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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

The Challenges of Developing and Maintaining a Precedent Database

Law firms have found, by hard experience, that creating and then – more important – maintaining a precedent library is a challenging task. Some firms have foundered in the seemingly straightforward process of simply creating firm precedents. Others that have succeeded in that task have found that ongoing maintenance is, if anything, even more challenging.

One firm that seems to have got it right is Gowling WLG. The person primarily responsible for this task is Graeme Coffin, the National Business Law Precedents Partner, Mark Tamminga, who is Partner, Leader of Innovation Initiatives, is working with Graeme on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Becoming “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”: Inspiration From a Collection of Self-Help Books for the Young Lawyer in a Difficult Market

I’m not sure I’m old enough to give advice to young(er) lawyers or credible enough to give career advice in general. I’m also not sure that this post won’t be greeted with snark about the fact that I was lucky enough to be in law school at a very different time, economically at least, than what the current students and young lawyers experience. That caveat and acknowledgment that I almost “had it easy” being done, let’s dive in.

Slaw readers don’t need me to explain anything about the current state of the legal market. In Quebec, the Young Bar of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Oppression of Legal Technology?

I hate talking about “legal technology.”

I mean, I love talking about the possibilities and advantages that specific types of technology can offer, but I hate it when the various types of tools and programs are reduced to a single, amorphous entity. When we do that, it’s too easy to reduce it to just “good” or “bad”. To “useful” or “hype”. Soon it becomes a choice that people must make: are you pro or con legal technology? And then we start to make assumptions about the types of people that fall into each camp and make broad claims about them. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Is Windows 10 Spying on You?

It’s hard to find statistics identifying how many people are currently running Windows 10. One thing we do know is that there were 14 million downloads within 24 hours of the release. Some estimates put the installed base at over 75 million devices. No matter what the right number is, it appears that Microsoft has added another hit operating system to its list. But is everything about Windows 10 a good thing? Not so fast. When Microsoft released Windows 10, it also updated its privacy policy. Should attorneys be concerned? The answer attorneys love to hate is…it depends. Perhaps if . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology


We have smartphones and smart cars are on the way, so we should not be surprised that SmartLaw gets added to the tags of BigLaw/SmallLaw, NewLaw/OldLaw, NextLaw and even LessLaw etc. But, like so much of the legal world, the “bleedingly obvious” can take a while to be noticed. While I have talked about smarter lawyers in relation to our Lawyers Workstation approach to IT, Ryan McClead’s blog article “SmartLaw: The firm of the future” was interesting due to its emphasis on the firm, rather than the lawyer.

“Smart” is a neat word: it includes connotations of style, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Cashless but Not Lawless

Pundits have been predicting the cashless society for a long time, perhaps even longer than the paperless office. Nonetheless the evidence is mounting that we are getting closer (at least to the former). The Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association ran a program at its spring meeting in Montreal this year on the possible disappearance of cash and the legal consequences.

Here are some of the highlights of presentations by Ed Morse of Creighton University, who presided, Denis Rice of Arnold and Porter, Jillian Friedman of the National Bank of Canada, and Erin Fonté of Dykema in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

De-Automate Your Destruction

An Internet connection can automate damage to your law practice and reputation. A lawyer can’t practice without the Internet but there are ways to reduce the opportunities to be attacked. There are common applications that have become so problematic as attack points that lawyers may want to uninstall or at least wall off this software. I’m talking in particular about Adobe’s Flash and Oracle’s Java apps.

There are lots of bugaboos on the Internet but let’s focus on these two. You could throw in PDFs as well, if you like. Cisco’s annual threat report shows that these three make up . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Business of Contracts

In the context of the legal technology segment, the lion’s share of the effort has, of course, been focused on ediscovery and other litigation-related tools. The next most significant area probably relates in some way to contract analysis and drafting tools. These tools generally focus on the needs of law firms and law departments, analyzing various categories of contracts and using the resulting data for the particular services that the vendors offer.

In these contract analysis activities, the vendors and clients will use various “raw materials” to work from before engaging in their particular analysis. The three most common repositories . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Locky: The New Ransomware – and the Three Principles of Fighting Ransomware

According to Security Magazine, the number of ransomware attacks is predicted to increase in 2016. For the second quarter of 2015, more than 4 million samples of ransomware infections were identified as compared to 1.5 million in the third quarter of 2013. That’s a pretty big increase.


So what is ransomware? Ransomware is a piece of malware that encrypts your data and holds it hostage until you pay a ransom. The idea is that after you pay the ransom, you receive the decryption key in order to decrypt your data and make it accessible again. The payment is made . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Evaluating Legal Technology – a Checklist

After successfully putting it off for a decade after every other industry, it seems like the legal world is finally – FINALLY – poised on the edge of a technology revolution. Walk the exhibit halls of any legal conference nowadays and you’ll see dozens of companies ready to sell you all sorts of solutions that will make your practice life easier and save you money. But will they? How can you tell?

To that end, I developed a check list to go through whenever you are thinking of adopting or purchasing a technology product or service.

  1. Know thyself. Before you
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Enhancing Old With New

It is timely that Vanderbilt Law School is hosting what is billed as the first legal conference on the topic: “Watson, Esq.: Will Your Next Lawyer Be a Machine.” The legal system, and the legal profession will need to dramatically lift it’s game if it is to keep up with client expectations as mankind prepares to take another big step. It led me back to an abstract of a Rees Morrison article I did almost 30 years ago:

Artificial intelligence and law: A conference report

The First International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law was held in Boston . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Macros and Micro Automation

Law practice technology comes in a variety of sizes. Either the lawyer adapts to the technology or adapts it to her needs. We often look at the systems that lawyers use to improve client service and productivity. This time, let’s flip the hood on law practice technology and look at some of the micro tools you can use.

Automated Tasks with Macros

Technology use is filled with those small things we do over and over, seemingly because we have no option. We log on to Windows, and as it loads, we grab a cup of coffee. We sit down and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology