Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Technology’

#AskChiefJudge – B.C. Provincial Court Twitter Town Hall

Given the opportunity, what would you ask the Chief Judge of a Canadian court?

In what is certainly a Canadian-first, Chief Judge Crabtree of the BC Provincial Court hosting a live Twitter Town Hall on BC Law Day, April 14, 2016 from 1-3pm Pacific Time.

Tweet your questions to #AskChiefJudge and follow the hashtag.

A new standard of engagement

While certainly unique, this effort seems a natural progression from the offline and online work this particular court has done to engage with the legal community and public at large.

The B.C. legal community will be very familiar with the extensive . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Panama Papers – Points to Ponder

The Panama papers revelations are worth pondering on many levels. (This Wired article is a good summary.)

My first reaction to the high level tax evasion and corruption allegations was to blanch at the thought that someone had basically given the entire contents of a law firm’s document management system to a third party.

As a lawyer, the fact that law firm files were leaked causes me to wince. After all, solicitor-client privilege is a fundamental tenet of democratic society. Law firms take the security of their files very seriously, and getting access to this information would not be an . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Metrics: Beyond the Billable Hour

Law firms love measuring the billable hour. The current yardstick for worth. But by focusing only on the billable hour, law firms lose. They lose valuable data.

Think about how much data runs through a law firm:

  1. What do clients request?
  2. When do clients request it?
  3. Why are clients asking for that work? When do they need it done? What motivates the request? Is it tied to a specific time of year?
  4. How satisfied was the client? What feedback did the client provide?
  5. When do clients ask to reduce the bill and by how much?
  6. What type of work was
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Some Recent Posts and Articles on Lawyers and Technology

There have been a number of things written lately about lawyers and technology indicating that this conversation has begun to emerge.

Here are a few selections that have crossed my screen over the last couple of months:

  • Bennion, Jeff. 2016. ‘Debunking 3 Legal Technology Myths’. Above the Law. Accessed March 31. http://abovethelaw.com/2016/02/debunking-3-legal-technology-myths/.
    • “Lately, I’ve talked to a lot of people who have some misconceptions about what it means to be a tech-friendly law office.”
  • Casanovas, Pompeu, Monica Palmirani, Silvio Peroni, Tom van Engers, and Fabio Vitali. 2016. ‘Semantic Web for the Legal Domain: The next Step’. Edited by Pompeu
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

E-Mail – More Secure Than a Postcard

The Apple – FBI tempest got me thinking about email security. (Even though that fight was over device security, not email platform and transmission security.)

Email security has improved over the past couple of years, no doubt in part due to the Snowden – NSA revelations. Many providers of hardware, software, internet infrastructure, and online services have taken steps to implement encryption in general, and to plug the gaps in the chain where encryption was missing. Some, for example, had gaps as they passed email to other mail providers unencrypted, even if they encrypted it while they had it. Encryption . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Of Conference Debriefs and #ABATECHSHOW 2016 Chicago Travel Tips

A good conference can leave little time to explore a city itself. Hence, I’ve pathetic little Chicago lore to pass on. No Field Museum meditations, no Magnificent Mile shopping tips. Chicago may not best be described as “the appurtenance to the Hilton along Michigan Ave” but honestly, after attending the 2016 ABA TECHSHOW, I am hardly in a position to describe it any better.

The only souvenirs I acquired bleeped in when I disengaged airplane mode on a layover in Minnesota… 95 Twitter notifications from lawyers and startups I engaged with at the conference. Fellow conference attendee, LSUC’s Phil Brown, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

New Lawyer Cyber Dangers and How to Avoid Them

Like the local bank, your practice holds valuable information and money. Your computer systems may contain client information, trade secrets, and intellectual property. Your trust accounts have large sums of money. A cyber breach or trust account theft will harm your clients and potentially cripple your practice. Security guards, specialized safes, and sophisticated procedures protect the local bank. What safeguards have you put in place for your practice?

Perceived to be less sophisticated than banks and big companies, lawyers make easy targets for tech-savvy criminals. The payoff, which can include emptying trust accounts and taking advantage of confidential information, is . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended, Technology: Internet

Alberta Ransomware Advisory

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has developed guidelines to assist public bodies, health custodians and private organizations with preventing and responding to ransomware cyberattacks. The Advisory published in March 2016 in PDF can be downloaded here.

According to most information technology experts, antivirus vendors and security professionals, “Ransomware” is considered a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system and files until a sum of money is paid within a certain deadline, to an unknown party. The sum of money to be paid varies from as little as $25 to . . . [more]

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

Has Apple Lost Its Mojo, or Is Something Else Going on Here?

Apple had an event this week where they announced new products. But it lacked the excitement and wow factor that we have come to expect. Has Apple lost its mojo, or is something else going on here?

New product announcements from Apple and Google seem less impressive than they used to be. They seem more evolutionary than revolutionary.

There could be a number of reasons for that.

Product innovation is happening at a faster pace than ever before. Are we getting so used to that pace that we have higher expectations for innovation than before?

Is the smartphone / . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Meet Siri: My New Junior Lawyer

In “Developing Legal Talent: Stepping into the Future Law Firm”, Deloitte predicts that a large tipping point will occur around 2020 from a culmination of three forces. These forces are: technology, client pressure, and demographic changes. It is estimated that by 2025 millenials (individuals born between 1981 – 1996) will make up about 75% of the workforce.

Specifically, Deloitte predicts that by 2025 the legal profession will have:

  1. fewer traditional lawyers in law firms;
  2. a new mix of skills among elite lawyers;
  3. greater flexibility and mobility within the industry;
  4. a reformed workforce structure and alternative progression routes; and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Browsewraps – Why Bother?

Here’s a comment by Eric Goldman of Santa Clara law school on a California court of appeals case, refusing to validate an arbitration clause in a ‘browsewrap’ format – i.e. a link to ‘terms of use’ with no requirement of the contracting party to acknowledge them.

Are such clauses enforced in Canada, except to prevent obvious dishonest behaviour as in Sutton Realty in Quebec or the similar BC case, Century 21 v Rogers Communications, about scraping real estate listings off an MLS site? (See par 92ff of that decision). Why should they be?

The ULCC published a study of them . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Of KeRanger and Dawning Ransomware Trouble for Mac OSX

From TechCrunch this morning:

Apple has shut down what appears to have been the first, fully-functional ransomware targeting Mac computers. […] This ransomware, called KeRanger, was first reported by researchers at Palo Alto Networks. They also noted that Apple has now revoked the abused certificate that was used in the attack and updated its built-in anti-malware system XProtect with a new signature to protect customers.

Apple is being credited with mounting a quick and defensive response, but the threat is now palpable. This particular threat appears to have been mitigated, but it was in active development and future attackers . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology