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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

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

The Pretty Face of the Internet of Things

We have been looking at the implications of the interconnection of multitudes of devices – for security, for privacy, for property. What happens when the things connected with you and each other on the Internet can recognize your voice, and talk back to you? Voice recognition technology has made rapid progress, and it is already becoming normal that one can ask questions out loud to a computer (generally a “device”, a phone) and have it answer.

Thus Siri, Google Now and Cortana. Not only do they have access to a universe of information, but they learn about . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Judging Twitter

“Treated” is not quite the right word, but for purposes of this article I’ll say avid Twitter users were treated in early February to innumerable passionate pleas tagged #RIPTwitter that Twitter not change its algorithm and containing warnings that if Twitter dare mess with reverse chronological tweet delivery, the company would have drawn on its last measure of goodwill.

Before continuing, let me first acknowledge that the preceding statement likely sounded like nonsense to most of you. Not many Canadians have Twitter accounts (~25%), and only a tiny fraction of subscribers engage with sufficient frequency to notice small changes . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

Podcasting as Commentary

Up to a few months ago, I didn’t know much about WWI. I did certainly know more than the characters in Friends, but, like most, I knew considerably less on this conflict than on the other world war. To be fair to me, I had a reasonable idea of the convoluted causes of the conflict from reading Margaret MacMillan’s “The War That Ended Peace” (still, that was only a couple of years ago), but not much about the actual fighting. Then I listened, over the summer, to a 20+ hour series of podcasts by Dan Carlin entitled “Blueprint . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Year-End Roundup: Trends in Legal Technology

The end of one year and the beginning of another is the usual time for commentators to review what happened during the year and discern the trends. What follows is my synthesis of the recent year-end roundups and what they seem to me to say.

Here are the most pertinent articles:

Among the trends identified are the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Recent Egregious Data Breaches: How They Happened

We should be grateful for other peoples’ data breaches – they help us to improve our own security. In our breach-a-day world, we seem to have more data breaches than ever. They come fast and furious – rare is the day when we don’t hear of one or more breaches on the evening news or through online media. Attack vectors change constantly – those of us in information security have a deep sense of humility in the face of constant changes in threats as well as technology, policies and training to defend against those threats.

Herewith, a few of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Smartphone Evidence: R. v. Avanes Et Al.

The Ontario Court of Justice recently had the occasion to consider the admissibility of evidence taken from smartphones in a drug smuggling case. Admission of the evidence was challenged on a number of grounds, mainly involving the application of sections 31.1 through 31.8 of the Canada Evidence Act (CEA) on evidence from computers. The Court held that the evidence was admissible. In my view, the Court got it right.

The three accused men in R. v. Avanes et al., 2015 ONCJ 606 (CanLII), had communicated with each other by Blackberry. The evidence sought to be admitted included (para 8) . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A Mildly Embarrassed Philistine

A while ago I found myself basking in the sun beside a swimming pool, with not a great deal troubling me. The anxiety-free break had allowed me with pleasure to work my way through an interesting and informative biography and the moment was right quickly to find another book to read. Scouring through the available literature my attention was captured immediately by a highly regarded legal/crime novel by a well-known author and I immediately settled down for a relaxing read. Not the fault of the book or its author, I am convinced, but several pages in I began to become . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Move Your Firm to Web Encryption

Law firm Web sites can be more secure and offer clients a greater degree of comfort that their interactions are protected. Security and encryption are hot topics as the scales fall from digital eyes (and sometimes are put back again). Some recent developments in the way Web sites can secure their interactions make it even easier for law firms to have secure Web sites.

HTTPS

I’ve touched on using https yourself when sending or receiving client information, or banking, or engaging in other online activities. This slight change in a Web site’s URL – from http:// to https:// – means . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

All Aboard

In December 2015, Sydney hosted Blockchain Workshops (#BlockchainSYD). I understand that it was a great event. If you didn’t get to it, and fear you have missed the Blockchain wave, I would not panic. Like other tech, there might still be some waiting time before it takes over.

Consider the “flavour of the month“ Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s finally getting some traction 30+ years after its success was touted as imminent. Yet around this time each year people are called upon to bravely predict next year’s tech. It is not a new phenomena.

“… while only 35% of (US) law

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

The Case for Reddit

I started using Twitter in March 2007. That definitely makes me an early adopter of that platform. That was before the first iPhone was launched (in June 2007), before Twitter had a native mobile app and before it even have a native search feature, these last two developments coming through acquisitions (see here and here). One of my first uses of Twitter was to (privately) log food I ate through a service called “Tweet What You Eat”, the first food diary you could actually use on mobile, in my case a Blackberry Electron. I’m such a long time user . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Law Firms [Slowly] in Transition

Altman Weil recently released its annual review of law firms and the challenges they face, entitled Law Firms in Transition. There have already been a number of thoughtful comments about it, including the following:

  • Stop the AI madness, by Ryan McClead at 3 Geeks
  • GCs Now Do Less Law, by Ron Friedmann at Prism Legal
  • 9 Takeaways from the Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition Study, on the Business of Law Blog
  • Law firms in transition: Keeping up with the times, by Kim Covert at the CBA PracticeLink

The report summarizes responses from law-firm lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology