I’ve been writing about lawyers using cloud and mobile technologies for nearly a decade now. While lawyers have adapted to mobile technology like a fish takes to water (all things considered), cloud computing has been a bit more of an uphill battle due to ethical concerns, among other things.
In 2014, CNN ruffled quite a few feathers by publishing an article, which effectively launched what I like to call the “Robot Lawyer Revolution.” This idea - that many tasks performed by lawyers were rote and could be more cost-effectively handled by AI technology - began to steadily gain momentum.
‘What a difference a year can make,’ said iManage CEO Neil Araujo as he kicked off the company’s ‘ConnectLive’ event in London. The two-day user conference brought together CIOs and IT professionals, technical architects, administrators and many others.
Litigators today must be prepared to collect, review and share an influx of electronically stored information (ESI) at the start of a case. Often, this data originates from many different places; emails, social media posts and online accounts are just a few of the ESI sources that provide relevant case data. The ubiquity of ESI makes e-discovery a central factor in cases of all sizes and types, not just class action and complex litigation.
Last week, The Telegraph reported that UK solicitors who handled real property transactions had been hit by a wave of fraudulent activity. Hackers took advantage of the fact that email is inherently unsecure and unencrypted and were able to intercept emails between real estate attorneys and their clients. The hackers then used that information to change bank deposit details in subsequent emails, thus steal closing funds.
Another day, another study concluding that law firms are in dire straits. The times they sure are are a-changin’. But for law firms, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In study after study, year after year, various authors decry the stubborn stagnancy of law firms, urging them to wake up and smell the coffee. And in response, the vast majority of law firms collectively yawn and dismissively check their watches. They’ve got more important places to be and listening to the same old refrain is not part of their plans for today, thank you very much.
With law firms increasingly relying on technology and end-user sophistication on the rise, the use of unsanctioned applications and services, an issue known as “shadow IT,” is an unwelcomed occurrence in the legal industry. While most employees aren’t maliciously bypassing safe computing policies – they simply are trying to work more effectively – their reliance on self-procured, often consumer-grade solutions can leave their firm’s (and their clients’), most sensitive data unprotected.
ABA Techshow has once again come and gone. After an activity-filled, whirlwind trip in Chicago last week, it’s time to sit back and reflect on what I learned.
Lawyers no longer sell knowledge, but skills. Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, Partner at Bureau Brandeis and panellist at Lexpo, therefore believes we need to change the way lawyers are trained: "All very nice, I know, the latest state of affairs in contract law, but hardly relevant. Lawyers need to get a lot more skills training. This need is only gradually being understood in the legal profession."
In 2009 a Japanese man married a computer. And that will happen again in other places around the world in the next twenty years from now, predicts Chrissie Lightfoot of EntrepreneurLawyer Limited. Lightfoot, a keynote speaker at the Lexpo - the legal innovation event - coming up on 21 April, thinks that lawyers need to prepare themselves better for this type of trend. 'We are currently in a period of transition. You need to stay on top of it today, or tomorrow you will have missed the boat.'
Of course, the outlook for Artificial Intelligence is just plain fascinating, naturally also for the legal sector. But Casey Flaherty, keynote speaker at the upcoming Lexpo innovation event on 21 April, prefers to start off with something a bit closer to home. ‘Technology is horribly important, but it isn't magic. Technology takes a major effort and a lot of time.'
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