A couple of times in the past three years, we have looked at the use of free trade agreements to promote the reform or harmonization of the law on electronic commerce. The first article considered the general question of how these agreements are negotiated and suggested that they may not be the best vehicle for reforming technical commercial law. The people at the negotiating meetings tend to be economists, not lawyers, and negotiations may involve trading off provisions that are not readily severable without damage to the principles of the remaining law. A stronger role is needed for commercial and . . . [more]
Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns
2018 was a tough act to follow, but 2019 was, once again, a great year for CanLII, to say the least. More than ever, our successes are due to the relationships we have developed with organizations across the country that have embraced our vision for the future of free access to law. We are grateful they have agreed to share their content with us and hope to celebrate these relationships with this post, among other things.
As regular readers of this blog will have appreciated by now, we’ve been multiplying announcements over the course of the year about new . . . [more]
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada on October 19, 2019 adopted changes to the model code of conduct, adding commentary on competence with technology.
There is no new standalone duty of technological competence, but rather the FLSC has provided new guidance on how the general duty of competence should be understood with regard to technology.
The new guidance is phrased as follows:
. . . [more]
[4A] To maintain the required level of competence, a lawyer should develop an understanding of, and ability to use, technology relevant to the nature and area of the lawyer’s practice and responsibilities. A lawyer should understand
We always look forward to the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center’s Annual Legal Technology Survey Report on the use of technology in the legal profession. The summary of the “Marketing and Communication” portion of the 2019 survey was recently published. It was written by our good friend Allison Shields and contains some fascinating (and worrisome) statistics.
Respondents to the 2019 Survey segment covering websites and law firm marketing were mostly solos or from smaller firms, consisting of 27% solos, 29% lawyers in firms of 2-9 lawyers, 18% from firms of 10-49 lawyers, 11% from firms of between 100-499 . . . [more]
Imagine a library that tried to save money by relying on candles instead of electricity. Any dollars saved come at the expense of knowledge lost. Without adequate light, the contents of a library are as inaccessible as if the doors were closed.
In the world of legal information, light comes to the “library” through indices, key number systems, topic digests, abridgments, and more. Digitization, electronic access, multi-field search, hyperlinks and boolean logic add more light, but are still merely candles.
Candles are discrete tools designed to provide light only within a limited range of where the candle is placed. Compare . . . [more]
The legal profession could be improved a bit. Ok, it could be improved a lot. One might say it could use more “innovation.” Yet it seems like the harder one pushes for innovation, the harder others push back.
Despite acknowledgement that the nature of legal services will take time to change it feels we continually need, as Jae Um puts it, “a call for patience (and some perspective).” After the 2008 crash people mused, is this The End of Lawyers? Many saw 2008 as a call to action, driven by fear over the long-term relevancy of lawyers. . . . [more]
The Uniform Law Commission in the United States has now published the revised text and commentaries to the Uniform Electronic Wills Act adopted at its annual meeting in July 2019.
Here is the official description of the Uniform Act:
. . . [more]
The Uniform Electronic Wills Act permits testators to execute an electronic will and allows probate courts to give electronic wills legal effect. Most documents that were traditionally printed on paper can now be created, transferred, signed, and recorded in electronic form.
Since 2000 the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and a similar federal law, E-SIGN, have provided that a transaction is
It was big news in late August when Microsoft said that users who enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for their accounts will end up blocking 99.9% of automated attacks. This doesn’t apply just to Microsoft accounts. It applies to any other account on any website or online service.
Today, virtually all service providers support multi-factor authentication, and in most cases, there is no charge. It can be something as simple as SMS-based one-time passwords or advanced biometrics solutions.
“Based on our studies, your account is more than 99.9% less likely to be compromised if you use MFA,” said Alex Weinert, Group . . . [more]
Social media are everywhere that the Internet is. As comprehensive methods of communication, they are naturally attractive to those with things to communicate: advertisers, proselytizers and politicians. This column examines the status of social media use by the latter class, and in particular, the degree to which they can control their use once they start.
We have looked previously (if briefly) at whether politicians’ use of social media turns their communications (in whatever form) into “official documents” for purposes of laws governing public records, like archival responsibility, privacy rules and subjection to access to information requests. There is a smattering . . . [more]
I recently saw an exciting legal tech product that has a lot of potential. I think it could make a lot of people’s lives much easier. And a partner wants to mandate its usage! You can probably see where this is going. It was a struggle the moment we tried to get others on board: elements didn’t line up with others’ preferences; people were upset about the learning curve; there was massive passive resistance.
This was just one of many similar experiences. It seems technology and persuasion are not sufficient – and barely necessary – to create sustainable mainstream adoption . . . [more]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced on May 20th that it had launched TOSsed Out, a new iteration of EFF’s continuing work in tracking and documenting the ways that Terms of Service (TOS) and other speech moderating rules are unevenly applied to people by online services. Sometimes, posts are deleted. Sometimes accounts are banned. For many people, the internet represents an irreplaceable forum to express their ideas, communicate with others, etc.
We have long been fans of the EFF and were delighted to hear that cybersecurity guru Bruce Schneier is leaving IBM, in part to focus on teaching cybersecurity to . . . [more]
ITechLaw, C. Morgan, ed., Responsible AI: A Global Policy Framework, 2019
Can technology lawyers think outside the box? They may be better at it than some of their legal colleagues because the box itself is redesigned so frequently, the walls knocked down and rebuilt in different places, the interactions among the sections rethought, the whole picture scarcely recognizable over the years.
In this spirit, perhaps, a number of members of ITechLaw, the international body once known as the Computer Law Association, addressed their minds to the legal and policy challenges of artificial intelligence, still known as AI.
This field . . . [more]