In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Recently in eDiscovery & Legal Tech Category

AI Increases Cyber Risks for Companies

Data, the affable android of Star Trek fame, had a lesser-known brother named Lore. In the fictional universe, they were identical on the outside but very different on the inside. They were incalculably intelligent, yet as different as good and evil.

Similarly in the real world, artificial intelligence has great potential to improve the legal condition. But this blog is about AI's dark side.

Big data is making it increasingly easy to gain insight from unstructured information, to use satellite imagery of big box parking lots to predict stock performance, say, or to identify potential human traffickers based on bank deposits. And companies can also turn those analytic abilities inward, looking for insights into the data their own employees create.

But what ethical restraints should be placed on such data? When is using employee data a valid management strategy and when is it a step toward an Orwellian corporate dystopia?

Is Your Work Data Secure? Tips from IBM's Security Officer

Shamlaw Naidoo, chief information security officer for IBM, says that personal behavior is the first line of defense against cyberattacks.

"As consumers, we make the difference," she told an audience at a recent American Bar Association Techshow. "The world we live in is changing. Give yourself the benefit of taking all the steps you can."

Naidoo offered her remarks in the presentation, "Beyond Encryption: Protecting Your Assets Everywhere and All the Time." She urged cybersecurity basics -- setting up strong passwords, updating patches on computers and personal devices and ensuring encryption during internet communications.

She also talked about the problems lawyers will face in near future, as clients demand more protection for their data.

Is Your eDiscovery Vulnerable to Hacking?

In earthquake-prone California, it's become commonplace for residents to say, "Not if, but when the Big One strikes."

The threat of a massive earthquake hitting Los Angeles has spanned generations -- from Charlton Heston's "Earthquake" to Dwayne Johnson's "San Andreas." But the impact lasts only two weeks at the Box Office, at best. If a quake registers less than 5.0, Californians don't even get out of bed to put their shoes on.

The same can be said for cybersecurity breaches, especially at large companies like Yahoo. If the next email hack doesn't hit 1 billion users, consumers may not even change their passwords.

But for lawyers -- the gatekeepers of confidential information -- this is not the time to sit back and wait for the next big breach. It's not if, but when. This even applies to eDiscovery, which might be the next frontier for hackers.

E-Discovery Jobs in Demand in 2017

The rising tide of eDiscovery will lift the prospects for many job-seekers surfing the web in 2017.

According to a new report, eDiscovery will create hundreds of jobs at law firms and companies across the country. The report, Cowen Group's 2016 Compensation Trends in Legal Technology Report, bases its prediction on a survey of 244 businesses. It says that litigation will create jobs for attorneys, project managers, forensic specialists and other professionals.

Jennifer Schwartz, vice president of executive placement and advisory services at the Cowen Group, said that the demand for eDiscovery professionals is not unusual given that "over 50 percent of the legal market is going to a managed services outsourced model for e-discovery."

As a result, job hunters will find more opportunities for eDiscovery work at legal service providers than at law firms. More than half of the jobs will be at service providers, while less than one third will be at law firms. The report projected 38 openings for eDiscovery attorneys at law firms, approximately 15 percent of the total eDiscovery jobs available.

Three Questions About 3D Printing

Legal issues are being created every time a new 3D object is printed.

Like issues with copying movies in the past and cloning living things in the future, the challenge for lawyers is keeping up with technology and the applicable law.

So far, 3D printing is ahead of the law, as the technology has been used to create rocket engines, guns, human tissue and even a bionic ear. We're talking potential problems that cross virtually every border from international to federal to state laws. So many issues arise in the 3D process, but let's consider three questions:

The blockchain might be the number one tech buzzword of 2016, followed quickly by smart contracts. The blockchain works by creating decentralized, digital ledgers that encrypt, register, and verify transactions. Smart contracts rely on computer programming to create, verify, or execute deals.

Smart contracts have been heralded as the future of contracting, received praise in the legal and tech press, and spawned startups that have earned millions of dollars in venture capital. But, they may not be the panacea some are expecting. Indeed, smart contracts come with some serious limitations.

What Is 'RegTech?'

You've probably heard of FinTech, the application of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics to the financial services industry. We're sure you're familiar with #legaltech too, the infusion (albeit a slow one) of cutting edge technology into the legal industry.

But do you know about RegTech? This new, tech-heavy approach to regulatory compliance is increasingly showing up on some in-house counsels' radar.

Is Patent Law Overdue for a Change?

The patent system that was established in America back at the end of the 19th century has many notches in its belt. Under it, the cotton gin was patented as well as countless software designs. Some might argue that this is testament to its broad, flexible, and enduring nature.

However, others would say hogwash. An overwhelming number of patent filings today are software and tech related, the sorts of "patentable" material that was not in existence during the nascent years of this nation's founding. As it is, a single body of patent law presides over all sectors of patentable subject matter. Some are saying that the system is a bit long in the tooth, and costing companies time and money.

Feel like you're reinventing the wheel every time you draft a contract? Do you wish you could get more done with the work you already have? You're not alone. For plenty of in-house lawyers, writing and rewriting legal agreements becomes a bit of Sisyphean task after a while; the mountain is the same, the rock is pretty similar, and only a few of the key terms have changed, like whether the rock rolls back down on your left or your right.

Even if you're using automated document and contract software, you still might not be making full use of the valuable data and information you already have. But you could be. Thomson Reuters, FindLaw's parent company, recently unveiled Contract Express 6.0, which brings new capabilities to your document automation software, allowing you to get even more out of your docs.