Being knowledgeable about technology and programs that clients rely on lawyers to use daily is extremely important, but providing the training necessary to gain that knowledge can be somewhat difficult. The goal is to make sure that every lawyer has the adequate knowledge to fully serve their clients, but you don’t want to bore those who already know all the relevant information. Additionally, you want to be able to prove to your clients that their lawyers know what they’re doing. The firm Keesal, Young, and Logan have devised a training program that accomplishes both tasks. After realizing that information technology is important to client satisfaction, the director of information for the firm, Justin Hectus, decided to implement the Legal Technology Assessment.

The Legal Technology Assessment , or LTA for short, is a tech competency test developed by D. Casey Flaherty while working at Kia Motors. By implementing the test, lawyers could test out and bypass certain areas of instruction. Additionally, because the assessment highlighted the areas in which each individual required further education, individuals were able to complete their training in a third of the time. An associate at Keesal, Young, and Logan, Sean Cooney, explains that, “group training is often inefficient because everyone has a different familiarity with whatever program is being used. The individualized training allowed us to skip anything that is redundant.”

The LTA not only identified weak areas for Keesal, Young, and Logan but also measured how effective their tailored program was. After the training program was completed, the average LTA score was improved by almost 40%, which Keesal, Young, and Logan can now use to tout their personnel’s tech competency. Additionally, combining the LTA and specialized training resulted in the trainees implementing what they learned into their work. For example, another associate, Erin Weesner-McKinley, relates that, “some tasks that I previously delegated can now be done with the click of a button, and I have a better understanding of other tasks which I still choose to delegate to nonbillable personnel or colleagues with lower billing rates.”

Article via Legaltech NewsNovember 25, 2015

Photo: Computers via Duane Storey [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

While professionals should be selective about what they put on social media, law officials should be even more wary. Recently, several judges have gotten into trouble for comments they have posted on social media. While venting about a stressful job is actually quite healthy, social media is usually not the right outlet, as some judges have come to realize.

A judge in Minnesota is facing repercussions for Facebook posts he made concerning some cases over which he presided. Judge Edward W. Bearse made several troublesome remarks, including posting “In a Felony trial now [with] State prosecuting a pimp. Cases are always difficult because the women (as in this case also) will not cooperate.” Additionally, he also referred to the Hennepin County District Court as “a zoo” and made some callous remarks after a lawyer suffered from a panic attack. After coming under fire from the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards, Judge Bearse defended himself by saying that he wasn’t aware anyone outside of his friends and family would be seeing the posts. Even if this was the case (his account is now set to private), it doesn’t make his comments any less troubling.

Incidents like this shouldn’t scare judges and other law officials away from social media, however. Social media can be used to advocate for transparency and accessibility in law, users simply need to be vigilant about how they act and how they come across online.

Article via Above the LawNovember 24, 2015

Photo: I Like Facebook via Charis Tsevis [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

With the ISIS attack in Paris still fresh in everyone’s minds, many concerns are being raised about data surveillance laws. Even though there has not been any evidence that the terrorist attacks involved the use of encrypted data, some supporters of expanding data surveillance are citing the attacks as proof that wider-ranging laws are needed. This is nothing new; the ongoing battle between privacy proponents and lawmakers supporting more surveillance is thrust into the spotlight increasingly often. Disagreements over data encryption will likely only increase, with 75% of internet interactions expected to be encrypted in the next ten to fifteen years. And while supporters of internet and data privacy have no problem with this rise in data encryption, it will cause technical problems for government agencies and law officials who need to access information to bring criminals and terrorists to justice.

A compromise has been suggested: some officials have proposed instituting laws that require tech companies to develop methods for police to obtain access to encrypted information, although this may not even be possible. Some companies such as Apple and Google cannot even access data encrypted in their own devices and services. Even if it is possible, the White House has agreed to not move forward with any legislation that would require companies to make encrypted data available whenever the police needed.

Finding a balance between protecting users’ privacy online and surveillance in the name of preserving law and order is an ongoing process and should not be determined quickly in the wake of a crisis. While there should be legal limits on the seizure of encrypted data, there must also be limits on how and what is encrypted. Determining these limits will take time.

Article via The Washington PostNovember 18, 2015

Photo: Point Cloud Data via Daniel V [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

One of the earliest letters I received from Nigeria (before the Internet – postage/envelope/letter inside/a “real” signature) invited me to help out an individual there who was a relative of a prince and had a very substantial bank account in New York, but they could not access the funds there (millions of dollars) without my help. Hmmm….

Nigeria has had a reputation for scammers for a long time. The Internet gave these scammers new fuel and new ways to catch people in their lair. These scammers are sophisticated and the reason they don’t give up is because it works. Nevertheless, the reputation that has befallen Nigeria is not one that should be allowed to perpetuate. I remember the first time I met my good friend from Lagos, attorney Ayo Kusamotu, on a phone call and we talked about a legal problem regarding trademarks and online dispute resolution for a long time. He suddenly interrupted me to say “thank you.” I asked him “for what?” And he said “for not bringing up the Nigerian scammers.”

It never occurred to me to bring up scamming – it is everywhere and it shouldn’t be attributed to one country or another. Ijeoma Ononogbu, another Nigerian colleague of mine, began her recent presentation on the state of justice in the African Union during Cyberweek, and she pointed out that Nigeria has adopted a broad based cybersecurity initiative designed to increase trust for online commerce; an absolute prerequisite for its growth. And last week, yet another colleague from Lagos, Morenike Obi-Farinde LL.M, FCIArb (UK), (founder of, organized a first ever training program between Institute and the Nigerian Bar Association on the use of practical technology techniques for online dispute resolution. Led by IBO board member Dan Rainey, there were 41 attendees.

Scamming may be endemic to the Internet – but building the foundation of trust to overcome it is in the genes of my Nigerian attorney friends. Transformation is in their hands, and they are doing great works.

To read more about Jeff Aresty, click here.

Virtually all industries are being affected by the complexities of cybersecurity and privacy law. In addition to being somewhat confusing, aspects of cybersecurity and privacy law can change practically overnight. With this in mind, the international law firm Akerman now offers a constantly updating web-based legal knowledge platform on cybersecurity and privacy law named the Akerman Data Law Center. Developed in conjunction with Thomson Reuters and Neota Logic, the platform makes the international rules and regulations regarding cybersecurity more accessible. This tool will be useful for law firms everywhere, since cybersecurity and privacy are “likely to have accelerated growth in the law market for 2016,” as explained by Akerman’s Data Law Practice co-chair, Martin Tully. In addition to always being up-to-date, the platform can be used to research changes that only pertain to specific regions or industries. This could be extremely useful to law firms that operate in several jurisdictions and want to be able to keep track of the differences in regulations between regions.

Though access to the research compiled in the Akerman Data Law Center will require a subscription fee, Akerman states that the platform will save users up to 80% on research costs. When compared to the number of hours associates could spend accumulating the research already available within the platform, the Akerman Data Law Center is more efficient and less expensive. To make the platform even more user friendly, Akerman even allows users to contact them directly for particularly challenging questions, which will prove useful for firms that do not have the funds to consult with experts constantly.

Article via Legaltech NewsNovember 20, 2015

Photo: Chained and locked via Vivek [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Many of the 770,000 refugees who have migrated to Europe since January are from middle-class backgrounds, and are therefore educated and tech-savvy. As a result, most use smartphones for GPS navigation and communicate with family through Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp, and Line apps.

With the understanding that smartphones are invaluable tools to refugees, tech companies and aid groups have directed their efforts to creating tech-focused ways to help refugees communicate and travel safely. For example, Google, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Mercy Corps collectively launched last month. The website explains the registration process, locations to eat and sleep, medical help, and traveling to Athens for those who land on the beaches of Greece.

Rey Rodrigues, IRC’s technology coordinator, describes the intentions of “We wanted to create a roadmap. You see a lot of refugees walking with their smartphones and power cords and extra batteries. This lets them be self-sufficient.”

It is not uncommon for a refugee to walk up to 10 hours to register with Greek authorities at the southern part of the island, when buses are available for free. The roadmap’s goal is to provide valuable information like this to refugees, especially when translators are not available to convey the information. is one of many tech resources available to refugees. Disaster Tech Lab recently supplied Wi-Fi access to two refugee camps in Lesbos. InfoAid, an android app built by a Hungarian couple, helps refugees access train tickets, medical care and water. provides contact to local NGOs and offers specific information on how to survive on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos.

Article via Mashable, November 8, 2015

Photo: Liqaa with her daughter Limar born on August 3, 2013 via Oxfam International [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]