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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Build, Baby, Build

“I have a great idea for an app”, said the excited caller at the end of the line.

“With just a couple clicks, your phone can […insert really cool function here…]. It will save so much time and money, and you can just imagine the contribution it will make to improved access to justice!!”

At least weekly, but typically more often than that, people share with me their idea for an app/service/tool that could very well make a valuable contribution to public or professional engagement with legal information or the legal system. I love these discussions.

My prior . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Interview With Knights CEO David Beech: Alternative Business Structures Across the Pond

Recently, author Nelson had the pleasure of interviewing David Beech, the CEO of the professional services firm Knights in the UK. David has led the business, originally a law firm, since 2011. His vision for Knights is to become the leading regional professional services business in the UK.

The interview took place on the Legal Talk Network podcast (The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology) with co-host Jim Calloway, available at http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/digital-edge/2017/01/will-alternative-business-structures-u-k-law-firms-cross-pond/.

By way of introducing David, he qualified as a corporate lawyer in 1990 and in the late 90’s turned to law firm management until 2004 when . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A Modern Associate Manifesto (Beta)

A spectre is haunting law firms — the spectre of #NewLaw.

There are three things every law firm associate hates: long hours, working on weekends, and their boss. Oh, you think your junior does not hate you? Oh, ok.

Here is the low-down on the traditional law firm:

1) Partners who own the firm make money by selling associates’ labour.

2) Partners sell associates’ labour by billing clients by the hour.

3) Partners pay associates’ fixed salaries regardless of overtime (but they do, sometimes, pay bonuses).

4) At least in Ontario, Canada, statutory employment standards with respect to hours, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Peggy’s New Gig

Before Siri and Alexa etc, there was Peggy. Back in the 1990’s, she told users of a pioneering practice management system (PMS) when they had an appointment. I found her most useful when I was distracted on the phone, or otherwise missed a visual reminder on the screen. She just did one task, but did it very well. In an English accent, she simply announced “Sorry to interrupt, but you have an appointment soon”

A more recent woman in my life is Amy Ingram from x.ai. She introduced herself to me about a year ago when I tried to make . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The 5 Technology Trends Lawyers Should Pay Attention to in 2017 and Beyond

As technology continues to play a larger role in our everyday lives, lawyers should be attuned to issues borne from new advancements, and the legal implications that may arise. However, for many lawyers who do not come from a tech background, simply knowing which of countless technology issues they should familiarize themselves with can seem daunting. To assist you in better knowing where to start, here are the five technology issues all lawyer should be mindful of in 2017 and beyond:

1. Legal Automation

Up until now, law firms had not appeared to seriously take steps to automate legal processes . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A Card Cannot Be Electronic: R v Albert 2016 NBQB 154

New Brunswick drivers are required by the Motor Vehicle Act to carry with them or in their vehicle a card issued by their insurer in a form approved by the government. A motorist who was asked for the card produced an image of a genuine card on her mobile phone. The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench recently held that the image was not good enough. R v Albert, 2016 NBQB 154.

The Decision

At a first trial before a provincial court judge, the court held that the phone display satisfied the demand to show the “card”.

The Crown . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Legal Technology

2011: The Year in Tech

Matt Mullenweg is yet another tech billionaire college dropout. He may be less famous than Mark Zuckerberg, but the blogging platform he founded, WordPress, powers 25% of the web, including Slaw.

In a recent podcast, Mullenweg explained that most of the hot topics in technology that the tech press bombards us with at any given time are too early in their hype cycle, and that a better source of inspiration for tech projects is to look at what technologies were considered hot 5 years ago.

So I went back to 2011 and found a post entitled “2011: The . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

What Can We Do With Big Data? Problems and Products

In late October, I attended the 12th Annual Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession conference. I have been attending this conference on and off since its inception, and this was absolutely the best so far. Which is really interesting: as Joshua Fireman, co-chair, noted “We still have things to talk about!”

One of those things, if not the biggest thing, is the continuing changing landscape of legal technology and how law firms can and should be using it. In particular, the emergence of “big data” remains a promise and a worry.

Big Data – Problems and Products

Intro . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Security Fatigue and Its Impact on Law Firm Security

People are inherently lazy. After all, why do something today that you can put off until tomorrow? Users hate to do anything that would slow down their access to their computer or data. That means they would much rather just sit at a keyboard and start to surf the Internet instead of entering logon credentials and then entering a second factor. How many times have you been tired of the constant password changes only to resort to using one you know you’ll remember and have previously used? Didn’t feel like creating a new account so passed on that online purchase? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Make Lawyers Smarter, Not Dumber, or Worse, With AI

This might be one of the more important things you read. It’s purpose is to direct you to a submission to the Law Society of NSW Future of Law & Innovation in the Profession (FLIP) Commission of Inquiry. Robyn Bradey is a mental health consultant to the Law Society, NSW Legal Aid and other organisations. Her submission is among the many excellent videos to download. This one should be compulsory viewing for every lawyer, and their management teams.

Robyn is testament to the benefits of a culture of diversity, and the foresight of those driving FLIP which also saw . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Trade Agreements to Promote Electronic Commerce

Commercial Law Reform

Commercial law almost always follows commercial practice. Businesses innovate and the law tries to catch up, validating some practices and regulating others.

It is risky for law reform to get out in front of commercial practice, for a number of reasons. The rules may fail to have their desired effect, because business can be more complex than legislation. The rules may restrict innovation, because the methods by which they grant legal effectiveness channel practices into known and safe directions. The rules may simply be wrong, because the rule-makers have not appreciated the dynamics at play among the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Using Non-Legal Apps for Current Awareness

I’m delighted to take this column over from my dear friend, mentor, and former boss, John Gillies. As John’s work has narrowed and deepened into precedents, he asked me to step in. Thanks, John, always, for your personal and professional support!

My subsequent columns will engage more specifically on legal technology (which, I see from the recent Slaw survey, is readers’ favourite topic! Pressure much?) . With this initial contribution, let’s start with widely-available tools that legal professionals can turn into set-it-and-forget-it vehicles for current awareness consumption.

Current Awareness: Automation is the Answer!

Certainly, continuing legal education requirements ensure . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology