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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

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

Decision Time

Ten years ago Marc Lauritsen spoke at one of our conferences on the future of law. He projected ahead to 2015, and threw in a prediction as to who would be the US President. While the name was unknown to the Australian audience, the absurdity of his suggestion was highlighted by a supporting photo. Yes, the world was changing, but not THAT much, that soon.

Anything that Marc says has my instant attention. His development of choice boxing is a concept that definitely warrants serious exploration. This is a pioneering decision-support tool that results from 30 years of insight. Marc . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

One Search to Rule Them All

Lawyers need to find information, the faster the better. As the years go by, your electronic files expand and your ability to retrieve information quickly can suffer. I’ve already looked at desktop search by itself and want to look at search that incorporates your e-mail this time around. A search tool that digs into your inbox and, potentially, everything else on your computer, can eliminate the need to repeat searches in more than one place.

Search Your Email

All of the e-mail clients I’ve used have included search. Most, like Microsoft’s Outlook or Mozilla’s Thunderbird, will search your local . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Automation in the Legal Market

Tom Davenport is, among other things, a distinguished professor at Babson College, a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business, and director of research at the International Institute for Analytics. He is recognized as one of the pioneers in the field of knowledge management (KM). In 2000 he co-authored, along with Larry Prusack, one of the early books in the field of KM, Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. He is acknowledged as one of the most trusted consultants and the third leading business-strategy analyst (just behind Peter Drucker and Tom Friedman) by Optimize Magazine . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Why Do Lawyers Resist Ethical Rules Requiring Competence With Technology?

Recently, the Virginia State Bar Council voted to adopt changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The changes were based on the American Bar Association’s modifications to the Comments of Rule 1.1 respecting Competence (“…a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with technology…”) and Rule 1.6 respecting Confidentiality (“(c) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the unintended disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”)

What’s reasonable? The Comments go on to list relevant factors:

  1. the sensitivity of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

The Uniform Electronic Evidence Act Revisited (By Archivists)

When the Uniform Law Conference of Canada decided, back in 1993, to address the legal effect of electronic communications, it started with the law of evidence. See 1993 Proceedings of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, Appendix G, pages 34-35, 198 – 206. It was clear even then that more and more information intended to have legal consequences was generated, communicated and stored by electronic means. If the legal consequences were to be properly adjudicated, the information had to be capable of being put before the adjudicators.

The question was thought to be of interest both to barristers, who . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

NewLaw = Better and Faster and Cheaper

As I put together another Sinch Online Legal Services Conference to be held in May in Sydney, I reflect on how much things have changed with respect to IT and Law in just the last 12 months. Similiarly, a visit to an Apple Store also has an affect on me, but there is uncertainty as to which is greater: amazement at what is possible, and affordable, today; or the fact that there was so much opposition to the “bleedingly obvious” by so many, for so long.

The feeling that one lives in the age of the most rapid technological development . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Drink From the Garden Hose

Social media is a coursing flow of data and information. Twitter’s own output is known as the firehose for obvious reasons. You can tap into that volume to monitor an event or person, making the flow more manageable. To do so, you need to understand what you are looking for and how to avoid missing it.

There are some basic ways to follow a topic on Twitter. The most common is the hashtag – placing a pound sign # in front of a term – and Twitter converts those into a clickable link. Hashtags have a few drawbacks. First, everyone . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology