Technology

Ed note: This post originally appeared on Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog.

Unmanned aerial cameras have been legal in other parts of the world but prohibited for commercial use in the United States until last week, with the limited exception of two commercial-drone operations, which the FAA had previously approved for Alaskan oil operations. On September 25, 2014, the FAA announced that it approved certain uses of drones or unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) in the National Airspace System for film and TV productions. This is a breakthrough for the entertainment industry because drones allow filmmakers Superman-like abilities to take images at angles never before captured. Drones are able to cover altitudes lower than helicopters but higher than cranes, and can navigate indoor areas that are otherwise difficult or impossible to get to. However, the FAA’s approval is not without restriction.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “It’s a Bird…it’s a Plane…it’s a Drone; FAA Approves Limited Use of Drones as Camera Platforms for Film and TV Production”


I miss the old days
I’d scare natives with eclipse!
Now? [Shrug] check Twitter

The bad news: we took away the “easy” button in eDiscovery. The good news: see “the bad news”

Having reviewed a bit of the story of eDiscovery, it may be time to reveal another insider secret: eDiscovery used to be easy. Why? Because we were all good at it? Nope—not at all; it was easy for the exact opposite reason. No one had the slightest idea what they were doing, and so the bar for being an eDiscovery expert was pretty darned low. There were no applicable rules for using electronic information in evidence or requesting ESI in discovery. There were very few cases, reported or otherwise. Most importantly, almost no one had an inkling that stuff on peoples’ computers could be actually useful for lawsuits. Why even worry about it?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Natives Are Unimpressed”

keyboard typing

“Cyber liability insurance” is often used to describe a range of insurance policies, in the same way that the word cyber is used to describe a broad range of information security related tools, processes and services. Everyone is talking about the need for “stand alone” cyber liability insurance policies. These stand-alone cyber liability insurance policies basically cover expenses related to the management of a breach, e.g, the investigation, remediation, notification and credit checking. However, cyber liability coverage is also found in some existing insurance policies, including kidnap and ransom and professional liability coverage. There may also be some limited coverage through a crime policy if electronic theft is added to that policy.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cyber Liability Insurance: Where’s the Beef?”


I had been planning to write an article on whether law firms should upgrade to Windows 8. That is, until last week, when Microsoft previewed their next operating system, Windows 10.

Not only did they announce it, they opened it up for a free preview version download. So I downloaded it, tested it, and took screenshots for you so I can walk through the pros and cons of upgrading to a new operating system.

The Windows 10 preview makes you go through a series of warnings where you acknowledge that you are going to be using an unstable, incomplete, buggy operating system. They do not recommend it for your main computer, just if you have an old laptop lying around.

So, Here’s Windows 10:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Should You Upgrade To Windows 10 (Or 8)? A Pictorial Walkthrough”

Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Rob Jordan explores how good use of technology can help busy lawyers process large amounts of information.

To have a better legal career, attorneys — including those who are uncertain about their future prospectsneed to focus on more than just lawyering and have an eye towards networking and business development. Networking and business development, unfortunately, require a lot of hard work and time. So, efficiency matters. Optimize your time and you’ll have bonus minutes to spend fortifying your career.

Previously, I suggested a number of easy, low-maintenance media outlets that could help lawyers (and bankers) be informed and “interesting” and, by extension, be better networkers. Having access to relevant information is one thing, but creating a system for efficiently processing the mass quantities of information currently available to you is just as critical. It’s also necessary to avoid feeling inundated and overwhelmed. Here is my simple system for streamlining information – all through the use of mobile – in a manner that keeps me organized and informed without triggering the Problem of Choice.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

This would be a better patent than what these guys received.

Blue Spike LLC is a patent litigation factory. At one point, it filed over 45 cases in two weeks. It has sued a who’s who of technology companies, ranging from giants to startups, Adobe to Zeitera. Blue Spike claims not to be a troll, but any legitimate business it has pales in comparison to its patent litigation. It says it owns a “revolutionary technology” it refers to as “signal abstracting.” On close inspection, however, its patents turn out to be nothing more than a nebulous wish list. Blue Spike’s massive litigation campaign is a perfect example of how vague and abstract software patents tax innovation.

The basic idea behind Blue Spike’s patents is creating a digital fingerprint (which the patents refer to as an “abstract”) of a file that allows it to be compared to other files (e.g. comparing audio files to see if they are the same song). In very general terms, the patents describe creating a “reference generator,” an “object locator,” a “feature selector,” a “comparing device,” and a “recorder.” You will be amazed to learn that these five elements “may be implemented with software.” That task, however, is left for the reader….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Serial Litigant Blue Spike Wins EFF’s Stupid Patent Of The Month For September”

Gavel

On September 17, the U.S. Tax Court, in Dynamo Holdings LP v. Commissioner, 143 T.C. No. 9 (Sept. 17, 2014), held that a taxpayer could use predictive coding, over the objection of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to identify relevant electronically stored information (ESI) for production. This is the first Tax Court case to address the use of predictive coding in response to a discovery request.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Alert: The Tax Court Approves the Use of Predictive Coding”

In past columns I wrote about how a lawyer and a judge use iPads as part of their daily routine. And there’s a good reason that iPads were the first tablets discussed; it’s because the vast majority of lawyers who use tablets in their practices choose the iPad. In fact, according to the 2014 ABA Legal Technology Survey, 84% of lawyers surveyed who used tablets preferred the iPad and only 10% used Android devices, with the remaining 6% using other types of tablets.

The lawyer I’ll be featuring today, Scott Bassett, is one of the 6%. Scott is a solo practitioner who lives in Florida with a practice focused on Michigan appellate work, and his tablet of choice is the Sony Digital Paper model #DPT-S1. Even though his Sony tablet costs more, he prefers it over the iPad because it’s versatile and substantially lighter: “My tablet is so thin and light you barely know you’re carrying it. At $1,100 it costs nearly twice as much as the iPad, but weighs half as much as the iPad Air. Not only is it lighter, it has a full-size, 13.5-inch screen, so documents appear on my screen full size. It’s a better screen than the iPad Kindle app because of the backlit LCD screen. It’s much easier to read and offers better reading comfort when you’ve got hundreds of pages of trial transcripts to read through. And, the batteries last nearly an entire month.”

What are some of its other advantages?

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“Because of the hugely influential role that the Fortune 500 companies play in the business world, studying their adoption and use of social media blogs offers important insights into the future of commerce. These corporations provide a look at emergent social media trends among America’s most successful companies.”

Fortune 500 Blogs Validate Social Media Presence by Jack Loechner

A Fortunate Benchmark

According to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research 2014 study focusing on Fortune 500 social media adoption:

  • 157 or 31% of the F500 companies are blogging.
  • Companies ranked in the top 200 (45%), consistently out blogged those in the bottom 200 (35%).
  • There’s “no indication that blogging in other business sectors is waning” despite a small decline.
  • Compare: 52% of the fastest-growing companies in the US blogged in 2013 (Inc. 500).
  • 413 or 83% of the F500 have corporate Twitter accounts. That’s a 6% increase over last year.
  • 401 or 80% of F500 are on Facebook. That’s a 10% increase over last year.
  • 254 or 51% of F500 use Foursquare compared to only 44 companies last year.

The study concludes:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Like You Really Need To Validate Your Social Media Presence….”

Ed. note: This is the latest post by Above the Law’s guest conversationalist, Zach Abramowitz, of blogcasting platform ReplyAll. You can see some of his other conversations and musings here.

I never wanted to be a corporate lawyer. After three mind-numbing years of law school, I barely wanted to be a lawyer, but at least being a litigator seemed mildly bearable. So when I got the call two weeks before starting that I was getting placed in the firm’s M&A department, I didn’t know the first thing about due diligence. I had done zero corporate work during my summer internship, and I didn’t have any idea what corporate lawyers did on a daily basis. Smash cut to me sitting in a dimly lit office in December aimlessly plugging provisions into a chart while being mentally and verbally abused by the midlevel associate above me in the deal. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or why any of this was important. Throughout my two years as an associate, I tried convincing myself that diligence was interesting — it was a way to learn about a company from the inside out.

Bulls#@%.

The real truth is that I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t give this work to a paralegal or, better yet, a robot. Both could have done my job better and cheaper. Well, wouldn’t you know it, savvy former Weil Gotshal associate Noah Waisberg has built DiligenceEngine, a piece of software that will find key provisions in documents for you, put them into charts, and save your clients time and money on due diligence. And if I know Biglaw partners, they LOVE to save their clients money and shave hours off the bill.

This week, I’ll speak with Noah about why diligence sucks, why human lawyers suck at it, and how he left law to make your life as a reviewing attorney easier and a little less miserable…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Diligence Sucks, Why You Suck At It, And Why Robots Want Your Job”

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