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The blockchain is the technology behind "cryptocurrencies" like Bitcoin and it could quickly make its way into the legal tech sphere. No, don't worry, blockchains aren't another "robots will replace lawyers" fad. Nor are they another way to ease your eDiscovery woes.

Instead, blockchains are being touted as a way to aid encryption and authentication in legal documents and within firms. And that could have a significant impact on how you actually practice law.

There are apps for monitoring your billing, apps for tracking your time, apps for invoicing clients. There are even apps that allow you to send and receive cash with the click of a button, meaning you can pay and get paid without ever having to see a bank teller again.

Such money transfer or "peer-to-peer payment" apps have exploded in the past few years as companies have moved to take advantage of a market that sees more than $1 trillion in transfers every year. Venmo, Square Cash, and others all seek to make sending and receiving money as simple as hitting a button on a smart phone. Should lawyers get on board?

If your PC is still running on Windows 8, it's time for a change. Yeah, the operating system is a hard-to-use mess, better designed for tablets than desktops, and more focused on bad apps than business. But that's not why you need to ditch it right now.

Starting this week, Windows 8 isn't just clunky. It's dangerous. As of January 12th, 2016, Windows 8 is no longer supported by Microsoft, exposing those who continue to use it to potential security risks. It really is time to upgrade.

New Speech Recognition Software Specifically for Law Firms

Do you remember way back in the day when Dragon NaturallySpeaking ver. 1 was pretty much the only game in town when it came to speech recognition software? This was in the early 2000s when speech recognition was still just a fantasy that people could live out vicariously through Star Trek.

Well, times have changed. Speech recognition is so ubiquitous now that it's pretty much standard fare with all the major operating systems on our smartphones. But what about speech software tailored specifically for lawyers? This is the niche that Dragon Legal seeks to attack with its 13th version of NaturallySpeaking, Legal.

Are Users Angry on Your Website? You May Be Able to Find Out

It was only a matter of time before it happened, and the day has come: computer scientists are now programming websites that have the potential to know the user's feelings -- in real-time.

Researchers at Brigham Young University explained that "[u]sing this technology, website will no longer be dumb." Not only will they be able to understand what you're providing, "but what you're feeling."

We just surveyed the most disruptive legal technologies of 2015 and automation didn't make the list. It didn't even get close. But the idea of automating practices routinely performed by lawyers has been floating around for awhile now. Depending on your perspective, automation is a tantalizing or terrifying prospect.

And it's starting to creep into law firms and legal practice. Will the new year see even more automation take hold in the legal industry?

Forget automation, artificial intelligence, and nano-lawyering. Technology's effect on the legal industry isn't something for the future; it's happening right now. And while tech's impact on the law might not be as "disruptive" as it has been on, say, the cab industry, it is making its mark every day.

Here are the legal technologies that have changed the way lawyers work in 2015.

If you're shopping for a tech-savvy attorney this holiday season, you'll have to put more than just an iTunes gift card under the tree, or Hanukkah bush, or Festivus pole.

Thankfully, there are plenty of good tech gifts for lawyers this season. Here's our top six picks, all of which are extremely useful and some of which are even pretty affordable.

3 PDF Tips for Lawyers

If there's a single file type out there that makes life simpler, easier, and more efficient for lawyers, it's the humble PDF. Forget .docs or .ppts. The portable document format (that's the PDF in PDF) blows them all away.

It's simple to use, with the ability to add complexity. It's file agnostic, allowing you to bring multiple file types together in a single document. And it does a good job at securing files and metadata. Here's how to put the PDF's handy features to work for you.

Most attorneys aren't exactly early adopters of new technology. Plenty of us don't rush to install the newest software when it comes out. (I know a few lawyers who would still use MS DOS if the world would allow them.) But, those of us who are slow to update might be forced to soon.

If you're still using an outdated operating system, Chrome is about to kick you off -- which is great news. There's no better time to update your aging software than today.