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Archive for ‘Technology’

Online Juries: Is It Possible?

It has recently been reported that jury trials may resume soon. The Toronto Star reported the following: “Canada’s justice system has no intention of holding Zoom jury trials — or cancelling them. That means … thousands of others may soon find themselves called into an Ontario courthouse, reporting for jury duty amid the ongoing pandemic — a prospect that’s left the legal community wondering how it’s all going to work.”

Perhaps blockchain technology could be used for jury trials? I previously discussed the use of blockchain for juries. I have reposted part of the article below as a potential solution . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Ontario Introduces CaseLines to Courts

Following the Civil Submissions Online and Family Submissions Online portals, first introduced starting in 2017, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice announced on July 29, 2020 that a two-week test phase of CaseLines will be launched on Aug. 10, 2020 for select civil motions and pre-trial conferences. The Online Portal will not be integrated with CaseLines at this time.

Starting Aug. 24, 2020, CaseLines use will be expanded to all civil, Divisional Court, Commercial and Estate List, and bankruptcy matters in Toronto. After that, it will be expanded to the rest of the province.

The new CaseLines service will replace . . . [more]

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

Conference Papers: “Artificial Intelligence: Thinking About Law, Law Practice, and Legal Education”

It’s been well over a year now but presentations from the 2019 Artificial Intelligence Conference held at the Duquesne University School of Law are now available.

Artificial Intelligence: Thinking About Law, Law Practice, and Legal Education” was a two-day conference which covered topics “ranging from autonomous vehicles to robotic surgery, and from smart phones to smart speakers.” Presenters included legal educators, practitioners, policy makers, and computer scientists. The speakers addressed the many ways that the development of artificial intelligence is affecting the legal profession, legal education, law and society.

Jan M. Levine, Professor of Law and Director, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Seeking Equality in Tech Legal Advances: Living With Disabilities

Advancing technological means to accessing legal processes, information or decision-making (and more) has been on-going for years now. The coronavirus pandemic has hastened some of the shifts to technology (online hearings or declaring affidavits, for example) and has made those enthusiastic about faster, wider changes even more so. But in one way, nothing has changed: how do we ensure that technological advances increase access to justice for marginalized groups and not leave things the same, or even make the situation worse (because of lack of computer literacy or access to computers, among other factors). It is crucial to include engagement . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

The Vanishing Trial: The Era of Courtroom Performers and the Perils of Its Passing

In the “Vanishing Trial: The Era of Courtroom Performers and the Perils of its Passing”, trial lawyer Robert Katzberg reminds readers of the importance of the jury trial, why it is in danger of vanishing, and what makes a good trial lawyer. His arguments are grounded in stories from his experience of being a trial lawyer for over 40 years.

Katzberg began his career clerking, moving on to become a public prosecutor, then entering private practice. Where he has been till this day, specializing in white collar crime.

In the book, Katzberg describes the transition to the defense . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews, Technology

Does a Computer Generated Letter Need a Signature?

This morning I had by email a long-wished-for letter (laid out like a typical business letter, with letterhead and date and address etc.) from the company financing my car, telling me my loan was now paid in full. It finished with the usual cordial invitation to contact them if I should need any further services, then ‘sincerely, [name of company]’, then:

“NOTE: This letter is computer generated; no signature is required.”

And sure enough, it looked like an old computer printout, as if it had holes up the side to feed it through a printer, and an ancient font, pre-Courier. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

How to Think Better About Technology Risk in Four Simple Steps

1. Is it real?
2. What does it cost if it happens?
3. How does it compare to the status quo?
4. Are there other risks that are important, too?

Whether we have overcome our storied risk aversion, or we have merely been given a more important risk to avoid, the legal profession in Canada is now struggling to adopt technology at a very fast pace.

And as might be expected, success is not evenly distributed. The difference between the people who take this opportunity for change and those who miss it will be how they think about risk.

Here’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Word Wizardry for Lawyers

I spend a lot of time in this column talking about the future of legal technology. Today, I’d like to give you something a little more practical, and help you use the technology you already have.

Let me share with you the one thing that I wish every lawyer and law student knew about Microsoft Word: Multilevel lists.

In the toolbar of Microsoft Word you will find Multilevel lists just to the right of bullets and numbered lists.

Click on that button, and a menu appears. You’re going to want to click on “Define New Multilevel List…”

In the screen . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Virtual Court Proceedings: Fictional and the Real Thing

Addicted as I am to tv dramas (and sometimes comedies) about the law, I’ve been watching All Rise. Located in Los Angeles, it follows the professional lives of various characters involved in the criminal court there (and as a “popular” show, it also follows their personal lives). Sometimes it raises some important legal issues, but its finale was its best performance: it did a fine job of responding to the coronavirus crisis by being filmed on Cisco Webex, with all the actors working from their own homes. Apart from the kind of personal issues many people are facing in our . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Redesigning the Legal System: Let’s Start With What It Takes to Achieve Justice

There have been for years many outspoken proponents of using increased advanced technology in the legal system: use of technology by lawyers, remote court and tribunal hearings, increasing accessibility of information — substantive and navigational — for users of the legal system, and making decision-making systematic through algorithms. In certain respects, using technology has proceeded apace (providing online information, for example), but in others, it has been slow (for instance, court proceedings). Two of the major reasons for heralding increased use of technology are that it makes the legal system more efficient and that it responds to the needs of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Can a Chatbot Answer Legal Questions?

The People’s Law School in British Columbia is offering free legal information through a Chatbot on Facebook.

@chatwithbeagle answers questions through Facebook messenger at

The chatbot starts off saying:

I work for People’s Law School. I’m here to sniff out information to help you with common legal problems. My goal is to empower you to take action.
Recognize, though, that I’m a bot, not a lawyer. I can get you up to speed on the law and suggest tips to move things forward. But it’s on you to take the next step.
I can help with these topics.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Why the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Has Barely Missed a Beat During the Pandemic

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has been fully functional for almost the entire time period during the pandemic. The court has easily transitioned to web-based hearings at the end of March 2020, – as announced here. Hearings are being heard in their ordinary order, in the same numbers as before the pandemic.

Saskatchewan’s swift success in switching to online appeals is due to changes made over 8 years ago. Around 2012, the Court of Appeal switched to electronic filing and electronic case management by using the software eCourt

eCourt is an integrated electronic software system configured to meet

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology