3 Reasons to Avoid Online Forms for Wills and Estate Planning

ABA's tech feedTue, 10/07/2014 - 12:30



The Internet is a wonderful tool for so many areas of life. However, drafting legal documents is not necessarily one of them. While it may sound enticing to use that website form to draft your will, here are three reasons to reconsider that decision.

They are state specific.

The online forms you come across may or may not work. These forms tend to not be state specific which means your will may or may not be valid. If you are going to take the time to draft a will or any other estate planning document (which you should), you definitely want to ensure that it is valid. Visiting an attorney in your state will ensure that it is valid and properly executed so that your interests are protected.

You are missing out on valuable legal advice.

While websites may appeal to you because it looks quick and easy to get your document drafted, you are missing out on valuable legal advice when you turn to a website for your document. Meeting with an attorney, you will become knowledgeable on how to formulate your plan and how extensive it should be; you will be advised on whether a will or a trust is better for you; and you will be able to get answers to any questions you have. An attorney does more than draft the document as you say, they provide you will legal advice on why you should have your document drafted one way or another.

Websites don’t inform you of changes in the law in the future.

A website is not going to call you when a law changes in your state that affects your will. An attorney should. The laws are constantly changing and competent estate planning attorneys stay up to date on those laws. You can request that your attorney contact you on a regular basis (typically annually) to ensure your will is still valid and appropriate. It could be that the tax laws have changed and you would now be better off with a different estate plan. Either way, you will constantly be updated on the laws and you have an attorney watching out for you and ensuring that your plan will be executed as you want it.

To sum up, you get what you pay for. Using an online form is probably cheaper and maybe less time consuming than working with an attorney to draft your will or other document but is it really worth it? These are important issues and you want to make sure that everything is in place and conforms with the law so you may want to think twice before you use that online form for your will, advanced medical directive, power of attorney, etc.

Featured image from shutterstock.

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Kennedy-Mighell Dissect iOS 8, Apple Pay and Apple Watch

ABA's tech feedMon, 10/06/2014 - 12:30



A quick and dirty summary of Apple iOS 8 is here, and in this episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell dissect the usefulness of iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the other, often overlooked Android-based phones that have been on the market. There is an argument to be made that Apple steals its features from Android.

Other vendors have also announced new editions of their phones, as well as some interesting new gadgets. With new options like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, iOS 8, and Apple Pay, Apple-using lawyers need to think about which products they need (or want) and how to make the best use of them. 

The discussion on Apple Pay, and the use of mobile payments in law firms, about 20 minutes in, is worth a listen.

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Joseph Morin Explains Bestlaw

ABA's tech feedFri, 10/03/2014 - 12:30



I’m getting acclimated to getting pitched. Most of the time, the pitches are press releases that follow the conventional template.

Joseph Morin didn’t send the conventional template. Instead, he sent a short email about Bestlaw,  stating he’s a 3L at the UC Berkeley School of Law, and editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. He built Bestlaw, a Chrome extension, to add features to Westlaw. Sounds useful, and I was curious to know the last straw that made him build an extension. Per Morin:

As a law student, I spend a lot of time doing legal research and writing citations. Legal citations have to conform to the Bluebook, which is a massively complicated 500-page style guide. I wanted to automatically generate Bluebook citations for the cases I was reading, but Westlaw didn’t have this feature.

So, I started building the extension over the summer in my free time. I added a tool to generate Bluebook citations with one click. There were other things I wanted in Westlaw–like a link to jump to the footnotes, tables of contents for cases, and the option to fold and expand statutory sections–so I built those, too. I shared it with a few friends over the summer for feedback.

I launched the app publicly last Wednesday. As of today, it has 1,500 users and it enhances over 20,000 pages per day on Westlaw. Lots of my law school classmates are using it. We’re using it to speed up the editing process on the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. The law schools with the most active users are Stanford, Harvard, Georgetown, and NYU.

This is not his first foray into a technology solution, either. His previous law-related technology project was a site called Morin describes it as preserving

links in court opinions and legal scholarship. I wrote the code last summer and donated it to the Harvard library, where I was a fellow during the past year. It’s currently in use at the Fifth Circuit, the Michigan Supreme Court, and several other courts and law reviews.

Morin can add his name to a growing list of lawyer-programmer hybrids. Whether partnering with developers, as the case was with David Colarusso and Due Processr to automate sentencing calculations, and Terence McEnally who built Bernize Sez to easily connect ticketed drivers with lawyers, or using their own coding chops, the lawyer-programmer hybrid is making legal stuff better, and more accessible, for all.

 Featured image courtesy of Bestlaw.

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Changes for ESI Preservation and Spoliation

ABA's tech feedThu, 10/02/2014 - 12:30



Some background: in 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure rule-makers developed and put into practice amendments dealing with electronically stored information (ESI) and e-discovery. Great, except that most of those involved believed the amendments didn’t adequately deal with lost or missing ESI or “the spoliation issue.” So, in 2014, the rule-makers proposed Rule 37(e), which deals with the issue of spoliation equally across all federal courts, resolving the issue of inherent authority, or judges making decisions individually for each case.

That begs the questions: What are these changes and how will they affect the way businesses deal with e-discovery and data preservation?

To answer that, The Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek, interview ESI preservation expert James Kurz. They discussion how Rule 37(e) works and what the consequences are for the future of ESI preservation. Kurz explains that the rule, which only deals with ESI, proposes a three part test before considering spoliation issues:

  1. The ESI should have been preserved in the anticipation or conduct of litigation and is lost,
  2. The ESI was lost because the party failed to take reasonable steps to preserve the information, and
  3. The missing information cannot be restored or replaced with additional discovery.

If this test is passed, the federal court may then impose remedies, or if intention is proved, order more serious sanctions. He explains that Rule 37(e) will make a more homogenous legal process for e-discovery, and will solve some of the controversy surrounding the costs of ESI preservation and e-discovery for businesses. Although the rule faces the Judicial Court, Supreme Court, and then

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Encrypting Email with Office 365 Exchange Server

ABA's tech feedWed, 10/01/2014 - 22:47


First, a Word About Exchange

An Exchange Server hosts mailboxes that contain e-mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, and more. It’s an enterprise-grade system that now, thanks to Office 365, is available to small and solo firms at a reasonable price. You can use your own domain names with Exchange server and have anywhere from one to thousands of mailboxes on the system. You can access your Exchange data from Microsoft Outlook on the PC or Mac or from virtually any kind of modern mobile device: smartphones or tablets predominantly. Outlook Web Access is the web-based client that Exchange server offers so that you can access your data from any device that has a web browser and an Internet connection.

You can have multiple email addresses and multiple domain names on the same Exchange mailbox and you easily can share your Exchange data, such as your Inbox or your Calendar, with anybody else in your organization.

All of your Exchange data is encrypted between your client (Outlook or mobile) and the Office 365 Exchange server. It’s also encrypted while it’s sitting on the Exchange server. By extension, any mail you send people in your firm—since it’s always on that Exchange server or transiting to or from Outlook—is encrypted. However, you may want to send an encrypted email to an outside party as well. There are several ways to do it, but here are two options for encrypting email.

Exchange Hosted Encryption (Soon to Be Office 365 Message Encryption)

Microsoft offers a server-side, policy-based encryption solution that lets you encrypt any message sent to any party. You create transport rules on the server side that automatically encrypt messages if they meet certain criteria (such as being sent to or from particular people or containing certain key words in the subject line). The person on the other end receives a regular email message indicating that you’ve sent them an encrypted message. The email has an attachment to click so the recipient can read that message. After clicking the attachment, the browser opens, and the recipient is asked to log in with a free Microsoft account. If the recipient doesn’t have one, he or she will be prompted to create one the first time—after that it should be automatic. Once the recipient successfully authenticates, he or she will be able to read the encrypted message. If the recipient replies to the message, the reply is also encrypted.

Since Exchange Hosted Encryption is server-based, it works regardless of what client you send the email message from. You can send from Outlook, OWA, iPad, Android phone…it doesn’t matter. As long as the message meets the policy criteria you specified in the transport rule, the message will be encrypted. It also means that as long as your message meets the rule, the encryption is automatic—you can’t forget to click the Encrypt button. If you have an E-3 or E-4 plan, you get this encryption service for free. With the other Enterprise plans, including Exchange-only and Kiosk plans, you’ll need to buy the Azure Rights Management service for $2/mailbox/month.


S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is a method to send secure email messages. It has been around since 1995 and made its Outlook debut in Outlook 97. It’s still available, in its updated version, in Outlook 2013. S/MIME uses public-key encryption to securely sign and encrypt your e-mail messages. Once you have a certificate, you go to (in Outlook) File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > E-mail Security to get the dialog box:

Click Import/Export to import your digital certificate. Once you’ve completed that process, you can encrypt an email message by starting an e-mail to somebody, then clicking File > Properties in that e-mail message to get to the Properties dialog box:

Click the Security Settings button to get the Security Properties dialog box and check the box for Encrypt message contents and attachments. Then OK/Close your way back out, and your message should be set for encryption. One catch…you have to already have the other person’s public key attached to their contract record in your Contacts. Once you’ve got that person’s public key—either as an attachment or a download, typically, go to his or her contact record in Outlook’s people record, and click Certificates on the Ribbon. Click the Import button on the right and import their public key file to their contact record. Now you’re ready to send them S/MIME encrypted e-mail.

Additional Encryption Geekery

Public-key encryption uses a combination of two separate keys to encrypt the message:

  1. A public key, which you can publish freely,
  2. A private key, which you keep very secret.

When you want to send an encrypted email to somebody, you encrypt it using a combination of your private key and the other person’s public key. When they receive the message, they decrypt it using a combination of their private key and your public key. Only the right pair of keys will decrypt the message. There are tools that will let you generate your own key pairs or, for added security, you can obtain a key pair from one of the well-established Certificate Authorities like Verisign or Thawte.


Go Further with Office 365
This post was adapted from the Law Practice Division’s publication Microsoft Office 365 for Lawyers. Written by twenty-year legal technology veteran, Ben M. Schorr, this essential guide provides answers to the common questions asked by lawyers when migrating their offices to Office 365.

Learn More

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The Little Known iPad Keyboard You’ll Love

ABA's tech feedWed, 10/01/2014 - 12:30



Have you ever spent money trying to turn your iPad into a productivity tool only to find that money was wasted? I have too. My search led me to the Brydge+ by Brydge Keyboards. I’ve been happily using it since 2012. With the keyboard, I am nearly always as productive using my iPad as my laptop (and it’s much easier to travel with).

Who can use it?

The Brydge+ is for iPad 2, 3 & 4.

If you are the proud owner of an iPad Air, they have the BrydgeAir scheduled to ship October 2014.

What makes it so wonderful?

The hinge. Really, this is huge. It attaches so that you can adjust the angle between the keyboard and the iPad from 0 to almost 180 degrees. This allows you to get the angle just right whether you are typing on your lap or watching a movie while propped up in bed. Also, the balance between the weight of the iPad and the weight of the keyboard is perfect.

The keyboard. Well duh! First off, the keys are real keys and have enough travel to make it easy to type. Second, the layout does not seem too crowded. And third, the top row features a number of keys dedicated to iPad functions (brightness, search, etc.).

The fit and finish. It looks and feels like a quality product. On more than one occasion, I have it mistaken for a MacBook Air.

The weight. The iPad and the keyboard weight about 3 pounds combined. I used to travel with a full sized laptop in a full sized backpack. When I switched to traveling with the iPad my total savings in weight was 10 pounds! If you are interested, the backpack I put my iPad in is the Eagle Creek Travel Bug.

The battery. Maybe my use is not typical but I can go weeks without charging the keyboard.

One note: I do not recommend charging the battery every night. I did this for months and ended up wearing out the USB port for the battery. Thankfully, they replaced the keyboard for me at no charge. Now I only charge it occasionally and have not had even a hint of trouble with the port.

What’s not to totally love?

The black one. An attorney I met in Miami was impressed with the keyboard and ended up buying one but he bought the Brydge+ Polycarbonate. He said that he didn’t like it nearly as much as my silver one (Brydge+).

The layout. Every keyboard other than a full sized keyboard makes compromises and this one is no exception. The right shift key is small and that took some getting used to.

The speakers. If I had to do over again, I wouldn’t spend the extra money for the model with the speakers. They aren’t that great. Instead, I really like a simple device developed by a Rabbi: SoundBender. Supposedly, the speakers on the BrydgeAir are greatly improved.

What else would I recommend?

Office365. Sure, the iPad versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are not as good as their desktop counterparts but they definitely “good enough.” And now that Microsoft is offering 1 terabyte of storage bundled with the service, this is a great value.

If you are looking to add a keyboard to your iPad, Brydge+ is the one to get.

Question: What is your favorite iPad productivity app or accessory? Leave your thoughts in the Comments.

Featured image courtesy of Brydge Keyboards.

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The Secret to Secure Data in the Cloud? Know What You’re Up Against

ABA's tech feedTue, 09/30/2014 - 12:30



The issues of data security and sovereignty have become hot topics in recent years as increasing amounts of sensitive, confidential and personal information is stored in the cloud. With these concerns have come revisions to laws in many countries and jurisdictions to keep up with the changing landscape of data privacy.

The trickiest thing to legislate is managing the exchange of information across borders, simultaneously allowing the transfer of data while maintaining the maximum level of security. This requires multi-national agreements in an attempt to get different countries with different laws to comply to a unilateral level of data protection.

However, this can mean that data is not always as well protected as we think. For instance, the Safe Harbour agreement sidesteps legal obstacles to transmitting personal information between the European Union and the United States by setting out “the adequate level of protection for the transfer of data from the [EU] to the United States [that] should be attained if organisations comply with the Safe Harbour privacy principles for the protection of personal data transferred from a [EU] Member State to the United States.” This is separate from the privacy policies of the EU and the US, requiring only adherence to the Safe Harbour privacy principles of notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access and enforcement.

Throw in the Patriot Act, Edward Snowden and PRISM and it’s safe to say if someone really wanted to access your information (legally or otherwise) they could, no matter where you store it. The point is that global legislation doesn’t provide any guaranteed cross-border data protection.

The best thing you can do is to mitigate risk by understanding it. For example, know that governments and litigants may find it easier to access your data in foreign territory. Also know that foreign privacy laws may be considerably different to the ones in your own country. What’s more, contracts with foreign data centres may be unfavourable or silent on key terms.

So when it comes to privacy and data security you need to do your research. Ask your data hosting company the important questions, such as:

  • Are they audited?
  • Are they ISO27001-accredited, which will ensure the highest level of security for your data?
  • Who has access to your data?
  • Is support staff access to your data audited?
  • Can you access these logs easily along with the audits of your own users access to the system?

Carry out further due diligence by understanding the host country’s data legislation. You can find this out by investigating data protection laws in the country that your data may be hosted in, checking first that the country has data protection laws at all, and delving deeper to check who these laws apply to and what access the government has or allows to other countries’ governments.

Once you know what you’re up against, deploy and enforce a robust cloud data location and jurisdiction policy to protect your interests. Make sure you choose a cloud provider that offers hosting in your country of choice, but also make sure you investigate the country in which the provider is based as this can affect the security of your data.

For instance, my company HighQ is a registered UK company with data centres in Europe, US, Channel Islands, and the UAE and Australia. Our customers can choose which jurisdiction their data is held, and being a UK registered company, we can ensure (based on existing legislation) that non-US customer data is protected from US laws.

Feature image from Leonard Zhukovsky /

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Reconnecting with Your Passion for the Law

ABA's tech feedMon, 09/29/2014 - 12:30



Tom, a corporate lawyer, was ready to jump ship. He hated his life. In particular, he couldn’t stand his job. He felt his work was meaningless, serving no greater good.

Elizabeth was exhausted by years of big law time demands. She loved the idea of practicing law—working to help clients move through difficult life situations—but her passion was being crushed under the weight of pressures placed on her by a few toxic coworkers and opposing counsel.

Chris had an audible tremor in his voice when he talked about his future. He felt he was trapped in a profession that sapped his creativity and energy. “I’m just not sure how I can do this for 20 more years,” he said.

These lawyers expressed common fears and concerns—ones I have heard over and over again from individuals in the legal profession who have reached the end of their rope and are seeking help. Perhaps you recognize a degree of your own situation in their stories. And while each of these lawyers shared a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration, they each found a different path to fulfillment and reconnection with their professional passion.

At some point, most lawyers express a sense of meaninglessness in their work. While this is not unique to lawyers, their philosophical and analytical tendencies often seem to make these feelings more acute. And the negative public perception of law can compound these feelings, depriving lawyers of the social adulation and approval that may help buoy those in other highly demanding professions.

A sense of meaninglessness and lack of passion are common symptoms of professional burn out. Feelings of hopelessness and impotence at work can intrude into other aspects of life, creating a general sense of malaise. That’s why reconnecting with your professional passion is key to building a balanced, productive, enjoyable life. If you spend less time questioning whether your work really matters, you’ll have more time to focus on what you enjoy about your job and your life.

In working with many lawyers, I’ve identified two primary goals that attorneys often want to attain: a sense of meaning and passion in their professional life and a greater sense of life satisfaction overall. To achieve these, the first step is often to address immediate work pressures that suck the joy and energy out of professional activities.

For example, Tom was driven by a desire to serve others, but his contract work did not provide the individual contact and satisfaction he sought. “No one’s really better off because of what I do,” he said. We determined that by serving others in his local area, Tom might begin to feel an increased sense of fulfillment in general. As a corporate attorney, he brought invaluable skills to a local nonprofit board and offered to provide some pro bono advice to local service agencies. Connecting with his community in this way helped Tom achieve more overall life balance.

As Tom found, developing a sense of meaning in one’s work is critical to reconnecting with professional passion. Every profession contains both negative and positive aspects. Sometimes the negative overshadows the positive, and this can lead to a spiral in which one’s attention is increasingly on what one doesn’t like at the expense of the parts of the job one does like.

In Elizabeth’s case, shifting focus was crucial. As she began to focus more on the positive aspects of her work, she found her outlook in general improved. We began by dissecting her typical day. When we looked at all the tasks she performed, we found there was a lot to like. She enjoyed editing briefs, speaking with clients and mentoring associates. Yet her focus on a few difficult colleagues and opposing counsel could distract her from the things she enjoyed and affect her mindset for the entire day.

By compartmentalizing the unenjoyable portions of her work as much as possible, Elizabeth found a sense of relief and renewed vigor in her attention to the things she liked to do. She also trained herself to consider all the meaningful moments of each day during her evening commute. Conscious appreciation amplified her positive feelings and put her in a better frame of mind for the evening ahead.

Another method for reconnecting with professional passion involves revisiting the reasons you originally chose the legal profession. Some people seek a career in law because they liked debate even as a child. Others truly want to change the world.

Chris was in the latter group, but he was completely burned out. He was in a brittle state of mind and already looking for alternate career options when we began working together. However, it was clear from our first conversation that he cared deeply about the law—so much so that he had become afraid of the amount of passion he felt. He was dismayed at the failures of the legal system nationally and in his own cases. His challenge was using his passion to help regain a sense of efficacy in his work.

Over time, Chris broadened his practice to include more cases that were likely to succeed. Instead of working solely with economically disadvantaged clients who were not able to successfully navigate the legal system due to their extreme circumstances, Chris found he had to balance his life by seeking out work which felt more banal but was more likely to have a positive outcome, providing some important successes and closure to help balance and mitigate the stress of the most difficult cases.

There is more than one path to professional passion, and everyone should find his or her own way to reconnect with the passion that brings meaning and balance to one’s life. The important thing is to seek that path. Don’t settle for a career that saps your energy and makes you miserable. Your life is worth more than that, and the path back to your passion awaits.

Featured image from shutterstock.

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In Depth: Social Media

ABA's tech feedFri, 09/26/2014 - 12:30



Surprise! Social media is not a fad. From networking to marketing to eDiscovery and picking and monitoring juries (yes, really), it plays a role in the practice of law. But what, exactly, is social media? Community. Communication. Storytelling. Social media is an elastic media, meaning it changes and adjusts the more it is used. Twitter started as a way to send quick status updates about what you were doing, and now it’s a news source and a way to organize groups–be it a friendly meetup or political uprising.

Social media’s elasticity makes it useful, challenging, and sometimes frustrating. Here is what you need to know.

What is social media/social network?

Social media is generally defined by the sharing of articles, blog posts, images and other content through various online platforms or networks. The more familiar ones are Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Other networks include FourSquare, Yelp, SnapChat, and Pinterest. See Wikipedia for a mostly complete list.

Most social media sites require you to setup a profile.

How do I setup a profile?

With an email address.

Really. With an email address.

The important thing is to completely fill out your profile on each network, especially if you are making the profile public. Referral sources, clients, potential clients, reporters and anyone looking for you want to find you. Completely filling out a profile gives search engines content and context, and for some networks, like Google+, what you put in your profile impacts your search results.

Most social media profiles contain the following elements:

  • Your Name
  • Your Handle/Username
  • Profile Picture
  • Link to your website
  • Your Bio

Fill out each element.

Each network also has its own set of nuances, and sometimes what seem like a standard fill-in-the-blank can get you into ethical hot water–LinkedIn, with its “specialties” and “skills and expertise,” for example. Allison Shields, who co-wrote the book on LinkedIn for Lawyers, also wrote a post explaining legal ethics and social media. Check with your bar association or local ethics body to be safe. The New York State Bar released Opinion 972 related to LinkedIn profiles, and the Philadelphia Bar Association Professional Guidance Committee issued Opinion 2012-8 addressing “skills and expertise.”

To maintain consistency across networks, a rule of thumb is to pick a phrase or three to four words that best describe you and/or your practice and use those in all of your profiles.

When it comes to the profile and cover images, you can get creative with graphics, backgrounds and such, especially on Facebook. Doing so can strengthen your brand, make visual connections between your law firm website and social networks, and help you stick in visitors’ minds.

How do I get the most out of social media?

First, decide what you want to achieve. Remember, social media is just one weapon in your arsenal, and it may not always be your best weapon. Used strategically it is an asset, so figure out what you want to get from social media. For example, some use it to stay abreast of legal technology trends, while others find it a useful research tool, a method of networking with other small businesses or potential clients, or a platform to establish themselves as an authority.

Once you’ve listed the goals you want to achieve, spend some time exploring the different networks. A key goal is cultivating social interaction. Each network has different ways of building connections beyond the simple posting of updates. There are Google+ Communities, Facebook Groups, entertaining animated gifs, even chats centered around a hashtag like #legalchat or #cbafutureschat or conferences such as #MILOfest and #ABATECHSHOW.

It is not uncommon to find social media overwhelming at first, especially Twitter. We’ve got some quick tips for connecting on Twitter and some hidden Twitter tricks to help you get the most out of Twitter without drowning in tweets.

Another key consideration: it IS NOT NECESSARY to be on every network. Spend some time exploring the networks and then focus on the ones that are best suited to your goals and your law firm.

Watch the video below to learn more about making social media work for your law firm.

What tools can I use to better manage my social networks?

Tools abound for social media management.

HootSuite is one such tool. LTRC Marketing master Rose Frommelt walks you through some of its finer features that make it easier to follow, share, engage and track your social media.

The most robust tool for social media management is probably Radian6, now the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Other tools include Buffer and SproutSocial. Such tools help automate functions in order to help you better optimize your social media marketing. Find the one that fits your workflow and your budget.

Do I need to be concerned about ethics with this social media stuff?

Short answer: Yes.

It doesn’t take much to run afoul of ethics rules or otherwise embarrass yourself. It’s useful to have a social media policy, even if just for yourself, to avoid pitfalls. Check this list of social media policies from businesses large and small, universities, and state and local government agencies to get some ideas.

The Digital Edge has a nice podcast on ethical pitfalls of social media that includes judges’ (mis)use of social media. It is also important to keep in mind what you share on social media. It isn’t always just an update or a beautiful picture of a sunset, and you don’t always have control over what happens to a post.

What other social media is there?

The social media space is fluid, so while Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn may grab all the headlines, others like reddit, Instagram and Pinterest are also quite popular.

Google+ in particular keeps evolving with its Hangouts function. Hangouts on Air, for example, presents opportunities for lawyers. The most obvious is marketing, and the second obvious opportunity is group communication and collaboration. But it is possible such platforms can develop into tools for the law firm of the future or more distributed law firms as physical borders continue to fall. Its evolution could make it the new legal interface.

There are also new apps on the market, like Wickr, Secret, and SnapChat, that can pose challenges. They are part of a new breed of privacy-first apps where content self-destructs and the user remains anonymous. There are companies like Datacoup and Handshake (out of the UK) that aim to pay consumers for the use of their data, effectively turning the data broker model on its head, and potentially forcing Facebook, Twitter and other sites that rely on the volunteering of information for ad dollars to rethink that model, too.

One More Thing

Social media is elastic; it changes and evolves as people use it. Your use of it will change and evolve, too, so remember to measure your interactions against the goals you set for yourself.

Simple yet often forgotten: keep your profile information updated.


(Image Credit: Shutterstock)

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In Brief: The Shellshock or “Bash Bug”

ABA's tech feedThu, 09/25/2014 - 18:26



Introducing Shellshock.  Also known as the “Bash Bug,” Shellshock exploits a system application found on many computers called Bash that translates “shell” commands into something your device can understand. It impacts Linux and Unix Systems and — brace yourself — Mac OS X.  Confused? Keep reading.

What is it?

The very geeky answer comes from RedHat’s Security Blog:

It is common for a lot of programs to run bash shell in the background. It is often used to provide a shell to a remote user (via ssh, telnet, for example), provide a parser for CGI scripts (Apache, etc) or even provide limited command execution support (git, etc)

A more simple explanation from Mashable:

Typically, the shell needs to check information separate from the command, such as what software is running, to do its job. What Shellshock does is open a way for hackers to add some malicious information into that process.

Then there’s the more detailed answer from James Lyne from Forbes:

…may allow [hackers] to modify authentication information, start other programs and otherwise gain access to information they should not. It is a foothold in a device which you can use pretty creatively.” In other words, it provides access to information you don’t want unauthorized parties to access.

Why is this important to me?

There are machines, devices, and applications running Linux or Unix everywhere.  Most notably, the Mac sitting on your desk or your lap, the iPhone in your pocket, the router connecting you to the Internet, and that Internet-enabled camera used to monitor goings-on at home. They may all be vulnerable. Run Microsoft Windows and think you’re immune? Think again as there may be non-Microsoft components between, for example, your Microsoft laptop, your Internet connection, and the online applications you use.

This is of concern because, unlike Heartbleed, exploiting “Bash Bug” doesn’t required sophisticated skills.  As Lyne explains:

The attack can be performed using nice, easy to script commands which means you don’t need to be a 31337 (sorry, I couldn’t help myself that is ‘elite’ for the uninitiated) hacker to do it. It’s actually quite easy. The code to attack (and many variants) is already widespread.

The danger comes in the poorly managed, often ignored devices it may impact.

Troy Hunt’s post points out that there “is no authentication required when exploiting Bash via CGI scripts.” He explains why this is problematic:

“getting shell” on a box has always been a major win for an attacker because of the control it offers them over the target environment. Access to internal data, reconfiguration of environments, publication of their own malicious code etc. It’s almost limitless and it’s also readily automatable. There are many, many examples of exploits out there already that could easily be fired off against a large volume of machines.

Client files and law firm data can be exposed and, given the worm-like potential, other people connecting or communicating with you may be exposed. That is problematic.

 What can I do?

Check your systems for exposure, check for patches, and update your software–particularly if you use Macs in your practice.

If you’re comfortable using the command line on your Mac via the Terminal app, Ars Technica offers an easy way to check for the vulnerability:

To check your system, from a command line, type:

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c "echo this is a test"

If the system is vulnerable, the output will be:

vulnerable this is a test

An unaffected (or patched) system will output:

bash: warning: x: ignoring function definition attempt bash: error importing function definition for `x' this is a test

If you’re vulnerable, again, make sure to check Apple for patches and updates and apply them promptly.

Fluidity of Updates

This is a fluid situation, so keep an eye on the news and sites like Akamai and Errata Security.

The post In Brief: The Shellshock or “Bash Bug” appeared first on Law Technology Today.

Keynote Highlights from the Clio Cloud Conference

ABA's tech feedThu, 09/25/2014 - 12:30



Everything is Awesome!

That was the theme of this year’s Clio Cloud Conference. In an attempt to outshine last year’s inaugural conference, Clio upped its game this year with a new (gorgeous) venue, more than 450 attendees and more vendors to boot. It started looking like a real technology conference this year, but better than most.

Jack Newton and his childhood friend, Rian Gauvreau, started Clio almost six years ago and as the product has matured and added features, their tech conference has done the same. With big names in legal technology including futurist Richard Susskind, the speaker line up was much more planned this year with a variety of excellent speakers.

In addition to the speakers, the new additions of a food truck breakfast, optional yoga and basketball in the morning as well as a Zen room (I’m not kidding), rounded out the more technical features of the conference including the Clio Lab and Smart Bar.

This year, attendees were able to choose from a variety of different tracks that are seen at similar technology conferences. The practical features were still available for folks looking to take Clio to the next level as well as excellent technology sessions, including what I consider to be the best session in Digital Marketing that I have seen at a technology conference by Jabez LeBret of GNGF.

As a second time attendee, I wanted to focus most on the keynote speakers. Jack Newton, CEO and Founder of Clio greeted the crowd the first day with the announcement of product features including a long-awaited Android app (the iPhone app was last year’s big announcement), FastCase integration (Excellent!) as well as some upcoming features including an integrated document management system and Zapier integration, a huge win for them.

The highlights of the conference for me were the main keynote speakers: Richard Susskind, Cindy Cohen and Carolyn Elefant. While Richard Susskind may be a household name in the legal technology community, Cindy Cohn may only be known in a small tech-savvy group. Well known solo attorney and author of the blog, MyShingle, Carolyn Elefant was a perfect match to bring the technology and efficiency message back to the solo and small firm attorney.

As usual, Professor Susskind is very engaging and delivers the message of the future of the legal profession. While his message hasn’t changed in the past few years, his audience may be listening a little more as he asks, “What value do you bring?” and how can attorneys do “more for less” in terms of using cloud-based applications like Clio.

Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, opened everyone’s eyes as she brought the NSA and US government’s data collection strategy to light. While she “taught a little tech to the lawyers”, she was quite eloquent in her message that the government’s data collection strategy was unconstitutional. This was a perfect venue for tech-savvy lawyers who need to know the implications of this data collection on attorney client privilege, and a call to action about how to do something about it.

Finally, Carolyn Elefant rounded out the third, non-Clio keynotes with practical advice for this solo and small firm audience including take-aways of things that firms can do to be sustainable. Her suggestions included making the intake process quick and looking at different ways of bringing money into the firm, including annual and/or subscription services for clients. She ended with the great suggestions of using the same technology non-lawyers are using, and building your firm to last by utilizing the flexibility and nimbleness of the cloud.

Overall, the Clio Cloud Conference was better than last year, but not as intimate an affair. While the Clio’s staff rocked every detail, I think some of the personality was missing from last year. More people, more things to do, made for less networking time between attendees and I missed that. Having said that, I am headed back next year to see what Clio has in store.

Featured image via Shutterstock.

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The Future of Wearable Technology for Lawyers

ABA's tech feedWed, 09/24/2014 - 12:47



Along with the release of iOS 8, there has been much excitement around the Apple Watch. Arriving in 2015, it is Apple’s addition to the growing wearable technology market. Wearable technology holds promise for lawyers, and some early adopters are already finding wearable technology beneficial in their practices.

In this episode of The Digital EdgeSharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview legal technology expert Richard Georges about wearable technology, how smartwatches enhances his ability to be productive, and what lawyers need to consider when adopting this new technology. Having a smartwatch, Georges explains, actually decreases court disruptions and car distractions while making him accessible to clients at all times. Most of the issues concerning data security are due to human error rather than technology. As long as lawyers learn how to properly embrace wearable technology, he says, it can improve any practice from big law to a solo firm. The risks are not greater, they are simply different.

Judges may already discourage smart phones in court and many clients worry about a decrease in information security. But if used properly, a smartwatch can actually increase the productivity, availability, and even safety of any lawyer’s practice with fewer disruptions. What are the best practices for using wearable technology to benefit your practice?

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Making The Move: Taking My Law Office to Abacus Private Cloud

ABA's tech feedTue, 09/23/2014 - 14:30



I am a solo attorney, with a criminal and traffic ticket defense practice at Anchorage, Alaska. For the past 16 years I have had my own law office. For 25 years I have closely followed the use of computers in law offices.

The Problem

About six years ago, during a time when I had no paralegal, I put my entire law office on a business grade laptop so I could be mobile and use my time more efficiently by working between court hearings and appointments, rather than driving to a desktop computer at my home office. However, that solution was not workable.

I was so active with multiple court hearings and appointments, week after week, that my laptop simply could not take the constant mobility and use. The risk of laptop or hard drive failure became too great. I needed to find a computing platform that would let me retain the mobility and efficiency I enjoyed with my laptop, yet safeguarded my digital data. In short, I a computing platform where my data and applications were stable, safe, and secure; yet were also accessible via an Internet connection.

First, I put my entire law office on a single desktop computer in a small building on some recreational property I owned. However, after months of trial and error, this proved unworkable due to unstable electrical power and a slow, unreliable DSL Internet connection.

Next, I tried hosting my law office desktop computers at a local office center, which had an expensive, high speed business-grade Internet connection. My legal assistant and I would then access those computers via standard, off-the-shelf, remote access software. This solution was marginal at best — no tech support for local connectivity or hardware issues; plus there was significant expense in all the equipment and time involved in attempting to keep three desktop computers operational 24×7. I was not satisfied with this temporary solution. I desperately needed a turnkey, real-life, workable solution to my legal computing needs.

Rejected Alternatives

I wanted a secure, fully integrated, turnkey private cloud solution, run by a reputable vendor, who was technically competent, and which I could fully trust. Therefore, I rejected piecemeal or patchwork alternatives, which might give me consumer-grade, partial solutions to certain aspects of my problem, such as software as a service (SaaS) and common cloud data storage products (Google Drive and Dropbox).

I also rejected hosting my desktop computers in a rack at a commercial data center in the Midwest as it is too expensive. Likewise, even though I already owned most all of the equipment I needed to build my own private data center, I rejected that idea as too expensive and time-consuming, and because it was beyond my technical expertise to achieve the level of data security and reliability that I needed.

The Solution

In mid-2011 I moved my entire law office to Abacus Sky, a first generation private cloud platform for attorneys.  Using this product demonstrated that private cloud computing is stable, reliable, and makes economic sense in a dynamic, real life, working legal environment.

Then five months ago, I was given a chance to move to Abacus Private Cloud, a a cutting edge private cloud platform, solely for lawyers and law firms from Abacus Data Systems. It runs in state of the art data centers within the United States and is specifically designed to run legal applications.

I migrated my practice to Abacus Private Cloud. Doing so involved transferring all of all my data onto an encrypted USB drive, which was then shipped overnight to Abacus Private Cloud, who reloaded that data onto my virtual server. The tech people at Abacus Private Cloud built my virtual server and behind the scenes they did all the detailed, technical work to make the migration as easy and painless as possible.

Why Abacus Private Cloud Works for Me

I had very high standards for my cloud computing vendor:  I insisted their product  consistently have superior performance, and excellent reliability. I can honestly say that Abacus Private Cloud has fully exceeded all my expectations. It is very responsive, stable, reliable, and economical (when compared to traditional law office computing models).

The benefits to my law practice from Abacus Private Cloud are:

  • My data is secure and safe in the Abacus Private Cloud data center. No more local data backups, because all data is on the private cloud server, and is backed up there.
  • My local equipment costs are drastically lower than before I switched to a private cloud. I eliminated the three desktop computers that I was previously accessing remotely.
  • I don’t need costly application software on each local access device. All law office applications can be run on the private cloud server, not on local hardware. The local devices are there simply to display and interact with the private cloud server.
  • My private cloud server can run any software, whether related to Abacus or not. Therefore, I can run the application software that my meets the specific needs of my law practice, regardless of the vendor.
  • My local IT and tech support costs are $0.
  • My staff and I have become totally mobile, without sacrificing efficiency. This means that each employee, as needed, can work on their own schedule, and from any location with cell phone coverage, electricity, and an Internet connection. This creates a flexible, modern, and dynamic work environment, resulting in a better quality of life, happier attorneys and staff, and a better work-life balance for all involved.
  • All law office applications and data are accessible 24×7 for each user via any device: desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
  • Private cloud technical requests (e.g., email configuration, remote access from a new device, etc.) are promptly resolved by the Abacus Private Cloud support staff.
  • System reliability (uptime) is outstanding. In five months of constant operation I think my virtual server was rebooted twice, resulting in a 5-10 minute outage each time, during off hours. Users are given advance notice of periodic night/weekend system downtime for maintenance upgrades. Also, tech support staff are on-call to respond to after-hours emergencies. The high level and degree of support for this product indicates to me that Abacus truly is concerned about the viability of my law practice, both now and in the long term.
  • Abacus Private Cloud is scalable. My firm only pays for the actual number of users, which can be simply increased or decreased to match changes in firm staffing.

My experience with Abacus Private Cloud proves that it really works! Abacus Private Cloud provides all attorneys and law firms with a simple, easy-to-implement, modern, secure, and customizable way to use the private cloud to practice law more efficiently, with more flexibility, and with much less cost, than traditional law office computing methods.

Abacus Private Cloud completely solved my law office computing problems by giving me the security, reliability, technical support, and mobility I need to effectively practice law competitively, efficiently, and economically in the digital age.

My Private Cloud Environment on Abacus Private Cloud My private, personal digital law office on Abacus Private Cloud contains the following components,  which form an integrated, fully functional digital law office:  On The Private Cloud (remote) Server:
  • Case Management and Accounting Software: Abacus Law Gold, and a legacy accounting system using QuickBooks Pro2014
  • Office Productivity Software for Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Etc. : Word 2013, Excel 2013
  • Email Software: Outlook 2013
  • Software To Create, Read, Search, and Annotate Digital Documents: Adobe Acrobat Professional X
  • An Internet Fax Service To Fax Digital Documents and Convert Incoming Faxes To Digital Documents: MyFax
  • Disk storage space for all applications and all digital law office data
At the Local (user) Location:
  • One or more digital display and input devices (Desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone)
  • A Scanner or Digital Copier To Digitize Incoming Paper Documents for transfer to the private cloud: Assorted Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners and a Kyocera digital copier
  • A Printer To Make Paper Copies of Stored Digital Documents: assorted HP LaserJet printers and a multi-function Kyocera digital copier
  • A Voicemail To Email Service to convert  incoming telephone voice messages into digital files, which are then emailed to the recipient: an Avaya voicemail system, obtained through a local office center
  • An Internet Connection (wireless or wired)


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Day 1 of the Clio Cloud Conference: Fastcase, Data and Android

ABA's tech feedTue, 09/23/2014 - 12:35



The big news from the Clio Cloud Conference is Clio’s exclusive integration with Fastcase.

Exclusive, as the press release states, means that “Clio will be the only cloud ­based practice management tool to offer an integration with Fastcase, and Fastcase will be the only online legal research tool available through Clio.”  Lawyers who use Clio and Fastcase can now track time spent researching and save relevant documents to matters in Clio. No more guess work on how much time was spent looking for cases in Fastcase as it is all pushed to Clio, and no need to download/upload documents. A few clicks and poof! One less workflow interruption.

My first thought:

Interesting. @goclio + @fastcase = cornered market? #ClioCloud9

— Gwynne Monahan (@econwriter5) September 22, 2014

Judging by the crowd’s reaction to the short demo given by Clio co-founder and CEO Jack Newton during his opening keynote, my first thought seemed right. Being able to do research in Fastcase while tracking your time for it in Clio, and save relevant documents to matters in Clio, removes a number of cumbersome steps. Except it sounded familiar, and, yep, Thomson Reuters Firm Central does that. Clio has upped the ante, so to speak, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

While Fastcase was the big announcement, Clio also announced improved integration with online accounting software app Xero, and integrations with QuickBooks Online, JurisPage and Zapier. While JurisPage automatically creates contacts in Clio whenever someone fills out a form on your website, Zapier automates. I have been messing with Zapier and Slack for a  large writing project, and have used Zapier to connect Evernote to Slack, and Google Drive to Slack. Whenever I create a new Note for the project, be it writing or research, it automatically appears in Slack for my editor to review and comment. Same for drafts ready for review from Google Drive. It has done wonders to cut down on the amount of email exchanged. For Clio users? I’m interested to see what Clio users do with Zapier.

Clio Next

Clio also announced Clio Next, which includes a facelift. Like the rest of the Internet, Clio has gone blue. Newton stated that yellow was being used like more of accent color, and is still found in its native mobile applications.

The crowd cheered the absence of yellow, and talking to some attendees, the change to blue is welcome. One key thing Clio Next does is put data dashboards on your home screen, or Practice tab.

The buzzword “big data” was thrown around often during the first day, from the session on metrics to Richard Susskind’s keynote. There was acknowledgement that “big data” is a buzzword and not something new. Little of what is discussed is new; it just seems new because technology makes it so. Now you can do what Walmart has been doing with data. By putting your data dashboards front and center, Clio makes it more convenient to monitor the health of your law firm.

Convenience, I often argue, is what drives adoption. The more convenient, or easy, it is to do something, the more likely people are to do it and keep doing it. Think of how we pay for things. We’ve gone from bartering to cash to checks to credit cards to various iterations of mobile payments. The most convenient wins.

Clio has made it more convenient to see your law firm data and thus more convenient to pay attention to your best referral sources, most profitable clients and whatever else you want to know so you can run your practice efficiently, effectively and get the most out of the extra eight hours a week Clio gives you.

Clio Next isn’t just about a color change, either. Newton discussed improved functionality, including:

  • More robust document creation, management and collaboration options, doing away with the need to use cloud storage services like Dropbox.
  • One-page billing, so you can generate bills on the fly for new clients, matters and time entries, without having to create the entries first in Clio.
  • New document storage and sharing features.
Android App

Clio isn’t the first to release a native Android app. MyCase released its app in May, while Rocket Matter’s has been out for more than a year. Now Clio users who prefer Android devices have access to a native app “with the same functionality and ease of use” Clio iOS users have been enjoying. In other words, Android users now have a native app instead of having to use the mobile optimized web version. It looks exactly like the iOS version, and its key features include:

  • Track time and expenses on the go
  • Access your matters and associated information
  • Keep on top of your tasks on the go
  • View and reach your contacts
  • Access and modify your calendar
  • Offline access – you can use Clio’s Android app without network access to use your data offline

That just leaves Windows phones without a native app.

The post Day 1 of the Clio Cloud Conference: Fastcase, Data and Android appeared first on Law Technology Today.

Managing Email with Rules and Quick Steps in Outlook 2013

ABA's tech feedMon, 09/22/2014 - 12:30



Although email is supposed to make communication quicker and easier, it can often complicate things instead. Most lawyers have email clutter. Many have inboxes with thousands of messages in them. Email has become a major clutter and productivity obstacle. Two ways to help manage that avalanche of email if you use Outlook are using Rules and Quick Steps.

Using Outlook Rules

Outlook uses “rules” to automate common tasks. They’re easy to create and can be used to streamline common e-mail-related tasks. Here’s how to create a rule from a template or from scratch:

  • In the Navigation pane (the column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and folders), click Mail.
  • On the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts.
  • If you have more than one e-mail account, in the “Apply changes to this folder” list, click the inbox you want.
  • Click New Rule or Create Rule.
  • Do one of the following:
    • Use a template with pre-specified actions and conditions and select the template you want
    • Create the rule by specifying your own conditions, actions, and exceptions

To have this rule apply to all your e-mail accounts and inboxes, select the “Create this rule on all accounts” check box on the last page of the Rules wizard.

Create a Rule Based on a Message

You can also create a Rule directly from a particular message. This is helpful when you’re reading a message and you realize that you would like to create a rule that applies specifically to all messages with a particular subject line, or to all messages from a particular sender. For example, you may want to create a folder for all messages that come from your bar association list-serve or from a particular client, and to have all of those messages automatically sort into those folders when they arrive in your inbox. To do so, simply right-click the message you want to base the rule upon, and click Create Rule.

In the dialog box, select the conditions and actions you want to apply. To add more conditions, actions, or exceptions to the rule, click the Advanced Options button, and then follow the rest of the instructions in the Rules wizard.

Creating and Using Outlook Quick Steps

Some email management tasks are performed repetitively in Outlook, but are not appropriate for Rules, because they cannot be automated; they require you to make a decision about what to do with the email. Quick Steps can be used to perform repetitive tasks easily in Outlook when those tasks are not ones that can be made into Rules. For example, when doing an initial sort of my email inbox, I use a Quick Step to sort emails that require some action or follow-up on my part into a folder I’ve created called “Action.” In one click, I can move the message to the Action folder so I don’t have to go searching through my Inbox later for all of the messages that require my attention.

