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ABA Techshow Attendees: Win a Copy of my Book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers"

Cloud bookABA Techshow attendees--want to win a free copy of my ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers? All you have to do is drop off your business card at the MyCase booth (#314).

Then, tomorrow at my "Meet the Author" session (Friday from 1:45-2:15 in the author lounge), I'll draw a card randomly and if that person has the correct answer and is at the session, s/he will win a free copy of my book.

So, drop of your business cards and I'll see you tomorrow!

 


Are bloggers journalists? Courts are catching up

DR logoThis week's Daily Record column is entitled "Are bloggers journalists? Courts are catching up"

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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Are bloggers journalists? Courts are catching up.

I wrote my first article about blogging in 2007. Back then, hardly anyone had heard of it, least of all my fellow lawyers.

At that point, I’d been blogging for over a year at my law blog, Sui Generis. I started that blog in late-2005 on the advice of my cousin, Rochester attorney David Rothenberg. I’d had lunch with David, seeking his advice on my return to the legal field after a 3-year hiatus. As the lunch concluded and we were heading out of the restaurant, he offhandedly mentioned “Oh, by the way, I heard about this thing called blogging on NPR this morning. You might want to check that out.”

That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I started Sui Generis a few weeks later and everything that I’ve accomplished to date has been, in some way, tangentially related to the body of work that I created on that blog.

Fast forward 6 years, and now everyone knows what a blog is, even if they don’t blog themselves. And, even lawyers started jumping on the blogging bandwagon in droves just a few years ago.

Blogging is now mainstream. So much so that for many people, blogs are one of their primary news sources. Think Huffington Post, for example. For that reason, bloggers have long tried to obtain status as journalists whether for the journalistic protections provided by the First Amendment or for the ability to have access to newsworthy events, such as trials.

It’s been an uphill battle and many efforts by bloggers to obtain the same rights as journalists have unsuccessful. However, the tide is slowly, but surely, changing, as evidenced by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision to enact a new rule which will allow “citizen journalists” to photograph courtroom proceedings.

The new Rule 1:19 (www.universalhub.com/files/rule119.pdf) addresses electronic access to the courts and expands the definition of “news media” so that it now includes “organizations that regularly gather, prepare, photograph, record, write, edit, report or publish news or information about matters of public interest for dissemination to the public in any medium, whether print or electronic, and to individuals who regularly perform a similar function.”

The rules allows judges, at their discretion, to allow the “photographing or electronic recording or transmitting of courtroom proceedings to the public by the news media for news gathering purposes or for the dissemination of information to the public …”

The devices permitted to be operated include “still and video cameras, audio recording or transmitting devices, and portable computers or electronic devices with communication capabilities.”

The rule gives judges wide latitude to exercise discretion in allowing or disallowing the use of devices by media and wisely prohibits recording or transmission of, among other things, voir dire, bench and side-bar conferences and frontal or close-up views of jurors and prospective jurors. The rule also allows minors and sexual assault victims to be photographed only upon consent of the judge.

In other words, the rule allows judges to control the proceedings and protect the privacy of those involved to the extent needed to ensure a fair and impartial trial — one that is unaffected by the media coverage, whether by traditional media or “citizen journalists” such as bloggers.

The passage of this new rule gives me much needed hope. It is one more indication that the legal field does not consist of a bunch of clueless curmudgeons stuck in the 20th century. Instead, our profession is agile, forward-thinking and willing to change with the times and acknowledge the inescapable effects that technology is having upon our society as a whole, and, as a result, upon our justice system.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: thanks for making it easier for me to sleep at night. I salute you for a job well done.

Nicole Black is the Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is a Rochester, NY-based attorney and a GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.

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ABA Techshow 2012--What's going on and how to track it

App-logo-300
On Wednesday, I hop onto a plane and fly into lovely Chicago for the annual ABA Techshow, one of my favorite conferences.

If you're going to be there, let me know and I'll add you to my ever-growing Twitter list of Techshow attendees.

You can download the offical ABA Techshow mobile app here. This app includes the official calendar of events, including sessions, Taste of Techshow dinners, etc. It also includes a list of attendees and vendors.

For a look at the social side of Techshow, including "unofficial" social events, check out Lanyrd.com and their accompanying mobile app. This app allows attendees to take control of their social experience at Techshow. You can create your own profile, including a photo, short bio, and link to your Twitter account. In my bio I included my cell phone number to faciliate communication throughout the conference.

The ABA Techshow event on Laynrd can be found here. I've populated the app with information about Techshow, including links to blog posts about the event and I created "sessions" which correspond to the public social events that I'm aware of, all of which are listed below as well.

The app supplements the official ABA Techshow app and allows users to create their own social Techshow experience. Once you add your profile to the app and indicate that you're attending Techshow, you can also add events, whether it's an "unofficial" social event that I missed or an event of your own making, such as an impromptu happy hour. In addition you can add links to any other coverage of Techshow. 

This app should facilitate the social experience of Techshow since it give all attendees that choose to use it a more accessible bio, along with a photo, and you can include whatever contact information you would like in your bio. And, it puts all social events and press or blog coverage in one easily accessible location. So, check it out.

Also, I strongly suggest you download the "Bump" mobile app as well. It makes it easy to quickly exchange contact info with other attendees simply by "bumping" your phones together.

In terms of "unofficial" social events, there's a lot going on this year. Here's my recap of the different social events that are open to all attendees. If I left yours out, just let me know and I'll add it:

  • Wednesday March 28th, 6-7:30pm--Rocket Lawyer reception, Hilton Chicago, Continental Ballroom
  • Wednesday March 28th, 7 pm--Lexthink1 event. It's sold out but you can still sign up for the waiting list.
  • Wednesday March 28th, after Lexthink1--NetDocs/LegalTypist happy hour, the South Loop Club (aka the dive bar).
  • Thursday March 29th, 4:30-5:30--Lawyerist meetup, Hilton Chicago lobby bar
  • Thurday March 29th, 5:30-7 pm--Official ABA Welcome Reception, EXPO Hall
  • Thursday March 29th, 8 pm--Clio Meetup, SushiSamba 
  • Friday March 30th 5:30-7 pm--Lexblog & ABA Journal Beer for Bloggers, Hilton Chicago, Lakeside Green Lounge in lobby.

You can also sign up for the Taste of Techshow dinners that aren't yet full here.

I'll be all over the place at Techshow this year, but now that I'm VP of Business Development and Community Relations for law practice management software company MyCase, I'll undoubtedly be spending most of my time at the MyCase booth, #314, and would love to meet you and would be happy to sign either of my ABA books if you stop by the booth.

You can also find me at the "Meet the Author" session for my most recent ABA book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" on Friday March 30th at 1:45-2:15 in the author lounge.

Techshow's almost here and I can't wait! Hope to see you there!

 

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Jurors punished for using social media?


Stacked3This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Jurors punished for using social media?"

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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Jurors punished for using social media?

Currently, the United States imprisons more than 2.3 million of its citizens.This incarceration rate means that 1 out of every 100 United States citizens is in jail.

Since we already imprison people at a rate that some estimate is 10 times that of other Western democracies, I would suggest that it’s time to stop criminalizing trivial infractions. For example, it’s hard to believe that jurors are being jailed for using social media during trials. And no, I am not making this up.

Last month, a Florida juror in a personal injury case was sentenced to 3 days in jail for contempt of court. His transgression? Sending a Facebook “friend” request to a defendant in the case.

In another case, during the summer of 2011, a Texas man sent a “friend” request to the plaintiff in the personal injury lawsuit for which he was a juror. After learning of his actions, the court sentenced him to 2 days of community service.

Most recently, in New Jersey, in a criminal case where a jury foreman conducted Internet research about the case, the  judge held in contempt of court and fined him $500. In his Order, Superior Court Judge Peter E. Doyne suggested that Internet-based tools were such a danger to a fair and impartial trial that the Model Criminal Jury Charges needed to be revised to include possible punishments for noncompliance with judicial instructions.

The court wrote:  “(T)his court rejects the notion the American courtroom, with its constraints and controls developed over the centuries, with its methodical and deliberate means of proceeding, is somehow incompatible with or outdated in today’s world of high-speed information on demand. Indeed, the proliferation of electronic information renders the sterilized atmosphere of a courtroom even more important … To better communicate the importance of obedience to the court’s instructions, it may be appropriate to further explain reasons for the prohibition on juror research and, even, possible punishments for disobedience.”

Yes, you read that correctly. This judge is suggesting that because the medium for juror misconduct has changed, we should now punish jurors who are simply doing what jurors have been doing since the dawn of jury trials: violating court prohibitions against conducting research or discussing the issues presented at trial.

The only difference is that jurors are now using newfangled technology and “the Internets” instead of reading the newspaper, conducting research via the library or an encyclopedia, or discussing the case with spouses or neighbors.

Juror conduct hasn’t changed. What has changed is the medium through which the jurors are violating the court order. The Internet and mobile devices simply make information more easily accessible and more easily disseminated, but the information has always been available for the taking and the ability to share it has likewise always existed.

To suggest that harsher penalties should be imposed for juror misconduct occurring via the Internet is nothing more than a knee jerk reaction to technological change cloaked in purported concern for the sanctity of the judicial system.

Jurors behaving in a predictably human fashion is nothing new. What is notable is the reaction of judges unwilling to accept change. Upping the ante for digital curiosity and imposing jail time, community service and fines for online research and discussion while failing to impose the same sanctions for similar offline misconduct is nothing less than outrageous.

Like it or not, the 21st century is here. Computers, the Internet and mobile devices aren’t going away. Unless you happen to possess a time machine, there’s no going back. So, enough already. Stop the Luddite insanity and accept reality.

Nicole Black is the Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is a Rochester, NY-based attorney and a GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.

 

 

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Withdrawing from PointOneLaw Because of my VP Position With MyCase

Yesterday I told you about my new position as Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations for MyCase, a company that offers a cloud-based law practice management platform.

Unfortunately, because of my new position, I am going to have to withdraw as a speaker from LexThink1. This is because only one person from any given company can speak at LexThink1 and Matt Spiegel, the CEO at MyCase, is also slated to speak.

I had the slide deck ready to go. My presentation was titled "Game, Set & Match: Serving Clients Better in the 21st Century" and I was going to discuss how tennis trusims can offer lessons for lawyers. You can view the slide deck below.

Point1 law
View more presentations from Nicole Black


I was really looking forward to speaking and greatly appreciate everyone's support in voting for my presentation. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to attending and listening to some great presentations on the future of the legal profession and how lawyers can better serve their clients. Hope to see you there!

 

Nicole Black is the Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is a Rochester, NY-based attorney and a GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.

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My Next Chapter: VP at MyCaseInc.com


Mycase_logoI couldn't be happier to announce that I've joined MyCase as Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations. 

MyCase is a San Diego-based company that developed the most intuitive and collaborative law practice management software available. You can learn more about this innovative cloud-based platform here.  

I'm thrilled to be a part this forward-thinking company and am truly looking forward to working with the MyCase team to spread the word about its game-changing software. MyCase provides law practice management software the way it should be--and the best is yet to come!

Nicole Black is the Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is a Rochester, NY-based attorney and a GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.


NC Bar Council issues final opinion on the cloud

DR logoThis week's Daily Record column is entitled "NC Bar Council issues final opinion on the cloud."

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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NC Bar Council issues final opinion on the cloud

The use of cloud computing products by lawyers in their law practices is an emerging trend — and one that presents unique ethical issues for lawyers who intend to store confidential client data on servers owned and operated by third parties.

A number of ethics committees across the country have offered their take on the issues presented, but none have wrestled with this issue for quite as long as the North Carolina State Bar Council. The council has been drafting (and re-drafting) its opinion addressing this issue for nearly 1 1/2 years now, having released a number of proposed drafts for public comment.

Finally, at long last, the council issued its final opinion, 2011 Formal Ethics Opinion 6 (online: http://tinyurl.com/ncsaas), on Jan. 27. The opinion answered 2 questions: 1) May a law firm use SaaS (Software as a Service — a form of cloud computing)? and 2) Are there measures that a lawyer or law firm should consider when assessing a SaaS vendor or seeking to minimize the security risks of SaaS?

Long story short, the council gave the use of cloud computing by lawyers its stamp of approval.

Specifically, the council concluded that reasonable care must be taken to protect confidential client information: “(A) law firm may use SaaS if reasonable care is taken to minimize the risks of inadvertent disclosure of confidential information and to protect the security of client information and client files. A lawyer must fulfill the duties to protect confidential client information and to safeguard client files by applying the same diligence and competency to manage the risks of SaaS that the lawyer is required to apply when representing clients.”

The council emphasized the lawyers who take advantage of utilizing emerging technologies such as cloud computing in their practices have an obligation to stay abreast of changes in technology. In other words, adopting new technologies into your law practice is not a one-time endeavor, but rather, is a continuous learning process — and an important one at that.

As for the second issue — what steps lawyers must take when utilizing cloud computing services — the council declined to establish specific standards since “mandatory security measures would create a false sense of security in an environment where the risks are continually changing. Instead, due diligence and frequent and regular education are required.”

Although the council did not require that lawyers comply with specific requirements, the opinion set forth a number of suggested security measures, including: 1) that, in the event of a cessation of service, the contracts with the provider include information regarding how the cloud computing vendor will handle confidential client data; 2) that the contracts provide for a method of retrieval of data from the cloud computing provider in a readable, non-proprietary format; 3) that the lawyer carefully review the contracts with the provider and understand the security issues presented; 4) that the lawyer carefully evaluate the security measures used by any company involved in the hosting of the lawyer’s confidential client data, including “firewalls, encryption techniques, socket security features, and intrusion-detection systems;” and 5) that the lawyer thoroughly evaluate the provider’s data back up procedures.

Finally, of particular import was that the council recognized that absolute security is an impossibility and thus is simply not required. Oftentimes, the battle cry of lawyers opposed to using cloud computing platforms to store confidential client data is that such platforms are not, by their very nature, secure since third parties have access to the data.

However, as acknowledged by the council: (W)hile the duty of confidentiality applies to lawyers who choose to use technology to communicate, ‘this obligation does not require that a lawyer use only infallibly secure methods of communication.’ Rather, the lawyer must use reasonable care to select a mode of communication that, in light of the circumstances, will best protect confidential client information.”

Although it took the North Carolina State Bar Council almost two years to reach this decision, the good news is that the end result is a fair and thoughtful opinion that allows North Carolina lawyers to take advantage of emerging technologies like cloud computing.

This opinion is an improvement over prior drafts and it is evident that the council listened to and incorporated recommendations from commenters. So, kudos to North Carolina for its hard work and its balanced take on this issue.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.


Reviews of my New Book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers"

Cloud book"The Lawyer's PC," a bi-weekly Thomson West newsletter recently published a review of my newest ABA book, "Cloud Computing for Lawyers." The article was titled "Cloud Computing for Lawyers: Details and Insights Into 'the Future' of Law Firm Tech." 

It was written by Dan Harmon. Here are a few choice excerpts:

Cloud computing, Nicole Black asserts up front, “is the future.” Black, a lawyer as well as a noted author, blogger and legal technologist, explains why, in terms the lay reader (“not the IT professional”) can understand. In the process, she offers in-depth discussions from every angle of particular concern to lawyers and support staff...

Wide-ranging appendices trace the history of legal technology, explain cloud computing terminology, and provide sample terms of service, a sample privacy policy and a sample service-level agreement.

The book contains a chapter on “Ethical Implications of Cloud Computing in Law Practice” guest-authored by Stephanie Kimbro, a legal technologist who operates a Web-based law practice. Throughout the volume, Black augments her own material with input by practicing lawyers from many backgrounds.

Noting that large firms have IT staff dedicated to addressing cloud computing and all other technology issues, Black directs much of her discussion to solo and small firms. Overall, though, the book contains information and insights that will be useful to legal professionals in firms of all sizes...

The book is well organized, well written and easy to follow. It's an excellent read for legal professionals who want to educate themselves about working in the cloud. It should interest, too, those in law firms that are well-established in the virtual realm. And at the other end of the spectrum, it should prove enlightening for those who are uninterested in cloud computing (but who are unwittingly engaged in it).
Larry Port, Founder of Rocket Matter, also wrote a review of my book here. Here are a few excerpts:

I’ve just started reviewing Niki’s book and what I’ve seen so far is very readable and highly informative.  If you’ve been sitting back, watching this whole legal cloud computing thing develop before you take the plunge, this is a great book to get up to speed right away.  It’s not a technical volume, but rather explains how the cloud benefits a law practice, explains the techie mumbo-jumbo from a high level, and then delves into the pragmatic aspects for law firms.

Stephanie Kimbro, another founding member of the Legal Cloud Computing Association and North Carolina lawyer, contributed a thorough chapter, “Ethical Implications of Cloud Computing in Law Practice” which lays out the issues of Model Rules and procedural rules as well.  This chapter is worth the purchase price of the book in and of itself.

Thanks so much Dan and Larry for these wonderful reviews!

If you're a legal professional and would like to learn more about cloud computing, you can buy my book here.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.

 

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New York Federal Court on the Discoverability of Social Media Evidence

DR logoThis week's Daily Record column is entitled "New York Federal Court on the Discoverability of Social Media Evidence ."

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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New York Federal Court on the Discoverability of Social Media Evidence 

For years I’ve been asserting that social media is not a fad--it’s a phenomenon. And now, from our current vantage point, the observation that social media has infiltrated, and affects, all aspects of our culture is indisputable. But an intriguing side effect of the mass incorporation of social media into the daily lives of millions of Americans is the interesting evidentiary and discovery issues now arising in both civil and criminal cases. 

For example, a few months ago, I wrote about two First Department cases addressing the discoverability of social media evidence in civil cases. The first was Abrams v. Pecile, 83 A.D.3d 527 (1st Dep’t 2011), where the plaintiff filed suit seeking damages for, among other things, conversion and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from the defendant’s alleged unauthorized possession of seminude photographs of the plaintiff. In her demand for discovery, the defendant sought access to the plaintiff’s social networking accounts. The First Department concluded that the defendant failed to show that permitting access would lead to the discovery of evidence relevant to the defense of the lawsuit.

In another First Department case, Patterson v. Turner Construction Company, 2011 WL 5083155 (1st Dep’t 2011), the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit sought access to the plaintiff’s Facebook records created subsequent to the occurrence of the incident that was the basis of the lawsuit, including those that were not publicly available. The Court likened the plaintiff’s private Facebook postings to a diary and concluded that, if relevant, they were discoverable, but limited access to the Facebook data and required that the trial court first conduct an in camera review to determine if there was evidence relevant to the lawsuit.

Now, as brought to my attention by Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York has also weighed in the discovery of social media evidence in civil lawsuits. 

At issue in Davids v. Novartis, CV06-0431 was whether the defendant’s motion to compel the discovery of the plaintiff’s log-in information to all of her social networking websites should be granted. Novartis alleged that the social media evidence was relevant to both the issue of damages and Davids’ claim that she suffered from osteonecrosis of the jaw.

In response, Davids conceded that although her publicly available social media information was subject to discovery, Novartis had failed to show that the private data was relevant to matters at issue in the lawsuit.

In his Order, after reviewing a number of relevant New York Appellate Division cases, United States Magistrate Judge William D. Wall agreed with Davids: “A New York Appellate division court has held that seeking to compel a plaintiff’s Facebook log-in information without a factual predicate is tantamount to a fishing expedition.  See McCann v. Harleysville Ins. Co., 910 N.Y.S. 2d 614, 615 (4 Dep’t 2010).Though the discovery rules are liberal, the court agrees...that there must be some factual predicate, like an individual’s public postings, from which the court could infer that relevant information exists on the individual’s private page. Because it lacks any such evidence, Defendant’s motion amounts to a suggestion that a Plaintiff should have to grant free access to all of her social media accounts for no other reason than she filed a claim against Defendant.”

Thus, unfettered access to social media accounts, including information not available for public consumption, is generally discouraged unless the party seeking access has established a clear connection between the evidence expected to be found and its relevancy to the issues presented in the case.
Even so, the best course of action once a lawsuit has been initiated is to advise your clients to avoid posting anything to either the private or public areas of their social media accounts that could have the potential to adversely affect the case. And, in many cases, the best advice would be to simply stop posting to social media sites entirely. After all, better safe than sorry.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.

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iPad Apps for the Traveling Lawyer

DR logoThis week's Daily Record column is entitled "iPad Apps for the Traveling Lawyer."

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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iPad Apps for the Traveling Lawyer

If you’re a lawyer with an iPad or an iPhone and you travel frequently, this article was written just for you. In it you’ll learn about the latest travel apps and how you can use them to make your travels more organized, pleasurable and relaxing. 

First, use your mobile device (many of these apps are available for Android devices as well) to plan your trip. Download Kayak and Trip Advisor, both of which are free and available for either the iPhone or iPad. Use the Trip Advisor app to read your fellow travelers’ reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions at your chosen destination. You can then use that app to book a flight or hotel reservation. Or, if you want to compare prices offered by hundreds of different travel sites, use Kayak to book your flight, hotel and car reservations. 

Then, download the TripIt app, a free app for both the iPhone and iPad. Forward all of your itinerary confirmation emails to TripIt, so that you’ll have all of your itineraries for your trip in one place, easily accessible via your mobile device.

Next, prepare for your trip. Get ready for the airport security checkpoint by downloading the free My TSA app. This app is issued by the Transportation Security Administration and provides quick access to everything you need to know about the airport security process, including wait times at various airports and other useful information such as TSA procedures and which items you can take through checkpoints.

If you are traveling internationally, there are three useful apps that you should consider. First, there’s the SmartTraveler app issued by the U.S. Department of State. This free app offers “updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more.” 

Two other free apps useful for international travel are iTranslate, which provides translation for over 50 different languages via voice recognition and speech output, and the Currency app, which provides up-to-date currency exchange information. 

Once you arrive at the airport, take advantage of the GateGuru, a free iPhone app. This app  provides maps of major airport terminals, including restaurants and stores, along with citizen reviews of various businesses located in the terminal.

While waiting for your flight, catch up on the latest legal news using any number of free apps, including the LexisNexis Legal News app, the ABA Journal’s app or Findlaw’s legal news app.

Once you arrive at your destination, find a place to eat based on reviews from other diners using the Yelp or Urbanspoon free apps. Then, make reservations using the OpenTable app and hail a taxi using the Taxi Magic app.

For free information about other businesses, including stores, gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. near your hotel, try the Around Me app. And if you’re interested in learning about local events or excursions, the Goby app is just what you need.

Finally, make sure to have the free Fastcase app available in case you need to conduct last minute legal research and be sure to download one of the many free scanner apps as well. That way, if necessary, you can scan documents using your iPhone’s camera and then email PDFs of the documents to your office.

These days, air travel isn’t always the most pleasant experience, especially in this post-9/11 era. But at least there are mobile apps available to help streamline the process by putting all the information you need right at your fingertips. While air travel will never be perfect, these apps should help to make the process less stressful and more enjoyable.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.