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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

WanaCry as a Reason Why Courts Should Invest More NOT Less in Technology

In the aftermath of the first wave of “attacks” using WanaCrypt0r 2.0, a variant of the WanaCry ransomware that started infecting systems around the world, most notably the British National Health Service, on May 12th, 2017, comment boards and blogs have been abuzz with statements regarding the risks of a overly digitalized world. For those who caution against the implementation of technological solutions within the legal system, this attack only serves as another example as to why, in their minds, our paper-based system is still the safest way to manage legal files.

As reports show, they might . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution, Legal Technology

Vendor Horror Stories – Second in a Series of Vendor Relationship Posts

Thanks to everyone who re-tweeted and gave other shout-outs to my last Slaw post on vendor demos and webinars. Considering the feedback, I thought I’d continue on with a vendor theme in a few more posts.

In this post, I’ll relate a few vendor horror stories and explain why vendors should never ever ever repeat them. Of course, a caveat: I gathered these from a variety of sources/firms, who shall remain nameless.

But – I’d like to repeat that vendors are absolutely integral to our legal technology ecosystems, and note that most of my interactions, and those of my colleagues, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Ransomware: No Honor Among Thieves and More Expensive

The FBI says that ransomware nets cybercriminals $1 billion a year. No wonder so many people want a piece of that pie.

Computerworld recently reported that hackers spreading ransomware are getting greedier. In 2016, the average ransom demand to provide the decryption key for encrypted data rose to $1,077, up from $294 the year before, according to a report from security firm Symantec. Symantec also reported a 36% increase in ransomware in 2016 from the prior year. We are aware of small law firms in Virginia that paid $1200 and $3000 to get their data back – the damage being . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Further Legal Snapshots From the Internet of Things

Interconnected computers – computers that talk to each other – are no longer a novelty. These days, one is more inclined to be surprised by an electronic device, or even an electrical device, that is not part of a network.

We looked at some legal implications of interconnections a few years back. Here are several more, roughly divided into issues about privacy and security (which tend to overlap). Feel free to add others in a comment.

PRIVACY

By definition, interconnected devices communicate information about themselves or their environment, or both, to other devices. That information can and usually . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

GitHub Workflow and Legal Drafting

There are a few posts on Slaw about Git/GitHub and the law, including several posts by Tim Knight. In most cases, the discussion centers on using GitHub to publish legislation and track legislative changes. I promise this column isn’t merely a regurgitation of previous content.

On Slaw, and in any post on the Internet that talks about Git and legal content, the fact that some legal document has been posted on GitHub is seen as an indication that somebody is trying to make things more transparent or collaborative, or just trying to bring the law closer to technology.

I think . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Cut It Out – Making Webinars and Demos Better

I’ve recently returned to knowledge management in a private firm, and had lost some touch with legal tech offerings. I dove back into the deep end of the pool, and have, over the last few months, watched many webinars and demos.

It may be some time before I subject myself to another one.

Vendors are Key Players in the Industry

I appreciate vendors tremendously. They – not the legal sector – are pushing the envelope on everything from core functionality to cloud computing to next-gen AI. Vendors are always willing to share thoughts and even data on the state of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Real Lesson of the WikiLeaks Vault 7 Document Dump

Some days are just more interesting than others. You could almost hear the mournful wailing of spooks (the CIA kind) as WikiLeaks released thousands of documents describing sophisticated software tools used by the Central Intelligence Agency to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet‑connected televisions.

The New York Times reported that the documents, at first review, appeared to be authentic. The initial release, which WikiLeaks said was only the first part of the document collection, included 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments. The entire archive of CIA material consists of several hundred million lines of computer code according to WikiLeaks. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

“Verifiable” E-Signatures

The transition from a world of legal documents on paper to one of electronic documents still encounters difficulties after all these years. One of the main ones seems to be the nature of the electronic signature. I recently described the focus on e-signatures as a “fetish” for its ability to distract analysis from the real issues or to create them when none really exist.

Much of the early law that intended to remove legal barriers to electronic commerce required that valid electronic signatures needed to be as reliable as appropriate in the circumstances. This requirement is misguided. It leaves the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

#HackJustice

In his February 3rd, 2017, Slaw article entitled “Build, Baby Build”, Colin Lachance describes his experience of having individuals share with and seek his advice on building some “app/service/tool that could very well make a valuable contribution to public or professional engagement with legal information or the legal system.” Having come from a law and technology background, I have had the same experience. Often times the questions from aspiring legal tech entrepreneurs center on struggling to understand how or where to begin. I have found that this leads some to overthink things and to not get going. I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Future of Law and “Intelligent” Technologies: Prophecies, Technologies and Opportunities – Part 2

In the first part of this blog post, we looked at the current benefits we are enjoying from technologies resulting from AI research. We also examined some risks accruing when AI approaches are deployed in legal activities where transparency and justifications are required. In the following lines, we will borrow from a recent study made of the impacts of AI on lawyers employment. We will also try to enumerate potential benefits of AI technologies in our own line of business, legal publishing.

In “Can Robots be Lawyers?” (forthcoming in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, (Spring 2017), currently . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

The Future of Law and “Intelligent” Technologies: Prophecies, Technologies and Opportunities – Part 1

Career prophets have been announcing the demise of the legal profession for decades already. According to some, the traditional lawyer will soon follow the way of telephone operators, bank clerks and travel agents. Recently, the prophecies have taken a new turn. While outsourcing, offshoring, legal Taylorism—all previous threats of course remain, we are now being forewarned about a new source of disruption: “intelligent software” in law. Once again, prophets insist that those who are not already into it are laggards, and by now we should all know what will happen to them.

In this post, I address the deployment of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

AI Takes Over Google Translate

You may have missed, during the holidays, the news that Google has replaced the technology underlying its Google Translate tool, going from a “phrase-based” system to neural networks (i.e., AI).

The improved technology was announced in September, but it has only recently been made available in the publicly available Google Translate (and only for the most common language pairings).

Translation of legal information is an important issue in Canada. First, language barriers faced by different groups (Indigenous people, Francophone minorities outside Québec, Anglophones in Québec and immigrants) are a significant component of the access to justice problems.

But . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology