Many state and local courts do have cameras in the courtroom (unlike most of their federal counterparts), but other forms of technology are still frequently verboten. Some courts prohibit cellphones, laptops, and, in the traffic court I once attended, reading the newspaper.

Yet slowly, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, some enlightened folks in Massachusetts are introducing a local court to the joys of web cams and unnecessarily detailed twitter posts.

Spurred on by a large grant from the James S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the OpenCourt Project officially began on Monday at the Quincy District Court.

Seriously though, OpenCourt is pretty cool. How does it work?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cameras in the Courtroom: Now With More Internets”

I almost don’t want to write about this because I know how many law firm managers and industry consultants read this site. If you are a person of any authority at an American law firm, or even if you aspire to be such a person, please stop reading this post. We’ll consider it an Above the Law honor code violation is you read any further.

Okay, for all the rest of you, we need to tell you that on the other side of the pond, they are pioneering new ways to turn a lawyer’s sense of shame and fear of failure into more money for the firm. Roll on Friday (gavel bang: Golden Practices Blog) reports that a European law firm has started utilizing computers that change color depending on how productive you are.

Seriously, what’s next? A computer that delivers an electric shock every time you log onto Facebook?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Color Coded Productivity Computers”

I’m done whining about Facebook privacy issues. Everyone should know by now that Facebook and privacy are basically mutually exclusive.

But every once in a while, someone does something stupid relating to Facebook privacy in a new, exciting way — like stealing a computer and posting photos of yourself on the owner’s page, or uploading placenta pics from your nursing-school class. We enjoy mocking covering such special occasions. It’s even better when Facebook bungles have larger implications.

Last week, an emergency room doctor in Rhode Island got reprimanded and fined $500 by the state medical board. (She had been fired from her hospital last year.)

Why? She posted information about a patient on Facebook….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ER Doc Forgets Patient Info is Private, Gets Fired for Facebook Overshare”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

I understand using blogging as a form of business development for lawyers. I did it when I was in private practice. It produced the sorts of returns you might expect from the endeavor. And it makes sense that it might work: If you crank out basically a short article every day on one particular substantive area of law (and the piece is worth reading), you’ll develop an audience (and a reputation) over time, and that may yield opportunities.

But Twitter?

You can’t exactly prove your expertise in 140 characters. You can’t prove that you can write with clarity or grace. And you can’t even summarize information on the web to which you’re linking. All you can really prove is that you follow a topic and aggregate an interesting collection of stuff; you recommend things that you believe are worth reading. If you’re aggregating the good stuff in a particular field, then your followers should be clicking through your links to read what you’ve recommended.

So that’s today’s question: Are they? Do people click through and read information that someone recommends on Twitter?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Empirical Proof That Twitter Doesn’t Work!”

Above the Law is partnering with the Electronic Discovery Institute to host a Legal Technology Leadership Summit from September 6 to September 8, 2011. We’ll be bringing together lawyers and technology professionals and offering a special track dealing with digital forensics, managed by the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery. And since this is ATL, we’re rolling to the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida.

If your law firm or organization is interested in attending, we’d love to see you. Click here to sign up now.

Patrick Oot, General Counsel and Co-Founder of the Electronic Discovery Institute (“EDI”), described the summit as an opportunity “to provide a setting where thought leaders from large organizations and corporate legal departments can collaborate on the current state of the law pertaining to various uses of digital information.”

Speaking for Above the Law, David Lat noted that legal technology directly impacts the day-to-day life of many of Above the Law’s readers. The summit will bring together counsel from many major corporations and leaders in providing cost-effective technological solutions.

Clients expect their lawyers to be using technology to keep costs down, lawyers expect technology to be intuitive to a bunch of people with liberal arts degrees, and Above the Law expects that putting all these people together will be good for the whole industry. Tech gurus, thought leaders, clients, David Lat and Elie Mystal, and a Florida resort. What could possibly go wrong?

Click after the jump for the full press release from EDI…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “For Legal Technology, Above the Law Needs An Entire Summit”

I’ve got news for you: The future of practicing law will not be about cloud computing. It won’t be about tablets or offshoring or client self-help or virtual law offices. It won’t be about e-discovery, or practice management, or paperless offices. Yes, these things will certainly all happen; many are happening now, and a number of them are helping to give small firms an advantage, or at least level the playing field. But they will not be the biggest change in our industry.

I recently gave a speech on what the practice of law would look like in 2019. I chose that year for two reasons. First, it’s the year that the classic sci-fi movie Blade Runner takes place, with a younger-than-Calista-Flockhart-is-now Harrison Ford playing a cop who rides in flying cars and hunts robots that look like humans.

I’ve got news for you, guys: There won’t be any flying cars eight years from now. (Which is probably just as well, as people will insist on texting while flying.)

But the other reason I chose 2019 is because it will be the hundredth anniversary of something nearly every lawyer deals with all day every day.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: Blade Runner and the Future of Law”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Like everyone, I enjoy me a Bush’s Baked Beans commercial. Jay and Duke’s witty banter over the secret family recipe highlights the joy of working with family. Unfortunately, not many of us can work with their talking family dog. (I mean, who else is there, besides Scooby Doo and Jake?)

Luckily, some can work with their two-legged family members. Working with family has been a key to the success of Melendres, Melendres & Harrigan P.C. Four of the five attorneys of this firm are related either by blood, through marriage, or through friendship. Paul Melendres and his wife Paige founded the firm in 2005 after leaving Biglaw in New York City to set up shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A year ago, Paul’s brother, Fred, and friend, Ryan Harrigan, left Biglaw to open the San Diego, California office.

Find out more about the firm, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Brothers-In-Law Make For Good Business Partners”

Isn’t it annoying when the YouTube video you’re watching just stops loading right in the middle? Or when your Skype connection suddenly starts sucking in the middle of a video conversation?

Well, it turns out that in Europe, sometimes stuff like that doesn’t happen accidentally. Internet Service Providers intentionally “throttle” certain kinds of web traffic.

The European Union is sick of this. On Tuesday, the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda threatened new legislation and public humiliation for companies that don’t allow consumers easy access to a free and open Internet. That’s right, kids; the net neutrality debate is hot in Europe, too….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Just Like Us, Europe Isn’t Sure How to Handle Net Neutrality”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

Social media: They’re all the rage.

And they should be. At a firm, if you could convince half of your lawyers to write intelligent, substantive blog posts twice a week in their areas of expertise, you could stop paying the public relations folks. You’d dominate the web, and reporters from traditional media would beat a path to your url, seeking ideas for stories and comments on hot topics.

(The same holds for many corporations, although it would be the business folks (who are responsible for generating business) and not the in-house lawyers (who are not) who should be hitting the keyboards.)

But firms and corporations don’t do this, for many reasons. First, firms are skeptical; they’re not sure this would work. Second, this requires a large, non-billable commitment of time; many firms (or individual lawyers) aren’t willing to put in the effort. Third, firms are legitimately nervous. What happens when we urge our lawyers or employees to go forth unto the web, and those folks go forth and write embarrassing or crazy stuff, which they inevitably will?

In fact, even if you don’t encourage folks to participate in online discussions, they’ll do it anyway. So social media policies have necessarily become the next rage: How do law firms and corporations protect their institutional interests without unduly interfering with their employees’ right to express themselves online?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Social Media Policies”

* Apple was hit with a lawsuit by parents angry that their credit cards were being used by their stupid kids to buy dumb swag in iPhone games. [Time]

* An Italian fortune, an American woman, and the suggestion that paternity sometimes cannot be forcefully established by the simple query “Who dat is?” [New York Times]

* When police use GPS to lojack hoes that drive Volvos and Rodeos, can they do it without a warrant? [WSJ Law Blog]

* An article about the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, or something like that. I’m not sure as I dozed off halfway through, like I regularly did during Ethics class in law school. [ABA Journal]

Eric Holder

* This post details various sports goings-on, like the possible move of the Sacramento Kings and former linebacker and all-around gentleman Bill Romanowski. Because Lat demands all the sports coverage we can find. [Am Law Daily]

* A possible explanation for Geoffrey Fieger’s outstanding website content. Smoking only the finest sticky icky. [Chicago Tribune]

* Eric Holder failed to pay taxes on his dead mother’s house. Until he did. Then the Post ran a story about when he didn’t. After he did. Super cool story, Post. [New York Post]

Page 66 of 951...626364656667686970...95