Technology

Almost a month after ExamSoft treated us to the biggest bar exam disaster ever, they’ve issued an apology. Well, that’s something. One would have expected this within hours of the debacle that the Internet dubbed #Barghazi. Maybe it was written in July and it’s just taken this long for the ExamSoft software to load it up.

Despite calls that ExamSoft needs to bite the bullet and refund student money over this mishap and pending legal claims, ExamSoft is content to offer a straight-forward “oops, our bad,” and carry on like nothing ever happened.

Is this apology enough? Do the victims of this snafu deserve more?

Are all of you just overreacting?

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Lawyers have embraced mobile computing at a much faster rate than other types of emerging technologies. In fact, according to the American Bar Association’s 2013 legal technology survey, nearly 91% of lawyers now use smartphones in their law practices, up from 89% in 2012. Tablet use has also increased quickly, with 48% of lawyers reporting that they now use tablets in their law practices, up from 33% in 2012.

Those are impressive numbers considering that the iPhone was first released in 2007 and the iPad became available to the public in just 2010. So in less than a decade, these mobile tools have become commonplace in law offices, and tablet continues to rise.

And it’s not just practicing lawyers who use tablets. Believe it or not, judges do, too. In fact, not only do some of them use tablets — some of them rely on their tablets to get their jobs done. Judge Richard Wesley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is one of those judges. In this two-part series, I’m going to share with you how he uses his iPad to increase his efficiency on the bench and what he thinks about the effects of technology on the legal profession.

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Photo credit: opensourceway

Slick marketeers, snake-oil salesmen, racketeers, office assistants… Some lawyers believe marketing is not a valid profession or discipline. That’s B.S.

Legal marketers are misunderstood at best and completely maligned at worst.

As a legal industry outsider, I’m confounded by how law firms de-value marketing and their hard-working marketers. I understand how we got here, but ladies and gentlemen, lawyers and marketers, it’s time to get caught up with the rest of the world…

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This summer, Above the Law expanded its editorial coverage with the launch of a suite of practice-focused channels. These new, topical components of our site include an eDiscovery channel, powered by content from Lexblog, JD Supra, and new ATL expert columnist Michael Simon, as well as pieces curated from ATL’s coverage of the broader legal industry. ATL’s eDiscovery channel will feature news stories, substantive trend analysis, and insights into business development issues relevant to eDiscovery and related legal technologies. (Among ATL’s other practice channels are Securities, Energy, and Government.)

The LexBlog network is the largest professional blog network in the world. LexBlog partners with clients to develop custom social media solutions and strategies that create powerful internet identities. LexBlog will provide ATL’s unparalleled audience with commentary on prominent legal developments and insight on best practices in the full range of practice areas, including eDiscovery.

ATL’s eDiscovery columnist, Michael Simon, has been in the legal industry for more than two decades. His background as a Chicago trial attorney, Director of Strategic Development at Navigant, and co-founder of eDiscovery expert consulting firm Seventh Samurai, give him a unique voice in the eDiscovery space. His debut column, Making Sense of eDiscovery Outside of the Bubble, offers a thoughtful introduction to legal technology and is but the first in a series.

JD Supra publishes insights and intelligence written by a network of over 20,000 attorneys and industry professionals. ATL’s partnership with JD Supra will give the ATL audience access to high-level eDiscovery content from Am Law 200 law firms and other expert sources.

ATL’s new eDiscovery channel is made possible by Omnivere, one of the largest integrated companies in the discovery management space. Omnivere provides services that encompass all aspects of litigation support, from Project Management, Review Support, and Hosting Management, to Attorney Review, Production, and Trial Exhibit and Document Management.

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.

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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.

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* 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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