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Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

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

Encryption: Its Time Has Come

Lawyers tend to cringe when they hear the word “encryption.” To most lawyers, encryption is a dark art, full of mathematical jargon and incomprehensible to the average human being.

When South Carolina suffered a major data breach of taxpayer data, what did Governor Nikki Halley say? “A lot of banks don’t encrypt. It’s very complicated. It’s very cumbersome. There’s a lot of numbers involved with it.”

Leaving aside the laughable notion that a lot of banks don’t encrypt data, the rest of her quote is in keeping with what we hear from lawyers. What we hear always translates into the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Dreaming of the Future of Law Firms

In my previous post, I identified a number of themes that weaved their way through the sessions I attended at the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) in August. I did note, however, that one session, entitled Do Robot Lawyers Dream of Billable Seconds?, was particularly provocative. I therefore opted to devote a full post, namely this one, to that one session.

The panelists were (in alphabetical order) Stuart Barr of High Q, Joshua Lenon of Clio, Michael Mills of Neota Logic, and Noah Waisberg of Diligence Engine. The panel was . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

E-Mail and the Lawyer

E-mail is dead. Social media and instant messaging (IM) are replacing e-mail. Those are the messages of emerging communications driven by so-called enterprise technology. These tools, designed for companies that fire more employees than legal professionals comprise the entire Ontario bar, can enhance internal firm interaction. But e-mail remains the bread-and-butter tool for solo and small firm lawyers and a primary method for communicating with clients and others.

So why are we not experts at using it?

To be honest, I rarely think about how I use e-mail. My habits run in well-worn ruts. But I was jolted out of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology


I recently visited Nth Wales the land my grandfather left 105+ years ago. Many of the original 3,000 workers in the Penrhyn Slate Quarry where he worked also left due to industrial disputes that dragged on and off for years. Such disregard for customers by the quarry owners meant customers found other suppliers in France and elsewhere, or simply alternative products, such as cheap mass-produced tiles.

My grandfather was not alone in abandoning the slate mining industry. Better conditions elsewhere, World War I, and lost skills resulted in a shortage of the skilled labour needed to extract the slate in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Robot Law II: Drones

The first technology column I wrote for Slaw was called Robot Law. In those days, the main uses of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – aka drones – were military, either for reconnaissance or for attack. Since then, civilian uses have expanded, and the technology has evolved to serve them. Individuals can readily buy drones the size of insects or the size of a microwave oven or larger. Commercial versions can be the size of small aircraft.

Among the many peaceful uses of drones are surveying, especially of hard-to-access or remote lands and installations like . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology