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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Two Recent ABA Ethics Opinions: More Law Firms Relying on the Cloud

The ABA released ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 482, Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters, on September 19, 2018. The opinion may be found at https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/aba_formal_opinion_482.authcheckdam.pdf. In the opinion, the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility clarifies the ethical obligations attorneys face when disaster strikes.

Lawyers must follow the duty of communication required by Rule 1.4 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires lawyers to communicate regularly with clients and to keep clients reasonably apprised of their cases. Following a disaster, a lawyer must evaluate available methods to maintain communication with clients. The opinion instructs . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

CanLII’s Future as a Canadian Primary Law Cooperative

“[T]here is a need to unbundle CanLII’s data if the full potential of innovation in legal information is to be realized.”

“[T]hrough 13 [now 19] years (from concept to today) and over $20M [now $40M] of investment from Canadian law societies through the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, [CanLII] has built up a solid lead and in the “free access to law” business and its central position may now be having a negative effect on innovation in legal information.”

Nearly 6 years ago, as President and CEO of CanLII, I wrote those words here on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

Bitcoin, Not Blockchain for Governments Everywhere

Governments are among the biggest consumers of technology. Amazon has a whole separate AWS cloud for governments. I would not be surprised if very, very few corporations approach, for example, US government’s database transaction volume. Imagine hundreds of millions of tax filings, border crossings, purchases, sales, emails, surveillance records, court files, and highway traffic data stored, processed and retrieved every year. Wait, strike court files. Those are probably still handled in paper form or through private databases, at least in North America.

If the government is so tech hungry, will it eventually become the biggest user of blockchain? The answer . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

SI – Subtracted Intelligence

In our newfound enthusiasm of all things AI, some might take issue with the word “Artificial” and prefer “Augmented”, or the less pretentious “Added” to reflect a “man+machine” future, rather “man or machine” one. Just as there is a rule that scuba divers operate in pairs to look out for each other, maybe machines should be paired with a human minder/beneficiary.

Trusting them is an issue for Ms. Melanie Mitchell, Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University, according to the article titled “Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning” in the New York Times:

“While some people

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Trade Agreements to Promote Electronic Commerce II

A couple of years ago I wrote a column here about using trade agreements to promote laws among the contracting states that would promote electronic commerce. The example discussed was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, then in draft form.

There have been some developments since then that may be of interest.

CPTPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership had a bit of a bumpy ride, as President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement before it was signed. The other parties to the negotiation made some changes to the text then signed it under the name Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Women in LegalTech

At this year’s ILTACON (great conference, as always!), I popped by a hospitality suite to let them know my firm had just sent out a vendor brief for some consulting services. ILTACON was in full swing, and the brief had gone to a generic email address. I thought I’d make a personal visit to ensure they knew about it.

The experience was, shall we say, not awesome. Five – five – vendor reps stood in the suite talking amongst themselves. No introductions. No offer of coffee. No chitchat. No handshake. I was forced to blurt out my reason for visiting. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

“Boring Game Changers” to Improve Your Practice

I have attended my share of legal tech conferences in the last few years (as we all do), and I couldn’t help but notice that in comparison with events from, say, 5 years ago, many of them didn’t have any actionable content for attendees. The audience (lawyers, by a large majority) was sent home at the end of the day feeling like there was nothing left to do but watch the (AI, blockchain, you name it) train pass.

Yet, I’m a firm believer that there is still a lot of room for significant productivity improvements in a fairly traditional legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The 2017 DLA Piper Breach Revisited

It was more than a year ago that the 3,600-lawyer global megafirm DLA Piper was brought to its knees by a data breach in June of 2017. One of the questions we hear most often when we lecture is, “If DLA Piper can be breached, how do the rest of us stand a chance of preventing a data breach?”

It’s a valid question. The reaction last year varied with the size of the law firm. Larger law firms focused a lot on purchasing or increasing their cyberinsurance coverage after the DLA Piper story made the headlines. They also amped up . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

RegTech: A Quite Quiet Revolution

Last year, I took unexpected sabbatical leave. If one of my doctor’s specialties had been spin, they would have said I’ve pivoted. Now I focus on medical research and services including being an oncologist’s ontologist. I’m trying to disrupt the evolution of cancer, and the massive industry it supports.

My dot-joining skills allowed me to find a probable cure for cancer that others had discovered yet remain unnoticed. I’m one of a growing band of empowered patients facilitating change. The same is happening in the legal world according to Greg San Miguel, Founder of the award winning Law Of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Electronic Documents in Civil and Administrative Proceedings: Uniform Rules

Electronic documents are everywhere these days, and that naturally means that they are in courtrooms. Getting them there has been a process of accommodation, law reform and arguably some wilful blindness as to the vulnerabilities of such documents.

An early effort at law reform was the Uniform Electronic Evidence Act adopted by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada in 1998 and enacted in several provinces and territories (e.g. Ontario) and at the federal level (Canada Evidence Act ss 31.1 – 31.8). The UEEA focused on the best evidence rule, which tends to require that parties produce an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

New WPA3 WiFi Standard Released

Well, it’s finally here. In the fall of 2017, a vulnerability in WPA2 wireless encryption was discovered. Known as the Krack Attack, the flaw impacts every implementation of WPA2. The manufacturers needed to provide a patch update to fix the flaw. The Wi-Fi Alliance has now announced the availability of the WPA3 standard (to be implemented in certified devices starting later this year), vastly improving security over WPA2, which has been around for over 15 years and should be the current WiFi encryption of choice. WPA3 provides a new security protocol that contains improvements in terms of configuration, authentication and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Electronic Wills – Update

In January of this year, I canvassed developments on electronic wills in Australia, New Zealand, England & Wales, the U.S. and Canada. Since that time, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC)’s drafting committee in the U.S. has been moving the file forward. I am not aware of any law reform action Down Under, and the Law Commission of England & Wales is still thinking about it. Canada is discussed later in this column.

UNITED STATES

In late July, the ULC will give first reading to an Electronic Wills Act. The “Annual Meeting Draft” is quite compact yet covers the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology