♫ Doin it right, doin it right
Doin it right, doin it right
The blues bands cookin and the drummers burnin down
Doin it right on the wrong side of town!!! ♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by the Powder Blues.
Law firms like to think that they do things rather well. Exceptionally well, as a matter of fact. Particularly the biggest ones.
Only problem is, not everyone agrees with that perception. Take Casey Flaherty for example. Casey just happens to be the General Counsel at Kia Motors America. In his words (and this is an exact quote) “Lawyers see themselves as Tom Cruise but most of their work is drudgery.. and they suck at using computers.”
His proof? He gave a mock assignment to lawyers that he knew should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete. When tested the average time to compete the assignment was 5 hours and some took as long as 8 hours.
He has devised a technology audit that he gives to firms before he engages them to test their technology competence. We are not talking sophisticated legal tools here. Casey is testing knowledge and use of basic Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel and Adobe Acrobat.
From the ABA Journal article by Casey Flaherty himself, he stated:
Sample tasks include:
(a) formatting a motion in Word,
(b) preparing motion exhibits in PDF, and
(c) creating an arbitration exhibit index in Excel.
The specific tasks, however, are of little importance as they are designed to test general skills. The foregoing examples could just as easily be:
(a) formatting a contract in Word,
(b) Bates stamping a document production of PDFs, or
(c) isolating pertinent performance data in Excel—or, really, any of the other myriad, routine, low-value-added tasks that lawyers regularly complete on their computers (or should).
He has given the audit 10 times. All firms failed…some spectacularly. Both the median and mean was 5 hours.
What does he have to say about the audit results?
My claims are much broader: a lot (of waste exists in the legal system) and enough (of that waste is attributable to technological incompetence to make this a problem worth addressing)
The real issue is that law firms (and particularly the largest ones) have absolutely no incentive to have their lawyers increase their technological knowledge. So long as they bill by the billable hour – meaning there are no competitive pressures forcing them to acquire greater skills, this situation will exist. The greater hours put into a file translate to a bigger bottom line.
There is something very very fundamentally wrong here. No other business or profession has been allowed to languish on the borders of technological incompetence and still be in business. Most if not all other business would have been driven out of business by failing to meet mounting competitive pressures.
Is there a correlation here with Access to Justice? The middle class have been claiming that lawyers are far too expensive and out of reach for their typical legal problems for some time now.
I wonder just how long the public will stand by before they start to call for fundamental changes to the legal system in order to bring about the changes that they desire. My co-author for this column, Garry Wise of Toronto, in reviewing this article stated that:
But in fairness to Canadian lawyers, in part, without paperless courts and automated systems for court and other filings, there is even less incentive for us to master the skills that would be necessary to put electronic documents together. Our system simply doesn’t require that we prepare or know how to complete effective “non-papyrus” documents.
I agree with Gary ..the solution is not piece-meal. We have to address the entire workflow of how we produce, serve, file, share, store, search, and archive legal documents. I was presenting at a CBA Immigration conference in Vancouver last week and my co-presenter Laura Best a lawyer at Embarkation Law Group asked the attendees how many people in attendance filed electronically in federal court. Only a handful of hands went up indicating that even where e-filing is possible, lawyers are not getting on the bandwagon (Laura happens to be one of the biggest users of e-filing here in BC, I understand).
This is a knowledge management issue, it is a management issue, it is an issue where all the players in the room have to come to the table to brainstorm on how to change not only behaviours but the system itself to encourage lawyers to bring about the necessary change.
The call to arms here for lawyers, law firms and regulators is to prod, push, cajole and otherwise mandate greater change before this change is thrust upon us. We have to become students of change and move with the technological times. Management of firms should not stand by and simply be satisfied with the status quo. They should be bringing in IT training (complete with tests and assignments) to ensure that their lawyers are up to speed on at least basic technological tasks. There are no lack of trainers and programs, both in house and available thru consultants for this to occur. Furthermore, court administration, judges and tribunals should be right on-side and equally looking at how their systems can be improved to increase efficiencies and effectiveness.
Perhaps another message for general counsel like Casey Flaherty is to look for smaller firms that could do it right…even if they come from the wrong side of town….
This article is concurrently posted here and on slaw tips.ca.
♫ Even though you’re going through hell
Just keep on going
Let the demons dwell
Just wish them well…♫
Yesterday I taught the first class of the 2014 term on legal technology for the Internationally Trained Lawyer’s Program at the University of Toronto law school. We started the session with everyone giving a bit of background on who there are, where they went to law school, what type of law they practiced in their home country and hope to practice following their call here in Canada and what their background was in technology. They also had to provide one quirky fact about themselves that no one would know which provided a light-hearted fun aspect to the course.
Notwithstanding the humour introduced by the quirky question responses, two factors struck me in listening to the stories of these bright and enthusiastic lawyers…one of which being the challenges and personal sacrifices that they had undertaken in order to cross half the globe and seek qualification here in Canada. The second aspect was how deeply technology has penetrated how we practice law in Canada and the enormity of their task – to not only learn a new legal system but to learn how one interacts with that system using the myriad of tools and technologies available to us.
There is the analogy of the boiling frog – if you put a frog into a pot of hot water, the frog will immediately leap out. But if you put a frog into a pot of cold water and slowly increase the temperature, the frog apparently does not realize what is happening…the frog slowly adjusts to the increase in temperature (ultimately for its detriment…but I digress). The point is that technology has grown up around us to the point where we take it all for granted.
It is only when you are faced with the prospect of learning all that we take for granted that you realize how lawyers in Canada have adjusted to incorporating technology into all that we do. Unfortunately there are still a number of lawyers who do not embrace the benefits of technology and what we can achieve on behalf of our clients by applying technology appropriately. It is sad that some of this group wear the distinction of not knowing how to use technology as some kind of mark of distiction.
It also makes one realize the efficiencies and effectiveness that we have achieved as a result of incorporating technology into the practice of law. We have been through a tremendous period of change from the time of the introduction of the first personal computers into practice. Now with the Internet, collaborative technologies, social media, cloud computing and all the mobile devices from smartphones to iPads and Android devices, we have new and innovative ways to practice from wherever we are with clients that are scattered all over the globe.
I can’t think of a more exciting time to be a lawyer in Canada. I am encouraged and humbled by the determination of those in this cohort to come up to speed with all aspects of how to practice law in Canada. I wish them well!
(Cross posted to slaw tips.ca)
♫ One of these things
Will tell you something.
Let`s tell the future
Let`s see how it`s been done.
How it`s been done…♫
Lyrics, Music and Recorded by Serena Ryder.
(image used per licence from VectorGems)
I so look forward to this time of the year when so many friends contribute their ideas for what the future will hold for us in the New Year! This year we have predictions from:
- Ross Fishman
- Richard Granat
- Nicole Black
- Sharon Nelson
- Colin Rule
- Ann Halkett
- Brian Mauch
- Jordan Furlong
- John Zeleznikow
- Michael Downey
- Bob Denney
- Mitch Kowalski
- Buzz Bruggerman
- Andrew Clark
- David J. Bilinsky
It is great fun to see what others are thinking in terms of where the legal profession is heading. So without further ado, let’s see how it’s been done:
#1 Post-merger local-firm marketing will increase:
- Today, more than five years into the legal profession’s Merger Frenzy, the smaller acquired firms are realizing that many of the promised benefits of the mergers, e.g. cross selling new legal services from The Mothership, haven’t materialized — they’re on their own. Further, they’re actually in a negative position regarding visibility in their local markets because they traded their hard-earned local name recognition for a big-firm brand.
- Unfortunately, although you are now part of a 1000-lawyer national firm’s proud 100-year tradition, it doesn’t help you generate business if no buyers near you have heard of the firm. Frustrated that The Home Office doesn’t feel their pain (or acknowledge the problem), and tired of waiting, they’re starting to hire their own marketers to build the new brand in their local market.
#2 Significantly more mid-sized and large firms will build their new websites in open-source technology like WordPress or Drupal than any particular web developer’s proprietary software.
#3 I predict that nearly every single law firm in an entire geographic region will proudly showcase their “unique culture and differentiation” by rotating a collection of smiling photos of their lawyers on the home page of their new websites.
The CEO of Fishman Marketing, Ross Fishman has an international reputation as one of the legal profession’s most-effective branding experts, web developers, and marketing strategists. His creative online and traditional marketing campaigns help law firms dominate their markets and drive millions of dollars of additional revenue.Fishman Marketing has designed campaigns for upwards of 200 law firms worldwide, and presented nearly 300 marketing programs, firm retreats, and CLE/Ethics presentations. A former litigator, marketing director, and marketing partner, he has received dozens of marketing awards, including the Legal Marketing Association’s grand prize, the “Best of Show” honor, five times.
A Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, in 2006, Ross was the first marketer inducted into the LMA’s Hall of Fame.
- I predict that some, not all, law schools will continue to reinvent legal education by incorporating training in legal technology and legal education.
- New courses in document automation, legal project management, legal services redesign, legal expert systems, and ediscovery management will infiltrate the law school curriculum to train law students for 21st century law practice.
2013 predictions by Nicole Black:
1) Mobile computing will continue to transform the way that lawyers practice law and manage their practices. Of all emerging technologies, mobile computing has been the one technology that was most quickly embraced by most lawyers. Most lawyers now use mobile phones in their law practices and even federal court judges in their 80s now use iPads while on the bench to conduct legal research and view briefs with hyperlinked case citations. With the increase in the use of mobile devices, more and more attorneys will utilize mobile apps or software with mobile integration, such as PDF annotation apps, law practice management software, and legal research products. Lawyers will use mobile devices to increase their productivity and will be able to practice law and run their practices no matter where they happen to be. There will also be a continuing tension between the convenience of 24/7 access and finding the right balance between work and home life.
2) 2014 will be the year that lawyers begin to move to the cloud at rates never before seen. In 2011 I predicted that by mid-2013 the mindset of lawyers regarding the cloud would finally change and lawyers would begin to view the cloud as a secure, more convenient and affordable alternative to traditional server-based systems. Based on results from surveys such as the 2013 ABA Legal Technology Survey and anecdotal evidence, I believe that occurred. But Snowden’s revelations regarding NSA’s spying certainly had a stifling effect on lawyers’ views toward cloud computing. Even so, the proliferation of cloud computing software can’t be denied and lawyers are increasingly realizing that the benefits outweigh the risks. I expect that trend to continue in 2014 and that the legal cloud computing market will really open up and move ahead at a fast pace by the year’s end.
3) The need to understand social media and the major platforms will become a much higher priority for many lawyers–especially litigators–as the impact of social media on their cases continues to rise. There will be a push by most law firms–large and small alike–to educate their attorneys about using social media both in their cases and to promote their practices. Lawyers will actively seek out information about social media with the goal of using it as a tool in their cases, both during the discovery phase as a tool to obtain useful evidence to support their clients’ cases and also at trial when researching jurors.
4) While practicing lawyers will continue to embrace new technologies and take steps to educate themselves about the ways that new technologies can help their practices, most law schools will, unfortunately, take the opposite tack. Enmeshed in institutional patterns with little to no incentive to change, the majority of law schools will continue to teach law as they’ve always done. Very few will change their curriculums to incorporate teaching law students about new technologies or the practicalities of running a law practice. Preparing students with the skills needed to practice law in the 21st Century will take a back seat to the desires of law school decision-makers to increase short-term monetary gains rather than invest in the future of law students and the legal profession as a whole.
Nicole Black is a Director at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is an attorney in Rochester, New York, and is 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 speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology and can be reached at:
2013 Predictions by Sharon Nelson:
- Smart entrepreneurs (like those who founded Novus Law)will siphon business that used to belong to large law firms.
- “Encryption by default” will spread throughout the Internet – a good thing and thank you to the National Security Agency, which provided much of the motivation for the trend!
Sharon D. Nelson, Esq.
Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., is the President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc, a digital forensics, information security and information technology firm in Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Nelson is the author of the noted electronic evidence blog, Ride the Lightning and is a co-host of the ABA podcast series called “The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology.” She is a frequent author (ten books published by the ABA and hundreds of articles) and speaker on legal technology, information security and electronic evidence topics. She is the President of the Virginia State Bar June 2013 – June 2014.
#1 – The US Affordable Care Act website will finally work seamlessly, and government contracting of web services will shift firmly to outsourcing instead of insourcing.
Ann Halkett‘s Predictions:
- We will see more education with Canadian content on the eDiscovery process targeted towards lawyers and paralegals. This will likely originate in eastern Canada, but will be available across the country via webinars.
- More firms will obtain software to assist in dealing with eDiscovery files or update existing software to take on eDiscovery.
- More firms will recognize that they require best practices, established processes, staff, and lawyers dedicated to the specialized area of eDiscovery to avoid costly mistakes, keep up with competitors, and meet client demands.
Ms. Halkett is a senior paralegal with 19 years of experience. She is the Litigation Support Coordinator with Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP. She has a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Victoria, a certificate in Journalism from Langara College, paralegal certificates in Litigation and Conveyancing from Vancouver Community College, is certified in Summation and LAW PreDiscovery and works with a number of litigation support programs. Ms. Halkett is also the past chair of the BC Legal Management Association Litigation Support Subsection and has written and presented at numerous CLEs.
- I predict that more law firms will adopt secure forms of cloud computing. This will complement the recent trend of lawyers using multiple mobile computing devices to access their data from anywhere.
- I also predict that more small law firms will implement document management systems, in order to manage the massive quantities of email sent and received by each member of the firm.
Batter up! Last year in this space, I made five trips to the plate, offering predictions about the Canadian legal market in 2013. Let’s see what the scoresheet shows.
- Two more Canadian firms will join global law firms through merger. In the event, one did: Fraser Milner Casgrain joined Dentons in March 2013. Double.
- Ontario’s introduction of a Law Practice Program to complement articling will lead two other provinces to follow suit. Nothing at all happened here. Strikeout.
- The Canadian economy will start really slowing, leading to retrenchment and cuts at big firms. I’m hearing reports and seeing evidence of this retrenchment all over the place, although no major firm announcements have come yet. Single.
- Canadian firms will accelerate lateral hiring efforts. The latest import from the U.S., overpaying free-agent partners to produce quick revenue fixes, is still growing, but not as dramatically as I expected. Call this a Walk.
- Quality Solicitors will expand its operations from the UK to Canada, offering franchise business support to solo and small-firm lawyers. I swung for the fences here, and came up empty. Strikeout.
So in the result: no runs scored, but the bases are loaded with two outs. Let’s see if I can get something across the plate in 2014.
- At least one law society will announce plans to relax restrictions against non-lawyer ownership of law firms. I’d be pleasantly surprised if a law society went so far as to approve full-scale Alternative Business Structures — that would be a Shot Heard ‘Round The Country — but at the least, I do think we’ll see the first serious crack in lawyers’ monopoly on law firm equity ownership.
- New lawyer employment will fall off drastically. A slowdown in business, a squeeze in profits, and a growing unwillingness of clients to pay for unskilled lawyer talent, will all combine to drive articling and associate hireback numbers to their lowest levels in recent memory. Combined with huge challenges encountered by new graduates trying to hang out their own shingles, this will help accelerate the next trend:
- Canadian law schools will be galvanized to provide skills training and legal career preparation. Led by forward-looking schools like Calgary and Queen’s, clinical legal education programs at several other faculties, and the new Integrated Practice Curriculum at Lakehead, law schools under huge pressure from students to counteract diminishing job prospects will start adding new credit courses that provide a “practical” element to their curriculum.
- A second provincial law society will follow Ontario’s lead and prepare to formally license independent paralegals. The actual process of approving and setting up a paralegal licensing and education system will take some time, as Ontario has demonstrated; but one law society will signal its intention to expand access to justice by granting at least partial autonomy to non-lawyer paralegals.
- And finally, my annual long shot: LegalZoom or RocketLawyer will launch full-scale Canadian operations, either in B.C. or Ontario, offering online interactive legal document services and throwing down the gauntlet to both regulators and the solo and small-firm lawyers they intend to either co-opt as partners or take on as competitors.
Change is unquestionably accelerating in the Canadian legal marketplace. The question is no longer whether we’ll see shifts in the structure and behaviour of the market for legal services here. The questions are when, how fast, and how far.
Jordan Furlong is a principal with Edge International and a Senior Consultant with Stem Legal Web Services. He has delivered dozens of dynamic and provocative presentations on the future of the legal market to law firms, law societies, state bars, legal organizations, law schools, judges, and a wide range of legal professionals in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. His blog, Law21, has been named six straight years as one of the best 100 law blogs by the ABA Journal, the only Canadian entry to be so honoured. A Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, he is a guest lecturer at Queen’s University Faculty of Law in Kingston, Ontario, and the Legal Innovation Strategist in Residence at Suffolk University Law School in Boston.
- Rather than concentrate upon developing new technology, our efforts will be focused upon governance, ensuring our children are secure and happy and use the technology appropriately
- One US law school will announce a masters (LLM?) in Legal Process Management
- Some insurer will announce that it is automating its process for obtaining an initial offer to settle claims, using a virtual server
- The largest law firm in the world will surpass 4500 lawyers (a 10% increase in one year), and probably 5000 lawyers
- Law firm mergers will continue to increase, and at least three major US law firms will fail
- One large law firm will suffer a major data breach
- Five more jurisdictions will adopt the Uniform Bar Exam, effective by mid-2015
- By this time next year, I will be removed from the chair position of the Law Practice Division . . . .” At least then I know that one of my predictions will be accurate.
- The over-supply of lawyers, at least in the United States, will work its way down.
- Big firms will continue to discuss mergers, including more international ones, but some of these will not happen and a few of the completed mergers of the last few years will fail.
- While the number of lawyers may not increase, the total market for legal services will continue to grow because new laws and regulations will be passed and there will be more non-lawyers and entities that can and will provide them.
President Bob Denney is the founder of Robert Denney Associates, Inc., a firm that has provided management, marketing, and strategic planning expertise to over 900 law firms, offices and legal organizations throughout the United States and in parts of Canada and the Caribbean. Twice a year his firm publishes the highly regarded reports on “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession” around the world.
Kowalski’s Predictions for 2014:
I have learned many things over the past 24 months, one of which is that I’m terrible at making predictions! Check that, I’m terrible at making short-term predictions. Because all of the things that I have predicted in the past on this blog will come true, just not as quickly as I had hoped. So, what to do for 2014? Keep on predicting….
- Cognition LLP and Conduit Law will continue to expand in the marketplace at a growth rate significantly higher than that of any other firm in the country. By 2025, both firms will be among the top 5 Canadian law firms by number of lawyers.
- I still believe that one well-known mid-sized or large-sized Canadian law firm will disband. Note that I say “disband”, rather than “explode”. Disbanding will occur when enough key partners at the firm decide there are greener pastures elsewhere and the firm disintegrates thereafter.
- The forward-thinking remainder of the disbanded firm in number 2 above, will rise from the ashes in the form of a new model law firm.
- No Canadian law firm will merge with a US or other international law firm.
- I am still calling for one law society to approve the adoption of Alternative Business Structures (“ABS”) for law firms. Look to Nova Scotia as the leading light in this matter.
- Benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada will receive the report of its committee on ABS and will vote that more study needs to be undertaken.
- The 2014 Law Practice Program in Ontario will flop badly at both schools offering it. This is due mostly to the last minute nature of how it was sourced by the Law Society of Upper Canada which does not give the successful proponents enough time to create a coherent and well-run program for 2014.
Mitch Kowalski is an innovative thinker, writer, speaker and lawyer. He is the author of the critically acclaimed, ABA best-seller, Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century. He speaks regularly on legal service innovation as well as blogging on legal matters for the National Post’s blog, The Legal Post and on innovation in legal services for Slaw.ca. Mitch’s print articles have appeared in Lexpert Magazine, The National, The Advocate, The Hong Kong Law Journal, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post. He teaches innovation in law at the University of Calgary Law School and at the University of Ottawa Law School. Mitch is one of the co-founders of lawTechcamp Toronto, a co-ordinator of LawSync and was selected as one of the Fastcase Top 50 Global Legal Innovators in 2012. Follow him on Twitter @mekowalski for information about innovation and law.
- Within 5 years, big screen TVs will be free. They will be sponsored by advertisers and will include chips that will make it impossible to change channels during commercials.
- The ROI is very simple, say a set costs get driven down to say $400 for a 42” set. Assuming say a 4 year useful life, then cost per year is $100, or $.27 per day. This cost of acquisition for a commercial sponsor will be peanuts, and something that the advert world will be all over.
Buzz Bruggeman is one of the co-founders of ActiveWords. He graduated with honors from Coe College and from Duke University Law School. He runs all of the outward facing aspects of ActiveWords, including marketing and partnering, and as such is responsible for evangelizing ActiveWords to everyone he meets. Buzz has spoken at many tech industry events, has been on the advisory board of the Demo Conference, won a Demo god award, and has been featured in books by Dan Gillmor and Robert Scoble. Buzz has been a long time participant in the startup and blogging community, and routinely speaks and consults on using new media tools to market and evangelize software. Buzz is an active mentor in the Techstars program.
- Could this be the year that enough lawyers want to do e-trails (not just electronic evidence presentation) that the judiciary and the courts really embrace technology in the courtroom? Here’s hoping.
- This is the year – wireless access in courthouses.
- Uptake of civil e-filing to BC courts tops 40%.
- Why not – lawyers and judges embrace a new assignment court model in 2014 and make it a success for the courts.
Andrew Clark is an independent consultant specializing in management consulting and project management in the Justice Sector. Andrew has spent the last nine years providing management consulting for a number of clients worldwide. Andrew started his career over 20 years ago in software engineering as a specialist in user interface design.
Andrew worked as an IT Director for the BC Ministry of Attorney General where he was the project director for the JUSTIN project, BC’s criminal case management system. After managing a software company for 8 years, Andrew started his own consulting company.
Throughout his career, Andrew has focused on Project Management and Team Building within an organization. He is a UVIC graduate with a B.Sc. and an MBA. Andrew is also a Project Management Professional certified by the Project Management Institute and an associate faculty at Royal Roads University where he has taught project management education within the MBA program for 6 years.
For the past eight years, most of Andrew’s work has been in the Courts, highlighted by his work in the British Columbia as well as work in the Vietnam Courts. Andrew has been the Project Manager for the British Columbia eCourt program, a portfolio of projects co-sponsored by the Judiciary and Court Services Branch. He also worked on the JUDGE Project – a CIDA funded project working with the courts in Vietnam – where he was responsible in overseeing the design, procurement and implementation of Digital Audio Recording in 3 courtrooms. A highlight in this project for Andrew was the establishment of a users group, without any senior officials, and creating a culture of users able to express their views in order to improve the solution for audio recording in the courtroom.
He is currently working with the Yukon Courts as well. Andrew has been and continues to be a member of several national committees and working groups for the Canadian Centre for Court Technology and the Association for Canadian Court Administrators. He has spoken at several conferences including the Court Technology Conference (CTC), the Canadian Forum on Court Technology and the Center for Legal and Court Technology Affiliates Conference.Email
UnitedLex Market 2014 Predictions:
UnitedLex predicts an increase in outsourcing as law firms recognize its intrinsic value and cost-cutting capabilities and as corporations begin to implement fixed fee budgets for law firm services.
They include insight on:
1. Outsourcing on the rise and the need for managed services
2. Law firm innovation
3. Law school innovation
5. GC priorities and the budgeting process
Law Firm Innovation
Law firms increase their partnership with Outsourcing providers. With GCs moving to a fixed-fee model for law firm services, we see law firms giving up the specialized services that they used to perform – such as eDiscovery, document review, legal research, etc. — and relying on LPOs to perform these functions. They are consolidating these services vs. having these services in-house. In the age of bigger cases, heavier workloads and demand for faster outcomes, law firms are beginning to realize that they cannot possibly meet the desired client service levels while maintaining profitability. Further, more and more case studies are demonstrating the ability of LPO/LSO to revamp business models resulting in cost savings of 50%. In 2014, they will pursue more long-term, strategic engagements – as opposed to using different vendors on a case-by-case basis for tactical, transactional work. This pay-as-you go consumption model will help firms control costs, improve quality and efficiencies, and increase profitability.
Attitudes change towards lower-level associates or non-practicing lawyers. Due to increased costs and declining billability, firms are cutting non-practicing lawyers, such as litigation support personnel, who are typically under-utilized and under-qualified. In addition, job functions typically held by lower-level associates (which include doc review, contract management, legal research, etc) at law firms will be outsourced to managed services providers.
Law firms slash IT budgets. As part of this trend, we’ll continue to see more and more law firms slash their IT budgets as they realize that increased overhead costs (high rents, salaries) and inaccurate risk/exposure forecasting is leading to lower revenue per hour. We are seeing law firm CIOs are faced with two critical tasks: How to reduce spend while increasing security. This is driving law firms to adopt cloud-based services that can be managed more efficiently and cost-effectively by outside providers as if they were managed internally.
Law firms begin to focus just on offering core services. As corporations look to reign in legal costs, there will be a focus on law firms who just practice law and offer subject matter experts. We’ll also see some innovative firms take steps to eliminate unnecessary spending by proactively reducing the amount of data being processed for e-discovery, resulting in a six- to seven-figure cost reduction per case which will help firms more accurately forecast total legal costs after e-discovery.
Cybersecurity and the legal industry
Increasing attacks on the corporate “soft underbelly”: More corporations will follow Google’s lead in 2014 and beef up their internal and network security protocols to prevent external attacks (e.g., hacking, social engineering), but also to prevent internal compromise (e.g., disgruntled employee leaving a firm and taking info with them). This increased focus on corporate security will cause hackers to seek out a corporation’s “soft underbelly” – including service providers like law firms – and concentrate attacks there. In 2014, UnitedLex predicts more law firms will increase security spending – both at the IT level and on employee training – to better detect and protect against an increase in attacks.
BYOD attacks will increase: As personal mobile devices proliferate within the workplace, 2014 will see an increased number of attacks on iOS and Android devices, which are used by lawyers to access secure corporate email and data networks, and which could have valuable information stored on them by note-taking or voice-recording apps. We saw numerous attacks in 2013 affecting law firms and corporations. BYOD-specific security software has been created to address this problem, however hacker attacks evolve faster than security. Law firms will have to develop and implement strict BYOD policies and procedures, setting aside convenience for better security.
Efforts to minimize risk and exposure from third-party vendors: We see a consolidation in the number of third-parties with whom law firms contract to provide services. In order to minimize the risk of a breach, we believe that more firms will strategically partner with end-to-end solutions providers, as opposed to using multiple-point solutions on a tactical, per-case basis, so they can limit who can access, store or otherwise manipulate sensitive data.
How firms can protect themselves and ensure strict vendor security compliance
· Vendor contract: Ensure contract has protections and assurances firms need regarding information access, what happens if there’s an incident, what access the firm would have to the vendor’s network to conduct its own investigation, etc.
· Hire consultant to physically inspect physical and IT security controls, evaluate policies and procedures, conduct frequent audits before sharing data
· Be aware of what information is actually being shared with third parties before it is shared
· Ensure that a vendor’s security protocols equally address people (training, internal security), processes and technology
GC Budgeting and Spend
GCs begin to maximize ROI from e-discovery projects. In 2014, we’ll begin to see organizations start to understand how to maximize ROI from their e-discovery projects as they understand the financial risk and potential exposure of e-discovery, and take proactive measures to manage spend. Already, GCs are realizing that the key to managing spend is enterprise data management, which starts at the corporate level and with inside counsel, and working with providers who can help reduce data volumes and more accurately predict TCO of e-discovery.
GCs keep a more watchful eye on costs to optimize their legal budgets. We’ll begin to see GCs look at internal spend vs. what they outsource as budgets tighten. They will focus on optimizing spend with outside counsel—only spending for counsel while outsourcing more and more lower level associate work to LPOs. GCs more than ever are looking at the internal vs. outsourcing perspective.
The shift from per-gig model to a fixed-fee model for e-discovery services. From a budgeting perspective, per-gig pricing will still play a heavy role in purchasing decisions in 2013, but will begin to move to a fixed-fee model in 2014. GCs are beginning to realize that this type of pricing model is a short-term fix (12 months) and does not address larger issue of enterprise data management. There is little cost savings for GCs because the large data volumes negate any potential savings from low per-gigabyte costs. In 2014, we’ll see GCs look at ways to strategically manage data volume and larger data management issues, which will greatly lower costs, and communicate this to procurement.
In the past, GCs focused just on legal strategy and litigation management but in 2012 and 2013, we began to see GCs focus on compliance, security, information governance, strategy areas that GCs had less responsibility a few years ago. There are now a multitude of issues in a GCs budget that a GC focuses on and we’ll continue to see this into 2014.
The rise of the LSO. We’ll begin to see more GCs outsource more and more services to legal services outsourcing providers vs. firms who just do legal processing. GCs are not just outsourcing their processing to today’s legal services providers. They are outsourcing a variety of functions including eDiscovery, document review, legal research, etc. that would normally be reserved for law firms to providers that can perform these functions. As GCs look to optimize spend, we’ll begin to see a shift towards services directed to these managed services providers (LSOs), as GCs begin to realize the strategic value that these LSOs have.
Law School Trends
Consolidation of law schools. LSAT applications will continue to decline in 2014. This will have a significant financial impact on law schools who must continue to pay for tenured professors and adhere to ABA requirements for a large, resource intensive library. As 80-85% of the law schools in the US are operating at a deficit, we’ll begin to see a consolidation of law schools that are not able to make their numbers.
Externships decline. Because Law schools are operating at a deficit, we’ll begin to see fewer and fewer externships as law firms strapped by corporations tightening their budgets begin to refuse to pay for these externships.
We’ll continue to see fewer jobs available for graduates. Corporations will refuse to pay the high rates that law firms charge for low to mid-level legal work normally handled by junior associates. This will force law firms to find a more cost-effective way of doing the work, such as outsourcing, which leaves fewer entry-level law firm jobs for graduates. Those that do get hired will not benefit from having learned these tasks, and therefore will have limited understanding on how they are done – creating inefficiencies.
Law Schools partner with services providers to help with job skills for after law school. In 2013 we saw law schools partnering with services providers to expand training for students in skills and technologies they would not normally learn on the job. We’ll continue to see this in 2014. Like a medical residency program, this gives law students real-world practical experience, exposure to actual legal matters, and hands-on experience of working in their field.
UnitedLex is a global company with a singular mission to improve the performance of law departments, law firms and academic institutions. We provide unparalleled solutions to address the risk, efficiency and effectiveness goals of our clients in North America, Europe and Asia. Our more than 1,500 attorneys, engineers and consultants drive economies of scale and knowledge in the areas of litigation, contracting, intellectual property, general legal and operations to deliver seven and eight figure benefit to our clients. Founded in 2006 and with more than $250 million in assets, UnitedLex deploys the right blend of service and technology in supporting the world’s leading corporations and law firms. UnitedLex is the only full service LSO recognized by Chambers & Partners as a Tier One/Band One legal service provider.
David J. Bilinsky
Like Jordan, I am going back to my predictions for 2013 to see how well I did …so here goes. Here is a short list of last’s year’s predictions with comments (Came True, Coming True, Still Waiting or Strikeout):
#10 Law Schools will embrace distance education as a way to expand their market and to bring in sessional lecturers that ordinarily would be cost-prohibitive:
Still Waiting: I haven’t seen a big uptake in distance education in 2013 with perhaps the University of Toronto Law School being a positive exception. However, I think that this will come true in time.
#9 Education in Law Schools will incorporate greater MBA-related training:
Coming true: I think with the new Law Practice Program in Ontario we are moving to more of a skills-oriented legal education that will incorporate more of an emphasis on practising law including required business management skills.
#8 Non-lawyers involved in the delivery of legal services:
Coming true: Ontario and BC are currently expanding the ability of paralegals to render legal services. I believe this will be matched in other Canadian and American jurisdictions. I also believer that other near-legal professions will call for greater powers to render legal-type services in order to match the increasing need for affordable access-to-justice (such as Notary Publics in BC).
For example, the Benchers of the Law Society of BC in December, 2013 approved the following task force recommendations:
- The Law Society and the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia seek to merge regulatory operations.
- That a program be created by which the legal regulator provide paralegals who have met specific, prescribed education and/or training standards with a certificate that would allow them to be held out as “certified paralegals.”
- That the Law Society develop a regulatory framework by which other providers of legal services could provide credentialed and regulated legal services in the public interest.
#7 Lawyers as Leaders:
Coming True: The CBA with its Future’s Initiative is starting the dialogue on having the profession consider its role in society including a greater emphasis for lawyers to take on a future interest in leadership.
#6 Effect on Judiciary / Court services:
Coming True: The new Online Dispute Resolution / Alternative Dispute Resolution Model is working its way to becoming reality in BC in the new Dispute Resolution Tribunal as an alternative to Small Claims Court. I think other provinces are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach before implementing their own versions of this initiative.
#5 Access to Justice:
Still Waiting: While there are increasing calls for better access to justice, there is still no clear path forward.
#4 Globalization Effects will continue to be felt:
Fail: At least for the moment, we haven’t really felt any of the big effects of globalization (yet) in the Canadian legal market. Time may change this…
#3 Alternative Business Structures:
Still Waiting: ABS’s are still not a reality in Canada with some very limited exceptions in BC and Ontario. However, I think this is just a matter of time before this dyke breaks and we see greater innovation in terms of how legal services can and will be delivered in Canada.
#2 Greater Uniformity across Jurisdictions:
Coming True: Canadian law societies are moving towards adopting a common model code (for example, The new Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia which came into effect on Jan 1, 2013 and which is based on the Federation of Law Societies’ Model Code of Professional Conduct). Furthermore all provincial law societies are moving towards adoption of the new National Mobility Agreement with the northern territories expected to follow in 2014.
#1 Technology will continue to reform Law and Legal Practice:
Coming True: The fact that iPads are carried to court by approximately 1/3 of lawyers today (per the latest ABA LTRC survey) shows that technology is on a perhaps slow but steady pace to reform how we practice law. The bigger change is yet to occur: namely not just using technology to practice faster and more efficiently but looking at how technology can rework how to deliver justice and legal services, such as adopting Online Dispute Resolution.
So with my past history as a backdrop, here are my predictions for 2014:
#1 There will be continued calls for greater pro-bono work by lawyers to try to address the access to justice problem. The problem is, as I see it, that to achieve real change and real access to justice we have to change the structure of how justice is delivered. This would mean looking at one big sacred cow in the Canadian legal establishment, and that is to access justice you have to go to court. My prediction is that cash-strapped governments across Canada will be looking at lower cost ways to provide justice such as through Alternative Dispute Resolution and in particular, using Online Dispute Resolution methods that will leave judges (and perhaps lawyers) out of the process.
#2 At least one Law Society in Canada will start the dialogue on truly implementing Alternative Business Structures in the legal profession. This will not be done for any other reason but out of a realization that near-legal service providers (such as LegalZoom) are much more competitive than initially thought and ABS’s are seen as a way to allow law firms to innovate and access capital markets that are presently unavailable to them in order to be able to mount a real competitive response to the LegalZooms of the world.
#3 Security and Privacy will assume a much greater importance in law firms. Lawyers will be under greater pressures from corporate clients to step up their security and privacy policies and communication technology to ensure that client confidences are as fully protected as possible. Corporate clients will be calling on their legal providers to move to secure webmail, secure client portals and other methods of secure and perhaps encrypted communication aside from unencrypted and insecure email.
#4 The Snowden revelations will renew calls by law firms to use only on-line backups and cloud services that are fully hosted and protected in Canada. As a result we will see a move away from USA and other foreign-based cloud services.
#5 We will reach a tipping-point where a critical mass of lawyers realize that the legal profession needs to seriously examine how the profession is regulated in order to ensure its continued relevance. While the profession is very conservative and careful in making any changes, the environment in which it operates is increasingly volatile and changing. These two factors will come increasingly into conflict, forcing the profession to confront that it needs a much more flexible method to really implement change.
#6 Application numbers for law school will start to fall. With the difficulties for new grads to find articling positions and new lawyers to find jobs, students that may have looked to law as a career will look elsewhere. This will be a major shakeup for law schools and a wake-up call for the profession.
#7 The retiring of the XP operating system by Microsoft in April 2014 will cause law firms across Canada to scramble to update their software and hardware. There will be a hue and cry as lawyers will have to increase their tech spending and learn how to use the new systems.
#8 Mobile devices will become increasingly integrated into the legal enterprise. Lawyers will want to take their iPads, phablets, and other mobile devices to court, to the ski cabin, to the cottage and to home to work on their files – seamlessly. This will only increase the demand for secure Canadian-based cloud services to support these mobile devices.
#9 Document Management will (finally) come front and centre in law firms. No longer will law firms have their files and documents strewn across email, webmail, email attachments, cloud services, laptops and home computers and portable devices. IT departments will implement enterprise-wide document management applications to ensure that all information on a client and their file can be found in one place – easily, securely and in a way that can be backed up and protected against disasters.
#10 Lawyers will (finally) realize that they need to develop skills to deal with change. No longer will it be able for a skilled and competent lawyer to be able to say that they are a luddite when it comes to technology. Our client’s matters are so increasingly entwined with technology that it will be an increasingly important skill to be able to understand technology and its interplay in our client’s issues in order to deliver competent legal advice. But dealing with technology is only part of the situation. Change is happening so fast that law firm leaders must be increasingly able to lead change in their environments in order to remain competitive. New challenges demand new skills – and dealing with change will be front and center.
David J. Bilinsky is a Practice Management Consultant and lawyer for the Law Society of British Columbia. He has recently been named a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR) at the University of Massachusetts. He is also a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and past Editor-in-Chief of ABA’s Law Practice Magazine.
David is an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University teaching a totally online, graduate level course in the Masters of Arts in Applied Legal Studies program. This MA program received the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education. He has designed and is presently teaching a course on legal technology for the University of Toronto Law School.
Dave’s mission in life is to empower lawyers to anticipate the changes, realize the opportunities, face the challenges and embrace the expanding possibilities of the application of practice management concepts to the practice of law in innovative ways that provide service excellence.
Dave is the founder and Chair of the Pacific Legal Technology Conference and a past Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s TECHSHOW.
Dave writes regularly for many publications in the USA and Canada including being a contributor to the award-winning blog www.slaw.ca and tips.slaw.ca as well as his own blog: www.thoughtfullaw.com. His articles have been translated into several languages and republished across the globe.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writer and should not be inferred as those of the Law Society of British Columbia.
Well there you have it! We have had a huge response to the call for predictions for 2014. One of these things will surely tell you something about what 2014 will hold in store!
♫ Yeah yeah yeah yeah
I feel so alive
Now is the time
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Let’s shout it out…♫
Music and lyrics by Wally Lopez, recorded by Jasmin Villegas.
Now is the time to nominate deserving blogs for the 2013 Clawbie Awards! There were so many to consider that, as usual, I had a very hard time just picking three. I am going to confine my nominations to BC Blogs, thinking that there are so many others back east that can nominate blogs in their jurisdictions that together we can help unearth the best in Canada. So with no further ado:
1. BC Law Watch Blog: Dye & Durham is BC’s full-service legal registry expert. “Founded in 1874, Dye & Durham Corporation (D&D) has been a reliable provider of timely and accurate information for well over a century. With 150 employees and 5 locations, we are also the largest, most comprehensive provider of legal support services in British Columbia and across Canada.” They have just done a great job in keeping the legal profession up to date on the developments within the legal profession in British Columbia with their BC Law Watch Blog. They also tweet at @bclawwatch. A ‘must read’ if you practice law in BC and they are a fine example for other similar legal service blogs in other jurisdictions.
2. J.P. Boyd on Family Law Blog: John-Paul Boyd is the executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, a non-profit society affiliated with the University of Calgary. Before joining the institute, John-Paul practiced for thirteen years as an arbitrator, parenting coordinator, collaborative practitioner, mediator and litigator in Vancouver, BC.
John-Paul is the founding author of the public legal education wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law (originally published as JP Boyd’s BC Family Law Resource) and its syndicated companion blog, J.P. Boyd 0n Family Law. A wonderful resource on all matters involved with family law.
3. Eric Magraken’s BC Injury Law Blog: Again this year Eric has continued his wonderful blog on BC Injury Law and its developments. I constantly refer young lawyers who are interested in setting up a blog to visit Eric’s site and learn from his fine example.
