Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


Way back in March, you might have seen a story about agitators who were paid over $3,000 a person to protest outside Trump rallies. Or maybe you spotted the story about President Obama limiting American gun ownership to three guns per person, max? None of them were true, but you could be forgiving for being duped. Both came from ABC.com.co, a fake news website designed to trick the unsuspecting.

And when it comes to .co's, it's easy to confuse them for .com's. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why .co domains are the number one non-.com source of disputes before the World Intellectual Property Organization, as Doug Isenberg reports on Gigalaw blog.

Robot Editors Are Proofing Your Legal Documents Today

BigLaw firms still employ summer interns and summer associates to do a lot of the grunt work associated with editing and proofreading, but solo and small firm attorneys don't usually have that luxury. What do the smaller guys do when there's not enough money to go around?

These days, more and more small firms are employing software to do the editing for them. These robot editors are getting cheaper, too. Some robots are even questioning the hallowed words of Supreme Court justices. This sounds great, and you may even want to get your very own. But where do you start?

FBI Can Hack Your Computer, Court Rules

Imagine you drove your car into a bad part of town, parked on the side of the street, and walked away to go eat dinner. When you came back, you discovered that thieves broke your car's windows and stole your backpack and mobile device hidden in the trunk. How would you react if you found out later that it wasn't ordinary street criminals who broke into your car, but the Feds?

Last week's ruling by a Virginia federal district court brings this almost ridiculous sounding hypothetical closer to reality in today's increasingly Orwellian world. Below, we briefly look at potentially one of the most significant federal district court rulings in recent history, US v. Matish III.

Drones have been around for some time now. What was perhaps the first aerial bombardment of a city involved a sort of proto-drone. In 1849, Austria employed "unmanned aerial vehicles" (balloons filled with remote-controlled bombs) against revolting Venetians. By the late 1950's, the U.S. Air Force was routinely using unmanned aircraft during missions in hostile territory.

But drones are just recently being embraced for business and recreational use, with non-military drones quickly outnumbering their combative counterparts -- used more often for photographing scenic vistas than bombing neighbors. That proliferation has led to a host of legal issues and the birth of a whole new practice area: drone law. Here are some of the most interesting legal developments in this burgeoning field, from the FindLaw archives.

Will Biometrics Solve Security Issues for Law Firms?

Law firms and other professional communities are becoming increasingly open to using biometrics for security purposes. There are obvious advantages to biometrics. If you're like most people, you are tasked with remembering a dozen or so passwords just to access your usual online accounts. There is proprietary software out there that can synchronize your accounts, but there is still some hassle involved.

Recently, a fair number of banks have implemented biometric technology to safeguard customer accounts. Will this be the long sought-after security panacea for law firms? Possibly, but we're still skeptical.

The FAA Finalizes New Drone Rules

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

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced in a press release that it has finalized its first operational rules for the use of small unmanned aircraft systems, otherwise more commonly known as drones. According to the FAA, these rules "work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives."

The FAA states that industry estimates indicate that these rules could generate at least $82 billion for the United States economy and possibly could create in excess of 100,000 new jobs for the next 10 years. These new rules will take effect in late August. The rules provide safety regulations for drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are performing non-hobbyist operations.

You've got your document formatted exactly to specifications: titles are properly bolded, block quotes are well blocked, bullets sit in perfect lines. Then you insert just one troublesome picture or footnote -- everything is shot. Goodbye beautiful formatting; goodbye well-arranged page. Hello desperate plea for a last-minute extension.

It doesn't have to be like this. With a few quick tricks, you can help escape Word formatting hell -- at least most of the time.

We all want to do less and earn more. But when that doesn't happen, we need to do more to earn more.

But you don't need to work through the night in order to get work done. There are plenty of tools out there to help increase your productivity, helping you become a more efficient, effective attorney. Here are three.

Switching to Macs in Your Law Practice: The Basics

According to a recent survey by the Legal Technology Resource Center at the ABA, approximately eight percent of responding lawyers reported that they used a Macintosh in their practice (Macbook, Air, etc.). That doesn't sound like a lot, but it sounds more impressive when you note that the number used to be a little under six percent in 2014 when the same survey was taken.

That means the number is growing, but it's still surprisingly low. Here are a few tips for you to get started switching to Macs in your practice.

Artificial intelligence is finally moving into the legal world. Within the past two months, two major firms have partnered with artificial intelligence companies, hoping to hand over a sliver of their legal work to robot lawyers. But despite the emergence of AI-assisted BigLaw firms, lawyers have been slow to adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, and reasonable skepticism remains. After all, your computer program might win on Jeopardy, but can it pass the bar?

Which is to say, when it comes to AI and the law, the field is still in flux. To give you a quick overview, here are seven of our top recent posts on artificial intelligence, from the freshest section of the FindLaw archives.