Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

November 2010 Archives

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

Do companies have legitimate concerns that departing employees may take critical corporate information with them when they leave? You bet, according to recent survey statistics. Indeed, as many of 70% of workers revealed that they would have "clear plans to take something with them upon actually leaving," according to a survey of London company employees by Imperva, a data security company.

The survey results demonstrated that 72% of the respondents confessed to having taken corporate information from prior companies. In that context, the most frequent types of materials taken were human resource materials, marketing information, and customer records. Looking forward, as many as 27% intend to take materials containing intellectual property and 17% plan to take customer information. Interestingly, many respondents believe that they "own" the information they have access to, and thus think that they may not be doing anything wrong when they take company data with them.

Down With Spam!

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

Levels of unsolicited commercial email, aka spam, have dropped by a staggering 47% in the past several months, according to statistics assembled by Symantec. This certainly is welcome news, as spam still accounts for 81% of all email traffic on the Internet.

Once upon a time at the dawn of the Internet age, spam frankly was a bigger problem than it is now, as filtering technology was not terribly advanced. Thus, email in boxes were flooded with unwelcome messages.

It was in that context that a number of states enacted their own laws to grapple with the spam problem. Indeed, more than half of the states stepped in to fill the void left by Congress failing to act. Of course, state regulation of spam had its own limitations, given that the Internet does not know state boundaries. When messages are sent to email addresses, it is not known in advance in which states the recipients are located.

New App Lets You Swipe Credit Cards on Your Phone

Does your law firm swipe credit cards? If not, what has been holding you back? It's no secret that people like to pay with plastic, so if you don't accept it, you're probably costing your firm money. No one seems to be concerned that it is unprofessional to pay a doctor with a credit card, so why would it be different for lawyers? So if you're holding out because you think it is going to be too complicated, there are a number of new devices and applications out that you should consider.

They are: Square, Intuit GoPayment and Verifone's PAYware Mobile. Each has different strengths, weaknesses and prices, but all of them will make it easier for you to swipe credit cards. The applications come with a card reader that you attach to your phone which thereby turns your phone into a card-reader. For example, with Square, you plug a small card reader into the headphone jack of an iPhone and you're good to go. Square charges 2.75 percent of each swiped credit card transaction and 3.5 percent for each keyed-in transaction.

Storage Wars: Competing Cloud Sites Offer Free Storage

Do you miss the days of the floppy disk? Neither do I. I remember when it was normal to have a box of those things on your desk, with different labels for different groups of documents. Today, even USB memory sticks are becoming obsolete.

Now, you can keep everything in the cloud. I've long advocated, Dropbox, a Web-based service that uses cloud computing to sync, store and share files and folders across the internet. With a free Dropbox account, users get 2 GB of free online storage. That's not bad at all, and the functionality is fantastic. But you knew someone was bound to try to one up Dropbox.

Thomson Reuters Engage Software Available to Law Firms

Being able to manage matters involving alternative fee arrangements predictably and profitably. That sounds nice doesn't it? But while many firms want to move to an alternative fee model, there are concerns about the implementation. How will we determine the fees we set? Will fees actually be predicable?

Enter: Thomson Reuters Engage, an Engagement Planning and Management (EPM) solution.

Engage takes the guesswork out of alternative fee arrangements. With Engage, law firms can meet client demands for transparency and predictable costs. Firms can better navigate complex alternative fee arrangements, while at the same time help practice leaders deliver matters profitably.

FindLaw columnistEric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

Jurors routinely are admonished by judges only to consider the evidence presented to them at trial and not to consider outside information. How is that working in this electronic age? Not so well. There have been a number of reports of jurors going online to learn about and communicate regarding the cases on which they are serving.

Once upon a time, when jurors were given this admonition, perhaps it was much easier to follow. They readily could understand that they were not to visit the scene of an accident, for example. And even going to visit that location may have been too much trouble anyway.

However, these days all types of information is immediately available to jurors fingertips electronically. A simple Google search on a Blackberry can provide all sorts of information about the parties and circumstances of a case within seconds.

Facebook's 'Co-Creators' Ordered to Pay Their Lawyers $13M

It looks like The Social Network could have a real life sequel.

Quinn Emanuel law firm will receive its $13 million contingency fee for representing the alleged Facebook co-creators and their business, ConnectU, and obtaining a $65 million settlement. A New York judge denied the attempts by the clients to stay the contingency award until their settlement dispute with Facebook is resolved.

(Wait a minute. I saw that movie. Mark Zuckerberg already settled with those guys, right? Well, yeah, but...)

Magic Wand Portable Scanner: Courthouse Document Review Tool

If your practice requires you to scan documents in court or on the go, there is a device that you should definitely check out. It's called the VuPoint Magic Wand Portable Scanner. The Magic Wand is a hand-held cordless scanner that runs on batteries.

You can scan at high (600 dpi) or standard (300 dpi) resolution. According to VuPoint, you can get up to 180 scans from two AA batteries. It works with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Scans are saved onto a microSD card, which can be as large as 32 GB. Scanned images can be transferred by USB or by inserting the microSD card into your computer. (Micro SD card not included)

eDiscovery Solutions Focused On at 'LIT-Con'

iCONECT Development focused on eDiscovery solutions, among other topics, at last weekend's Legal Information Technology Conference show "LIT-Con." The event featured two of the company's senior team members, including chief operating officer Ian Campbell, who moderated a panel covering risk management. Victoria Edelman, director of training, moderated a panel on eDiscovery project budgeting.

iCONECT offers litigation support software for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. The software has been used with document review, mergers and acquisitions, eDiscovery, and multi-party international cases.

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

The Defense Department has declared that the military Cyber Command is fully operational, according to Reuters. This is important, as the Cyber Command is tasked with protecting approximately 15,000 military computer networks from attacks and intrusion.

Indeed, in excess of 100 foreign intelligence organizations are bent on infiltrating U.S. military networks, according to Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn as reported by Reuters, and some of them currently have the ability to interfere with the U.S. information infrastructure. It is in this context that the Cyber Command was created in mid-2009.

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

The Web site previously proclaimed that it was the “number one socializing porn and sex network” on the Internet. Faceporn displayed adult orientated sexual content in a social networking format. However, after Facebook filed a recent lawsuit, Faceporn has gone offline, but promises to return.

Facebook filed its complaint against Faceporn in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Facebook alleges that Faceporn is diluting and tarnishing the Facebook trademark and Facebook’s branding. Facebook asserts that Faceporn copied the Facebook site, logo and wall trademark. Facebook alleges that Faceporn utilized the Facebook blue and white color look and other elements from the Facebook site.

There also is concern that the Faceporn site could cause consumer confusion such that the public might believe an affiliation exists between Faceporn and Facebook. The judicial relief sought by Facebook includes Faceporn revenue derived from trading off of the Facebook brand, as well as the Faceporn domain name. Only days after Facebook filed its complaint, the Faceporn site went offline. One might think that Faceporn is taking Facebook’s allegations seriously, and has shut down the site as a precautionary measure and to minimize any potential liability.