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Archive for ‘Technology’

Loom Analytics Launches Today

[Necessary disclosure: My company Stem Legal has been working with Loom Analytics for several months now during their beta period. It’s a relationship I’m proud to showcase, but also one we are compensated for.]

Today is an exciting day for Loom Analytics. One of the country’s most interesting legal tech startups has officially closed its beta phase and has opened up registration to legal consumers. Less than 18 months after the Loom team first started working on the idea of a Canadian legal analytics tool, the company (whom you may recall from a Slaw Vendor Quiz earlier this year) . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

New Phishing Attack Pretends to Be Bar Communication

The following warning was issued by Lawyers Mutual of North Carolina. We haven’t had any reports of this in Ontario yet, but lawyers should always be alert to phishing scams that try to trick them into opening an attachment or clicking a link that could instal malware.

There is a new phishing scam targeting bar members across the country. The fraudulent email pretends to be a communication from the State Bar or Bar Association.

There are several versions of this scam. The most common are: “[state] Bar Complaint,” “[state] Bar Association Past Due Notice,” and “Lawyers and judges may now . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Email: Friend or Foe of the Courts?

In Ontario most court documents are filed in paper, with e-filing appearing mostly to be a distant dream. Similarly, court documents, other than originating documents, tend to be served by fax and not by email. Everyone loves that fax confirmation page despite the fact that emails can come with a read receipt.

So should we be allowed to communicate with the court through email? Should the court be encouraged to communicate with litigants via email?

Email is a blessing and a curse. It is easy to use. It is fast. It is convenient. But on the other hand, important emails . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Technology

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings …?*

But a breakthrough won’t be hard. We only need to look at things from a slightly different angle—which might happen in a hundred years or this afternoon.”—David Gelernter

One thing that came up during the “Computers and Legal Research” session that I reported on in my last post was the issue of copyright, specifically: Does AI create new, secondary IP rights? Or, will a machine be able to claim copyright? Very interesting questions. I’m not sure if this is what Nate Russell meant when he wrote at the end of his excellent post from last week . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

How Many Wake-Up Calls Do Our Legal Profession and Court System Need?

Last week, the Toronto Star ran a widely publicized story about a criminal proceeding, in which the accused was charged with drug offences. He earned $16,000 in 2015, which was too much for legal aid but not enough for a lawyer. Therefore, Justice Ian Nordheimer of the Ontario Superior Court stayed the proceedings until the government paid for counsel.

Sadly, stories like this are too common. The legal system, too convoluted to navigate without a law degree, means that the most vulnerable are left in the lurch. Compelled to interact with the judicial system yet unable to afford counsel and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Of Cybernetic Shysters, Artificial Intelligence and Guardians of the Rule of Law

“Here I make an intelligent being out of a bunch of old wires, switches and grids, and instead of some honest advice I get technicalities! You cheap cybernetic shyster, I’ll teach you to trifle with me!”
And he turned the pot over, shook everything out onto the table, and pulled it apart before the lawyer had a chance to appeal the proceedings.

– The Cyberiad

Happy Monday! Like F. Tim Knight, I am getting back on the “blogwagon” this morning with an overdue post… also about AI following the session I was a panelist on at the recent Canadian . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Artificial Intelligence: “If You’re Not at the Table …”

I seem to have fallen off the blogwagon lately and am now attempting to turn my mind back to some writing. So I’ll start by reporting on one of the sessions I attended at the recent Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference held in Vancouver, from May 15 to 18. The session took place on the afternoon of May 16 and featured: Steve Matthews, Slaw publisher and contributor and founder of Stem Legal Web Enterprises; Ivan Makonov, Executive Director at Lexum; Eric Laughlin, Managing Director of the Corporate Segment, Thomson Reuters; and Nate Russell, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

No After-Hours Emails – Can You Imagine?

France now has a law against after-hours emails to employees. Does this make sense to you? Could you get your work done on this basis? Is that question your concern, or is it up to the employer to organize your time more effectively?

Can such a law apply to professionals or others who do not punch a clock?

Are the benefits worth the inconvenience … given that the benefits go to the employees and the inconvenience to the employers, to a large extent.

When France legislated its 35-hour week, over 15 years ago, one consequence was that people had a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Emerging Tech – Potentially Awesome and a Privacy Quagmire

I attended an event last night where Duncan Stewart of Deloitte talked about their TMT predictions for 2016.

It reinforced for me that the future of tech and what it will do for us is potentially awesome. But also at the same time the amount of information that is being collected and stored about each of us is staggering. That creates real privacy challenges, and real possibilities for abuse. And because the information is there, there is a tendency for government and business alike to want to use it.

One scary aspect is that the more we get used . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

We Are All Worrying About the Wrong Thing

While lawyers in Canada were debating whether licensed paralegals should have a limited role in family law, and before that contemplating entity-based regulation, alternative business structures, and the articling crisis, change was already happening without them.

This week the century-old American law firm, BakerHostetler, announced they have hired their first digital lawyer, ROSS, the artificial intelligence system based on IBM’s Watson. What can ROSS do for this firm, one of the largest in the country?

According to the ROSS website it can provide a highly relevant answer to a question posed in natural language. You don’t get thousands of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology

Enemy of the State – Still Topical

I recently watched the 1998 movie Enemy of the State . It is a spy thriller about a lawyer being smeared by politicians because they believe he has information that can implicate them in criminal matters – the murder of a politician who was opposing a privacy bill that is really a bill empowering mass surveillance. They use sophisticated, unsavoury, unethical, and illegal methods to watch him, discredit him, and retrieve the evidence. No one is watching the watchers, who are out of control.

While like any disaster movie the plot is a bit over the top, it was fascinating . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Of Smartphones in an Age of Privacy Breaches and Paranoia

“Several were almost tharn—that is, in that state of staring, glazed paralysis that comes over terrified or exhausted rabbits, so that they sit and watch their enemies—weasels or humans—approach to take their lives.”
– Richard Adams, Watership Down

Go to enough legal tech conference sessions and you’ll eventually catch the fear. It may start with a shocking statistic or factoid —”80% of big law firms have been targets of hackers” or “The FBI unofficially recommends paying the cryptovirus ransom”— and it will escalate quickly into a litany of sinister sounding jargon and neologisms.

Phishing scams. Botnet zombie armies. Malvertising. Heartbleed. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology