Firm uses wearable technology to better represent clients

While wearable technology like Google Glass and Fitbit may appear to be better suited to consumer and recreational use, Marc Lambert from the firm Fennemore Craig has been creatively using wearable technology to better understand his clients and skillfully equip his lawyers. Lambert states that the process of introducing and using technology within his practice revolves around a “petri dish mentality”. Technology is routinely integrated into use within Lambert’s group, and then they evaluate whether the technology is benefitting their ability to help their clients. If the technology is found to have a positive impact on their work, other lawyers within the firm begin utilizing the technology.

One of the technologies that is allowing Lambert and his group to better communicate clients’ information is Google Glass. Lambert recounts using Google Glass to document how being a double amputee affects the day-to-day activities of client. Better than simply entering a demand letter or asking the client to describe their situation on the stand, Google Glass “is so effective is because it offered a first-person perspective on the hardships our client encountered each and every day of his life”, according to Lambert. Additionally, Lambert hopes that in future iterations of Google Glass hands-free video conferencing will allow him and his group to communicate with injured or handicapped clients that could not use other technology such as iPads to communicate as easily.

While Google Glass may seem more applicable to particular types of cases, Lambert utilizes Fitbits to determine how evidence may appear to focus jury groups. By asking focus groups to wear Fitbits and monitoring their heart rate as evidence is presented to them, Lambert can build a stronger case for his clients. Additionally, Fitbits could be used to provide support to clients’ claims that they are following their healthcare providers’ recommendations.

Though Lambert agrees that technology is a means to an end, it allows for better representation if “you buy in and aren’t simply paying lip service”. Technology is here to stay and innovation will lead to newer and more complex technologies. Therefore, as Lambert explains, it is  “important to educate other lawyers about how technology can be used and lead by example.”

Article via Above the LawSeptember 17, 2015

Photo: Becoming a cyborg via Jenn Vargas [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Information, communication and technology for development resources

The world that we live in is still very much unequal. It can be a challenge to fight for the rights of those that are mistreated or ignored. Social justice is about shedding light on imbalances and doing something to change them. Information, Communication, and Technology for Development (ICT4D) is a tactic that uses information and technology to advance progress in the fields of human rights, socio-economic justice and development.

If you are an individual or an organization that is trying to make an impact, check out our Information, Communication and Technology for Development Resources.

There you will find links to NGO’s such as Tacital Tech that is looking to advance advocacy through information technology and management.

If you are looking to create your own NGO you will find resources like Open World. They provide micro scholarships for grassroots initiatives interested in freedom and sustainability.

Or, if you are just looking to get started social justice, you can link to guides like, The Barefoot Guide. This downloadable guide will help an organization start working on projects of social change.

There are many applications of information, communication and technology for development. One of the best uses of ICT4D has been for educating the general public. Whether your goal is formal or informal education, using information, communication, and technology for development applications can help expand knowledge about your organization.
Photo: Rural Roads Sector 1 Project via:  Asian Development Bank[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

TransTech, helping transgender people get jobs in tech

Transgender people are subject to discrimination that often prevents them from being employed and promoted in their work. As a result, this group has twice the unemployment rate of the general population. For those that are employed, 90 percent have reported dealing with harassment and discrimination at work, while others have simply been fired for their trans status. TransTech is trying to change that. 

Founded by CEO Angelica Ross, who is herself a trans woman, the goal is to employ transgender people in fulfilling work. To accomplish this, TransTech has programs to teach technical skills like coding, data entry and software management. Discrimination and harassment often push transgender people out of school, and they miss out on learning these skills. Ms. Ross has created a 12 week program to teach these skills that has even gotten the attention of the White House. The idea is to create a skilled workforce that can be judged on their ability and performance, instead of their gender affiliation.

Article via TechCrunch, 1 September 2015

Photo: Steve Jobs took Apple To Unimaginable Heights via Sacha Fernandez[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

New .law domain name available for lawyers

Now, in addition to common domain names such as .com or .net, lawyers with the appropriate qualifications can differentiate themselves with a domain name specific to the legal community. As Lou Andreozzi, the CEO of .law explains, this new domain name can be useful in several ways to interested attorneys. For example, it opens up names that may already be registered to a .com or .net address to be used. Additionally, since there are specifications that individuals must meet to purchase a .law domain name, namely being a licensed lawyer, websites with .law may appear more creditable than those with a domain name that can be purchased by anyone, such as .com. While .law is the first domain name available specifically for those in legal professions, other such as .attorney or .esq may also become available soon.

Some prominent law firms are already beginning to take advantage of the new domain name. Though the domain name will not be available to the legal community at large until October, firms that have registered their trademarks with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers have had early access to ordering from the owner of .law, Minds + Machines.

Article via ABA Journal, August 10, 2015

Photo: The letters of the law via laura.bell [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Non-lethal drones can be used in North Dakota by police

Legislation was passed last spring that allows police in North Dakota to utilize drones not only for surveillance but also as non-lethal weapons. The bill, which was originally introduced by Representative Rick Becker, did not permit the use of any kind of weaponry to be used, but lobbyists advocated for the bill to be amended to allow non-lethal weapons in order to win the support of law enforcement. There are restrictions incorporated into the law that limit the scenarios in which drones can be used by police, though. For example, a drone may only be used for surveillance if the data will be used in investigating a felony, and law enforcement must obtain a warrant to use the drone which includes very specific details on how, when and where it will be used. There are also limits on how personal information that the drone uncovers may be dealt with. Even with some restrictions within the legislature limiting the use of drones, some say that the drones are providing law enforcement with too much power.

Jay Stanley from the American Civil Liberties Union states that even non-lethal weapons can still have lethal results. Tasers, though non-lethal, still lead to approximately fifty deaths a year. Additionally, using drones may lead to detachment between the person operating the drone and the suspect on the other side, which could lead to regrettable choices. Jim McGregor disagrees, explaining that police officers out in the field may have a harder time making the right call than someone operating a drone in an offsite location with less to distract them. He likens drones to other methods, including SWAT teams and snipers, to show that drones are not so different from well-known choices for dealing with dangerous situations.

Whether non-lethal drones are a positive or negative development in law enforcement technology, Representative Becker intends to propose a  new law that will make non-lethal as well as lethal weaponry on drones illegal.

Article via TechNewsWorld, August 28, 2015

Photo: Drone via ninfaj [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Practical Tech Tools


Practical Technology Tools is an experiential course designed to introduce affordable and accessible online dispute resolution (ODR) technology to the practice of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Participants will engage in four synchronous, real-time lectures and discussions over a five-week period, with asynchronous forums, wikis, directional study, and instructor interaction.  Students will learn about numerous tested online platforms and tools that can elevate and streamline their current mediation and dispute
resolution practices.  These technologies will concentrate on the functions of an ADR practice that can most easily be adapted to working digitally, including client intake, client narrative, document review and storage, information sharing, brainstorming, and agreement development, drafting, and execution.

Skills targeted by course:

  • Understanding and Assessing Technology: learn about available tools and which are most appropriate  for ADR and your practice
  • Digital Case Management: assess and apply case management skills to information and communication technologies (ICTs)
  • Third Party Skills: anticipate and prepare for how clients will react to and learn to use new platforms and technology tools
  • Ethical Evaluation: analyze and adapt mediation and legal ethics to the use of ICT
  • Technology Integration: dissecting the practicalities of maintaining a face-to-face dispute resolution practice while integrating technology and/or creating your own virtual ADR practice

About the lead instructor:

Daniel_Rainey_headshot_dropDaniel Rainey is one of the leading ODR educators and practitioners in the world. Working with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he was one of the first instructors to teach a university ODR course, and has since developed graduate level ODR courses for several universities and dispute resolution centers. He has designed ADR and ODR systems for numerous organizations.

He is a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, a delegate at the UNCITRAL Working Group III on ODR, a member of the ABA Web-based Interdisciplinary Dispute Resolution Environment Task Force, a member of the ABA President-elect’s Technology Initiative, and co-author and editor of the definitive ODR source book, ODR Theory and Practice.