How safe is the cloud?. This is a great article from the Florida Bar about the use of the cloud for lawyers. It has recently been revised, and contains information about the risk-reward issues every lawyer should consider before putting sensitive information in the cloud. Most of us are comfortable using the cloud to store family photos, and personal documents and information. However, that, too, carries risk, and the best advice I have heard is never to put anything in the cloud you would be uncomfortable being seen publicly. Many lawyers, however, are using the cloud without incident, and it really depends on how risk tolerant you are. If a cloud company uses end to end encryption, and you are comfortable with their other security protocols, go for it. If not, think twice. Of course, the truth is that nothing is really 100% secure anymore, and, for most lawyers, Internet cloud security is better than the security in their offices. But, there is a difference between storing files and data at a discrete physical location, and putting it on a server to be stored God Know's Where. As with most risk, pick your poison. But, read this Florida Bar article first.
What the story of ATMs and bank tellers reveals about the 'rise of the robots' and jobs %u2013 Ochen. There are plenty of scare stories going around about the idea that machines and automation are going to take jobs away from humans. The facts, however, are that, in most industries, the economies of fewer humans in jobs in locations where automation is adopted have created more jobs for humans elsewhere. I have written before that lawyers will always be with us (get over it) because interpersonal relationship skills will always be a big part of the job, and, while the human jobs will change as robots and AI take over tasks, the need for human interaction will never go away, and may even increase. Just as law office automation has actually increased paralegal jobs, and bank automation has increased the need for tellers in more locations, so also ediscovery, legal research and other tasks that can be better performed by machines will free up lawyers to become marketers, counselors, and advocates for more clients. Sorry, Terminator, you are going to be replaced by a machine that is too smart to use violence to solve human problems. Power to the people.
Of course, you don't need an excuse to spend a weekend in Orlando, Florida. It is, after all, the home of Disney World and Universal Studios. But, for Florida lawyers, it is also the home of the Florida Bar Solo and Small Firm Section's "Florida Bar Tech Show". I will be covering the Exhibits and blogging the events on FutureLawyer; but, if you want to meet the FutureLawyer, learn a lot about technology in the law office, and listen to some great speakers and presentations, I hope to see you there.
I Now Call Alexa to the Stand: What Criminal Law Can Learn from Civil Law When It Comes to E-Discovery | Exterro, Inc. - JDSupra. The laws of evidence are getting a work out from new methods of data storage; not the least of which are recordings made by the Amazon Echo, and other new always listening computer devices becoming common in the home and office. Of course, issues of relevancy, materiality, privacy, jurisdiction, privilege, and other prickly issues are being determined as the law and technology develops. Alexa won't be actually called as a witness; but, the persons and entities responsible for storage of the data will be. It's a brave new world. Be careful out there.
Execupundit.com: Loopholes. Sometimes, I think that the job of a lawyer is to take conventional wisdom and look for loopholes. When W.C. Fields was caught reading a Bible in later life, his response was "I'm looking for loopholes". Aren't we all?
Blockchain 101 for Lawyers Part 1 - Law Technology Today. Reader Tom Kirkendall sent me this article on Blockchains, which are the backbone of the new cryptocurrencies, and which are likely to be used in many legal transactions in the future. Boiled down, they are unchangeable, secure, encrypted chains of documents, data, money, and other valuable information that is distributed over many computers, making tampering or changing after the fact practically impossible. This article does a good job of explaining the concepts, and how blockchains probably will be involved in areas of law practice in the future. When there are many secure copies of particular data all over the world, how could a bad actor change them all? The answer is he couldn't; and this bodes well for the confidential communications that lawyers use every day. But, you say, how can so many copies of confidential data be safe when distributed over such a large landscape. The answer is that the actual data and documents are not part of the blockchain itself. Only a digest is stored in the chain, and the data can only be accessed by decrypting and passing through security. As a real property lawyer, I see this as a secure way for States to maintain a secure property transfer database; and, it can be applied to many other legal specific practice areas. Brave new world.
Michael Wade, at Execupundit, Luddite in charge, waxes poetic today about his Moleskine notebook, which he carries everywhere to take notes with his trusty ball point pen. While you can get a Moleskine notebook printed with Livescribe active dot paper, I prefer to take notes with a Livescribe Echo pen and a similarly sized Folio, with detachable pages. I dedicate a page a day to a journal of my law practice activities, and use a separate page for notes on a specific matter or consultation. The difference is, that in the Twenty First century, the Echo pen attaches to my Windows computer via a USB cable, and automatically copies the pages to the computer, where they are stored as searchable image files. I can convert them to typed text if I wish, and store them in any folder I desire. I don't carry the Echo to football games, though. It is much too hot in Florida to take notes.
2017 Legal Technology And Practice Management Predictions - MyCase Blog. I am pleased to participate in the annual Legal Technology predictions article at MyCase Blog. If you want to know how lawyers will be using tech in 2017, this is the place to go.