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Legal technology predictions for 2013


Stacked3
This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Legal technology predictions for 2013."

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

*****

Legal technology predictions for 2013

Each year, I take a stab at predicting the legal profession’s reaction and implementation of 21st century technologies. And this year is no different. I’m not always correct, but I often have a good sense of the pulse of the legal profession when it comes to its perception and adoption of technology into the practice of law.

So let’s start with mobile devices. Last year I predicted that lawyers’ use of tablets would increase dramatically and that iPads would be the tablet of choice. According to the American Bar Association’s Annual Legal Technology survey, my predictions were correct. The percentage of lawyers using tablets for law-related tasks in 2012 nearly doubled to 33 percent and 91 percent of those lawyers who use tablet devices preferred the iPad.

I believe that trend will continue in 2013, with the percentage of lawyers using tablets nearly tripling, with iPads leading the way. And, at least 15 percent of new iPads purchased will be iPad minis. Eventually, at least half of lawyers who choose to buy iPads will prefer the iPad mini, in large part because its lighter weight and smaller size make it more easily transportable in a handbag, briefcase or suit pocket.

Last year I also predicted that smartphone use would continue to increase in 2012, with iPhones in the lead, Androids coming in at a close second, and that BlackBerrys would quickly fall into disfavor.

Again, my predictions were borne out, with the ABA’s survey indicating that BlackBerry use declined significantly, dropping from 46 percent of smart phone users in 2011 to just 31 percent this year. Additionally, most lawyers who stopped using the BlackBerry switched to the iPhone, with iPhone use increasing from 31 percent in 2011 to 44 percent in 2012. My prediction regarding Android use was a bit off, with Android use increasing only 1 percentage point, from 15 to 16 percent.

I expect that these trends will continue in 2013, with BlackBerry use continuing to decline.  During that same time, Android use will increase by at least 10 percent, as will iPhone use.

Next up, social media. Last year I predicted that the percentage of lawyers using of social media would remain relatively stagnant, with some lawyers abandoning their accounts and others jumping into social media for the first time. The ABA survey’s results supported this, with the percentage of lawyers using Facebook increasing to 38 percent, which is only a 4 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. Similarly, the percentage of lawyers reporting that they had a LinkedIn presence was 96 percent, representing only a 1 percentage point increase from 2011.

Once again, I predict that social media use will largely plateau in 2013. The only wild card is Google Plus. Last year I predicted that lawyers’ use of this social network would begin to increase in late 2012 and it’s unclear to me whether that is actually happening. That being said, Google Plus appears to be gaining traction and it will be interesting to see how it develops in 2013 and whether it will be of any benefit to lawyers.

Finally, as I’d expected, cloud computing use by lawyers increased slowly in 2012, with 21 percent of respondents to the ABA’s survey indicating that they used cloud-based software — an increase of only 5 percent from last year. Similarly, the cloud computing backlash from ethics committees that I’d expected also occurred, with the issuance of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Ethics Opinion 12-03, which requires Massachusetts lawyers to obtain client consent prior to using cloud computing platforms to store confidential client information.

That being said, I also predicted last year that in mid-2013 cloud computing use in law firms will begin to show a marked increase and I stand by that prediction. The reason for the increase is simple: lawyers are becoming more familiar with cloud computing technology. Their concerns regarding security risks are slowly dissipating, while the many benefits offered by cloud computing — affordability, convenience, flexibility, secure client communications portals, and built-in back up and disaster plans — are beginning to outweigh any perceived security risks. As this shift in perception occurs, lawyers will increasingly take advantage of cloud computing services and the many benefits that they offer.

So, those are my legal technology predictions for 2013. Only time will tell if I’m right or if I’m wrong. But either way, it’ll be interesting to see what the next year brings.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and 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 niki@mycase.com.


Legal ethics and retention of electronic data

This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Legal ethics and retention of electronic data."

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

*****

Legal ethics and retention of electronic data

Fax machines are just one of the once familiar technologies that many businesses are now abandoning in favor of scanning, mailing or sharing digital documents via online platforms. Not surprisingly, the more conservative legal and financial industries are two of the last holdouts when it comes to faxes.

Even so, many lawyers are beginning to embrace the convenience and affordability offered by the concept of a paperless office. However, doing so can raise an assortment of ethical issues, since the confidentiality of client information must always be maintained, regardless of the format in which it is stored or distributed.

The Committee of Professional Ethics of the New York State Bar Association recently addressed issues of client confidentiality and alternate methods of data storage in Opinion 940 (Oct. 16). In this case, the inquiring attorney asked two questions: 1) Whether a law firm may use tape backups containing confidential client data, where the tape backups are stored offsite by a third party, and 2) are electronic copies sufficient when the New York Rules of Professional Conduct require an attorney to maintain certain records or must the attorney retain the paper originals?

The committee’s answer to the first question drew on its analysis from a prior opinion, Opinion 842, which addressed the ethical obligations of lawyers when using a cloud computing service to store confidential client data. The committee concluded that “the principles governing use of a ‘cloud’ storage system would also govern use of backup tapes maintained away from the firm’s premises.”

The committee explained that a lawyer must exercise reasonable care to protect the confidentiality of that information and suggested that steps to take include ensuring “that the provider maintaining the backup tapes ‘has an enforceable obligation to preserve confidentiality and security, and that the provider will notify the lawyer if served with process requiring the production of client information’ … and (will) (i)nvestigate the provider’s ‘data storage security measures, policies, recoverability methods, and other procedures to determine if they are adequate under the circumstances.’”

Next, the committee addressed the issue of whether a lawyer’s duty to maintain certain types of records for seven years pursuant to Rule 1.15(d)(1) was met by the retention of electronic copies. The committee explained that the answer depended on the types of records at issue and then identified certain documents which should generally be retained in their original paper form, including wills, deeds, contracts, promissory notes and some bank records.

Thus, the committee concluded that “(f)or certain kinds of records, the rules require that original paper documents be kept if the lawyer receives or initially maintains paper originals in the ordinary course of business. For certain other kinds of records, the rules require retention but permit a lawyer to keep electronic copies in lieu of paper originals if the electronic copies are in a format that preserves an image not subject to alteration without detection. For yet other kinds of records that must be retained, the rules permit electronic copies to be kept in lieu of paper originals without restriction.”

So, the bottom line is that in most cases retaining documents as required by Rule 1.15(d)(1) in electronic form is ethical. Likewise, it is ethical to store confidential client with a third party, whether on tape backups or otherwise. But prior to outsourcing the storage and maintenance of client data to a third party, lawyers must ensure that they have a basic understanding of the services and technologies provided by the provider and must exercise due diligence in researching the provider and the services provided.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and 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 niki@mycaseinc.com.

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Win a copy of "Solo by Choice" or "Social Media for Lawyers"

Social media book cover
Each month at the MyCase blog, we hold a giveaway. Last month two Geminus Genius iPad cases were up for grabs. This month, don’t forget to enter to win one of two books:

If you’d like a chance to win, head on over to the MyCase blog and sign up!

And, while you’re at it, check out my past posts there about law practice management and legal technology issues, including mobile computing and cloud computing for lawyers.

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2012 holiday gift guide for tech savvy lawyers

Stacked3This week's Daily Record column is entitled "2012 holiday gift guide for tech savvy lawyers."

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

*****

2012 holiday gift guide for tech savvy lawyers

It’s that time of year again! Time to go on a buying frenzy for all of the special people in your life. And if one of those people just happens to be a lawyer with a fondness for technology, then you’ve come to the right place, because have I got a bunch of great ideas for you!*

First, there’s the newly released iPad mini. Although when first announced, it was met with a lukewarm response by critics, with some comparing it to an oversized iPhone, over time, many of those very same people have done a complete 180 and now pronounce their love for this new device.

Lawyers in particular seem to be enamored with the iPad mini, in part because of its smaller size. Instead of carrying the larger, heavier, traditional iPad in their briefcases, many are noting that its smaller size makes it ideal for tucking into small bag or into the pocket of a man’s jacket. It’s also less obtrusive, thus making it easier to skim over pleadings or other documents while waiting for one’s turn in court.

And, regardless of whether the attorney in your life has the iPad mini or the larger iPad, there are an assortment of apps developed specifically for lawyers including pre-trial apps such as DocketLaw, Mobile Transcript, iPleading, Deponent, and TranscriptPad. And don’t forget the trial apps, including Jury Tracker, iJury, iJuror, JuryStar, Trial Directory, Exhibit A and TrialPad.

And don’t forget iPad cases! If you’re in the market for an iPad case and keyboard, consider IPEVO’s Typi Folio case with wireless bluetooth keyboard. This is one of my favorite cases of this type, in part because it’s very functional and so much more attractive than most other keyboard iPad cases. Another case to consider is the Geminus Genius iPad case, a case that resembles the leather bound paper calendar cases that lawyers used to (and some still do!) take with them to court.

Books always make great presents and there are a number of useful and interesting books that were released over the last year that would be ideal presents for any lawyer.

First, there’s Mitch Kowalski’s wonderful new book, “Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century,” which was published by the American Bar Association earlier this year. This book is about Mitchell’s vision of reinventing the delivery of legal services to conform with the 21st century world that we now live in.

Another informative book about the changing legal landscape and how lawyers can adapt to is it Steph Kimbro’s recently published ABA book “Limited Scope Legal Services: Unbundling and the Self-Help Client.

And for those looking for some of the best advice out there and tips on going solo, there's Carolyn Elefant's wonderful and recently updated book, "Solo By Choice 2011-2012: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be" and her newly released "Companion Guide."

For lawyers interested in learning how to use the Internet to conduct cost-effective (and oftentimes free) investigative and legal research, there’s the “Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet,” written by Carole Levitt and Mark E. Rosch. This book that offers a vast amount of information and guidance for lawyers seeking to use the Internet to conduct investigative and legal research.

And, last but not least, my latest ABA book, “Cloud Computing for Lawyers” was published earlier this year. This book includes a thorough discussion of cloud computing fundamentals, an overview of legal cloud computing products, and offers step-by-step instructions for implementing cloud computing in your practice,including practical tips for securing your data.

Finally, if these suggestions aren’t enough for you, you can always check out The Billable Hour, a website that offers unique gifts specifically tailored to lawyers and legal professionals.

* All of the suggestions above are based on my personal experience and preferences, but rest assured — I haven’t been compensated monetarily by any of the vendors for these recommendations, although in some cases I was provided with review copies of some of the products mentioned in this article.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and 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 niki@mycaseinc.com.

 

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2012 holiday gift guide for tech savvy lawyers

Stacked3This week's Daily Record column is entitled "2012 holiday gift guide for tech savvy lawyers."

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

*****

2012 holiday gift guide for tech savvy lawyers

It’s that time of year again! Time to go on a buying frenzy for all of the special people in your life. And if one of those people just happens to be a lawyer with a fondness for technology, then you’ve come to the right place, because have I got a bunch of great ideas for you!*

First, there’s the newly released iPad mini. Although when first announced, it was met with a lukewarm response by critics, with some comparing it to an oversized iPhone, over time, many of those very same people have done a complete 180 and now pronounce their love for this new device.

Lawyers in particular seem to be enamored with the iPad mini, in part because of its smaller size. Instead of carrying the larger, heavier, traditional iPad in their briefcases, many are noting that its smaller size makes it ideal for tucking into small bag or into the pocket of a man’s jacket. It’s also less obtrusive, thus making it easier to skim over pleadings or other documents while waiting for one’s turn in court.

And, regardless of whether the attorney in your life has the iPad mini or the larger iPad, there are an assortment of apps developed specifically for lawyers including pre-trial apps such as DocketLaw, Mobile Transcript, iPleading, Deponent, and TranscriptPad. And don’t forget the trial apps, including Jury Tracker, iJury, iJuror, JuryStar, Trial Directory, Exhibit A and TrialPad.

And don’t forget iPad cases! If you’re in the market for an iPad case and keyboard, consider IPEVO’s Typi Folio case with wireless bluetooth keyboard. This is one of my favorite cases of this type, in part because it’s very functional and so much more attractive than most other keyboard iPad cases. Another case to consider is the Geminus Genius iPad case, a case that resembles the leather bound paper calendar cases that lawyers used to (and some still do!) take with them to court.

Books always make great presents and there are a number of useful and interesting books that were released over the last year that would be ideal presents for any lawyer.

First, there’s Mitch Kowalski’s wonderful new book, “Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century,” which was published by the American Bar Association earlier this year. This book is about Mitchell’s vision of reinventing the delivery of legal services to conform with the 21st century world that we now live in.

Another informative book about the changing legal landscape and how lawyers can adapt to is it Steph Kimbro’s recently published ABA book “Limited Scope Legal Services: Unbundling and the Self-Help Client.

For lawyers interested in learning how to use the Internet to conduct cost-effective (and oftentimes free) investigative and legal research, there’s the “Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet,” written by Carole Levitt and Mark E. Rosch. This book that offers a vast amount of information and guidance for lawyers seeking to use the Internet to conduct investigative and legal research.

And, last but not least, my latest ABA book, “Cloud Computing for Lawyers” was published earlier this year. This book includes a thorough discussion of cloud computing fundamentals, an overview of legal cloud computing products, and offers step-by-step instructions for implementing cloud computing in your practice,including practical tips for securing your data.

Finally, if these suggestions aren’t enough for you, you can always check out The Billable Hour, a website that offers unique gifts specifically tailored to lawyers and legal professionals.

* All of the suggestions above are based on my personal experience and preferences, but rest assured — I haven’t been compensated monetarily by any of the vendors for these recommendations, although in some cases I was provided with review copies of some of the products mentioned in this article.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and 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 niki@mycaseinc.com.

 

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