Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

The Danger of Unstructured Data in Law Firms

Unstructured Data – A Problem That’s Been Around for a Long Time

Recently, authors Simek and Nelson had the opportunity to talk to guest Peter Baumann on their Legal Talk Network Digital Detectives podcast. Baumann is the CEO and founder of ActiveNav, a leading data privacy and governance software provider.

As far back as 2008, Baumann was observing the exponential growth of data and specifically unstructured data, the data that sits outside of databases. He noted that today, “the best technology, the best doors and locks and alarm systems won’t stop the bad actors getting into your network. I think . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Physical Security in a Transformed World

It has been several years since we wrote on the topic of physical security, but it seems like a good topic now that so many law firms are changing how lawyers work. While there are some law firms demanding that all their lawyers return to work, more and more law firms have settled into a hybrid workplace environment. Many cybersecurity topics are sexier, but maintaining physical security is more critical now than ever.

Old-fashioned Physical Security

Pre-pandemic, we thought about conventional physical security (which some law firms still do not have). We had self-locking doors, security cameras, alarm systems, locked . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

And Now the Driverless Keyboard

We appear to have crossed another great divide in artificial intelligence. It is not just the constant shuffle of driverless cars in my Silicon Valley neighborhood on their endless driving lessons. Nor is it the machine learning gains in diagnostic accuracy that exceed those so expertly trained in radiology and dermatology. Those are visual advances in machine learning. This time it’s language.

Steven Johnson, in a marvelously well-done article in the New York Times Magazine, sets out what machine learning is making of writing. It is the driverless car equivalent of the keyboard. Just feed in your destination and it . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

Did the LSO Hold Back Court Modernization and Performance?

According to the meta description on its website, “[t]he Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct (“Rules”) express the high ethical ideals of lawyers, and specify the bases on which they may be disciplined.” To date, and unlike in other jurisdictions[1], this has not included any requirements for basic technological competence. Thus, the current Rules are entirely devoid of the terms ‘computer,’ ‘technology’ or ‘data.’ While the internet is mentioned, it appears only twice, and then, only in relation to advertising. Could this omission, or the failure of the Law Society to test new licensees on technological . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Technology

What Do Women Lawyers Really Want?

Why We Wrote This Article

The President of Sensei Enterprises, co-author Sharon Nelson, is a woman. She is involved with multiple groups and associations of women lawyers. For two years, she has been hearing that women suffered more than men during the pandemic and that they have “lost ground” professionally. So . . . along with her co-authors, who are accustomed to a woman leader, we set out together to learn and report on what has happened to women lawyers in the last couple of years and what they now want for their professional lives.

Life Pre-Pandemic was No Bed

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Some Thoughts on Algorithmic and Data Literacy

Last year I was interviewed by Dominique Garingan for her dissertation on algorithmic literacy, and thought I would share my thoughts that arose in relation to that conversation with you here too. She also published an article about her dissertation findings in the most recent issue of Canadian Law Library Review: “Advanced Technologies and Algorithmic Literacy: Exploring Insights from the Legal Information Profession“.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “algorithm” as “a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end“. Algorithmic literacy, in turn, is the understanding of how computer systems apply algorithms so that users . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

Goat Entrails and Tea Leaves: Predicting the Future of Law Practice

The Battle Royal: Hybrid or Back to the Office?

You might as well resort to reading goat entrails and tea leaves to predict the future of law practice, because it is woefully unclear what law firms will decide. There are two large and outspoken groups, those who believe that we need to get back to the office if we haven’t already and those who believe that some combination of going to the office and working from home is the way to go.

As COVID continues to complicate our lives, most law firms we deal with are opting for the hybrid . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Smartphone Phishing Attacks Escalate, Bedeviling Law Firms

Just When You Thought You Had Perfected Your Cybersecurity Training for Law Firm Employees . . .

Time to think again. It’s no secret that cybercriminals have increased all kinds of phishing activity since the pandemic. More people utilizing consumer grade equipment in a less secure work-at-home environment creates a fertile ground for phishing attack victims.

According to a ZDNet report, phishing attacks are shifting to mobile devices. That’s not surprising since mobile devices are the primary computing technology for more than 50% of users. The goal of the attackers is to obtain usernames and passwords that could be used . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Assisted Decision-Making and the Proposed EU AI Regulation : An Emerging Paradigm Shift From Consent to Contextually Mitigating Human Rights Violations

Artificial intelligence is briskly transforming consequential decision-making, disrupting democratic institutions. Most recently, some 26 000 Dutch parents of immigrant background or members of cultural communities stood wrongfully accused of defrauding their government with disastrous consequences, including suicide. It later surfaced that the authorities had naively procured an algorithm to more efficiently detect the fraudulent obtention of child benefit subsidies. Unbeknownst to the AI deployers or its victims, the procured algorithm insidiously factored ethnic origin in its assessment, thereby effectively disproportionately singling out immigrants or those holding dual citizenship. Disturbingly, this occurred notwithstanding multiple stringent, time-honoured legal prohibitions on such practices . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Top 10 Tips: Effective Cybersecurity Awareness Training for Law Firm Employees

We can speak authoritatively about cybersecurity awareness for law firm employees because we give this training so often. Here are some of our tips to ensure you maximize the effectiveness of your training.

1. Take cybersecurity awareness training seriously and do it right.

A significant recent statistic is that human beings are involved in the success of 82% of cyber attacks. They tend to have crummy passwords, they reuse and share passwords, they click on links or attachments without thinking, they get emails which seem improbable and yet respond to them, and the list goes on and on.

We used . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Baltimore Aerial Surveillance: What Canada Can Take From the Recent Decision

On June 24, 2021, in Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle v Baltimore Police Department,[1] the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit On Rehearing En Blanc decided that Baltimore’s use of an aerial surveillance pilot program violated the Fourth Amendment.[2] The court remanded the matter for further proceedings consistent with the opinion. In this article, I describe the technology that was used in Baltimore, review what transpired leading up to the decision, explain the decision, and suggest insights that Canada may take from the decision.

The Program

In March, 2020, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) decided . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Technology

Some Thoughts on Black Box AI and Law

The term artificial intelligence (AI) has been justly criticized for its lack of specificity. Essentially it means anything that we are still impressed that a computer can do, which is, of course, a moving target. The most talked about AI technology is currently machine learning, and this is what is driving the majority of black box systems that are raising concerns in the legal sector.

In this context, black boxes refer to systems that accept inputs and present outputs of various kinds without making it explicit how the decision was reached. Black boxes can occur for many reasons, some technical, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology