Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Recently in Computers / Laptops / Netbooks Category

Lawsuit Claims Some Tesla Safety Features Are 'Vaporware'

In a class-action filed in California, Tesla owners allege the automaker is using faulty software for standard safety features and autopilot. One owner said he turned on the autopilot, and his car started veering out of lanes, lurching and slamming on the brakes for no reason.

"The Enhanced Autopilot Features are simply too dangerous to be used," the lawsuit says in Sheikh v. Tesla.

Coffee Shop Lawyers, Public Wi-Fi Is Not Your Friend

Lawyers, equipped with mobile devices to draft legal documents and email them, are meeting with clients at coffee shops across the country. This phenomenon is nothing new, at this point. But we're repeating the story because attorneys are still using public Wi-Fi networks, despite the potential legal and ethical liabilities.

For the past ten years or so, we've been careening to a Star Trek-like future, where all our computing is done in a simple, hand-held device. Smartphones let us bill hours via apps, tablets let us port word processors around as easily as a magazine.

But if you want to experience the future, you might want to look to the near past. The desktop PC, that humming, churning plastic box from the '90s, has suddenly jumped to the forefront of innovation.

When it comes to our automated future, a common refrain is that while automation will elimination some jobs, it will lead to growth overall. You need someone to lube up the robots' joints, after all, and someone to teach machines how to learn. Last year, for example, researchers found that an increasingly automated economy would "self-correct," creating new, more complex jobs and keeping wages and equality relatively stable.

Turns out, the data points the opposite direction. In a new paper, the same two researchers, Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo, looked at the actual evidence form U.S. labor markets and found that increased automation reduced employment and wages. So, what does this mean for the future? And more importantly, what does this mean for legal professionals?

Spotlight on Laptop Security, Protecting Client Files

When a thief stole a lawyer's laptop, in retrospect the attorney partially blamed himself.

He left it in plain sight on a countertop, where the burglar could easily see it through the glass door of his house. The lawyer had also left a light on in the house to ward off a potential break-in, but saw his strategy differently when he returned home and peered through the broken glass.

"The same feature that contributed to my peaceful light a few hours before now gave a clear view of the countertop where my MacBook Air sat under what I now imagined to be a spotlight of my own making," John E. Grant wrote for Lawyerist.

In a hi-tech age, it also helps to take some low-tech precautions -- like putting a physical lock on a laptop or putting it in a secure place. Here are two tales to consider:

Amazon No Longer Claims Alexa Is Protected by First Amendment

Remember when Commander James Lovell and the Apollo 13 astronauts flew by the moon, watching its dark side pass below and wishing they could have landed?

Oh, you weren't old enough to remember 1970? Well then, maybe you remember the Apollo 13 mock-up from 1995. It was a moment in wistful history, real or imagined, to be so close and yet so far from something as monumental as to walk on the moon. Alas, it was not to be. And so it is for Alexa, the robot voice of Amazon's Echo.

A judge was ready to rule that the software robot has a First Amendment right, but then the humans in the case went and waived it. Mission aborted.

Road Rage in the Age of Self-Driving Cars

What happens if a self-driving car cuts you off?

It's not like you can flip-off the driver. Yelling won't do any good either, except perhaps to release some road rage.

It's a question that lawyers broached at the American Bar Association's midyear meeting in Florida. The program, broadcast through Legal Talk Network, focused on the challenge of road rage in the age of self-driving cars.

According to panelists, driverless cars are not the problem. They are part of the solution.

Top 3 Tips to Keep Legal Documents Secure

Not so long ago, cybersecurity was not even a word in the dictionary. Type the word into a Google search now and you will see more than 25 million results in less than a second.

Punctuated by the occasional 1.5 billion email hacks at Yahoo or other internet service provider, cybersecurity is probably the main concern in information technology today. It is the word in IT.

For attorneys, whose profession is built on tenets such as attorney-client confidentiality, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Client files, financial information, and endless stores of digital documents must be safeguarded.

Here are some top tips to keep your legal documents secure:

Tech Gifts for Lawyers in a Flash

Unless you're sending flowers or candy, it might be too late to have a gift delivered by Christmas. At this point, you might have to hunt down the perfect gift the old fashioned way: driving to a store.

Or maybe not! To make your gift search less tedious, we put together a quick list of tech gifts, most of which can be ordered online and sent instantaneously to the recipient. 

Smart lawyers use two computer monitors. A second screen is one of the few plug-and-play tech additions you can get that will really improve your productivity and ease of work, almost instantly. With two displays, you can draft a letter on the screen on the left while looking at client notes on the right, edit a document on one screen while reviewing research on another, or just stream Netflix on one screen while working late on the other. After a few days of using dual screens, going back to one will make you feel like a chump.

But if you're on the run, you're usually out of luck, trapped by your laptop or tablet's single screen. Thankfully, someone has come up with a simple, ingenious solution.