Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Legal Intelligence

There are a lot of great resources for primary law online, both free and fee. However, to get legal analysis and cutting edge thinking on current legal topics there are also some great resources for free online. Bar associations are a great source (of course!) but here are some others that have great content. You just have to know where to look.

Lexology
Lexology (aka ACC Newstand) brings together articles submitted by major commercial law firms. Register and then search the site or set up custom RSS feeds to be delivered Outlook or your feed reader. International in scope, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Lean as a Process Catalyst for Legal Technology

I’m (re-)reading Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf following last month’s enlightening set of sessions at ILTA on why we need to find new ways of doing things. Whether it was legal project management, change management or application and software development, ILTA was full of ideas about re-imagining and simplifying the very traditional processes at our firms.

By adopting processes that are faster, leaner and with more feedback loops, both this book and the ILTA sessions suggest we can turn those massive boil-the-ocean stalled projects into that which entrepreneurs and innovators already know well – the Minimum Viable Product . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Metadata in Digital Photos – Should You Care?

We are hopeful that you are familiar with metadata, especially as it exists in e-mail messages and word processing files. If not, then a brief refresher is in order. There are a couple of different types of metadata, but most regard the common definition to be data that is stored internal to the file (you can’t see it without knowing how to look at it) and is not explicitly defined by the user. The application (e.g. word processor) inserts data within the file such as the author, last time printed, fonts used or creation date. But what about image files . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Re Outsourcing the Wheel

To carry on my Vroom Vroom theme from a few months ago, I suggest that there are some more potential similarities between the legal and automotive industries. Talk of the “Law Factory” from thought leaders such as Ron Friedmann, has encouraged further consideration. At a high level, both industries have “benefitted” from protectionism, though it did neither industry a favour, long term.

The Australian Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers (FAPM) website says:

There are about 200 Australian firms supplying components to the automotive industry. The vehicle assemblers have also undergone massive rationalisation and increasing global integration. Globalisation provides both threats

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Fit to Print

Mobile technology offers opportunities to be more efficient. One area that has seen a lot of improvement is mobile printing. I’m not thinking about taking a portable printer with you, but printing to your office while mobile over the Internet. This is sometimes called “cloud” printing but the use of cloud is marketing guff.

The Wi-Fi-enabled printer has been with us for years, but there is more to it than printing across your internal network from your laptop, tablet, or phone. The basic use case is that you are away from your office and need to have something emerge . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A Book Review: Stephen Mason, Electronic Signatures in Law (3d Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2012)

One of the fascinations of electronic communications is how they make many traditional questions of law new again. What is the nature of consent? Can one make an agreement with a machine (a computer)? How permanently must information be recorded before it can be considered ‘writing’? What is an original document? (Can one version of identical assemblies of bits usefully be called an original?) Where do instantaneous online transactions occur? And what is a signature?

Everybody knows that signatures are important. Children learn at an early age that signing something makes it special. We all sign a variety of documents . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Review, Legal Technology

Easy Encryption for Email – Not an Oxymoron

Sending highly confidential or personal information via unencrypted email is like sending a postcard. There are many places that postcard goes before it reaches its recipient – and can be read by anyone along the way. Regular email is sent via plain text, and if you watch Google’s “Story of Send” you can see how many touch points a Gmail message has from the time you hit “send” to the time it gets to your recipient. Email can be intercepted by sniffers or read while saved on remote servers. And that is just the beginning.

Your “deleted” messages are likely . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

XSLT

XSLT refers to Transformations, a member of the Extensible Stylesheet Language family: http://www.w3.org/Style/XSL/. As the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) describes it, “An XSLT stylesheet specifies the presentation of a class of XML documents by describing how an instance of the class is transformed into an XML document that uses a formatting vocabulary, such as (X)HTML or XSL-FO.” In other words, you can use it to transform an XML document into HTML. A little less directly, it’s also used to transform XML into PDF, EPUB, etc. This is important stuff, but not really very new anymore. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Review of the iPad in One Hour for Litigators

We have long been fans of Tom Mighell’s iPad books, which include iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers, and now the third member of the series, iPad in One Hour for Litigators. If lawyers have tended to fall in love with the iPad, litigators are becoming obsessed with it.

The small form factor, the ease of use and the ability to compete with large firms which have huge litigation budgets have all been factors. One thing we’ve seen as we lecture is that litigators buy the iPad and only then ask, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Hacking Back: The Next Big Thing? Part II: Civil and Other Considerations

What does one do about malware, about intrusion into one’s IT systems, about cyber-attacks? My last column looked at the criminal law aspects of ‘hacking back’ – is ‘active defence’ legal? Here we turn to other considerations. What are the civil rights and wrongs? In these days of state-sponsored attacks, are there military aspects? For that matter, what are the practicalities of attacking the attackers? 

Civil rights and wrongs

The legal questions about civil liability for intruding on someone else’s computer system work in both directions, i.e. the cyber-attacker may in principle be exposed to the same civil liability as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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