I am thrilled to be serving as moderator this Saturday for ABA annual meeting program, “On The Docket: The 2013 Supreme Court Term.” A panel of distinguished Supreme Court experts will look back at the recently completed term and also preview the notable cases accepted for the coming term. The panelists are: Linda Greenhouse, former [...]
CAT | General
As a company, Intralinks has built a reputation as a leading provider of secure online collaboration platforms. Most notably, its Dealspace is a virtual deal room (or virtual data room) that is among the most popular applications for managing major mergers and acquisitions. Key attributes behind the success of Dealspace are high levels of security and a robust capacity for collaboration.
Now, Intralinks is taking on the likes of Dropbox and Box with a file sharing and collaboration platform of its own, called Intralinks VIA. Recognizing that many lawyers remain concerned about the security of Dropbox and Box, Intralinks VIA is promoting its platform as having the same bank-grade security features as its M&A deal rooms. (more…)
Whenever there is a conversation about using technology to enhance access to justice for the poor, there is sure to be talk of A2J Author. Developed almost 10 years ago by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction and the Center for Access to Justice and Technology at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, A2J Author is a tool used by legal aid programs and others to create automated guided interviews to guide individuals in need of legal help. The interviews use graphics and easy-to-understand text to enhance their accessibility and usability.
Often, the interviews are used in conjunction with the Hotdocs document assembly program to help self-represented individuals create court and legal forms. The interviews are also used for online intake and to help guide individuals to appropriate legal help and resources. You can see examples of these at Stateside Legal and find many others at LawHelp Interactive.
The main idea of A2J Author is to make it easy for those who have no programming background to create these guided interviews. The principal users are staff people at legal services programs and in court systems.
Until now, A2J Author has been delivered as a locally installed software package and it worked only on Windows computers. (The resulting interviews were accessible on any Web browser with Flash installed.)
That all changes today, when an all-new, Web-based version of A2J Author is launched. According to John Mayer, CALI executive director, the new version will officially roll out today at noon Central time. “This is not an upgrade,” he writes, “this is a whole new platform.”
The new version of A2J Author is a single page web application designed to run in modern browsers and does not require a software package to be downloaded and installed on the author’s machine. This is because the software that runs the application is downloaded every time you visit the website. This has the advantage of allowing for rapid and continuous bug fixes and feature enhancements. It also means that A2J Author will work on your PC whether it runs Windows, Mac or Linux.
The old version of the software will remain available for at least six months at the old website, which will remain accessible at old.a2jauthor.org.
Mayer writes that the legal aid community has used A2J Author to deliver over 2.5 million interactions with users seeking legal assistance. He hopes to see this number grow to 20 million a year or more.
Access to justice isn’t just about quantity, but quantity does matter. Our goal is not to replace lawyers, but to make the limited human lawyer resources more valuable by concentrating their work where it can have the greatest impact. Technology vs. Lawyers is not an either/or. The greatest benefit will come from our strategic and intelligent use of Technology + Lawyers to increase access t justice.
Check out Mayer’s post for more details about the new A2J Author.
This is interesting. LexisNexis today announced that it has been named official publisher of the Massachusetts Reports, the official publication containing decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court. Previously, Thomson Reuters (West) was the official publisher.
LexisNexis took over the contract as of July 1, the press release said. (more…)
I’ve seen a lot of infographics, but never before have I been
blamed credited for one. According to Nicole Black at the MyCase blog, the infographic I’ve embedded below, 10 Technologies that Have Changed the Practice of Law, was inspired by a post here on LawSites, A Chronology of Legal Technology, 1842-1995. Thanks Nicole and MyCase for turning my rudimentary list into something much nicer.
Any moment now, I expect to see Paul Revere gallop by, shouting, “The lawyers are coming! The lawyers are coming!” In just over a week, the ABA annual meeting descends on Boston, and while it may not be bringing redcoats, it is sure to deliver an influx of black, blue and grey suitcoats.
For anyone interested in legal technology or access to justice, possibly the most interesting event during the annual meeting is its first-ever hackathon, sponsored by the ABA Journal and Suffolk University Law School. If you are not familiar with the term, a hackathon is an event in which groups of people compete in teams to develop computer or mobile applications.
The theme of this hackathon is Hackcess to Justice – and there is prize money to be had. A total of $3,000 will be awarded to the top three hacks, with $1,500 to the winner, $1,000 to second place and $500 to third place. (Read more at this Challengepost page.)
As the name suggests, the challenge to the teams will be to develop ways that technology can expand access to justice for those unable to obtain or afford legal services. Applications should address one of the five areas of need outlined by the Legal Services Corporation’s 2013 Report of The Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice:
- Statewide legal portals.
- Document assembly.
- Mobile applications.
- Business processes and analysis.
- Expert systems
The hackathon will be judged by:
- K. Krasnow Waterman, principal, K. Krasnow Waterman Consulting.
- Glenn Rawdon, program counsel, Legal Services Corporation.
- Robert Ambrogi, some guy who writes a blog.
This is a two-day event held at Suffolk Law School. It kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 9 a.m., and concludes with the announcement of the winners on Friday at 7 p.m. On Saturday, some related programs will be presented at the annual meeting venue. The schedule is here.
If you want to just observe it, the best time to come is probably Friday at 5 p.m., when the teams will present their submissions to the judges. If you want to participate, then you can find full rules and registration information at this page.
In a post here two months ago, I wrote about recent developments involving LegalZoom in South Carolina and North Carolina, where legal actions had sought to shut down the company as engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Those were just two of a string of state lawsuits seeking to bar the company from engaging in unauthorized practice. But with a major victory in the South Carolina suit and having fended off all but one of the other suits, LegalZoom has no plans to go away.
To the contrary, the company has plans to significantly broaden the range of services it offers consumers and small businesses.
In the August issue of the ABA Journal magazine, I have an article looking at what is in store for LegalZoom: Latest Legal Victory Has LegalZoom Poised for Growth. I talk to several ethicists who say it’s time to stop focusing on the unauthorized practice issue and instead worry about how best to regulate such companies in a way that best serves consumers.
It was one year ago that I first wrote here about Casetext, the free legal research site that uses “crowdsourcing” to annotate court opinions. More recently, I wrote about Casetext’s addition of a citator, called WeCite. Now, there is more Casetext news to report.
Casetext is preparing to launch a new version of its research platform that will add communities and other social features. The new features have already been rolled out in a beta version. The text version came out of private beta last week and is now in public beta at beta.casetext.com. (more…)
If you’ve been following this blog lately, you’ll know that I recently attended the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries. While I was there, I spoke briefly with David Harriman, the CEO of Casemaker, the legal research service offered as a member benefit by some 25 state and local bar associations. He gave me a brief update on new Casemaker features, then sent me an email providing more details.
Two major enhancements involve Casemaker’s library. For case law, Casemaker has expanded its coverage further back in time. For most states, it now has case law back to statehood or earlier or to the first state reporter volume. (more…)
After returning from the American Association of Law Libraries annual meeting in San Antonio last week, I wrote about having seen previews there of major changes in the works for Fastcase, Lexis Advance and Wolters Kluwer. I also wrote last week about WellSettled.com, which I learned about through conversations at AALL.
But these were not the only products that caught my attention there. Here are a couple of others worth noting.