Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

February 2011 Archives

Will iPhone 5 have Pay-by-Phone Option?

Are you tired of carrying around credit cards? So are your clients.

Good news for you and your practice: we may be getting closer to the day when they are no longer necessary. Thanks to a technology emerging in the U.S., soon we might all be able to pay using our cell phones. That's good news, because not only might that make your life more convenient, it could make it easier for your clients to pay you for legal services.

One of the top growing technologies this year is near field communication, or NFC. By adding an NFC chip into a cell phone, manufacturers give you the ability to use your phone at any tap-to-pay credit card machine. Right now, they are found most frequently at retail stores, but the day isn't far off where they could be widespread, TIME reports. You could soon have one sitting on your desk at your law office.

Starting a Law Practice For Around $2500

I recently met an attorney that was considering open his own practice. He didn't believe he could do it, because he didn't have the capital to invest. "Maybe if I had $500,000 I would do it," he said. He is certainly not the only one that shares the opinion that you need a lot of money to start a law practice. However, others believe that a law practice can actually be a very inexpensive business to start.

In fact, you can start a law practice for as little as $2,500.

Keep in mind that I am not including things like bar dues or insurance, but unless you're already working at a firm, you were going to have to pay those items anyway. In order to get started we're going to set you up with a computer, book keeping software, credit payment, backup, scanner, printer, phone and internet.

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

In this age of terrorism fear and increased security, we live with the necessary hassle of full-body scanners at airports. While going through these scanners can be time consuming and a hassle as we try to make our way onto our flights, have you thought about what happens to the scanned images of your body?

Well, if you haven't, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has given this some thought. Indeed, he is proposing a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to distribute or copy these images in an unauthorized fashion.

Attorney Prosecutes Cases With iPad

The iPad continues to reach into the legal world, spawning the creation of the iPad attorney. For a recent example, take Ron Elkins, Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney. He has integrated iPads into the prosecutor's office, according to

Chief Commonwealth Attorney Ron Elkins uses the iPad at trial. In fact, not only does Elkins use the iPad at trial, but eight out of the nine attorneys in his office use it everyday.

Are Dual Monitors the Answer to Increased Office Productivity?

Here's a productivity tip for you: try dual monitors.

Much of the time wasted when attorneys work on computers comes when they switch between windows. Not only does it waste time, it can lead to unnecessary distractions. Some try to compensate by putting two windows on one screen, or by various workarounds.

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

Long ago and far away, back when the Internet first started gaining traction as a public communications medium, a cartoon depicted a dog logging onto a computer with a caption that read: "On the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog." The clear implication was that the Internet was a new playground where communications could be free and anonymous. But is that really the case as the Internet has matured? Not necessarily.

It is true that people have a constitutional right of free speech. Indeed, that right has been interpreted by courts to allow for free online anonymous speech - but to a point.

Gavel & Gown Software Releases Amicus 2011 Product Line

Hey Amicus fans, good news. Amicus 2011 is out. Amicus, the world's leading law firm practice management software is out in four distinct flavors. Premium Edition, Small Firm Edition, Amicus Accounting, and Amicus Mobile.

Amicus is used by tens of thousands of law firms around the world. The Amicus 2011 line is the next step forward in the Amicus software suite.

FindLaw Showcases FirmSite Premium at LegalTech 2011

FindLaw proudly showcased its newest product, FirmSite Premium at LegalTech 2011. Karl Florida, president of FindLaw discussed the product on FindLaw's presence at LegalTech for the first time, as part of Thomson Reuters Business of Law.

Florida attended LegalTech because the event offers law firms and legal departments the opportunity to monitor the evolving industry and to improve their law practice management.

Privacy Protection Is Smart Business

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

Protecting customer private data is not necessarily easy for companies. And with increasing government regulation and customer expectations, the associated burden and cost may seem heavy. However, companies are starting to “get” that privacy protection translates into good business.

Happy customers tend to be repeat customers. Unhappy customers whose private data has been compromised might go elsewhere with their future purchases and transactions.

New iDocExplorer iPad App Provides Secure Access to Documents

ProLaw has an exciting new development for iPad users. ProLaw is an integrated software suite designed to automate the practice and manage the business of law. Pro has features that simplify, streamline and coordinate the work of attorneys and staff in small and mid-size law firms, corporate legal departments and government law offices.

Now Bellefield Systems, in partnership with ProLaw, has released its first iPad application. The app was unveiled this week at LegalTech, in New York.

The app is called iDocExplorer, and is already available for download from the iTunes App store. The app allows attorneys to access documents and other matters on the go, in a secure and efficient manner. Bellefield systems is also developing more iPad applications throughout 2011.

Harvesting Electronic Discovery

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

Since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended at the end of 2006 to specifically embrace electronic discovery, parties to litigation and their counsel have been scrambling to figure out the best and most economical ways to comply with their obligations in this area. And while the rules were amended with the goal of reducing litigation expense, ironically electronic discovery costs actually may have increased as a consequence.

For example, while the amended rules are suppose to provide early structure, uniformity and predictability, parties now within the first 120 days of a case must evaluate whether their counsel and their IT teams where they stand in terms of the electronic discovery. And this undertaking can be fairly enormous. The scope of potential electronic discovery is practically limitless. Relevant data may be located on live on networks or on various servers. It also can be found on hard drives, laptops, PDAs, backup tapes and even voicemail messages, and instant messages.

iPhone 4 Class Action Filed by User over 'Flawed' glass casing

What do you get when you sell a mobile phone that is literally made out of glass? First, a lot of broken phones. Second, a lot of litigation. Class action, that is.

California resident Donald LeBuhn is suing Apple Inc., over the iPhone 4's screen. He is seeking class action certification.

LeBuhn, a California resident, says it all started when his daughter dropped his phone from about three feet off the ground. Smash, the phone's screen was shattered. LeBuhn discovered that he wasn't the only one to suffer such a fate. The web is full of bloggers and others complaining about their broken iPhone 4, the Los Angeles Times reports.