Every year I try to make it a point to attend the Consumer Electronics show in Law Vegas. This week-long show is a gadget lover’s dream. Thousands of exhibits, lots of demos, plenty of substantive sessions and keynotes by such people as Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, (Ajit Pai was supposed to speak but for some strange reason, he bowed out after the net neutrality vote). I’m lucky enough to have a media pass, so I get lots of inside perks and access.

Knowing where consumer electronics is headed also tells us where businesses and maybe someday, the practice of law is headed

Why do I, a practicing lawyer, attend? First, I’m a tech enthusiast or, should I say, a gadget king. But more than that, I think knowing where consumer electronics is headed also tells us where businesses and maybe someday, the practice of law is headed as consumer electronics filter over into commercial use. And one of the things I have concluded this year after just a couple of days here is that where the practice of law and lawyers may be headed is a little scary.
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I recently almost didn’t attend a Conference in my hometown. I almost didn’t go because a) it was not necessarily in my field (lawyer) and b) it was in my hometown (no one is a prophet in their own land, right?). (The Conferance was actually put on by the Louisville Digital Association, a local organization that’s more or less about all things digital and the Conference was really more about digital marketing and media than anything else).

But I did go and something remarkable happened…I learned things. New things. And my head immediately started applying the things I was learning to my field. It was magical. Even one of the speakers who I introduced myself too afterwards said “I saw you sitting there. Your head was going a hundred miles an hour. What energy you brought!”
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This blog is devoted to the tension created as traditional legal concepts are applied to new questions created by technolgy. AKA the problem of  trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, to use an old cliche.

I recently ran across an article by a friend of mine, John Amabile and his partners at Parker Poe, Michael Birns and Todd Sprinkle entitled “Textualism Is The Law of the Land in Georgia: What To Do About it?” Here is a link to the article which appeared on December 7, 2017 in jdsupra. The article poses this exact question within the confines of a series of decisions by the Georgia Supreme Court.

“textualism requires the court to apply the plain meaning of the statutory text at the time the statute was originally“

John and his team report that the Georgia Supreme Court has firmly embraced the concept of textualism and rightfully lament the deleterious impact the application of this concept could have on businesses.  
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It’s been said that bad facts make bad law. If that’s true then those who defend class action data breach cases better buckle down for some stormy seas. The facts surrounding the new Equifax breach couldn’t get much worse.

Equifax knew of the breach months in advance of when it announced it. It failed to

What  do we call (what I shudder to mention as) “non lawyers”?

One of the interesting by products of the increased use of technology, collaboration and disruption is the panoply of business professionals now serving the legal profession from MBA’s, marketing experts, IT folks and innovators. These professionals and others play an integral role in and for many lawyers either as employees or outsourced resources.

Given the innovation and creativity now required to succeed, these folks will be even more valuable in the future.

Ahh but notice I didn’t use the dreaded term “non lawyers” or the slightly less offensive term “staff” in describing these folks.

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NetDocuments, the popular web-based document and email management service and premier cloud storage platform, may be sitting on a hidden treasure. I chatted with Leonard Johnson, NetDocuments Product Director, over drinks at the recent International Law Technology Association Conference in Las Vegas. We had planned to talk about NetDocuments’ recent product announcements (I was covering the Conference as a lawyer but also as a contributor to the Lawyerist. But Johnson said something that was intriguing: due to its popularity, NetDocuments is sitting on a ton of unstructured data from emails to memos to pleadings and briefs to all sorts of contracts and formal documents.
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It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. … It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature

Perhaps the biggest news out of the 2017 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) Conference happened before it even started.

ILTA describes itself as a “volunteer led, staff managed association with a focus on premiership.”

ILTA is primarily made up of large law firms and better known legal technology vendors. At this year’s conference, for example, there were lots of legal professionals from well known and well heeled law firms, few legal start ups and few practicing lawyers.

A year ago, ILTA lost its Executive Director to retirement right before its annual Conference. In March of this year, Dan Liutikas was named Chief Executive Officer. Dan was formerly with CompTIA, also a trade association for the information technology industry. He has a reputation for innovation and decisiveness.

In one of his first public acts, on Friday, August 4, the virtual eve of this year’s conference, ILTA let go Peggy Wechsler, the Director of Programs and Strategic Relationships who was the primary organizer of the annual conferences since 1998.

To many, she was the face of the organization.
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I just returned from the International Legal Technology Convention in Las Vegas. ILTA is big law’s technology association; the conference is ILTA’s biggest of the year and attracts vendors and law firm IT professionals. It has keynotes and educational sessions and not a few networking parties.

This was my first time at ILTA and I wore 2 hats: one hat was that of a practicing lawyer, one of the few in attendance, a fact which, as I discussed in a recent Lawyerist post, makes little sense.

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