Canada’s online legal magazine.
LN Banner
CBA Banner

Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

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

Speak Your Mind

Voice recognition has been getting lots of press recently, thanks to the release of the Siri software with the latest Apple iPhones. It has been a mainstay of discussions around legal technology for more than a decade and yet continues to be a point of uncertainty for lawyers. In particular, how do they use voice recognition in their practices. Ben Schorr discussed some of the challenges of using voice recognition earlier this year. I also received a question at a recent seminar about voice recognition so I thought I would take another look at it.

Speech to Text Conversion Software . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Electronic Seals: The Public Sector

In my last column, I reviewed the uses of seals in transactional documents and the means by which seals could be created in electronic communications. Here I will deal with seals on public or official documents, when they are issued in or converted to electronic form. Contracts to which the Crown happens to be a party are of course transactional documents so fall within the previous topic.

Functional analysis

Public sector seals are placed on documents for a different purpose than the seals on transactional documents. They are not used to show that the state takes the subject matter . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Return of the (9V) Battery Boy

What can you do with a 9 volt battery? Not much, it seems.

Whenever we switch between daylight savings and standard time, we get reminders to change the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. My carbon monoxide detectors take AA batteries, but the smoke detectors take the square edged 9V batteries.

It’s a pain disposing of batteries because they are household hazardous waste and need to be taken to a household hazardous waste depot. So I have a big container of batteries just waiting for me to take them to a depot. (I will get around to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Ruminations on the Ethics of Law Firm Information Security

Lest anyone have forgotten Rule 1.6 of the ABA Model Rules, here it is – and similar rules apply everywhere:

Rule 1.6 Confidentiality Of Information

(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b).

(b) A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:

(1) to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm;

(2) to prevent the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology