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Archive for ‘Technology: Office Technology’

May Lawyers Accept Payment in Bitcoin?

A U.S. colleague with a technology practice was recently asked to take payment for her legal services in Bitcoin. She is not sure she has the right to do so.

What about in Canada? Would any law society here slow such payment? Do payments have to be more subject to regulation via known financial institutions? Certainly the rules about trust accounts demand traditional accounting. Why would a general payment with a digital currency be a problem, though? . . . [more]

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

LSBC Seeks Protection of Lawyers’ Electronic Devices Against Border Search

Not long ago, the US Supreme Court opined in Riley v. California:

Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.

Riley involved evidence of serious criminal activity (gang shootings, drugs, firearms, etc.).

Notwithstanding this, SCOTUS decried warrantless cell phone searches and laid the groundwork for its conclusion that, in laypersons’ terms, snooping through someone’s cell phone is not just rude… it has become an extraordinarily intrusive act. The Court underscores that these devices contain a “digital record of nearly every . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

EFF Publishes New Guide to Mitigating Digital Privacy Risks at US Border

If you care about solicitor-client privilege, travel to the US and use computing technology, then read this:

By its own admission, US border protection conducted five-times as many electronic media searches in a single year—4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016.

Yup. That’s 500% more cause for anyone travelling to the US to be concerned. Should Canadian lawyers be cautious too? Yes.

America’s digital rights sentinel, Electronic Frontier Foundation, just released its 2017 reboot to its guide for mitigating risks to digital privacy when travelling to the US. The newly minted guide (last revised in 2011) is titled “Digital . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Office Technology

Proposed Nova Scotia Accessibility Legislation

On November 2, 2016, the Nova Scotia government proposed accessibility legislation to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Nova Scotians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of everyday life by promoting and encouraging the prevention, reduction and removal of barriers.

Moreover, the government intends to help make Nova Scotia a more accessible and inclusive place to live and work. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Proposed Manitoba Accessibility Standard for Employment

The Accessibility Advisory Council’s (AAC) is inviting interested stakeholders to provide their views to its initial proposal for an accessibility standard for employment. Therefore, employment is the second of five accessibility standards being developed under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

The purpose of the employment standards is to remove employment barriers for persons disabled by barriers—including the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation—under the Human Rights Code. This standard will have a timeline for compliance, however, all employers must engage in emergency planning one year after the standard comes into effect.

Specifically, the employment standards have the following . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Office Technology

Consulting With Canadians on a Federal Accessibility Legislation

Between July 2016 and February 2017, the federal government is consulting Canadians on planned federal accessibility legislation. The goal of the law would be to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of every day life. It is expected that the new legislation will incorporate many features from Ontario and Manitoba’s accessibility laws that would include the process or processes that the Government would use to develop the accessibility standards, as well as the areas or activities to which the standards would apply. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Learnings From the Legal Trends Report: The Risk of Trusting Self-Reported Data

In last week’s post I talked about the Legal Trends Report, a data-driven benchmarking report based on actual billing data.

This approach an industry first, and as such the Legal Trends Report uncovers a number of interesting insights that I’ll be digging into over the next few weeks.

However, I personally found one most surprising finding of the Legal Trends Report to be the vast disparity between self-reported data and “real” data derived from real-world usage. Take, for example, utilization rate, the percentage of a lawyer’s day that ends up as being billing time. The Legal Trends Report found the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office 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

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 . . . [more]

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

Barreau Du Quebec Position on Hourly Billing Report Long Overdue

On March 24, 2016, the Barreau du Quebec (Quebec Bar Association) released a report « La tarification horaire à l’heure de la réflexion » (in French only and translated to say Hourly Billing: A Time for Reflection) calling for an end to hourly billing by lawyers and law firms in the hope of improving access to justice for the public and a better work-life balance for lawyers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Sabbaticals for the Self-Employed

This mountain gorilla really knows how to take a break.

Many law firms and organizations now offer sabbatical programs as a workplace benefit. As long as employees meet defined criteria and plan carefully, they’re able to take a few months off without much risk.

But given that I’m self-employed and that I work alone most of the time, I didn’t think that a sabbatical was really an option for me. A carefully cultivated – or lucky – opportunity could come knocking at any moment. What if I wasn’t around to answer the door? When you’re self-employed, you need to . . . [more]

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