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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

It Was the Best of (The) Times, It Was …

Speaking of newspapers and revolutions, the legal profession has a lot to learn from the much more mature Media Industry revolution. The legal revolution is really only just starting, but started it has. The first lesson is that it is really a Legal Industry, and that the legal profession is a shrinking part of it. Think printed newspapers. They are both being consulted less in their traditional form – it’s a convenience thing. Printed newspapers are headed towards weekends-only editions; the last step before digital only.

People have no time for long newspaper articles in their daily lives, and less . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Know Thyself

Your reputation is how other people see you. What we do frames that perception so we should act professionally and positively. At the end of the day, we can’t make people think well of us. The Web expands the areas in which we need to watch for how we appear to others. It’s important for lawyers to regularly look at how they appear to the world on the Web. Just because you aren’t on the Web or in social media, doesn’t mean information about you isn’t.

This is a technology column so I’m not talking about search engine optimization, social . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Perils of Social Media for Judges

The authors thank D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon, who maintains a two-way street of information sharing with us on this subject.

It was inevitable that, after lawyers flocked to social media, judges would follow. Unsurprisingly, stories of judicial misconduct are beginning to appear. But let us begin with the biggest news story of 2013 involving judges and social media.

ABA Formal Opinion 462

In the most striking recent development, the American Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 462 on February 21, 2013. While it was not groundbreaking, it certainly reaffirmed the general trends among states which have looked the implications . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Point and Touch

Touchscreens have made a difference. Until fairly recently, the assumption could normally be made that people would provide input to their machines using a keyboard or a mouse. But not now.

The people have spoken: we want touchscreens. Touchscreens more than justify the disruption they have caused. We need calm too, though, and that’s still a work in progress. This posting reviews some recent developments on the software standardization front concerning “pointer events” and “touch events”.


Touchscreen technology has actually been around since the 1960s. A great review of the history is available in Bill Buxton, “Multi-Touch Systems that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Hacking Back: The Next Big Thing? I: Criminal Considerations

The more interconnected the world becomes, the more people (businesses, governments) are exposed to harm generated online. “Cyberthreats”have become a leading source of worry for many knowledgeable people. The Internet is a dangerous place. Hacking that was once the domain of geeks wanting to show off their exploits is now big business, with division of labour (those who collect the information pass it on to those who use it) and serious resources. Tools for most forms of nastiness are readily available for sale at reasonable prices.

Crime has been joined by state and perhaps private espionage in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Vroom, Vroom Law

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I put around two thousand lawyers through a hands-on computer course on how they could use a PC themselves. For a few years, one lawyer returned annually. Turns out that his motivation was to re-assure himself that his colleagues were still luddites when it came to IT, and that he had nothing to fear with respect to their catching up to him.

I suspect that he had a good 3 decades start on most. However, one would have to say that now tech is finally being accepted as playing an important role in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Status Seekers

Lawyers rely on an invisible infrastructure to power their law firms. Once those wires leave your computer and hit the wall, you cede control to others. Even if you haven’t shifted any part of your practice to the cloud, you may have file or e-mail servers inside your firm that are managed by others. We can use status dashboards and related information to warn us when things have gone awry in our digital world.

Your Apps Status

A tremor runs through cyberspace when Google Mail goes offline and social networks light up with virtual handwringing. Your first awareness may be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Make Mine to Go

You might have heard already, but we are experiencing a mobile revolution. The message from market research companies is loud and clear – mobile web access is growing exponentially. What’s more, Search Engine Watch reports a Google survey of mobile users found that they are five times more likely to abandon the task they are trying to complete if a site isn’t optimized for mobile use, with 79% saying they will go back to search and try to find another site to meet their needs. While this is likely far more true for an ecommerce site or news site than

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

The Future of Law: Tomorrow’s Lawyers by Richard Susskind

Most American lawyers became aware of British Professor Richard Susskind after he wrote The End of Lawyers? in 2008. The book generated a lot of controversy among lawyers with some proclaiming that he had indeed “seen” the future of law and others protesting that the practice of law would certainly not undergo the kind of radical changes that Susskind foretold.

Susskind is back generating controversy once again in his latest book, Tomorrow’s Lawyers. We are unabashed fans of Susskind’s prophesies, even those we may not wholly agree with, because he forces the legal profession out of its natural complacency. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Firebug, JQuery and Kludge

Have you had a good look at what’s been coming into your browser lately? I was moved to do so recently when Michael Geist posted (March 7, 2013), on his blog (, “Forget Fair Dealing: National Post Seeks $150 To License Short Excerpts”. The title pretty much tells the story. Prof. Geist was surprised to be asked for money when he used his mouse to highlight some text in the article by Chris Selley, “Full Pundit: You can’t say that in Canada” ( On March 12, 2013, Prof. Geist posted a followup, “National Post Appears to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Upgrade Train’s a-Comin’

There’s an unmistakable trend in software and it’s going to change how firms and users handle technology in the future. The trend is for far more frequent upgrades – often as part of a Cloud or subscription package — and the result is going to be a higher tempo of IT testing and user training.

Numbered are the days when you’ll sit comfortably on 8 year old software doing what you’ve always done. Coming are the days when your computer acts more like your mobile phone or tablet – with new software updates (including feature changes and additions) coming on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Legal Snapshots From the Internet of Things

Everybody knows that computers are everywhere. This is old news. It used to be that a mechanic could fix an errant brake light in my car for 15 minutes of labour and a 15-cent bulb. Now I need a computer diagnosis and the replacement of a sophisticated multi-function panel. Hmmm – $175.00. Progress!

What may still be news is the degree to which the computers are talking to each other – and if they can talk, then they can be overheard.

Let’s start with cars. Richard and Cheryl Balough point out that the average car these days can run some . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology