Search results for the "Legal" category
One of the primary concerns expressed by lawyers and other business owners when considering moving data and processes to the Cloud is risk. Understandably, business owners are wary of outsourcing confidential information and express concerns regarding the security of their data. Another concern involves the sense of lack of control over company data and the inability to monitor the software processes used to organize the information.
Fortunately, new products are appearing that are intended to address these common concerns. Two ideas of note and worth keeping an eye on: cyber-risk insurance and cloud monitoring services.
Cyber-risk insurance generally covers damages which stem from failures arising from your use of online or internet-based technologies. For example, this type of policy can cover data loss, service interruptions resulting from server downtime, and hardware or software failures. According to the article, Cyber Insurance, Cyber Risk, and How to Protect Your Company, nearly 29% of U.S. companies utilize cyber-risk insurance. Of course, cyber-risk insurance does little to protect the confidentiality of your client’s data, but it does provide your law practice with coverage should a data loss occur.
I watched an interesting talk by Simon Sinek on what makes certain companies or people achieve greatness. To explain his thesis, Sinek makes a very important distinction in defining what it takes to achieve entrepreneurial success: some people know “what” they do, some people know “how” they do it, but few people consider “why” they do it.
The “why” of a business venture, for Sinek, is not simply the act of making money; rather, it points more to a cause, vision or purpose.
He says most of us in our daily lives are pre-occupied by the “what” and the “how” – but are not driven by “the why.” I think Sinek’s correct – we spend much of our time just “getting work done” and don’t remind ourselves of “why” we even care to do it.
Sinek refers to the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King and Apple Computer as having leaders that ask “why.” While these examples are humbling, I began to think about the purpose of my company, Firmex. What do we believe in? What is our cause?
I recently discussed useful iPhone apps for lawyers and a while back I explained how I thought lawyers might use iPads in their law practices. Specifically, I noted that iPad apps with annotation capabilities for pdfs would likely be some of the most popular with attorneys.
Today, let’s explore a few other apps made specifically for the iPad that lawyers can use in their day-to-day practice
One of the most popular and free iPad apps is Dropbox. Dropbox allows you to store your files in the Cloud and then access them from any internet-enabled device. All types of files are supported, including documents, photos, videos, spreadsheets and presentations. The iPad app provides the perfect interface in which to access documents stored in your Dropbox account.
In 2008 Nicolar Carr published a bestseller called “The Big Switch: from Edison to Google,” it's central thesis being the strong correlation between the electrification of industry, a hundred years ago and the cloud computing industry today.
As electricity became available via power lines, industry abandoned costly in-house infrastructure such as waterwheels and coal furnaces.
Nicolas Carr sees the same thing happening with the trillion dollar information technology industry “switching” to the cloud computing grid and ridding itself of costly in-house servers, on premise software and in-house IT labor to maintain it all.
Conceptually, I think Carr is on the right track. The internet is becoming technical electricity. Applications and massive virtualized server farms are far more efficient and less expensive to maintain. The IT industry will go through a dramatic transformation (again) over the next 10 years with plenty of business “disruption.” Industry titans will become obsolete and new upstarts will transform into industry titans.
Since my last post on the iPhone, the intelligent device is becoming an increasingly popular phone with lawyers, especially small firms and solos. One of the reasons for its popularity is the large number of law-related apps that are available--and more are available every day.
Here are just a few of the more useful apps that you may want to consider downloading to your iPhone.
First, Fast Case offers a free legal research app , which provides access to a searchable database of all United States cases and statutes.
There are also apps that consist of databases of federal and state laws, thus allowing lawyers to carry relevant laws and rules in their pockets in an easily accessible format.
The North Carolina State Bar (NCSB) recently issued a proposed formal ethics opinion (proposed 2010 FEO 7), which may assist lawyers in assessing the risks of using a particular cloud computing product in their law practice.
The primary issue addressed by the NCSB was whether a law firm may use SaaS-based platforms, such as law practice management software, and thus store confidential client data on servers located offsite and controlled by a third party.
The NCSB concluded that it was permissible for lawyers to do so as long as steps were taken to “effectively minimize the risk of inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of confidential client information and to protect client property, including file information, from risk of loss.”
Importantly, the NCSB stated that a lawyer is not required to guarantee that a system is “invulnerable to unauthorized access” and that a law firm’s duty to protect confidential client information does not compel a particular method of handling the information, nor does it prohibit the use of third party vendors who may have access to the data.
On March 18, Firmex participated in the ALM’s Virtual LegalTech for the first time. In honour of the inaugural venture, our team held an iPad giveaway contest.
Touting itself as the next generation of law conferences, Virtual LegalTech offers legal professionals innovative and economical ways to learn about the latest legal technologies while networking with colleagues.
To add to the spread of modernity at the conference, the Firmex team decided to give away the groundbreaking iPad (which had yet to be released) to one of the many visitors that came to our booth and dropped their business cards.
At Firmex, we provide virtual data room solutions to lawyers who seek to enhance and streamline their document exchange processes. Saving time for our clients is essential to Firmex and as such, the iPad, with its intelligent efficiencies, is appropriately aligned with our conviction.
Congratulations to our winner from Peterson & Purvis LLP for picking up the iPad – a handy tool for attorneys and, let’s face it, just all around fun!
A knowledgeable, reliable, and smart administrative assistant can be the key to making your life as an attorney much simpler and more efficient. And now, with the increasing ease with which we can communicate and share information online, virtual legal assistants are becoming an appealing and affordable alternative for many law firms, large and small alike.
First, what is a virtual assistant? Virtual assistants (VAs) are paralegals or administrative assistants that perform work for you offsite from their office. The work is then delivered to you via email or shared with you using an online platform or service.
VAs can assist you with, among other things
administrative work, such as typing and document preparation or billing
updating your online presence, including your websites and social media accounts
locating ideas for blog posts and reviewing and editing blog posts before they are published
depending on the VA’s skill set, legal research
In prior posts we discussed the ethical and security issues that lawyers should consider when deciding whether to use cloud computing platforms in their law practice. In this post we’ll discuss one pressing legal issue that remains unsettled: whether law enforcement must obtain a warrant before accessing data stored in the cloud.
Currently, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) dictates when and how law enforcement agents can access electronic data. This statute has not been significantly revised since 1986 and many argue that it provides little, if any guidance, regarding governmental access to data stored online, given that technology has changed so drastically since the ECPA was enacted.
To that end, the search giant, Google, recently joined the Digital Due Process coalition, a newly formed organization that supports the revision of the ECPA to reflect current technology standards. As explained on the DDP’s website:
(The) ECPA is a patchwork of confusing standards that have been interpreted inconsistently by the courts, creating uncertainty for both service providers and law enforcement agencies. ECPA can no longer be applied in a clear and consistent way, and, consequently, the vast amount of personal information generated by today’s digital communication services may no longer be adequately protected.
For most attorneys, billing and time tracking is a necessary evil. Tracking billable time can be an arduous task, but it’s important to stay on top of it; often practicing attorneys become so frantically busy that they are unable to recall what happened during the day. This scenario can be extraordinarily frustrating since lost time is lost money.
Billing and time tracking software can help to alleviate some of the problems encountered when attempting to track billable hours.
A good place to start when researching options is the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center, which provides a thorough summary of the different types of time tracking and billing software products that are available. Also useful is an ABA chart that compares a number of available products.
A few noteworthy products worth considering include Chrometa and the Saas based programs, Time59, and Bill4Time. Bill4Time is the only time tracking product included in the ABA’s chart. All three companies offer a 30-day free trial.