Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Recently in Computers / Laptops / Netbooks Category

While everyone over the past two decades has been clamoring for the best laptop they can afford, a recent study among law firms shows that desktops have not fallen out of fashion. Nearly half of the law firms that responded to the 2017 LTN survey stated that in the next hardware refresh, they planned to get desktops for their lawyers.

Sure, being able to remotely access the network, files, or whatever digital resources a firm has available would make a laptop seem like the right choice for firm associates, but when it comes to security and cost, desktops tend to outperform laptops for a few simple reasons.

When Is It Time to Trash Old Tech?

NASA deliberately crashed a $4 billion spaceship into Saturn.

It was inevitable, the space agency said, because the craft was out of fuel and had completed its mission years ago. Plus, it could have contaminated one of Saturn's moons if it crashed there.

So goes the rationale and our tax dollars at work, but it gives pause for earthbound lawyers to ask themselves: when should you trash your old tech? This article is not about upgrading; it's about saving.

House Speeds Up Self-Driving Law

If the SELF-DRIVE Act is any indication, the law might actually keep up with the technology.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the self-driving car bill by a voice vote. H.R. 3388 is a first-of-its-kind legislation, if not one of the first unanimous votes on a bill in the current administration.

It bodes well for the future of autonomous vehicles, which still have a way to go as the self-driving cars on the road are basically test versions.

Contempt Continues for Ex-Cop Refusing to Decrypt Hard Drives

It's just a matter of time before Francis Rawls will have to man up to some damning technology.

You see, Rawls has been sitting in jail two years now for refusing to decrypt his hard drives. A judge held him in contempt in 2015 because he would not unlock encrypted drives connected to his Apple Mac Pro. Why?

He says it's because he has a right not to incriminate himself, but it could be that the sentence for possessing child porn is a lot worse than two years. Either way, Rawls is in tech hell.

Should Congress Regulate the Sexbot Industry?

Are sexbots bad or are they just made that way?

In a sexually complicated society, it is actually a question for debate. One law professor wants Congress to regulate the developing sexbot industry because it could cause people to act out rape and other sex crimes.

"The obvious first step would be to have hearings and do studies to determine just how serious the threat is, whether there are any real benefits to having sexbots programmed to simulate being raped, and then what if any new laws, regulations, etc. might be appropriate," says John Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington Law School.

More Lawyers at Top Law Firms Are Working From Home

For all the talk about lawyers lagging in technology, it's nice to see that many law firms are leading in at least one area: remote work.

According to reports, more than half of the attorneys at the best law firms work remotely. That includes partners, associates, and of counsel logging in from desktops and laptops at home.

"Remote work is the most popular flex option among both male and female lawyers at every level, and it is offered by all of our top firms," says Working Mother's 2017 Best Law Firms for Women.

Modern Forgery 101: The Tell-Tale Signs of 'Fontgate'

"Watergate" for political scandal. "Deflategate" for NFL cheaters. "Fontgate" for forgers?

It works because "Fontgate" is about forgers using Microsoft's Calibri font to fake documents. In any case, the forged font story is a remake of scandals that actually date back to the original cover-up.

Fontgate really began in 1973, the same year Richard Nixon began the Watergate cover-up. But both gates reverberate in law and politics today.

When Is It Safe to Use Keyloggers?

Keyloggers are like knives.

They can be very useful, but also very dangerous. It depends on who is using them.

When anyone can get a keylogger for $10, it's a good idea to know how to use one. Even if you don't want to use keyloggers, at least you should know how dangerous they can be.

Signs Your Law Firm Has Been Hacked

Ignorance is no excuse, and intelligence is no guarantee.

In either case, it turns out that many lawyers do not know when their computers have been hacked. According to a survey of 200 law firms, about 40 percent did not realize their confidential client data had been breached.

Lawyers are not alone when it comes to cybersecurity challenges, but they have a high duty of care when it comes to protecting their information from hackers. Here are some signs your firm may have been hacked:

Court Won't Act on Computer Glitch That Generates Bad Orders and Warrants

You could call it a glitch in the system, but this is criminal.

The Alameda County Superior Court's computer system has caused countless numbers of people to serve unnecessary jail time, be improperly arrested, and wrongly registered as sex offenders. The public defender's office has filed about 2,000 motions challenging legal process due to the faulty software.

While judges dealt with the problem in the courtroom, public defender Brendon Woods petitioned an appeals court to order the county to fix the software. But now there is a problem with the paperwork.