Your Destruction

An Internet connection can automate damage to your law practice and reputation. A lawyer can’t practice without the Internet but there are ways to reduce the opportunities to be attacked. There are common applications that have become so problematic as attack points that lawyers may want to uninstall or at least wall off this software. I’m talking in particular about Adobe’s Flash and Oracle’s Java apps.

There are lots of bugaboos on the Internet but let’s focus on these two. You could throw in PDFs as well, if you like. Cisco’s annual threat report shows that these three make up . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Business of Contracts

In the context of the legal technology segment, the lion’s share of the effort has, of course, been focused on ediscovery and other litigation-related tools. The next most significant area probably relates in some way to contract analysis and drafting tools. These tools generally focus on the needs of law firms and law departments, analyzing various categories of contracts and using the resulting data for the particular services that the vendors offer.

In these contract analysis activities, the vendors and clients will use various “raw materials” to work from before engaging in their particular analysis. The three most common repositories . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Locky: The New Ransomware – and the Three Principles of Fighting Ransomware

According to Security Magazine, the number of ransomware attacks is predicted to increase in 2016. For the second quarter of 2015, more than 4 million samples of ransomware infections were identified as compared to 1.5 million in the third quarter of 2013. That’s a pretty big increase.

Ransomware

So what is ransomware? Ransomware is a piece of malware that encrypts your data and holds it hostage until you pay a ransom. The idea is that after you pay the ransom, you receive the decryption key in order to decrypt your data and make it accessible again. The payment is made . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Evaluating Legal Technology – a Checklist

After successfully putting it off for a decade after every other industry, it seems like the legal world is finally – FINALLY – poised on the edge of a technology revolution. Walk the exhibit halls of any legal conference nowadays and you’ll see dozens of companies ready to sell you all sorts of solutions that will make your practice life easier and save you money. But will they? How can you tell?

To that end, I developed a check list to go through whenever you are thinking of adopting or purchasing a technology product or service.

  1. Know thyself. Before you
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Enhancing Old With New

It is timely that Vanderbilt Law School is hosting what is billed as the first legal conference on the topic: “Watson, Esq.: Will Your Next Lawyer Be a Machine.” The legal system, and the legal profession will need to dramatically lift it’s game if it is to keep up with client expectations as mankind prepares to take another big step. It led me back to an abstract of a Rees Morrison article I did almost 30 years ago:

Artificial intelligence and law: A conference report

The First International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law was held in Boston . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Macros and Micro Automation

Law practice technology comes in a variety of sizes. Either the lawyer adapts to the technology or adapts it to her needs. We often look at the systems that lawyers use to improve client service and productivity. This time, let’s flip the hood on law practice technology and look at some of the micro tools you can use.

Automated Tasks with Macros

Technology use is filled with those small things we do over and over, seemingly because we have no option. We log on to Windows, and as it loads, we grab a cup of coffee. We sit down and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Pretty Face of the Internet of Things

We have been looking at the implications of the interconnection of multitudes of devices – for security, for privacy, for property. What happens when the things connected with you and each other on the Internet can recognize your voice, and talk back to you? Voice recognition technology has made rapid progress, and it is already becoming normal that one can ask questions out loud to a computer (generally a “device”, a phone) and have it answer.

Thus Siri, Google Now and Cortana. Not only do they have access to a universe of information, but they learn about . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Judging Twitter

“Treated” is not quite the right word, but for purposes of this article I’ll say avid Twitter users were treated in early February to innumerable passionate pleas tagged #RIPTwitter that Twitter not change its algorithm and containing warnings that if Twitter dare mess with reverse chronological tweet delivery, the company would have drawn on its last measure of goodwill.

Before continuing, let me first acknowledge that the preceding statement likely sounded like nonsense to most of you. Not many Canadians have Twitter accounts (~25%), and only a tiny fraction of subscribers engage with sufficient frequency to notice small changes . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

Podcasting as Commentary

Up to a few months ago, I didn’t know much about WWI. I did certainly know more than the characters in Friends, but, like most, I knew considerably less on this conflict than on the other world war. To be fair to me, I had a reasonable idea of the convoluted causes of the conflict from reading Margaret MacMillan’s “The War That Ended Peace” (still, that was only a couple of years ago), but not much about the actual fighting. Then I listened, over the summer, to a 20+ hour series of podcasts by Dan Carlin entitled “Blueprint . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology