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Court: File Sharing Waives Privilege

If you're uploading files to a file sharing website, you may as well just leave them on a park bench where everyone can see them.

That's not just a flippant phrase about the risks of file sharing, that's what the judge said in a case pending in a federal district court in Virginia. Magistrate Pamela Mead Sargent said an insurance company's decision to upload files online was "the cyber world equivalent of leaving its claims file on a bench in the public square and telling its counsel where they could find it."

"It is hard to image an act that would be more contrary to protecting the confidentiality of information than to post that information to the world wide web," she said.

Dispel Cybersecurity Myths at the Law Firm

In Greek mythology, Phobos was the bloody god of fear in war. Worshipers built him a temple of skulls. His name brought panic and flight.

Thousands of years later, Phobos spawned the word "phobias." It means an irrational fear of something or someone. Today, fears of being hacked and encountering cyber-terrorism have created their own myths.

The cybersecurity threats are real, but not all fears were created equal. Here are a few myths:

Analytics Offers You Can't Refuse

If you thought you could ignore business analytics in your law practice, well, analyze this:

Big Data, with more than 25 billion smart devices on the Internet of Everything, is getting bigger by the nano-second. Not even Big Brother can ignore the need for analytics to handle the information overload.

Take, for example, the case of Gary Pusey. He pleaded guilty to insider trading last year after the Securities and Exchange Commission identified him by using analytics to pour though billions of rows of data going back 15 years. The Analysis and Detection Center of the SEC's Market Abuse Unit uses the software to identify individuals who have made repeated, well-timed trades ahead of corporate news.

Basically, they made him an offer he couldn't refuse. So it is with business analytics: you just have to accept it. Here are some reality checks:

Tips for Using Echo in the Law Office

Echo, if you haven't heard, is basically Amazon's desktop version of Apple's Siri. It's a digital assistant that looks like a speaker and responds to voice commands. Call her, "Alexa," because she was programmed that way.

Marketed primarily for home use at $179, Alexa can do a lot of things. Play music, turn on appliances, read news stories, calendar events, set reminders, send messages, and even order products online.

Because of such conveniences, some lawyers are using the device for their law offices. After all, what personal assistant will do all those things for less than minimum wage, plus overtime?

Here are some points to consider:

Best Practices for Cloud Computing at Your Law Firm

With internet security breaches becoming commonplace, what is the forecast for cloud computing in the law?

A tornado, such as the 1.5 billion email hacks at Yahoo last year, should at least give lawyers pause to reconsider the best practices of cloud computing. Jennifer L. Ellis, of Lowenthal & Abrams, recently offered some thoughts at a continuing legal education program:

5 Ways eDiscovery Will Change Things in 2017

This changes e-Everything.

As information security specialists sort out the aftermath of the 1 billion email hack at Yahoo, lawyers are circling the remains for future litigation issues. Will a billion customers rally for a class-action of privacy claims against Yahoo? Will Verizon retreat from its offer to pay $4.8 billion for the company's core business? Will the federal government demand more records from Yahoo in its fight against cyberterrorism?

And will the eDiscovery ever end?

Electronic discovery has evolved for more than a decade, and will continue to change for the next 10 years at least. That's not a prediction; it's a continuum. Here are five changes that are likely to come next year:

You Can't Serve Divorce Papers Through Facebook, NY Court Rules

It's fair to say you've been unfriended if your spouse tries to serve you divorce papers on Facebook, but it's not fair to say you've been served on Facebook.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine this week refused to accept service through the social platform in a divorce case. The wife said she couldn't find another way to communicate with her estranged husband, who hadn't updated his Facebook profile in two years.

"Granting this application for service by Facebook under the facts presented by plaintiff would be akin to the Court permitting service by nail and mail to a building that no longer exists," the judge said.

Time Is Running Out on Excuses Not to Go Paperless

Give me one good reason not to go paperless.

Having trouble? That's because you are in a paperless world. You are reading this very article on a digital screen. It's the future.

Maybe 20 years ago, when only a handful of law firms and courts had gone paperless, it would have been excusable. But today, basically every court requires electronic filings and even the trash can is an icon on your computer.

"In sum, some courts have been paperless for nearly two decades and the rest are in the process," says Sam Glover for the Lawyerist. "Malpractice insurers are paperless and recommend it."

Just like you wouldn't let paper files pile up on your desk (you wouldn't, would you?), you shouldn't let your digital files lay around unorganized and untended either. If you're running a paperless office (and most lawyers should have a largely paperless practice by this point), you'll need to put some thought into organizing your digital files.

Here's the trick. The key to managing your digital files is to have a clear organizational system -- and to stick to it. These tips should help make that process easier.

At the annual Relativity Fest in Chicago earlier this month, kCura, the eDiscovery company, brought together four federal judges to discuss eDiscovery, the law, and even a bit of privacy. The panel, hosted by kCura's eDiscovery counsel, David Horrigan, featured some of the names behind eDiscovery's "most impactful rulings," Legaltech News's Ian Lopez reports.

The discussion covered everything from proportionality to the Sedona Principles to Deflategate. Here are some of the highlights.