Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


While the NSA is out training 13 year olds to "hack the planet," all those olds on the bench are still struggling to get by without their gramophones. At least, that's the idea you might get from tech journalists complaining about the tech illiteracy of an ever aging judiciary. They're not alone in their assessment, however.

Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, from the S.D.N.Y., agrees, telling attendees of Bloomberg BNA's Big Law Business Summit that judges are struggling to remain competent in evolving technologies. Appellate judges? They "know nothing about it," according to Judge Scheindlin.

Move over pink brains, the new legal smarts are contained within circuit boards and transistors, not flesh -- or so techno-futurists claim. Those same voices are now loudly predicting the integration of artificial intelligence into legal practice. Of course, machine intelligence is nothing new. Commentators have long said technology will replace lawyers and lawyers have long laughed at some claims -- and billed for the time spent laughing.

Yet, with AI advancements such as IBM's Watson, more companies are expected to bring AI into their daily practice, and those companies will pressure their law firms to do the same, according to Legaltech News. Proponents are already claiming that at least some BigLaw firms will have invested in "Big AI" within a year.

When it comes to making litigation decisions, lawyers usually depend on their experience, research, and gut instincts, rather than hard data. That's slowly changing, however, as more firms begin to embrace the use of data analytics when deciding how to pursue litigation.

Of course, startups and the media have been calling data analytics the future of the legal profession for years now. While data analytics are becoming more common, they still have a long way to go to meet their full potential.

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

The Ashley Madison site declares on its home page that "Life is short. Have an affair." The home page goes on to state that "Ashley Madison is the world's leading married dating service for discreet encounters." The site also boasts "over 38,050,000 anonymous members!" But how anonymous are those members, really?

People engage in all sorts of communications and transactions on the Internet. Generally, they like to believe that their personal information is handled confidentially. For example, if someone buys an item from Amazon, she hopes that her name, credit card information, and address will not be publicly disseminated.

If you're looking to stand out when marketing your firm online, consider video. More and more potential clients are turning to online video, particularly to YouTube, to learn about legal issues. The market for legal videos is huge: 20 percent of people research legal topics on YouTube.

While the bad lawyer commercial is a longstanding legal tradition, the bad lawyer online video shouldn't be. Here are some tips to help you bring your marketing into the video age like a pro.

Social media, text messaging, and mobile devices are nothing new, but they are increasingly being integrated into business life. Whether it's recruiting an employee through Twitter, closing a deal via text message, or friending your colleagues on Facebook, our mobile lives are becoming more and more integrated into our work lives.

That means mobile technology is also becoming more central to eDiscovery. Texting, mobile apps, and social media are the "new frontier" in eDiscovery, according to a new report by the law firm Gibson Dunn.

This is not your traditional summer camp. There are no ghost stories around the fire, no hiking through the woods, no macrame. Instead, the middle and high school students attending the NSA's summer camp learn how to decrypt passwords, exploit network security flaws, and build robots.

That's right, the NSA has a summer camp -- and it's turning America's youth into an army of hackers. What could go wrong?

Google and Microsoft should be mortal enemies, right? After all, in the world of office productivity, Microsoft's Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the rest) has been the dominant program for a generation, despite challenges from Google. The competition is much more robust when it comes to consumer cloud storage, where Google Drive holds its own against Microsoft and Dropbox.

There's good news for fans of both Drive and Word, however. A new plug-in will soon make these two nemeses more friends than foes, allowing you to save Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files straight to Drive. Things just got a lot simpler for lawyers and others who use Office for work, but Drive for cloud storage.

Hackers have stolen the personal information of millions of users of Ashley Madison, the dating website for married people looking to have an affair. The hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, are demanding that the website shut down -- or else they'll release the stolen customer data, including real names and addresses, revealing the identity of millions of potential adulterers.

Is nothing sacred anymore?

Remember back in the early days of the Internet, when websites came in three simple sizes and no one talked back to their elders? Once upon a time all you had to know was .com, .org, and .edu -- maybe a co.uk if you were worldly. Those days have long gone.

Today, there's domain suffixes for every whim and fancy, from .ninja to .xxx. Soon, there will be .law. Here's how you can become a dot law'er, along with a quick look at the shadowy Internet bureaucracy that controls dot everything.