Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

August 2011 Archives

Top e-Discovery Vendors Rated in Gartner's First Magic Quadrant

Technology research firm Gartner has ventured into the world of litigation, releasing its first ever e-Discovery Magic Quadrant, an evaluation of 24 of the top vendors touting e-Discovery solutions.

A graphical representation of each firm's relative position in today's market, Gartner's report places each company in one of four categories: leaders, challengers, visionaries and niche players.

If you or your firm is in the process of purchasing and evaluating new software, the e-Discovery Magic Quadrant might be for you.

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

Gone are the days when employers generally blocked or otherwise prohibited social networking by their employees.


The business upside evidently outweighs the potential downside. But still, employees must be informed as to how best to conduct their social networking activities on behalf of their companies.

The used to be worries that employees would use social networking for purely personal pursuits, thus resulting in lost productivity. Of course, those types of fears were present earlier when it came to simple Internet access.

Accidentally Waived Privilege: Firm Can't Blame e-Discovery Vendor

A litigant may waive privilege when an inadvertent disclosure is made as a result of a failure to check a production database created by an e-Discovery vendor prior to its going live.

In other words, attorneys who fail to double-check production databases and ensure that no privileged documents have been improperly included may be accidentally waiving privilege.

This decision from a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois means an attorney could open  themselves up to a malpractice suit.

Apple Blocks Samsung Galaxy Tablet Sales in Europe

As the Apple-Samsung patent battle heats up at home, the iPhone and iPad giant has scored a big win in the European Union, with a German court issuing an emergency injunction barring Samsung from releasing its Galaxy tablet Union-wide.

Though this is a big setback for the South Korea-based Samsung, the company continued forward, launching the tablet in India on Wednesday, and reiterating its plans to do the same in Australia next month.

Accept Credit Cards? What Attorneys Need to Know About PCI Compliance

For attorneys out there that accept fee payments via credit and debit cards, properly securing your client's financial data should be an integral part of your office security.

But if it isn't, it's about to be.

Mandatory PCI compliance, which seeks to secure user credit card data, is now required for merchants accepting cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB (Japanese Credit Bureau).

This includes even legal merchants like you.

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

Should private social networking between teachers and students be banned entirely? Do a few bad apples spoil the entire bunch?

Is it legal for legislators to limit communications to protect teenagers from potentially predatory teachers or that school officials should discipline teenagers for social networking activities that have no school nexus?

Missouri has enacted a first-of-a-kind law that requires state school districts to adopt policies that restrict communications between teachers and students on social networking sites. The law takes effect later this month and will be enforced at the start of 2012.

The law was passed in response to sexual relationships that were formed between teachers and students. Teachers reportedly still can friend students on social networking sites so long as the sites are subject to review by school administrators or parents.

But exclusively private contact between teachers and students is forbidden.

Paul Ceglia's Facebook Lawsuit to be Dismissed for No Evidence?

Most attorneys know that to prevail in any lawsuit, big or small, some evidence is required. Maybe someone should have told that to Paul Ceglia, the man who launched a lawsuit claiming that he owns 50% of Facebook.

A wood pellet salesman by trade, Ceglia says he inked a deal with Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 for half of Facebook, contingent upon Ceglia hiring Zuckerberg to work for StreetFax, a now-defunct startup.

Now that Facebook's valuation is upwards of $100 billion by some analysts, according to CNet, if Ceglia's claims were true he'd be raking in the dough.

That is, if he had any proof to begin with. Facebook says that the contract, embedded on Ceglia's computer, only refers to StreetFax and makes no mention of Facebook.

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

London was recently besieged with riots. In the wake of these often-organized riots, Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that Britain is evaluating whether to clamp down on social networking activities such as Twitter or Blackberry Messenger during these tumultuous periods.

Cameron's statement very possibly stems from reported comments from law enforcement authorities and other politicians that Blackberry Messenger was used by the rioters to plan their civil disobedience activities. Blackberry Messenger may have been preferred by the rioters because it allows for private, encrypted messages.

Men Who Leaked iPhone Prototype Criminally Charged, Gizmodo Cleared

Remember online publication Gizmodo's iPhone 4 post that was (literally) ahead of its time? In 2010, the leaked iPhone 4 made headlines when a Gizmodo writer Jason Chen, posted a story about the prototype.

Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower originally found the phone at a California bar. They then decided to shop around to see if any tech blogs would pay for the then-unreleased phone.

Jason Chen, Gizmodo writer, took them up their offer. He gave the two men about $5,000 in cash for the prototype. His post on Gizmodo drew lots of traffic and the ire of Apple, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Use Free Webinars at FindLaw's New Legal Technology Events Page

Tech-savvy lawyers everywhere know that new developments in software, hardware and communications are happening every day. Maintaining an arsenal of up-to-date gadgets and apps may mean increased productivity.

Why not peruse through some free legal webinars to learn more about legal technology?

FindLaw's Legal Technology Events page has recently been updated, adding in many new - and some free - webinars and conferences.

Some events are live conferences, which may be coming to a city near you. Others are entirely web-based, meaning you can be learning legal technology in the comfort of your own home (and, dressed in pajamas).

Make Multiple Gmail Calls: Can a Lawyer Use Just Gmail for a Phone?

Google has updated voice calling in Gmail. Now, users can make multiple calls simultaneously as part of the new feature. Which begs to question, what can Google Voice do for lawyers?

Can it replace your clunky old landline? Your cell phone?

Well, not entirely, but if you are already using VoIP solutions for some of your calling needs, the new feature makes it easier to juggle the multitude of calls that might be streaming into your office.

Juror Tweets, Facebook Updates Now a Crime Under CA Law

While the development of social media and electronic communications has brought some useful advancements to the courtroom, it's difficult to deny that juror tweets and Facebook updates have become a distinct problem in criminal prosecutions.

Responding to a series of high-profile cases leading to appeals and overturned convictions, California Governor Jerry Brown approved a new law last week, criminalizing the use of electronic and wireless devices by empanelled jurors.

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

The Internet presents a variety of risks for companies, including systems crashes, hacking attacks, security breaches, and the mishandling of private information.

While companies should do all they can as a matter of policy, practice and technology to prevent such risks from coming to fruition, there is no such thing as perfect prevention. Accordingly, as a backstop, companies would be prudent to procure appropriate insurance for their Cyber risks.

A variety of insurance products to address Cyber risks have entered the marketplace for the past decade. And, according to recent press reports, the demand for Cyber security insurance has surged in recent months in the wake of some noteworthy data breaches and an increase in privacy claims.

Solo Attorneys are Technology Spendthrifts

As a solo attorney, technology can be your friend.

Smart use of technology can mean cutting down on costs and making your business efficient.

But, it can also mean high initial costs. That new computer isn't going to buy itself, and neither is that new practice management software. And, if your computer starts emitting smoke, even technology-allergic attorneys know that it's time to bring it to a repair shop. Maybe this is why the results from the 2011 ABA Legal Technology Survey shows that solo practitioners seem to be a little frugal when it comes to technology.

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

Once upon a time, at the dawn of the commercial Internet age, people regularly gained accessed to the Web via AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy.

Of course, those days are long gone, and Google has emerged as the dominant search engine of choice. Indeed, it has been estimated that two-thirds of global Internet searches currently are conducted through Google.

Cops Searching Laptops: How to Protect Attorney-Client Privilege

Technology and computers has shifted most legal work from paperwork to digital work. The computer age, however, provides some interesting entanglement with ethics, especially when you run into sticky situations with the law: like when attorney-client privilege and laptops end up mixed together.

For example, what happens to attorney-client privilege if a search warrant is issued against you?

Well, of course you’d alert the authorities and whoever is searching your stuff that some of the materials they are gathering are potentially privileged.