Quick Steps are located under the Home tab in Outlook, toward the middle of the toolbar. Click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Quick Steps box to bring up the Manage Quick Steps dialog box.

To change an existing Quick Step, click on it and then click Edit.

Under Actions, change or add the actions you want this Quick Step to perform. These might include moving or copying a message to a particular folder, permanently deleting a message, assigning a category and more. You can also assign a keyboard shortcut to the Quick Step using the Shortcut key box, which is found at the bottom of the Quick Step Edit dialog box.

To change the icon for a Quick Step, click an icon next to the Name box at the top of the Quick Step Edit dialog box, click an icon to select it, and then click OK.

To create a new Quick Step, under the Outlook Home tab, in the Quick Steps group, click Create New. In the Name box, type the name for your new Quick Step. Click an action type from the list. If you would like to add additional actions (perhaps you want to move messages to a specific folder and label them with a specific category), click Add Action. You can also assign a keyboard shortcut to the Quick Step using the Shortcut key box. When you are finished creating your Quick Step, click Save.

When you create new Quick Steps, they appear under the Outlook Home tab at the top of the gallery in the Quick Steps group. You can rearrange your Quick Steps using the Manage Quick Steps dialog box.

Once your Quick Step is created, it will be much easier to take action on your email messages. For example, if I want to copy an email message from my Inbox to my Action folder, rather than clicking on Move, then Copy to Folder and then choosing my Action folder, I can simply click on my Action Quick Step.

While Rules and Quick Steps can help you organize and manage your email inbox, you’ll still need an efficient way to deal with those messages and take action in a timely manner. Don’t forget to schedule time to take action on those email messages!

This post was adapted from the upcoming Law Practice Division book, “How to Do More in Less Time: The Complete Guide to Increasing Your Productivity and Improving Your Bottom Line,” by Allison C. Shields and Daniel J. Siegel. Look for it soon.

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Challenges of Mobile Devices, BYOD and eDiscovery

ABA's tech feedFri, 09/19/2014 - 12:30



The use and capability of mobile devices has increased exponentially over the past few years. There are nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, estimates The International Telecommunication Union. This is equivalent to 95.5 percent of the world population (1). Mobile devices are being utilized as a means of communication and as data stores in workplaces worldwide. As a result, mobile devices have become a popular topic within the eDiscovery market procreating unique challenges that span across the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) (2).

BYOD and the Labyrinth of User-Created Data

The growing number and models of mobile devices and their associated Operating Systems (OS), as well as the increase of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in today’s workplace have added a layer of complexity with regards to the identification of user-created data. Potentially relevant user-created data from mobile devices can be found in several different locations including but not limited to embedded memory, Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) cards, and removable storage.

File formats and third-party applications also present new identification challenges and can differ greatly from those associated with traditional Electronically Stored Information (ESI) data sources. Given the increased scope of functionality and the vast amount of third-party applications, additional considerations must be taken into account in order to identify what is or is not relevant user-created data.

4th Amendment and Data Preservation

Due to the increase of BYOD polices in today’s workplace, fourth amendment implications need to be considered as well. Should an employee who uses their personal mobile device for work-related tasks presume a reasonable expectation of privacy? Such considerations will likely shape any potential preservation strategy for mobile devices.

As such, preservation of potentially relevant user-created data from mobile devices has become a hot topic in the eDiscovery market place and is being uniformly recognized as a relevant source of ESI with increased frequency. Understanding the full functionality and capability of a mobile device is absolutely essential to the successful preservation of user-created data. Other considerations such as password protection and remote wipe commands must also be addressed as there is significant risk involved when it comes to data loss. Failure to address such preservation considerations could be catastrophic and may adversely affect collection efforts.

Developing a Collection Strategy

When developing a successful collection strategy for mobile devices, there are a plethora of considerations that need to be addressed as well as the increased cost implications associated with the collection of user-created data from mobile devices. In today’s market place there is a wide variety of mobile devices with varying versions of software being utilized.

Understanding the full functionality of the mobile device targeted for collection is an absolute must in order to formulate a successful collection strategy. Depending on the mobile device, deleted content may or may not be recoverable. Which collection methodology should be used for mobile devices, physical or logical? A large majority of devices have Internet capability therefore the presence of Internet history; multimedia messages such as MMS and SMS; email; videos; as well as third-party applications are also all likely to contain user-created data. Depending on the mobile device these items may or may not be recoverable.

Mobile device data types can also present unique challenges during processing and document review as some of these file types cannot be processed or require conversion to an alternate file type for review. Data massage and conversion efforts for these data types increase the ever-expanding costs for eDiscovery services as additional considerations must be acknowledged. The presence of audio or video files can further inflate eDiscovery costs in most cases as they require a native review increasing review times. The metadata associated with mobile device data types can also present some eDiscovery challenges as well. Take for example text messages (SMS). Unlike email data, text messages contain no record of when the message was first read and may be incomplete if erased from a mobile device. Depending on the case, this metadata may or may not be essential.

Key Considerations when Planing for Mobile eDiscovery

Based on current trends; the functionality, capability, and use of mobile devices in today’s workplace will likely continue to increase in the years to come resulting in additional data sources and potentially relevant user created data. With this increased development, operating systems, file types, and hardware are very likely to evolve. This will force the eDiscovery market to keep pace. Today’s mobile devices are already a hot topic for eDiscovery professionals and will likely be considered as mainstream sources of ESI in the very near future.

Below are some key considerations that should be addressed when planning for mobile device eDiscovery.

  • Have a customizable plan in place for incorporating mobile devices into the eDiscovery process which segregates company data from personal data, eliminating potential Fourth Amendment concerns. Creating a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) device policy to regulate how devices should be used must be seriously considered.
  • Develop workflows and procure the technology to retrieve discoverable data off of mobile devices for review which reduces the amount of employee personally identifiable information (PII) introduced into the eDiscovery life cycle.
  • Know who in an organization uses mobile devices as well as the device type and how the device is used. This will reduce obstacles when planning for the preservation mobile device data.
  • Know the full functionality of the mobile device.  Data generated from mobile devices can most likely be accessed via company servers. However, data might reside in the cloud or on the physical device. Due to the variety of mobile devices and their operating systems coupled with the wide variety of forensic tools available preservation of mobile device data has become a far more complex and rapidly changing evolution.

Looking at the state of the mobile device market, it is difficult to ignore the fact that mobile devices will continue to play a major role in civil and criminal investigations worldwide. Incorporating them into an initial eDiscovery strategy and developing workflows to account for them as potentially relevant user-created data stores will be vital as they are being acknowledged as such with increased frequency. Failure to account for these devices in the eDiscovery life cycle could potentially produce catastrophic results.

(1)   Global mobile statistics 2014 Part A: Mobile subscribers; handset market share; mobile operators. (2)  Featured image from

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In Brief: iOS 8

ABA's tech feedThu, 09/18/2014 - 13:33



Apple released iOS 8, “the biggest iOS release ever,” and as with most Apple releases everyone went for it at the same time. If you’re still waiting for the download, here are some posts that explain what you’ll get.

Oh, but read this first if you have an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and haven’t updated yet.

Re/Code Highlights

For its review of iOS 8, Re/Code took the Problem/Solution route starting with texting using your voice. I may be an Android user, but a good deal of my family – check that, all but myself and my Dad — have iPhones. My sister-in-law sends messages that sometimes have errors, because she is using the iPhone’s text-to-speech feature while she handles three kids under the age of 10 coming to and from piano lessons, school, or chasing the bunnies around the yard. With iOS 8, as Re/Code puts it, Apple lets you send “short recordings of your voice that the recipient plays to hear — in place of texts.” It only works on iMessage, though, so I’m out of luck. But the rest of my iPhone family is not.

