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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Decision Time

Ten years ago Marc Lauritsen spoke at one of our conferences on the future of law. He projected ahead to 2015, and threw in a prediction as to who would be the US President. While the name was unknown to the Australian audience, the absurdity of his suggestion was highlighted by a supporting photo. Yes, the world was changing, but not THAT much, that soon.

Anything that Marc says has my instant attention. His development of choice boxing is a concept that definitely warrants serious exploration. This is a pioneering decision-support tool that results from 30 years of insight. Marc . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

One Search to Rule Them All

Lawyers need to find information, the faster the better. As the years go by, your electronic files expand and your ability to retrieve information quickly can suffer. I’ve already looked at desktop search by itself and want to look at search that incorporates your e-mail this time around. A search tool that digs into your inbox and, potentially, everything else on your computer, can eliminate the need to repeat searches in more than one place.

Search Your Email

All of the e-mail clients I’ve used have included search. Most, like Microsoft’s Outlook or Mozilla’s Thunderbird, will search your local . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Automation in the Legal Market

Tom Davenport is, among other things, a distinguished professor at Babson College, a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business, and director of research at the International Institute for Analytics. He is recognized as one of the pioneers in the field of knowledge management (KM). In 2000 he co-authored, along with Larry Prusack, one of the early books in the field of KM, Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. He is acknowledged as one of the most trusted consultants and the third leading business-strategy analyst (just behind Peter Drucker and Tom Friedman) by Optimize Magazine . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Why Do Lawyers Resist Ethical Rules Requiring Competence With Technology?

Recently, the Virginia State Bar Council voted to adopt changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The changes were based on the American Bar Association’s modifications to the Comments of Rule 1.1 respecting Competence (“…a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with technology…”) and Rule 1.6 respecting Confidentiality (“(c) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the unintended disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”)

What’s reasonable? The Comments go on to list relevant factors:

  1. the sensitivity of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

The Uniform Electronic Evidence Act Revisited (By Archivists)

When the Uniform Law Conference of Canada decided, back in 1993, to address the legal effect of electronic communications, it started with the law of evidence. See 1993 Proceedings of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, Appendix G, pages 34-35, 198 – 206. It was clear even then that more and more information intended to have legal consequences was generated, communicated and stored by electronic means. If the legal consequences were to be properly adjudicated, the information had to be capable of being put before the adjudicators.

The question was thought to be of interest both to barristers, who . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

NewLaw = Better and Faster and Cheaper

As I put together another Sinch Online Legal Services Conference to be held in May in Sydney, I reflect on how much things have changed with respect to IT and Law in just the last 12 months. Similiarly, a visit to an Apple Store also has an affect on me, but there is uncertainty as to which is greater: amazement at what is possible, and affordable, today; or the fact that there was so much opposition to the “bleedingly obvious” by so many, for so long.

The feeling that one lives in the age of the most rapid technological development . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Drink From the Garden Hose

Social media is a coursing flow of data and information. Twitter’s own output is known as the firehose for obvious reasons. You can tap into that volume to monitor an event or person, making the flow more manageable. To do so, you need to understand what you are looking for and how to avoid missing it.

There are some basic ways to follow a topic on Twitter. The most common is the hashtag – placing a pound sign # in front of a term – and Twitter converts those into a clickable link. Hashtags have a few drawbacks. First, everyone . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

It’s Easy to Bypass Smartphone Fingerprint Security

Ever since Apple delivered an iPhone with Touch ID there have been all kinds of ways to defeat the fingerprint sensor. There have been some elaborate (and expensive) methods from using 3-D printing to using Gummi Bears and everything in between. Back in September of 2013, German hacker Starbug successfully proved that bypassing Touch ID was “no challenge at all,” according to Ars Technica. As Starbug mentioned in the interview, it took him nearly 30 hours from unpacking the iPhone to developing the hack to reliably bypass the fingerprint security.

At the recent 31C3 conference, the folks from Chaos . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Important Legal Technology Developments in 2014

Among his many other activities – including practising law – Robert Ambrogi has been writing a blog on legal technology issues, LawSites, since 2002. His posts are always interesting and often very informative. His posting at the end of last year, entitled The 10 Most Important Legal Technology Developments of 2014, particularly caught my attention.

Several developments, such as those relating to legal research, legal hacking, encryption, and searching court dockets, are outside my particular area of interest, knowledge management. Three, however, were of particular interest to me:

  • Businesses and technology are changing the nature of law practice
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Browse in the Clear

The Web browser has become a fundamental law practice tool. It’s what you use to get to Google’s web search, and perhaps your Web-based e-mail system, or your cloud-based practice management tool. As you travel across the Internet, you leave a trail behind you. Sometimes that’s on purpose but if you aren’t aware, you may find that the linkages marketers are making with that trail will surprise you. Use Web browser extensions to show, and block, this trail. Extensions can help you to browse and do online research with less clutter.

In Cognito Isn’t In Visible

The first thing to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A Book Review: Paul Lomic, Social Media and Internet Law: Forms and Precedents

What is it about social media that make them such a hot topic these days, even for lawyers, as this new book demonstrates? I suggest it’s all the people. Other areas of technology can be dry or technical or mystifying, other areas of law can be the realm of big corporations or telecoms or governments. Social media combine cutting-edge technology with real human beings just doing what we do – spouting ideas, going places, making pictures, telling stories. The topic is more about us than most of the others in law or technology.

Social media do not have all their . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Write Apps

One of our neighbours was born in India. When he was young, his father would buy one pencil every few months for him to share with his brother. They did this by cutting the pencil in half. Contrast this with the over-abundance of pencils in our household with just one 9 year old.

Similiarly, there is now an amazing abundance of apps that can used by lawyers. That was not the case when I compiled the first Australasian Legal Software Directory in 1986. I had to scrounge to find tools for lawyers. Like pencils, apps don’t come with pre-packaged drawing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology