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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Double Whammy on Law Firms: COVID-19 and the Troubled Economy

When lawyers turned the calendar page to January 2020, they could not have dreamt of the two-fold nightmare that would descend upon the profession so quickly. A global pandemic and a tanking economy at the same time? We thought we had seen the end of hard times when we finally emerged from The Great Recession in 2009. Some of our lawyer friends still have lines of credit to pay down from that recession.

While government leaders say the economy will “come roaring back” or “I’ll bring the economy back,” most lawyers are skeptical, to say the least.

The New Normal

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Mutual Recognition of Methods of Authentication

This essay examines an international dimension of trust in electronic commerce: how to give legal recognition in one country to electronic documents from another. Recognition involves attributing legal status to electronic messages exchanged across borders. The usual phrase is “mutual recognition”. Mutual recognition means reciprocal recognition: A recognizes B’s e-documents because B recognizes A’s.

It is not logically necessary for cross-border recognition to be mutual. A could recognize B’s reliability standards and thus give effect to its documents even if B does not return the favour. However, in practice it is likely that a country that accepts another country’s standards . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Word Wizardry for Lawyers

I spend a lot of time in this column talking about the future of legal technology. Today, I’d like to give you something a little more practical, and help you use the technology you already have.

Let me share with you the one thing that I wish every lawyer and law student knew about Microsoft Word: Multilevel lists.

In the toolbar of Microsoft Word you will find Multilevel lists just to the right of bullets and numbered lists.

Click on that button, and a menu appears. You’re going to want to click on “Define New Multilevel List…”

In the screen . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Technology: Office Technology

My Concerns With the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel Report, and Thoughts About Taming the Internet

In January, the panel tasked with the review of Canada’s telecommunications framework issued its report. Some of the recommendations are to be saluted, but others have left me worrying, most importantly the recommendations that aim to effectively regulate the Internet the same way that we have regulated broadcast since the last century.

This post is certainly not intended to be a comprehensive discussion of the report. If you’re looking for such a thing you can, well, read the report to hear the panellists’ explanations for their recommendations, or head to Michael Geist’s blog to hear about the other side . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

How to Bring an Urgent Application at the B.C. Supreme Court While the Courthouses Are Closed

Friday, April 3, 2020 – Effective March 19, 2020, the B.C. Supreme Court suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia until further notice. While the courthouses are closed, applications may be made to the Court only for essential and urgent matters. The move is part of the Court’s efforts to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The procedural approach of the Courts to the present crisis may be expected to continue to evolve. Those wishing to have matters brought before the Court will need to check frequently . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

96 Percent of Deepfake Videos Are Women Engaged in Sexual Acts

We’ve spent a lot of time worrying about the possible effect of deepfake videos on the 2020 election.

While that’s a real concern, we were blown away by the stats in a report from Deeptrace Labs. The most startling statistic was that 96% of fake videos across the internet are of women, mostly celebrities, whose images are used in sexual fantasy deepfakes without their consent.

Deeptrace Labs identified 14,678 deepfake videos across a number of streaming platforms and porn sites, a 100 percent increase over its previous measurement of 7,964 videos in December of 2018.

Sadly, we imagine we’ll see . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Incentives for Internet Security

Almost everything of social or financial value is now online in some form, benefitting in many ways from the interconnection with the world, and tempting in many other ways to the world’s thieves and saboteurs. As a result, Internet security has never been more important to personal, corporate and political interests than it is now.

Yet we read weekly of new damage done to online resources: legal service firms taken offline by ransomware, virtual currencies highjacked, endless personal records stolen from enterprises in all lines of business. It is remarkable how rarely critical infrastructure – power supplies, transportation, communications – . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Are Law Firms as Profitable as They Could Be?

It is pretty clear that, in the past, lawyers did a great job disrupting themselves.

The term “disruption” comes from Clayton Christensen’s observation that the ability of a company to make a higher and higher performing product always outstrips the ability of customers to make use of these performance improvements. As technology pushes a product’s performance into “performance oversupply,” it changes the circumstances of the market. It becomes harder for to sustain attractive profit margins on the product. Companies in other parts of the value chain can begin to steal market share, or “disrupt” the incumbents. Companies find themselves . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Whither Legal Apps?

The first conference I attended in 2020 was the Innovations in Technology Conference hosted by the Legal Services Corporation in Portland, Oregon, last month. Initially I thought that having a conference in January was highly eccentric, then I booked my hotel room and saw the rates for staying in Portland in January, and I immediately saw how brilliant it is.

For those of you who don’t know, it’s the national conference on technology aimed at a legal aid audience, most of whom are grantees of the Legal Services Corporation. One of the themes of the conference that I was particularly . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Vavilov & Dunsmuir: Looking for Signals in the Precedential Game of Thrones

As we all know, administrative law nerds (their own expression) received a nice Holiday present on December 19 when the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Vavilov. This important event in Canadian law isn’t just fun for the admin law crowd, it’s also an occasion for us, legal information geeks, to live in real time another game of “precedential game of thrones.”

I’ve been interested for a long time in finding signals that could indicate that a case is no longer good law (or at least no longer to be cited without caution). There are ways to spot . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

The Intersection of Ethics and Well-Being

ABA RESOLUTION 105

The ABA House of Delegates adopted Resolution 105 at the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting. The resolution supports the goal of reducing mental health and substance use disorders and improving the well-being of lawyers, judges and law students. It urges stakeholders within the legal profession to consider the recommendations set out in The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. The pursuit of lawyer wellness has spread rapidly through law firms, bar associations, state bars and state supreme courts.

The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, assembled in August 2016 to “create a movement toward . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics, Legal Technology, Practice of Law

What Are the Key Attributes of an Innovative Law Firm and How Much Do They Really Matter?

Managing a law firm in this era of rapid change is a massive challenge. It’s hard to know the right thing to do. It feels like the ground is constantly shifting. Your firm’s lawyers are giving conflicting reports on the state of business while your clients keep demanding “more for less.” Many legal tech companies are stepping up to help with these challenges. Yet these companies often meet resistance from the very firms they are trying to help.

I’d like to introduce Sean Bernstein. Sean is a co-founder of MinuteBox, a next generation cloud-based minute book and corporate records . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law