Also included in iOS 8: family share options so families can more easily share music and apps with each other, and some features in Mail that will make lawyers happy:

Mail now lets you swipe to the right on any email in its list to mark a message as Unread or Read. Swiping hard to the left immediately trashes a message, which helped me to quickly clean out emails I didn’t want. At the top of each email message, iOS 8 prompts you to add a person’s information to your contacts. For example, if you don’t have a phone number that a friend lists in her signature, select Add to Contacts at the top of the message — or just tap Ignore if you don’t want to save that number.

Re/Code also gives a teaser in its description of Continuity features, most notably Handoff, which will be available with the Yosemite update.

Image courtesy Apple Inc.

Ars Technica Deep Dive

Ars Technica offers the most in-depth, comprehensive review of iOS 8, so while you wait for the update to finish, have a look. When Ars says its going to “give you a thorough rundown of iOS 8′s new features today,” it means THOROUGH. To help wade through it, they provide a Table of Content, starting with which devices are supported under iOS 8.

Ars runs through everything, from UI design changes to Extensions, iCloud to a grab bag of topics like privacy, Siri and Passbook, notes on battery life and usage, before finally coming to a conclusion that lists The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

iOS 8 freshens up the underpinnings of the operating system, opening an unprecedented number of things up to third parties without sacrificing the things that define iOS. iOS 7 was transformative on an aesthetic level; iOS 8 is transformative on a functional level.

FYI for IT Departments

Computer World explains how IT should prep for iOS 8.

It outlines things to revisit for BYOD policies as iOS 8 puts more control into the hands of users. With HealthKit, for example, Computer World makes note that companies may be inclined to let employees use HealthKit as part of corporate wellness plans, and suggests

Policy updates should be coordinated with human resources and legal teams to ensure compliance with other employee policies as well as federal, state and local laws. 

HR needs to be closely involved if an organization has an employee wellness program that uses mobile apps and/or fitness tracking devices that integrate data with HealthKit or, perhaps more significantly, pull data from HealthKit. The goal is to ensure that policy and technical safeguards are in place and may involve discussions with benefit coordinators, insurers and outside companies. Since employee participation in these programs is now a bargaining chip when it comes to health insurance costs, a third-party company that collects or manages data for a wellness program should be involved.

It also provides a good overview of Enterprise Mobility Management, what has changed and what has improved. There is a section detailing changes to extensions and data sharing, potential uses of Touch ID in the enterprise as a replacement for passwords or login credentials and  S/MIME encryption for individual messages in Mail.

So, is your wait over? Good. Share your feedback on iOS 8 and the apps you use to run your law practice in the comments.

Featured image: Lester Balajadia /

The post In Brief: iOS 8 appeared first on Law Technology Today.

Using Social Media to its Maximum Potential

ABA's tech feedThu, 09/18/2014 - 12:30



In an effort to help Midsized firms fully participate in our changed legal landscape and rise to meet their unique and pressing challenges, Thomson Reuters has created the Managing Partner Series, a thought leadership-focused collection of resources developed specifically for leaders of Midsized firms.

The Managing Partners Series site features webinars, videos and white papers developed specifically for Midsized firms. Each month, the site features a new topic that helps Midsized firms take advantage of new opportunities, make hard decisions and navigate complex situations. Our August topic, Business Development, featured a white paper on how to use social media to its maximum potential. A notable finding from the paper:

That Midsized and Large law firms are not using social media to its full potential means they are not capitalizing on readily available opportunities. An April 2014 study from J. Johnson Executive Search found that when law firms invested in marketing, including social media, 82 percent reported seeing client growth and 79 percent saw an increase in client retention. Since social media tends to be free or low-cost, those results are quite impressive, considering they stem from a fairly de minimis investment.

Another aspect of business development is cross-selling, and this video helps explain how Midsized law firms can identify cross-selling opportunities, and make the most of them. Later this month, the site will offer content on Technology and Firm Efficiencies.

The purpose of the Managing Partner Series is to engage leaders of Midsized law firms in productive, enlightening dialogue. By providing these leaders with the information, tools and insight they need for their firms to flourish, Thomson Reuters aims to become a solid and successful business partner. We’re happy to have you join us.

To download content about this month’s topic of Business Development or to see what other content is available, please visit our Managing Partner site.

The post Using Social Media to its Maximum Potential appeared first on Law Technology Today.

Why Your Paperless Strategy Might Not Be Working

ABA's tech feedWed, 09/17/2014 - 12:30



Everyone wants the “paperless office,” but many people think that it is unachievable. It’s not, but it takes extra effort to integrate paperless workflows into your everyday office procedures, documenting them and making them standard practice.

Are you stuck in a “somewhat” paperless office but really aren’t quite sure how to move to the next level? Let’s take a look at some obstacles and solutions that will help you succeed at your paperless strategy and move toward the all elusive “paperless office.”

Obstacle #1 – Mail

I hate to admit this, but this is one place where my personal paperless strategy falls down – physical mail (and paper) coming in the door. It can pile up if it is not immediately processed, so you need to stop paper at the door. Create an office procedure that immediately scans the mail, shreds the originals (use your discretion and State Bar rules), discards the junk, and saves or forwards the documents to the appropriate place-either email or directly into your document system. Equip your receptionist or whoever handles the mail with a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner (about $450 on Amazon) and they will be ready to rock ‘n roll.

Obstacle #2 – Paper from Other People

Walking back to the office from a meeting outside, you are suddenly inundated with paper from other people. Not produced by yourself, but you may have a stack of documents from a client, opposing counsel, co-counsel and your desk is cluttered again. To help with this workflow, ask people to send you the documents electronically. They probably printed them out for the meeting anyway, or they may have their bank statements online or documents already in some type of electronic format. Ask them to send you the documents in electronic format. Most people would be happy to comply.

Inevitably, you’ll have paper coming into your office from outside sources so you need to have a plan for incoming paper. The types of incoming paper can include the following:

  • Client data – including data like medical records, court documents, etc.
  • Expense Receipts – for client and firm related expenses
  • Checks (hopefully!)
  • CLE and Continuing Ed
  • Non-firm related activities – Board meeting minutes and documentation

By creating a documented paperless workflow for each type of incoming paper, the paper tiger is reduced. Engage your staff in your paperless workflow, equip them with a scanner and they can process their own paper as well as yours. Share this workflow and make them accountable to be part of the solution.

Obstacle #3 – Paper We Produce Ourselves

We all need paper sometimes. Whether you like to print out a document so you can mark it up or just need something to hold on to, it’s OK - paper is not bad. It’s just bad when you don’t know what to do with it. Once again, make a workflow of paper that you no longer need. Don’t want to shred it right away? That’s fine. Create a holding basket for shredding. From checks (that are deposited electronically) to documents that are not destroyed immediately, have that recycle bin. You have it on your computer, have one in your office too.

These obstacles are not stopping you from becoming paperless; they are just bumps in the road. The most important piece of these workflows is to write them down. By writing them down and making them part of your office procedures, you get buy-in from your staff as well as buy-in from yourself. It becomes part of how the office works.

The paperless office is not unachievable, but it does take work and planning and written processes to move it forward. Good luck!

Featured image from Shutterstock.

The post Why Your Paperless Strategy Might Not Be Working appeared first on Law Technology Today.

Video: Making a Case for the Cloud

ABA's tech feedTue, 09/16/2014 - 23:55



No lawyer worth their weight would make a decision or create a strategy without having all the facts. But with all the conflicting information and rumors out there about the cloud, how can a firm successfully move to a cloud-based service? Watch this video from the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center and discover everything you need to know and ask before putting together a cloud strategy for your firm.

Thank you to our sponsor.

The post Video: Making a Case for the Cloud appeared first on Law Technology Today.

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