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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Online Dispute Resolution – an Update

Attentive readers of this blog know that the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has a working group actively considering online dispute resolution (ODR). The working group has met three times and meets again at the end of May. has had progress reports from time to time, notably here a year ago, and more recently here . It is time for another. I expect that the Canadian delegation, and possibly others, would be interested in your views on the texts that the working group will have before it in May. Comments on this article will come to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Privacy Please!

This column is already dated. Why? Because privacy – or the lack thereof – is daily news. Facebook just announced their privacy policy would be called a “data use policy”. Before that it was Google’s announcement that they would be combining all the data collected by their individual web properties (YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, Google, etc.) about you into one single place, covered by one single “privacy” policy. Security has always been in opposition with ease of use. The conflict between wanting the convenience and interaction of the free web and trading privacy for the privilege is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

What’s Hot in E-Discovery?

Machine-Assisted Review

Let’s start with a very hot if not very sexy topic. You may have heard of new technology called predictive coding or technology-assisted review. Recently, we’ve seen the phrase “machine-assisted” review a lot. They are all the same thing. A rose is a rose is a rose, but we have not yet settled on a name for this nascent technology.

The way most lawyers engage in traditional keyword searches is, as others have suggested, the equivalent of “Go Fish.” The requesting lawyer makes his best guess about which keywords might produce relevant evidence without having much knowledge of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Sirianny of Distance

I was relating to a BigLaw colleague how I had recently spent a weekend at a CLE event in rural Australia where it was a 53 year tradition. Again I learnt a lot from my audience some of whom had probably attended each year.

A striking fact was that 85% of the 134 attendees were male. This was to be contrasted with a colleagues recent experience where her legal team and their client met with the other side. It was an all female event. She suggested that the reason there are so few female practising lawyers outside large cities was . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Myth of Due Diligence

Lawyers have not adequately met the vague notion of due diligence when it comes to legal technology, probably because they are unable to. This realization hit me at a CLE seminar when one of the panelists – perhaps me – made the comment that, if lawyers want to use cloud computing, they should perform due diligence about the company they were going to use. The lawyer’s response was, “how do I do that?”

Due diligence is way of showing one has acted reasonably. When it comes to technology, it’s an assessment of all of the variables that impact the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Digital Consequences of Death (Or Disability)

Click on image to enlarge


No one lives in cyberspace, they say. A lot of people spend a lot of time visiting, though. They leave a lot of traces there, and they interact with the non-cyberspace (some prefer the term ‘real’) world from there. The border is more porous than most national borders, these days.

What happens when people with a presence in cyberspace (really) die? Does the presence continue indefinitely, but unrefreshed? What do their survivors do about their activities in cyberspace? How do they deal with online assets, or even discover real-world assets that may be locatable . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Cloud Storage in the Age of SOPA and Megaupload

One thing has become clear in the last few months: Hollywood has declared war on the Internet. Rupert Murdoch and his colleagues, not content with grossing billions of dollars on their blockbuster movies have decided to spent some of those billions to lobby congress to try and get legislation passed that would give them the ability to more quickly (and with minimal due process) shut down file sharing sites that they think are hosting pirated content. Of course, Mr. Murdoch has demonstrated that he has a fairly fuzzy understanding of how links and such work so if it’s up to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Social Media Ecosystem

Social Media – networking and sharing of breaking news, gossip, pictures, videos, music, and just about everything else – has become a part of daily life for many people. Social media sites house this information about you, your firm, your clients and their businesses. Even if you don’t actively participate in social media, the information can be vital in fact gathering and monitoring. Let’s look at some of the available tools to make that happen.

Social Media Search

For researching what people are doing, saying, and revealing about themselves, searching social media sites is imperative. Blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Have Attorneys Read the iCloud Terms and Conditions?

There are some very interesting items in the T&C (Terms & Conditions) that most people never read. The tendency is to click, click, click just to get to the end quickly. The T&C for iCloud is around 12-13 pages long, depending on the device used to view it. So let’s dive right into some of the “features” presented in the T&C and what they may mean.

First, you are required to have a compatible device, duh? It also states that “…certain software (fees may apply)…” whatever that means. There are a lot of words about the location-based services and what . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Amazon Again

Canadian patent CA 2246933 was issued on January 17, 2012 for the Amazon 1-Click claim. Aaron Edgar and Grant W. C. Tisdall, in "’s Canadian ‘one-click’ Patent on the Threshold of Issuance" (, January, 2012), have written:

On December 23, 2011, barely a month after the Court’s ruling, the Commissioner himself approved Amazon’s application and a Notice of Allowance was sent out. On December 28, 2011, Amazon’s patent agents submitted the required issue fee and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) then promptly processed the fee as paid. Given the recent speed at which CIPO processed allowance of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Legal Entrepreneurs: Lawyers or Marketers?

We are just preparing the 2012 Online Legal Services Conference. It seems that in the last year or two the legal, business and technology planets have aligned to produce a surge in interesting web-based projects hitting our legal shores. Far from overnight inspirations, many seem to have been nurtured for years. Often the result of pain experienced by lawyers, or their clients.

When such projects ferment for so long, their depth can be surprising. They start out providing solutions to real problems the legal entrepreneur has experienced, but are enriched by feedback from numerous sounding boards.

Another observation is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Start 2012 Off Right

Let’s take the opportunity to make a few Law Tech resolutions.

Resolution #1 – I will test my backups!

Backups are crucial and you don’t want to find out whether they worked or not when you really really need them. So in addition to checking periodically to make sure your backups are actually running (You *DO* check don’t you?) you should actually test your backups from time to time.

How? Create a dummy file – just a Word document will do – and put it in your file system. Call it “Backup Test” or something like that. Let your backup . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology