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?
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?
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….
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.
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?
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…
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.…
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.
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….
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?
* 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]
* 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]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.