Honourable Mentions: I can’t just leave it here. Here are the ones that fully deserve a mention, if I could only nominate more (and these are not limited to BC Blogs):
1. Stanley Rule’s Rule of Law Blog: I love the clever name but there is much much more to Stanley’s blog than just a clever name. As Stanley says: “I am a lawyer at the law firm of Sabey Rule LLP who works with people, assisting them with estate planning, probate and estate administration. I also assist people in resolving disputes about wills and estates. In this blog, I write about some of the legal topics that I deal with in my law practice, and about other legal issues that interest me. In doing so, I hope that I help others learn more about law, and that I encourage discussion about law and law reform. I hope that, in some small way, I help nurture the rule of law.”
2. Samantha Collier’s Social Media for Law Firms Blog: Samantha’s blog is clever, eye-appealing and full of great content. Not surprisingly: “Samantha Collier assists lawyers, law firms and legal industry consultants in their social media marketing efforts. The author of Social Media for Law Firms, winner of the 2011 Canadian Law Blog Awards in the Best Practice Management Category, Samantha is also recognized in ”The 24: Canada’s Top Legal Social Media Influencers” from The Counsel Network.”
3. Jordan Furlong’s Law21 Blog: Jordan is one of the judges and as such his blog is ineligible for an award. But he doesn’t need one. His blog is simply excellent in terms of setting forth his views in looking forward to where the legal profession is heading…even if others do not agree with him. In Jordan’s own words: “I’m a lawyer, speaker, industry analyst, and consultant based in Ottawa, Canada. I’m a principal with the global consulting firm Edge International and a senior consultant with legal web development company Stem Legal Web Enterprises. I specialize in delivering dynamic and thought-provoking presentations to law firms, practice groups, and legal organizations at a time of unprecedented marketplace change.”
4. Dan Pinnington’s Avoid a Claim Blog: Dan’s work on attempted frauds against lawyers and law firms is just the tip of the iceberg on this blog. This is a wonderful blog and just worth anyone’s time, particularly if they suspect that they have received an email or other fraud solicitation.
5. Slaw.ca: Simon Fodden’s brainchild is the leading legal blog in Canada, hands down. Another ‘must read’ by all lawyers of every practice area in Canada.
Those are my nominations for 2013. Yeah Yeah Yeah let’s shout it out!~
♫ Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright..♫
Music by Franz Xaver Gruber, lyrics by Joseph Mohr, recorded by the Argyle Alumni Choir.
As in seasons past, I would like to pause from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives we all lead and warmly wish each and everyone the Best of the Holiday Season, Merry Christmas and a Wonderful and Happy New Year. With each passing year I feel 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. For now and always, may your dreams become hopes, your hopes become plans and your plans become realities in the New Year.
My gift to you again this year is a few minutes of music and images, a time of joy and reflection in looking back at the year’s past events. This musical slide show combines two of my loves: photography and music. With some exceptions, most images have all been taken during the last 12 months with a Panasonic DMS-G3 camera with the 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 lens or an Olympus TOUGH with an Olympus 4.5-15 mm f/2.0-4.9 lens.
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 course perhaps the most well-known Christmas hymn: “Silent Night”; from Wikipedia: “(German: Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht) is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in March 2011.” It 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 do take a bit of time to load. The time between slides has been extended just a wee bit since last year some people said there wasn’t enough time per slide to really see the image. I hope this works better!
Best wishes for a safe holiday!
(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 Seasons Greetings slide shows can be viewed here:
♫ ‘Cause In These Times, These Changing Times
A Transition Is Occuring And I Am Not Blind
As The Pendlum Swings A New Age We Enter…♫
Music, lyrics and recorded by The Beastie Boys.
This is a guest post from the British Columbia Land Title & Survey Authority. I am publishing it here as it raises important issues for all those who file documents in the Land Title System in British Columbia.
LTSA Updates System Requirements for its Electronic Services
Support to end for Internet Explorer 7 and 8, and Windows XP
December 5, 2013
The Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) has updated the system requirements for its Electronic Services in anticipation of the myLTSA portal which will be in full operation on May 1, 2014.
The new system requirements recommend customers use Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) versions 9 or 10. Customers should apply all software updates to their browser, have compatibility mode disabled, and set their browser’s encryption level to at least 256-bit.
As of January 2014, the LTSA will discontinue support of IE 7, and one year later in January 2015 will discontinue support of IE 8. The LTSA will also end support of Windows XP operating system in April 2014 which is when Microsoft will terminate its support of this operating system. Support by Microsoft of IE 7 and IE 8 will end in January 2015. For more information, see www.microsoft.com
To comply with the LTSA’s updated system requirements, these important changes may be required:
- Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8 and Windows XP users should upgrade to a higher version within the time period specified. To upgrade, visit www.microsoft.com
- Compatibility mode settings should be disabled in all versions of IE (this is the default setting)
- Minimum encryption level should be 256-bit in all versions of IE (this is the default setting in IE 8 and higher)
The LTSA’s Electronic Services can be used on any computer with an Internet connection and support the following versions of Internet Explorer and Windows operating system:
Internet Explorer version 7
- Apply all Microsoft software updates.
- Support for Internet Explorer 7 will end in January 2014.
Internet Explorer version 8
- Apply all Microsoft software updates.
- Support for Internet Explorer 8 will end in January 2015.
Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10
- Recommended. Apply all Microsoft software updates applied.
Microsoft Windows XP
- Apply Service Pack 3. Support will end in April 2014.
Microsoft Windows Vista
- Apply Service Pack 2.
Microsoft Windows 7
- Recommended. Apply Service Pack 1. (more…)
♫ 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) (email@example.com), Joe Kashi (Alaska) (firstname.lastname@example.org), David Paul (Kamloops) (email@example.com ), Darin Thompson (Victoria) (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Ron Usher (Vancouver) (email@example.com) , Dan Parlow (Vancouver) (firstname.lastname@example.org), S. Ester Chung (Vancouver) (email@example.com ), Nicole Garton-Jones (Vancouver) (Nicole@bcheritagelaw.com) and your humble scribe (Vancouver) (firstname.lastname@example.org)] 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!