Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


Apart from the sheer cool factor of being able to project your favorite movies and TV shows as large as your walls will allow at home, digital projectors can be really handy for lawyers and litigators. It could even make you a better lawyer.

Really! They're not just toys for grown boys, a digital projector can be a great business tool, and can take your presentations up a notch, both in and out of the courtroom. If you've been looking for a reason to plop down a few hundred dollars on one of the coolest tech gadgets out there, read on below for a few of the best.

Spy Archive Left on Amazon by Pentagon Contractor

So much is a mouse-click away these days.

A playlist of classic rock. A video of cats doing funny things. A billion online posts collected by military spies. Wait, what?

That's right, U.S. military intelligence made a huge trove of social media surveillance publicly available -- one mouse-click away from being spread across the internet. Thank goodness it was only your Facebook information. Wait, what?

Black Friday Deals for Lawyers

"But it was on sale!"

It's such an accepted explanation for impulse buying, it's practically a mantra. And as religious holidays go, Black Friday is a universally acceptable day to worship the sale.

With some guidance from tech experts, FindLaw has a shoppers list for your pilgrimage to tech nirvana on sale day. This is the lawyer's edition:

Techgiving

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

While we regularly should practice gratitude, it is that time of year to be especially thankful. So, as we are gathered with family and friends eating turkey and all the trimmings, we think about those aspects of our lives as to which we are most grateful. And how about technology?!

As we race and dash from one thing to another to keep up with our frenetic schedules, it is easy to forget about how we benefit from technology that supports almost everything we do. There are countless examples of how our lives are much easier by virtue of technology. Let's consider some examples in the Thanksgiving context.

Mystery at the FBI: Crime Report Missing Most of Its Data Tables

Critical information is missing from an FBI report.

According to analysts, the information is considered "the gold standard of crime data." The Uniform Crime Reporting Program contains crime, arrest, and police data from around the country.

But almost 70 percent of the data tables are gone from the latest report. Why did the FBI eliminate the tables?

While we've seen quite a bit of talk about self-driving cars and "taxis" this year, one of the self-driving vehicle industry's greatest challenges has been waiting on the side of the road: Self-driving semi trucks.

For most drivers, driving next to, or in front of, an 80,000 pound semi truck is one of the more frightening parts of being on any roadway. However, that fright likely pales in comparison to driving near an 80,000 pound semi truck that doesn't even have a driver in the cab. While autonomous driving systems are continually being refined and getting better with each successive test and software/hardware update, the stakes, and thus regulatory hurdles, for self-driving trucks are a little bit higher.

AlphaBay's PR Man Indicted

How in the world is AlphaBay's public relations man going to spin this?

Ronald L. Wheeler III, the PR man for the online drug dealer, has been indicted on charges of "conspiracy to commit access device fraud."

This man doesn't need a PR person; he needs a lawyer. If only he had one before he got involved with AlphaBay.

Google Fiber. You Want It When?

Two words: speed and access. (Technically, that's three words but you're slowing down the process if you're computing.)

When it comes to internet service, we want it faster and we want it yesterday. We're lawyers, and we have things to do!

Two more words for you: Google Fiber. Actually, you may have two questions. How fast is it and where can I get it?

Law firms, from solos to big law, can usually benefit from using the latest, most advanced technologies available. At least, that's the promise of new tech.

However, when it comes to new tech for practicing lawyers, not everything will add value or create a worthwhile benefit. In fact, if a firm has a solid system in place, there could be virtually no reason to make any changes at all. Growth can be overrated, especially when you're happy with the status quo and making good money.

But, if you are considering outfitting your practice with the latest and best tech available, below, you'll find a few tips on how to start your search.

In the state of Minnesota, an appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is likely inspiring the state's residents to make the switch from traditional landline telephones to VoIP telephones. The state has posed the following (potentially hyperbolic) question that the court will likely avoid answering: Whether the rule of law may be rendered obsolete by technological innovation.

For individuals who already pay for high-speed internet access, tacking on VoIP services can be done rather cheaply, and are almost always a better deal than traditional landline services. This is partly due to a loophole that allows standalone, interconnected, VoIP providers to avoid stringent state consumer protection rules.

However, the case pending before the Eighth Circuit could change everything, as the state is asking the court to declare VoIP providers as telecoms covered by the FCC. And interestingly, the FCC decided to step into the appellate fray by filing an amicus brief discussing how VoIP services live in a sort of FCC-limbo.