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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

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.


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

Is LinkedIn All It Was Cracked Up to Be?

Our friend and colleague Bob Ambrogi thinks LinkedIn is losing its luster – and we agree. He wrote a blog post recently on this subject. So we tip our hat to Bob before we begin.

Author Simek isn’t active on any social media other than LinkedIn, largely because he is a professional testifying expert on IT and digital forensics topics – and he didn’t want to risk being hung by his own petard because of something he had posted on other kinds of social media. But LinkedIn, in its original incarnation in 2002, was pretty much a resume site and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Please Don’t Try to Disrupt Anything, Just Build Useful Stuff That Helps People Work Better

Once in one of my law and technology LL.M. classes at UdeM, we had a dare: how many times can one possibly include the word “mayonnaise” in a class presentation. I feel that there is something similar going on with the word “disruption” in law-related talks.

The following are random thoughts about building and positioning products for the legal market which are drawn mostly from lessons learned (read: things that didn’t work out), but also from some stuff that turned out not so badly.

In order to not sound skeptical, I will deliberately not go into my memories of how . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Elementary My Dear Lawyer

When “dear” is an opinion on pricing held by the 80% of society who do not use a lawyer to solve a legal problem, then we have a challenge and an opportunity. Both are big, as is the gap between what clients think they can afford to pay, and what lawyers think they need to charge to be profitable.

Around 25 years ago, Apple was advised that Librarians, Journalists and Lawyers would be the biggest users of IT. Because their raw materials were digitised, and their output could be delivered in electronic form, it was thought that Librarians, Journalists and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Internet of Whose Things?

Much talk is heard, many tweets are generated, about the Internet of Things. Interconnected devices are everywhere, from your car to your home to your clothes to your body. This interconnection, it is alleged, will lead to great benefits, though sometimes it is hard to tell how, except for the people who build them.

We have looked at the questions of security they raise and their impact on privacy, as the Net connection pumps out data about your stuff, and by not-very-distant implication about you, to … just whom? With what restrictions?

The privacy authorities in Canada and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Encrypt or Lose

We all want to be the reasonable person. It’s a figment of the legal imagination but it’s a nice middle ground. Lawyers can protect their client confidential and private information using encryption and securing it with a strong password. At what point is a lawyer not longer acting reasonably when they don’t?

How Do I Get Encrypted?

Since the early 2000s, we have had free full disk encryption software (TrueCrypt) and password managers (KeePass). Cost has not been an obstacle, although you might have needed some technical chops to use them. Then Apple and Microsoft put full disk encryption in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Vivaldi, the Web and the Return of Browser Wars

Eons ago, I wrote one measly post on Slaw (for a 2008 legal tech article, it aged surprisingly well!) and since then have not posted here for seven years, while remaining a regular (but silent) reader.

As the new CanLII CEO, I was offered the chance to end this long hiatus and contribute again to Slaw. I was happy to oblige.


Let’s jump back in time:

At the time of my last contribution to Slaw, I was a very opinionated web user and thought that Internet Explorer 6 was the most evil thing that ever happened… to computers at . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Style Makes the … Contract?

Why do lawyers write so badly? Save and except, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, writers and their heirs, successors, and assigns whose right, title, and interest in and to the aforesaid subject matter is or may be, with the giving of notice or the lapse of time, … Sorry, that sentence got away from me!

The push towards plain language drafting is, of course, nothing new. Joseph Kimble, Emeritus professor at WMU–Cooley Law School, has been writing on the topic for more than 30 years. He has written two books, including Lifting the Fog of Legalese and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology