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Video Surveillance Cameras in Lawsuits Everywhere

Big Brother and his ever-watchful video-surveillance camera have been around since at least 1984.

But in a new millennium where everybody with a cell phone has a video camera, surveillance has even transcended Big Brother. Not only may government be watching, but the kid walking down the street may be policing the neighborhood. So what's up with that, legally speaking?

In terms of usable evidence, it means that you never know who's going to catch you in the act. Or better yet, get a camera and be prepared to act.

Future Law Career: Privacy Law Specialist?

To think that a good privacy lawyer could possibly have saved the election for Hillary Clinton ...

After hackers got into her email, it was the beginning of the end for the presidential nominee. A few non-secure messages, an ill-timed FBI press release, a really bad connection to a guy named Weiner, and the rest is history.

We could what-if the Clinton situation all day, but the point is that people need privacy protection more than ever. And so the Information Age is giving birth to a new legal creature: the privacy law specialist.

Blockchain technology is set to transform industries and institutions throughout the world. What started as an idea synonymous with Bitcoin, the virtual currency, is now making its way into everything from contract drafting, to election monitoring, to land registry systems.

So what is this revolutionary technology and what do lawyers need to know about it? Thankfully, there's now an answer, in the form of a Blockchain guide for people just like you.

When we think of Nobel Prize winners, we tend to think of astrophysicists and chemists, poets and peacemakers, but rarely legal professionals. There is, after all, no Nobel Prize for law.

But the legal industry got some special recognition from the Nobel committee yesterday, as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom "for their contributions to contract theory." That's right, better contracts won the Nobel Prize.

Google uses data analytics to get the search results (and advertisements) it thinks are right for you. Wall Street looks to big data to help manage investment risk. Even police mine banking data to spot human trafficking.

Data analytics are changing how many industries work today, and they could soon reshape how you practice the law.

Is Skype Safe for Attorney-Client Privilege?

Skype is A-OK for attorney-client privilege, right? Actually -- and you know this was coming -- it turns out the answer is a little more complicated than that.

As electronic communication supplants the many ways in which we communicate with each other (and our clients), it has forced us lawyers to become competent in the many ways in which it has complicated the profession. This is especially the case when it comes to issues of compliance and privilege. Prudent attorneys probably should assume that someone is always listening.

5 Pieces of Technology That Could Help You Practice Better

You're probably a fine lawyer, but if you're like most others, you could be better. What you probably don't know is that the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer could be as little as the great lawyer's ability to better utilize technology in the market-place.

Let's take a look at some bare necessities.

You don't have to look far to find news about bots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning moving into the legal sphere -- and potentially displacing flesh-based attorneys. There are online chatbots handling traffic disputes, machine learning programs doing associate-style legal research, and, for the support staff out there, artificial intelligence secretaries who can take care of attorney scheduling.

But there's no need to burn your J.D. and take up coding just yet. Technology will absolutely change the legal industry, but it probably won't eliminate too many legal jobs.

When Joshua Browder kept getting hit with parking tickets in London, he decided to stop paying the fines and start beating the tickets. He soon became an expert at fighting traffic tickets and has since helped people overturn 160,000 tickets, thanks to a chatbot he programed. You can chat with Browder's bot online, for free, and it will guide you through contesting your ticket, just like you were talking to a human being.

Except Browder isn't an attorney, he's a 19-year old Stanford undergrad. Could his chatbot constitute the unlicensed practice of law?

Videoconferencing programs like Skype or FaceTime are becoming increasingly common in today's courtrooms. Defendants detained in other jurisdictions can Skype in to the court house. More rarely, witnesses may present testimony via teleconference. Even attorneys have been known to appear in court through the magic of online video streaming.

But a new ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court should give videoconferencing attorneys and courts some pause. The highest court in the Land of Enchantment recently tossed a murder conviction, ruling that the use of Skyped testimony violated the Constitution's Confrontation Clause.