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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Style Makes the … Contract?

Why do lawyers write so badly? Save and except, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, writers and their heirs, successors, and assigns whose right, title, and interest in and to the aforesaid subject matter is or may be, with the giving of notice or the lapse of time, … Sorry, that sentence got away from me!

The push towards plain language drafting is, of course, nothing new. Joseph Kimble, Emeritus professor at WMU–Cooley Law School, has been writing on the topic for more than 30 years. He has written two books, including Lifting the Fog of Legalese and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Ashley Madison and the Deep (And Sometimes Dark) Web

There are lawyers – mostly family and criminal defense lawyers – who know at least a little about the Deep Web and the Dark Web. But the average lawyer? Not so much. In fact, after the Ashley Madison breach, a lot of family law colleagues began asking us questions about the Deep Web and the Dark Web – where the full steamy contents of the Ashley Madison breach were published in many places. Most had no clue that there was any distinction between the Deep Web and the Dark Web.

So what is the Deep Web? Think of the Web . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Evidence vs Privacy?

Can efforts to avoid charges of spoliation of evidence involve violation of privacy norms?


Data storage has become very inexpensive. Finding information among masses of data is steadily becoming more manageable – one can turn loose the power of Google or other search engines on one’s own business data. One can use various forms of predictive coding to sort files for particular topics or for degrees of sensitivity: what’s relevant, what’s privileged, and so on.

On the other hand, it can be dangerous not to keep data. The rules of evidence have always included sanctions against spoliation. In days . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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

Wade Into Windows 10

The latest Windows operating system has started rolling out. Unsurprisingly, reactions to its new update method and privacy functions are mixed. If you were on Windows 7 like most lawyers, it will be an easy upgrade and – despite the negative early chatter – worth taking advantage of the free upgrade.

The Upgrade and Updates

If you have any version of Windows other than Enterprise or Windows RT, you can get the new operating system free. You may have been invited to register for a copy, in which case you’ll get a notification e-mail. You can also just grab . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Twelve Tips for Effective Tech Presentations

Let’s face it – whether you are talking about securing your data or describing the functions of legal IT products, the average lawyer audience may regard your presentation as useful, but hardly as “sexy.” Since we have been successfully lecturing on multiple topics for 18 years now, we have amassed a number of tips for making our presentations entertaining as well as educational. A friend suggested we share what we have learned. Here our twelve of our best tips:

  1. Be a storyteller. Cold hard facts have very little allure. But everyone likes a good story. When we lecture on cybersecurity,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Some Highlights of SOLSC15

An interesting thought to take away from the 2015 Sinch Online Legal Services Conference, was the drive to action ideas, prototypes and business models, rather than just leave them to bloom in good time. This was reflected in the intensity of the discussions among attendees and speakers. The potential for “spot fires” of transformative thinking to come together and impact legal niches, seems imminent. The planets may be aligning for some major legal industry events, with big dollars at stake, according to some speakers.

Richard Granat spoke about “Law For the Rest of Us” as 80% of US citizens cannot . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Two Factor Belt and Suspenders

Weak passwords are out. Strong passwords are in but may not be enough to protect you. When you use dual or two factor authentication, you add a hurdle to those attempting to get unauthorized access to your law practice information. It doesn’t involve your finger or your face, which are password replacements and not necessarily better. Instead, you supplement your username and password with a one-time code.

You already use two factor authentication in other parts of your life. Probably the most common is the PIN and cash card. You have to have both the card, inserted in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Authenticating Electronic Petitions

Petitions are an ancient method for people to tell their government (king or Parliament) what they want, and what they don’t want. ‘The relief of grievances’ is a big part of their appeal over the years. Petitions are a way of being heard, if not quite a day in court.

The traditional petition was a list of names and addresses subscribed to the text of the demand or complaint, generally with each person’s signature. The signature gave some assurance that the names represented real people, so the number of names might indicate real support for the message.

It takes work . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Economical Solid State Drives Are Here

We all covet the latest and greatest of technology, not to mention possessing the fastest computer. One way to increase the speed of your computer is to use a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a mechanical one. Essentially, SSDs are flash memory devices that appear as a hard disk to the computer. It is very fast to write and read from memory as opposed to accessing data from the rotating platters of a mechanical disk drive. Solid state drives are three to four times faster than their mechanical counterparts when writing or reading large files. Sound good? Then you’ll . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Robots and the Law

In my previous posting, Automation in the Legal Market, I discussed the issue of automation vs. augmentation, where I touched upon the issue of the potential changes that might flow from the entry of IBM Watson into the legal sphere with the ROSS search engine. While the issue of automation is one that has been discussed from time to time over the last few years, there has been an explosion of articles in the last while that have addressed the automation and artificial intelligence (AI) robots, either directly or tangentially.

On LinkedIn, Patrick DiDomenico published a posting entitled . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

May the Repo Man Work From Home?

The Internet of Things involves the connection of many things to the Internet that did not use to be networked. The numbers of such interconnected things is growing rapidly; the estimates vary greatly but are always counted in the billions over the next few years. The interconnection allows those things to communicate with the world, and vice versa. We have considered some of the legal issues raised by such communications, whether with the ‘world’ intended by the designer of the interconnection or with someone with unforeseen capacity or intention.

This column focuses on one communication: an ‘off’ switch, used by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology