♫ Let’s tell the future
Let’s see how it’s been done
By numbers, by mirrors, by water
By dots made at random on paper…♫
Lyrics, Music and recorded by Susan Vega.
(images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fire_craker.jpg and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:San_Diego_Fireworks.jpg – creative commons licence)
“The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create it” has been variously attributed to many authors, particularly Dennis Gabor.
Accordingly this is a call for all gentle readers to contribute their tips and predictions for 2014! Last year we heard from Stephanie Kimbro, Nate Russell, Tom Spraggs, Richard Granat, Jean Francois De Rico, Mitch Kowalski, John Zeleznikow, Andrew Clark, Colin Rule, Robert Denney, Ross Fishman, Noric Dilanchian, Steve Matthews and of course, Jordan Furlong.
I think that this is the most interested series of posts in the year and so I invite everyone to submit a post and we all can see what everyone thinks the future of law and legal practice will be like!
Let’s tell the future!
♫ Password, please use the password
It opens the door to my heart…♫
Password, recorded by Kitty Wells.
The writer spoke yesterday at the Privacy and Access 20/20: A New Vision for Information Rights‘ workshop on Legal Ethics dealing with issues of privacy, security and technology for lawyers and their clients. The writer spoke along with Dr. Benjamin Goold, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean Academic Affairs, University of British Columbia and Tamara Hunter, Associate Counsel and Head of the Davis LLP Privacy Law Compliance Group.
This workshop was part of the pre-conference sessions and was a two-hour practice management and ethics seminar from a privacy law perspective. We addressed such issues as the use of technologies such as cloud computing by lawyers, and information security considerations including encryption, adequate passwords and mobile devices.
We dealt with a whole range of matters including the Law Society of British Columbia’s Cloud Computing Checklist and other other issues such as maintaining strong passwords.
I thought I would post on how lawyers can maintain strong passwords and not cause themselves grief in trying to remember complex series of upper, lowercase and symbols to craft strong passwords.
First, how do you create strong passwords? I use the Perfect Password generator on Steve Gibson’s website www.grc.com. Steve states that “Every time this page is displayed, our server generates a unique set of custom, high quality, cryptographic-strength password strings which are safe for you to use.” You can read the techy details of how the passwords are generated and why Steve states that they are safe on his password web page. Suffice it to say that Steve has a long history of protecting client information and system security.
OK so you have a 63 character random password that is highly secure. How can you possibly remember this? For one, *don’t* put it into an Excel spreadsheet or Word document on your computer. Malware will scan for these and then you will have lost all your passwords if your computer is compromised.
Much better to use a proper password manager such as LastPass. It works on practically every platform:
It is easy to use and has received praise from C|Net, PCMagazine, LifeHacker and many others. Best of all you only need to remember one password – the one to open LastPass. You can then enter your long secure passwords into web forms with just one click.
There is a free version or a premium version for $12/year.
With so many lawyers entering data on the cloud (not to mention using banking and e-commerce sites and such) it is comforting to know that you are secure by using complex passwords and protecting them in a proper way.
So to ensure maximum privacy and security, please use strong passwords and a good password manager – and use them to open all sorts of electronic doors…
Cross-posted to slawtips.ca
On Friday Oct 4, 2013 a unique event will occur in Canada’s legal community. For the first time there will be a Canadian Legal Technology conference that will be accessible right across the country, courtesy of the ability to webcast all tracks and sessions concurrently (except for the noon keynote that will be recorded and put up for viewing later due to technical restraints).
The Pacific Legal Technology Conference is accessible from 8:45 Pacific to 5:30 Pacific – in person or on the web. This conference has grown and grown due to one important factor: its foundation is the result of an on-line survey of all past attendees. That on-line survey, designed by the planning board, contains all the possible topics that they can think of – then it is the survey respondents’ turn to tell us what topics are most important to them. This conference is not just about legal technology – it incorporates technology right down to its core. Its focus is that of the practising lawyer who is battling with all types of problems – and who is looking for concrete and practical solutions to help her practice better, faster and not the least of all, cheaper (such as the session “Tech applied to Dull Ordinary Things that MUST get Done”).
The theme this year is “Lawyers, Leadership and Technology” and focuses on leadership and change management. These are themes that are coming to bear on the practice of law as we move forward, underscored by the increasing rate of change in technology with which all of us have to cope. The session: “Implementation: The Hardest Technology to Change is the Human Brain” deals with the challenge of incorporating change into our environments.
Dan Pinnington in his post on Slaw on the conference stated that: “I think this is the best legal technology conference in the country.” As a past American Bar Association TECHSHOW Chair he should know. Dan also said:
I am disappointed that I can’t attend or speak this year because of conflict. As a past attendee and speaker, I can say you will get the same high quality content, speakers and materials that you would get at ABA Techshow.
While we will miss Dan this year, there will be experts from right across North America – from Florida to Alaska and of course, across Canada. Simon Chester (a past ABA TECHSHOW chair), Richard Ferguson (an ABA TECHSHOW speaker), Debbie Foster (an ABA Techshow Chair), Joe Kashi (an ABA TECHSHOW speaker), David Paul QC (long standing CBA author and presenter) and others round out the rich roster of speakers.
Sessions include a heavy emphasis of ethics: “Backups, Security, Privacy and Ethics in a Mobile World” and “Ethically Growing your Practice with Social Media”. The conference qualifies for 6.25 PD credits in Ontario and 6 in Saskatchewan and BC.
Litigators have their own track that includes “What Technology should you Take to Court or a Mediation (iPads to Electronic Courtrooms)” The closing session “All the Gadgets, Sites and More we can Squeeze into 60 minutes” focuses on providing as many useful tips as the speakers can fit into an hour.
The next Pacific Legal Technology Conference won’t be until 2015. Just imagine how much the legal technology landscape will have changed by then! I can hardly wait!
(cross posted to SlawTips)
♫ Innovate and stimulate minds
Travel the world and penetrate the times
Innovate and stimulate minds
For now I appreciate this moment in time…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Hard Driver.
The 2013 edition of The Pacific Legal Technology Conference, Canada’s first and foremost conference on all aspects of legal technology, will feature two major new developments this year!
First: This year’s conference will be webcast….all three concurrent tracks in the morning and in the afternoon…making this conference fully available across Canada and the web (all except for the lunchtime presentations -we are still seeing if we can make this work from a logistical standpoint. But the lunch presentations will be recorded as will the other presentations for viewing on the web afterwards). We will be seeking Professional Development credit from as many jurisdictions as possible that allow for on-line PD credit.
Join us (in person or over the web) as Primafact and other exhibitors such as our Platinum sponsor Dye & Durham return to the PLTC Conference Friday October 4th, 2013 at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre.
The best part: You can have a hand in helping design this year’s conference! As in all past years, attendees and interested parties can have a hand in helping to design the conference sessions that you would like to see.
Our Advisory Board [Simon Chester (Toronto) ( SChester@heenan.ca), Richard Ferguson (Edmonton) (firstname.lastname@example.org), Joe Kashi (Alaska) (email@example.com), David Paul (Kamloops) (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Darin Thompson (Victoria) (email@example.com ), Ron Usher (Vancouver) (firstname.lastname@example.org) , Dan Parlow (Vancouver) (email@example.com), S. Ester Chung (Vancouver) (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Nicole Garton-Jones (Vancouver) (Nicole@bcheritagelaw.com) and your humble scribe (Vancouver) (email@example.com)] has been hard at work narrowing the range of possible topics to the short list that is the subject of this survey. Now it is your turn to tell us which issues and courses are the MOST important ones to you!
Our Theme this year is “Lawyers, Leadership and Technology”. Steve Jobs once said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” (“The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” 2001).
This year we are seeking new ways to help lawyers and others innovate and become true leaders. We want to explore ways to help legal professionals take their practices to levels they couldn’t imagine.
By completing our survey, you help us by selecting the best sessions for lawyers, legal administrators, paralegals, notaries and staff like you. And all of us will benefit by becoming an innovator within a practice empowered through technology.
This is the only legal technology conference in the world where you, the past attendees, have a direct hand in designing the Conference to suit your needs!
At the end you will be eligible for a draw for 2 free admissions to the 2013 Conference as our way of saying thanks for completing this survey as well as a special rate for attending the 2013 Conference (available only to those who complete this survey) (the two winners will each receive a free admission only..transportation costs are not included). *(survey must be completed by June 30, 2013 to be eligible for the draw).
You must complete the survey by Sunday June 30th in order to be entitled to this special rate and to be eligible for the draw (for attendance in person or online).
Help us Innovate and stimulate minds by completing our survey - and see you at the Conference!
♫ You can count on me
I’m gonna get it done, get it done…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Sandwich.
Over on Small Firm Innovation, Gwynne Monahan has posed the following challenge:
Write a post that describes what quick, uncomplicated, untechnological habits or practices make all the difference to your practice, in 100 words or less.
OK…nothing like a challenge. So here goes:
Stop procrastinating. Now. Or as Nike says, “Just Do It!”. Deadlines and to-do’s and such don’t get better with age. Enter them in your Outlook calendar with associated alarms, flags and ‘Due Dates’. Use ‘Categories’ to classify them as “Limitation Dates” and such. Follow up on them regularly or even better, use shared calendars and have one person in the firm designated to review all important dates weekly and ensure that they are all met.
Turn yourself around from a procrastinator to a doer. Let people know that they can count on you.
♫ Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore! ♫
At has become my tradition at this time of year, I would like to pause from the increasing busy lives we all lead and heartily wish each and everyone the Best of the Holiday Season and a Wonderful and Happy New Year. Recent events have only served to remind us yet again that lives can be changed in an instant. Accordingly I believe it is even more important to reach out to friends and all those dear to us and remind them that they are the ones who truly bring meaning to our lives.
To all I wish for Peace, Hope and Happiness. May your dreams become hopes, your hopes become plans and your plans become realities in the New Year.
As in past years, as my gift to you, I offer a few minutes of music and images, a time of solitude, peace and reflection. This slide show combines two of my loves – music and photography. All images have all been taken during the last 12 months principally with a Panasonic DMS-G3 camera with the 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 lens and in some cases using macro extension tubes.
I hope this slide show and music (please turn your speakers on) brings to you a time of calm, joy and peace. The music is: “Of the Father’s Heart Begotten”; a Christmas carol based on the Latin poem Corde natus by the Roman poet Aurelius Prudentius, from his Liber Cathemerinon (hymn no. IX) beginning “Da puer plectrum,”, and is performed by the Argyle Alumni Choir, Argyle Senior Secondary School, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, copyright Frances Roberts, Director. Used with permission.
I hope you enjoy the combination of the music and the images. Please be patient – they take a bit of time to load.
Best wishes for a safe holiday filled with warmth, comfort, friendship and good cheer!
(For those interested, the slide show was created originally in PowerPoint, converted to Keynote and converted into a Quicktime file on a MacBook, then uploaded to ScreenCast.com.).
Prior Christmas Greetings can be viewed here:
♫ And then just as sure as one and one is two
I know I’ll take care of you
I’ll take care of you
I’ll take care of you
I’ll take care of you…♫
This is a guest post from my good friends Sharon Nelson and John Simek, from Sharon’s Blog Ride the Lightning. Sharon and John are life partners as well as business partners in Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a computer forensics and legal technology firm in Fairfax, Virginia. As such their blog post on taking care of your digital assets following your passing struck a nerve with me. In my view it is typical of Sharon and John’s careful and considerate way of approaching life..and death. So without any further introduction, here is their advice:
For those of you who have wills, it is my guess that virtually none of them reference digital assets. Until recently, lawyers weren’t thinking about digital assets.
Our friend, attorney Deb Matthews, told us a horror story about a client whose husband had passed away without leaving behind his ID and password for their bank account. The bank would not grant his wife access and she had a devil of a time since her husband had gone paperless and was making online payments each month. She had no way of knowing when bills were due to pay them and she began racking up delinquent accounts as a result. (more…)
♫ We’re all following a strange melody
We’re all summoned by a tune
We’re following the piper
And we dance beneath the moon…♫
While attending the Innovating Justice Forum: Towards Basic Justice Care for Everyone in Den Haag, I spoke with Christiane Flaes, Netherlands Council for the Judiciary / Secretariat of ENCJ in The Netherlands; with Peter Van Der Biggelaar, the Director of the Dutch Legal Aid Service and with Alan Paterson of the University of Strathclyde. They all mentioned a procedure that is operative in The Netherlands, in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is a Legal Aid Impact Review.
What is remarkable, at least from an North American standpoint, is the requirement to measure the impact of proposed legislation on both the administration of justice, the judiciary as well as on existing legal aid programs.
Rather than just passing legislation and leaving the courts, court administration and legal aid to pick up the additional costs, the legal aid impact review requires the costs of this proposed legislation, as least on the instruments involved in the administration of justice be determined. For example, Northern Ireland states:
The legal aid impact test - assessing the implications of government proposals on courts and legal aid
If you are working on government policy development within the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service or other government departments, you must consider whether there will be either a potential impact on the workload of the courts or a legal aid cost. This section includes guidance to help you determine this; provides a background to the legal aid scheme in Northern Ireland; and includes the contact details of our legal aid team who you should contact to obtain further guidance and help with costing the impact.
This legal aid impact review ensures (assuming it is complied with each time new legislation is being proposed) that the courts, judges and legal aid will know the financial impact of any proposed legislation on their programs before the legislation becomes law. This allows the legislation to be tweaked to lower its judicial, administrative and legal aid financial impact while still in proposed form and while it is still possible to make adjustments.
It is interesting how this simple idea is so powerful – you determine whether or not you can afford the cost of proposed legislation alongside its proposed utility. In other words, you can do a cost-benefit analysis.
I also understand that in some jurisdictions, there should also be a financial transfer from a Ministry proposing new legislation to the Ministry of Justice to cover the additional marginal costs of new legislation. You have to pay the piper for playing before you are summoned by a tune and have to dance beneath the moon..
♬ Hey, look around it’s all so clear
Hey, wherever we were going, well we’re here
Hey, so many things I never thought I’d see
Happening right in front of me..♬
Lyrics and music by Chris DuBois and Brad Paisley, recorded by Brad Paisley, “Welcome to the Future”.
In this third and final collection of tips and predictions for 2012, we turn first to my good friend and colleague, Steve Gallagher. Steve has been one of those rare individuals who has kept a perspective on where the legal profession is and is going. Accordingly, I though it was appropriate that we start with his views in this final post of 2011 on what will be happening in 2012:
Stephen P Gallagher: “Coping with Change”:
(a) A Law Practice Management Perspective:
My primary business these days is coaching Lawyers in Transition, so from my vantage point, I see large geographic areas throughout Canada and the United States that will have no practicing lawyers within hundreds of miles. At the same time, law school graduates will cluster around metropolitan areas looking for entry-level positions primarily to pay off law school debt. I would like to think that our talented young professionals will start looking for opportunities with baby boomers, particularly in more rural areas of the country to continue the tradition of serving the public.
(b) Legal Technology:
I’ve follow the writing of Sherryl Turkle, a psychologist and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Initiative on Technology and Self. Professor Turkel is concerned about how we may be losing things that Thoreau thought were essential to discovering an identity. Professor Turkle claims to be teaching the most brilliant students in the world (at MIT). She claims that they have done themselves a disservice by drinking the Kool-Aid and believing that a multitasking learning environment will serve their best purposes.
I too am concerned about this “multitasking learning environment” for lawyers.
For a Frontline interview, Digital Nation, Professor Turkle was quoted as saying, “She thinks that we’re living in a culture where we’re really not sure what kind of attention we owe each other. People put their cell phones on the table now. They don’t turn them off.” She goes on to say that, “One of my students talked about the first time he was walking with friends, and they received a cell phone call, and they took the call. And he said: “What was I, on pause?” I felt I was being put on pause.” Sheryl Turkle thinks that we’re socially negotiating what kind of attention we feel we owe each other.”
This flat out scares me. We owe each other more. (more…)
♬ See your heart will lead you where you want to be, but your head will lead you where you ought to be.
But which will lead you where you’re meant to be? ♬
Lyrics, music and recorded by K’LA.
This is Part 2 in the 2012 Tips and Predictions series where I have asked my good friends and colleagues to contribute their best ideas for the New Year. Accordingly without further ado:
Dr. Frank Fowlie: “Future Shock” predictions:
- Consumers will no longer be forced to call their credit card company to deal with “unknown” charges. No more phone tress, no more wait times…You’ll be able to go to your bank’s credit card website and fill in a form online, the bank will handle it from there.
- When you buy something online and there’s something wrong with the purchase, you’ll be able to go to a single portal for goods sold in Canada, and start a redress process online, at your convenience. This is less Future Shock, as the European Union has already created a regulation which makes this possible across Europe. Like “chip” cards did in the past, the technology will migrate from Europe to Canada.
- Small Claims Courts in Canada will move towards Online Dispute Resolution to more effectively and efficiently manage the court processes. There will be a new wave of computer literate judges who hear and settle cases online.
- Courts of equity will look to technology to handle small value claims. Online Dispute Resolution will replace hearings in matters where the value is the same or lower than the Small Claims Court limit.
- Law firms will publish hourly rates on their websites to allow for consumer choices. Consumers will be able to search out legal services in the same way they look for other commodities online.
- Lawyers will begin to sell “Boutique services” allowing consumers to handle some part of their own legal matters. Some lawyers will develop practices which simply “guide” lay litigants, as opposed to forcing the lay litigant into court with representation.
- Legal Zoom, or some like entity, will set up shop in Canada. Legal services outsourcing becomes a market drive out of India and Ireland.
- The public can make complaints against lawyers using an online platform, perhaps to an independent body.
Dr. Frank Fowlie, www.internetombudsman.biz.
Judge Monty Ahalt ( Ret.): “Warp Speed”:
As the year closes out and some say the decade there is always a clamour for the folks to know what is in store for the next year. Some will look at last year and make resolutions. My Life now breaks down into three areas:
- Court centered ADR and case management as a recalled Circuit Court Judge now counting 30 years.
- A Mediator/Arbitrator now counting about 45 years – www.montyahalt.com.
- Founder and CEO of VirtualCourthouse.com – leading ODR provider – now counting 10 years - www.VirtualCourthouse.com
Each area has it’s unique challenges and will experience new horizons in 2012. While I do not pretend to be Carnac the Magnificent of Johnny Carson days there are some new happenings that seem to be clearly presenting themselves for the coming year. (more…)