Technology

A few weeks ago, I discussed whether it was possible to go paperless. I want to pick up where I left off and drop a few more tips for how to go paperless and why it’s important. For me, as a solo practitioner, I have to be efficient. It’s how I keep an edge over other small firms and how I level the playing ground with big firms. But, it’s not all about competing with others. I reduce my paper use because I am just way too busy to spend 3 hours doing something that I could do in 30 minutes.

Also, just to be clear, when I say “paperless,” I really mean “mostly paperless.” It is not possible or practical to go entirely paperless in this current decade, but I think that the less paper we use, the better.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Benefits of Going Paperless, Part 2″

Looking into the crystal ball.

Last week, at Minnesota’s Strategic Solutions for Solo and Small Firms Conference, I shared a panel with Lawyerist’s Sam Glover and an innovational speaker, Matt Homann. The panel focused on the future of solo and small-firm practice over the next ten years. Although we all agreed that the solos and smalls — and, indeed, lawyers in general — will face challenges over the next decade, I still believe that opportunities remain for solos who understand these challenges and figure out ways to overcome them.

So, no great surprise there. But all of us on the panel agreed that technology is changing the face of law practice in a way that may expand access to justice but that may also take work from solos and smalls….

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* Suit filed questioning the parentage of Blue Ivy Carter. Plaintiff claims to be the real… mother? Hm. You’d think that would be pretty easy for everyone to remember. [International Business Times]

* The Washington D.C.-area NFL team has filed suit to get its trademark back. They think the USPTO are Indian Givers. [DCist]

* The ACLU is asking courts to define “freedom of the press” in the wake of Ferguson. I understand their impulse, I just don’t think they’re gonna like the answer. [Fox2Now]

* A 71-year-old lawyer allegedly called two escorts over to his house and they asked for more money. Even for rich lawyers it’s the principle of the thing. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Sad to see Professor Larry Tribe join the “let’s blame the teachers instead of funding public schools” parade. But now that he’s become a high-profile supporter of ending tenure for those teaching the young, perhaps he’ll renounce his own tenure. Or at least fight to revoke it from all his colleagues. [National Law Journal]

* A Colombian lawyer is suing FIFA for $1.3 billion over bad officiating. Of all the things FIFA deserves to get sued over, this isn’t making the list. [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Rob Manfred, a Harvard Law grad formerly of Morgan Lewis, on his promotion to MLB Commissioner. He will continue the proud tradition of keeping us bored all summer long while we wait for football to come back. [New York Times]

* New lawsuit says Google kept records of plans to infringe intellectual property… on Post-Its. Unwise. Office supplies are for back-to-school shopping, not writing down wrongful acts. [Valleywag]

* If you’re a current 3L or a law grad about to come off a clerkship, NOAA has a job opportunity for you. Imagine how exciting it will be when the next Sharknado happens! [USAJobs via NOAA]

The Supreme Court’s recent finding that warrantless cell phone searches are unconstitutional is already generating some pretty interesting arguments in ongoing cases. The government obviously wishes to mitigate the “damage” done by this decision by still doggedly pursuing data through warrantless methods.

In this particular case, the government is arguing that it has every right to access cell site location information (CSLI) without a warrant, claiming that the Riley decision solely pertains to the contents of cell phones. Obtaining CSLI without a warrant is still Constitutionally-dubious, however. One state court and a federal court have held that this information should only be obtained with a warrant. In the prior case, it was found that the state’s Constitution provided more protection than the US Constitution and in the latter, the finding was very narrowly tailoredto the case at hand, making it very difficult to apply to others cases, even under the same jurisdiction.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cell Phones Need A Warrant, But Cell Site Location Info Doesn’t? Appellants Challenge Government’s Assertions”

* A murder suspect grabbed his phone and asked Siri to help him dispose of a dead body. I’ll bet Siri gave him s**tty directions on doing that, too. [USA Today] UPDATE 8/14/14 5:16 p.m.: Hey what do you know, USA Today is overselling the story a tad! Still, someone performed this search and he seemed to approve enough to have the photo.

* Criminal defeated by the same dastardly device that plagued a famous Far Side cartoon. [Lowering the Bar]

* Congratulations to Brooklyn Law School’s BLIP clinic for successfully fighting off a patent troll. How’s that for practical law school experience! [Medium]

* “As long as there is demonstrated interest and commitment by sufficiently financed local owners and a dedicated, passionate local fan base, leagues prefer not to move teams.” So says Buffalo Law professor Nellie Drew. Shhh. Don’t tell her about where the Baltimore Ravens came from, it would break her heart. [University of Buffalo]

* We get more worked up about law students charged with crimes. Like murder and arson. I mean, obviously Above the Law does because that’s part of our beat, but I mean “we” as in everybody. Why is that? [Law and More]

* Avvo just released a new iPhone app for lawyers. Among the new features is an opportunity to be alerted as soon as a question in your practice area is asked. [Avvo]

* Ha. This cartoon. [Twitter]

* After a two-year absence, we welcome VC Deal Lawyer back to blogging! [VC Deal Lawyer]

“Tear gas?”
“Wait, was that a flash grenade?”
“Oh, now there’s a picture!”
“They arrested journalists… just for being in a McDonald’s?”
“Now the arrested reporters are back online!”

Last night, many of us fixated on our Twitter feeds to follow, in real time, every breaking development in Ferguson, Missouri. The hashtag acted as a latter day, crowdsourced ticker tape keeping those miles away from the town — clear to Gaza — abreast as the peaceful protests brought on a symbolically striking military-style occupation, complete with the use of gas and rubber bullets and the arrest of journalists for performing their constitutionally protected jobs.

That’s what Twitter did that was awesome. Unfortunately, last night also put on display everything awful about Twitter. Everything that people mistake it to be when they set up a handle and broadcast their message to the world in 140 character segments. Others have tackled what Ferguson means in the grand scheme of criminal law and what lawyers should do in response to Ferguson. But there are also lessons to be learned from “#Ferguson” — the cyber place that conveyed the events of Ferguson — and the opinions of casual observers — to the world.

Lessons that all technologically connected lawyers, and frankly everyone, can use….

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Say farewell to Cooley Law — j/k, it’ll always be Cooley.

* Cleary Gottlieb lost some historic cases during the first half of 2014, including one for $50 billion, but not to worry, “the firm is proud of the work Cleary lawyers do every day.” [Am Law Daily]

* The Fourth Circuit is refusing to issue a stay in Virginia’s gay marriage case, so the state will be for all lovers starting next week unless SCOTUS decides to step in. [National Law Journal]

* Thomas M. Cooley Law School has now officially become the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. If only a new name could clear its reputation. [MLive.com]

* It’s not every day that a law student with a criminal history is arrested on murder charges, but Tuesday was that day for one student. We’ll have more on this later. [San Antonio Express-News]

* “Glass is built to connect you more with the world around you, not distract you from it.” Google sure is optimistic about Glass, but several states aren’t, and have already proposed driving bans. [WSJ Law Blog]

Ed Sohn and Joe Borstein

Ed. note: Please welcome our newest columnists, Ed Sohn and Joe Borstein of Pangea3, who will be writing about the alternative legal services market and the future of the legal profession.

Stop what you’re doing! Take a journey with us to the alternative side of the legal profession for the next few minutes (and through our ongoing column). There is a revolution happening in the practice of law. And you should join it. Or, at the very least, break out the fanny packs and the binoculars and watch. For now, stop your SmartTimer and get off the clock… because as it turns out, reading this is NOT billable. Maybe try your favorite non-billable code, like “professional development.”

Here’s the newsflash: entrepreneurs and innovators are changing the legal profession for the better, having fun, and making real money in the process. The unstoppable forces of modern business — technology, globalization, the need for sleep/food/conjugal visits — are at the gates and climbing the highly defensible ivory tower….

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I spent ten hours in a deposition on yesterday in the office of a large law firm in Los Angeles. Just looking around the room, I noticed two things: 1) they were better dressed than we were, and 2) our computers were so much better than theirs. I stepped out into the hallway and noticed that a lot of their hardware was stuff that a public school would auction off. It reminded me of the first few years of my legal career when I worked in a large law firm. We had all the amenities you could want. All of our legal pads were branded with our firm’s logo, and we wrote on them with pens that had our firm’s logo branded on them. I ate lunch every day in our break room that looked over the ocean. But, when lunch was over, I would go back to my desk and work on Office ’97 on my bulky CRT monitor. This is because large law firms are very big, slow-moving beasts, especially when it comes to technology.

My fellow columnist Nicole Black wrote an article last week about how a small firm is using technology to keep up with Biglaw firms. This is not a fantasy. When I was working at the aforementioned large law firm, my boss told me a story about a solo practitioner. By way of background, we represented a Fortune 500 company, had an army of Ivy League attorneys, and almost unlimited resources. Despite all that, this solo practitioner was able to run circles around us. He was better organized and was able to do things more efficiently. The case we had against him was before my time, so I had no idea if it was true, but the important thing was that, having seen how the sausage was made there, I knew it was absolutely possible.

Here’s why:

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Another law school year is almost upon us. Whether strolling into law school for the first time still filled with wide-eyed optimism or returning from a summer job to kill more time and rack up more debt, every student must resupply for the impending school year. Sure, for returning students, you’ve made it through at least one year of school so some of this is old hat. That said, you undoubtedly did something wrong and you’re now flush with cash from your summer job so it’s time to go shopping.

Meanwhile, for 1Ls, obviously if you’ve made it this far in life you have at least some clue. Or think you do. There are essentials from high school and college that will serve a law student just as well. But law school is riddled with its own unique quirks that require a different set of tools.

What’s the appropriate gear for law school? Well, you’re lucky Skippy because ATL has you covered. Here’s a rundown of exactly what you need to buy for law school….

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