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Archive for ‘Technology’

Justice System Needs a Champion to Move Modernization Project

Don’t turn back, but don’t stand still. Work with justice system partners to share best practices, figure out how to make the system work better for the people who need it to work for them, and how to mitigate the unintended side-effects of change.

That sums up – very briefly – the recommendations in the final report from the Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19, presented to the Association’s annual general meeting on Feb. 17

The task force, established in April 2020, drew together representatives from CBA Sections and committees, its partners in the justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Square Pegs: Changing the Courts to Fit the Technology

When discussing the modernization of the justice system the conversation can often be about how we adapt the technology to replicate the bricks-and-mortar experience.

But how might the institutions and decision-makers themselves adapt to work with the emerging technology?

Legal scholar Tania Sourdin talks about three primary kinds of technology in the context of the justice system:

  • Supportive – things like online legal applications that support and advise people using the justice system
  • Replacement – things that replace the role of people, such as e-filing technologies and online dispute resolution
  • Disruptive – things that fundamentally alter the way legal professionals
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Is It Time to Rethink Lawyer Licensing, Including the Bar Exam in Ontario?

In an article by Slate.com, Pilar Escontrias proclaims “It’s time to see the bar exam for what it truly is: the relic of a racist club.” The bar exam in the United States has a “sordid history as one of the many racialized gatekeeping mechanisms into the practice of law. The legal profession was a virtually unregulated, open field of practice for generations until immigrants, Black, and Jewish people started applying for bar admission in the late 19th century”. Suddenly the bar exam emerged. One reason for the bar exam was to act as a gatekeeper against minorities.

In . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Scales of Justice: Balancing Privacy Rights With Surveillance Economy

“Minds have been opened and changed over the past few months,” legal author and commentator Richard Susskind wrote in a 2020 article titled The Future of Courts. “Many assumptions have been swept aside.”

The global pandemic has forced lawyers and justice system stakeholders out of their normal physical environments and into what on the surface appears to be the safe harbour of the virtual world. Remote hearings may protect us all from a virus; the platforms that make them possible may, however, have their own issues.

An internet truism is that if you’re not paying for the product, you are . . . [more]

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

Courtbot: Should Courts Text You About Your Next Court Date?

As we have seen in the last year, technology can improve access to justice. A new product called Courtbot is another great example of technology improving interactions with the courts.

The new App Courtbot helps remind litigants of upcoming court appearances. It is a text-messaging App based in Oklahoma.

According to its website, once clients text their case number to Courtbot, clients receive an automatic reminder of court dates. Courtbot claims that “research shows that reminders work… Around 25% of the people in Tulsa County Jail are waiting for their cases to be heard, costing taxpayers up to $25,000 per . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

CBA Task Force Examines Pandemic’s Effect on Justice System

January 4, 2021, marked exactly one year since the first published reports of a disturbing new virus in Wuhan, China.

That virus, COVID-19, has touched us all in the past year on personal and professional levels. We’ve all had to accept individual restrictions for the public good, and to adjust to new ways of doing things.

It’s also true that in the legal profession at least we’ve been able to find some silver linings in these trying circumstances. For example, the pandemic pressed the accelerator on justice system modernization that groups such as the CBA have been advocating for years. . . . [more]

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

Who Is a Legal Information Specialist in 2021?

About a million years ago…wait, that was just 2020.

Back in 2011-2012 I was invited to collaborate with colleagues on Legal Information Specialists: A Guide to Launching and Building Your Career with colleagues from the Canadian Association of Law Libraries. At the time, Annette Demers asked contributors to gather some quotes from our colleagues about the value they considered in having a Legal Information Specialist team member. As uncomfortable as it was, I asked colleagues to write something. My colleague James T. Casey, QC who was then Managing Partner of Field Law wrote this which appears on page . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

ROSS Intelligence Comes to a Close

It’s the type of story we like to bandy around in legal technology circles. Precocious law student interested in technology founds a start-up with some friends. They create some innovative solutions, and make it big enough to establish a company.

In 2014, three students founded ROSS Intelligence, an artificial intelligence driven product using Watson, to build tools that enhance lawyers’ abilities through natural language queries. The company was widely celebrated as the type of successes that entrepreneurial lawyers could create, and quickly attracted capital and strategic partnerships in the industry.

Unfortunately, this week ROSS Intelligence announced they are shutting down . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Adieu, Adieu, Adieu, Le Fax Machine

Your time has come,
Dear Fax Machine,
Though your reign lasted long.

We were first introduced,
In That Me Decade,
Singing your shrilling song.

It took a plague,
For learned counsel,
To break their solemn vow.

No longer can we wait,
To gain word from work,
We need it, here and now.

Though you believe your brother,
To be the cause,
Of your final demise.

Reality is that technology,
Has found better ways,
Much to all our surprise.

Thy Impaired kin,
May seem to be,
A poor heir to your legacy,

A band that is broad . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

5G: The Latest Shiny Object Still Needs Some Polish

We have been inundated with information about 5G phones recently. Is it the new shiny object we need right now? The short answer is no.

Telcos have been touting their 5G networks, and cell manufacturers are touting their new 5G phones. Some articles rave about how 5G will be a game-changer. We have mentioned before in our Tech Law Weekly newsletter that conspiracy theorists have protested against or destroyed 5G towers fearing they cause everything from cancer to covid.

5G is a new radio communications technology that is faster than the current 4G cellphone speeds, and more importantly, has . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Creating Online Parks and What Courts Can Learn From Them

“The public park is only one of many institutions that was created to enact America’s egalitarian values. At the turn of the 20th century, public libraries opened nationwide to help foster literacy. In the 1910s, a few communities in the Midwest embraced the radical notion of free, universal secondary education: high school.”- Eli Pariser (“To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks“).

In the article by Wired Magazine, “To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks“, the author Eli Pariser explains that “Now, accelerated by the pandemic, we spend much of our time living and conversing . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

On a Clear Day – You Won’t Be in a Police Lineup

Clearview AI’s business model is to scrape images of people from wherever they can on the web. Then sell facial recognition services – mostly to police – based on that database. Some police forces in Canada used their services. But investigations by Canadian Privacy Commissioners and other public outcries resulted in Clearview AI pulling out of the Canadian market.

Readers of our Tech Law Weekly newsletter watched this unfold.

You may have put your picture on your social media profile or your business website – but did you agree to it being harvested into a massive database so you could . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology