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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

The South Carolina Data Breach and the Failure to Encrypt

It is nothing short of astonishing that more than 75% of South Carolina’s residents had their social security, credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information breached. News of the breach came in October, though it actually began in August. Who uncovered the breach? Usually it is the FBI, but this time it was the Secret Service that notified S.C. on October 10th.

How did the breach happen? Someone, as yet unknown, stole legitimate credentials from one of the 250 state employees with access to the South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR) database.

Why was the attack so easy? Because . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

IT Partners

The law and the legal profession are moving towards greater systemisation much more rapidly and dramatically, than most realise. Professor Richard Susskind has said that the traditional law firm pyramid “has got to break up” and that law firms essentially have two branches: the specialist division and the process division.

Interesting examples of this change that is afoot, can be found in The UK Financial Times Innovative Lawyers 2012 Report. It highlights the fact that non-traditional approaches to providing legal services are gaining momentum.

Having innovative clients would have helped those interesting projects get off the ground. Similiarly, it . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Crowdsourced Online Dispute Resolution

The online world has been greatly affected by the rise of social media, whose principal characteristic is interactivity among the users of a particular service or communication channel. The possibility of not just one-to-many but also many-to-one and many-to-many communications have put focus on ‘the crowd’ – a potentially almost infinite number of Internet users who may participate in a conversation in a number of roles.

This has led to the emergence of the term ‘crowdsourcing‘, meaning an express solicitation of Internet users generally to contribute to solving a problem. No doubt the popularity of the term has . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Bonfire of Insanities

I’m not sure when it happened but at some point people just lost their minds. Even otherwise rational people are behaving like sugar-loaded children on Christmas morning; running around in circles screaming for no apparent reason.

I’m speaking, of course, of the mobile device market.

A snappily dressed fellow goes on a stage and says the words “iPhone” or “Surface” and next thing you know thousands of people are lining up to pay hundreds of dollars for one without the slightest idea of what it really IS. In the consumer world this has become commonplace but what’s startling is how . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Add a VPN to Your Mobile Lawyer Toolkit

Mobile devices provide lawyers with increased opportunities to unwittingly share confidential or private client information. One of the more common scenarios is when a lawyer or law firm staff has left the office and is using a wireless network connection. It is common to focus our hand-wringing on coffee shop wireless networks, but a home network or one in an airport, public library, courthouse, or opposing counsel’s office poses the same issues.

You can secure your activity outside the office by using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your activity. If your practice is entirely cloud-based, working through an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Five Steps for Extra Security

Most lawyers and law firms know what they should be doing to maintain a secure computing environment in order to comply with ethics rules regarding confidentiality, as well as data breach notification laws. This list includes maintaining firewalls and up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware, maintaining vigilance when opening attachments and surfing the Internet, using strong and different passwords for each important login, scrutinizing the security protocols of cloud providers, maintaining adequate backup files, and keeping operating systems patched. However, there are still reports almost daily of companies – and even law firms – experience breaches. What else can be done to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Book Review: Secrets of Lawyer Video Marketing

We’ve been seeing a lot Gerry Oginski lately. He is a practicing lawyer but is also a frequent lecturer on lawyer videos and he has recently written Secrets of Lawyer Video Marketing in the Age of YouTube. We were curious to read the book because we know something about videos and have our own Sensei YouTube channel with dozens of videos.

Clearly, anyone who is a video novice would benefit from reading Gerry’s book, but we found things in his book that we didn’t know. If you are a lawyer who has not yet embarked on lawyer videos, you . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Windows 8 – Is It for You?

This week Microsoft shipped the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) build of Windows 8, the next version of their flagship operating system. This is the build that Microsoft is sending off to have burned onto DVDs and installed into new computers. In about 60 days you’ll be able to walk into your favorite electronics store and buy a box with Windows 8 in it.

Like a good technologist I promptly got my copy from MSDN (the Microsoft Developers Network) and set about installing it on my desktop to give it a good workout. In the interests of full disclosure I should . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Drop the Hard Drive, Take the Laptop

Lawyers who work on international matters may face the challenge of taking their client information across borders. In fact, any lawyer using a laptop may find herself balancing productivity with the risk of unintentional access to client data while on the road. One way to avoid this is to use a clean laptop. The concept has been mentioned on Slaw before (see here and here, for example) but how do you create a clean laptop?

One method that is mentioned is to use a second laptop, one that is installed (or re-imaged) with a clean operating system on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

TICK, TICK, TICK

Is that the sound of your life being eaten away by the trojan called work, infiltrating our personal time via portable devices? Or is it the sound of forgotten files? Hopefully, it is you conveniently dealing with work on your terms.

Lawyers have had a long list of tools to help with getting things done. One of the first was the ToDo button, the brainchild of Peter Hart of Legalware with his Project Modeler in 1986. Inspired by this, it became the trade marked Do button in another Practice Management System (PMS).

Now there is no shortage of ToDo tools . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Admissibility of Social Media Evidence: A Case Study

In the Internet age, people still have the same interests and passions as they had before electronic communications became pervasive, but they have different methods of expressing them. It may be a challenge to apply traditional rules of law to those methods. This note reviews one example of such a challenge, with respect to the use of evidence from Facebook and the reliance on Wikipedia to inform the tribunal of relevant facts.

In Landry c. Provigo Québec Inc (Maxi & Cie), 2011 QCCLP 1802 (CanLII), Madame Landry complained about harassment at her workplace at Provigo, the Quebec grocery chain. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Expose Yourself

For a variety of reasons, some law firm websites may not have reached the top slot in Google, Bing, or Ask. There is competition for keywords, and the search engines change their algorithms frequently. Without having a team of folks tweaking the site, there will likely be some ebbs and flows in visibility in search results. However, there are a number of ways to boost visibility on the web so that whether someone finds the firm or attorney through social media, a directory, the website, or a professional nameplate site, you can get the message out about the firm’s professionals . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology