internet legal research - Institute of Continuing Legal Education in

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internet legal research - Institute of Continuing Legal Education in
INTERNET LEGAL RESEARCH
Program Materials 2012
SPONSOR:
Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia
Copyright © 2012 by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia. All
rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this publication
may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any
means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the
prior written permission of ICLE.
The Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia’s publications are intended
to provide current and accurate information on designated subject matter. They are
offered as an aid to maintaining professional competence with the understanding
that the publisher is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice.
Attorneys using ICLE publications should also research original and current sources
of authority.
ICLE gratefully acknowledges the efforts of the faculty in the preparation of this
publication and the presentation of information on their designated subjects at the
seminar. The opinions expressed by the faculty in their papers and presentations are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Institute of Continuing
Legal Education in Georgia, its officers or employees.
The Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia (ICLE) is the not-for-profit
educational service of the State Bar of Georgia and is a consortium of the Bar and
the Law Schools of the Universities of Georgia, Emory, Mercer, Georgia State and
John Marshall. It is fully self-supporting and receives all of its income from tuition
charges and sale of publications. ICLE exists solely to serve the educational needs
of practicing lawyers with any surplus revenues being devoted entirely to the
improvement of CLE products and services.
Printed by
Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia • P.O. Box 1885 • Athens, Georgia 30603-1885
Publication No.
127912
iii
FOREWORD
The Institute is especially grateful to our outstanding Seminar Chairperson, Carol A.
Watson, for providing the necessary leadership, organization and supervision that has
brought this program into a reality. Indeed a debt of gratitude is particularly due our
articulate and knowledgeable faculty without whose untiring efforts and dedication in
the preparation of papers and in appearing on the program as speakers, this program
would not have been possible. Their names are listed on the program at page iv of this
book and their contributions to the success of this seminar are immeasurable.
I would be remiss if I did not extend a special thanks to each of you who are attending
this seminar and for whom the program was planned. All of us hope your attendance
will be most beneficial as well as enjoyable. Your comments and suggestions are always
welcome.
March, 2012
Lawrence F. Jones
Executive Director
Institute of Continuing Legal
Education in Georgia
iv
PROGRAM
Presiding:
Carol A. Watson, Law Library Director, J.D., M.S.L.S., Alexander Campbell King
Law Library, University of Georgia, Athens
Speakers:
University of Georgia School of
Law, Alexander Campbell King
Law Library, Athens
Sharon Bradley, Special Collections
Librarian, J.D., M.L.S.
Anne E. Burnett, Foreign & International
Law Librarian, J.D., M.L.I.S.
Maureen A. Cahill, Student Services
Librarian, J.D., M.L.I.S.
Suzanne R. Graham, Cataloging Services
Librarian, M.A., M.L.I.S.
Wendy E. Moore, Acquisitions Librarian,
M.S in L.S.
Jason Tubinis, Information Technology
Librarian, J.D., M.L.S.
Carol A. Watson, Law Library Director, J.D.,
M.S.L.S.
7:45
REGISTRATION (All attendees must
check in upon arrival. A removable jacket
or sweater is recommended.)
8:25
INTRODUCTION AND
PROGRAM OVERVIEW
Carol A. Watson
8:30
IN REAL TIME: TIPS FOR FAST,
EFFECTIVE INTERNET SEARCHES
Suzanne R. Graham
9:30
BREAK
9:45
J IS FOR JURISPRUDENCE: AN
ALPHABET OF WEBSITES FOR
LAWYERS
Wendy E. Moore
10:45
ETHICS ON THE WING:
EXAMINATION OF OPINIONS ON
ELECTRONIC SERVICES AND CLOUD
COMPUTING
Sharon Bradley
11:45
LUNCH (Included in registration fee)
12:30
CROSSING BORDERS: ADVENTURES
IN TRANSNATIONAL LEGAL
RESEARCH
Anne E. Burnett
1:15
BREAK
1:30
STAY ON TOP OF YOUR WORLD:
RESOURCES FOR KEEPING UP WITH
DEVELOPMENTS IN COMMON
PRACTICE AREAS
Maureen Cahill
2:15
CHECKING BANKRUPTCY
COURT? THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT:
MOBILE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE
LEGAL PROFESSIONAL
Jason Tubinis
3:00
TECHNOLOGY TRENDS AND
PREDICTIONS: IS A FLYING CAR IN
OUR FUTURE?
Carol A. Watson
3:45
ADJOURN
v
Table of Contents
Page
Chapter
Foreword ....................................................................................................................................iii
Program Schedule .....................................................................................................................iv
In Real Time: Tips for Fast, Effective Internet Searches ................................................. 1–16
Suzanne R. Graham
01
J is For Jurisprudence:
An Alphabet of Websites for Lawyers .............................................................................. 1–21
Wendy E. Moore
02
Ethics on the Wing: Examination of
Opinions on Electronic Services and Cloud Computing ............................................... 1–16
Sharon Bradley
03
Crossing Borders: Adventures in Transnational Legal Research ................................. 1–13
Anne E. Burnett
04
Stay On Top of Your World: Resources For
Keeping Up With Developments in Common Practice Areas ....................................... 1–10
Maureen A. Cahill
05
Checking Bankruptcy Court? There’s an App for That:
Mobile Technology for the Legal Professional ................................................................. 1–12
Jason Tubinis
06
Technology Trends and Predictions: Is a Flying Car in Our Future? .......................... 1–16
Carol A. Watson
Appendix:
The Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia ..................................................... 1
ICLE Information ...................................................................................................................... 4
Errata Sheet ................................................................................................................................. 5
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In Real Time:
Tips for Fast, Effective Internet Searches
Suzanne R. Graham
University of Georgia School of Law
Alexander Campbell King Law Library
Athens, Georgia
Table of Contents
Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 1
History.................................................................................................................................. 1
Google It ...............................................................................................................................2
Word order matters ..........................................................................................................3
Variants .............................................................................................................................3
Search as a phrase (quotation marks)............................................................................. 4
Must include (asterisk) ..................................................................................................... 5
Boolean ............................................................................................................................. 5
Domain or site specific (site:)........................................................................................... 7
File-type specific (filetype:) ............................................................................................. 8
Novelty non-search features............................................................................................ 8
Out-of-the-box help ........................................................................................................ 10
Searching without Search Engines .................................................................................... 11
Privacy ................................................................................................................................ 13
Conclusion .......................................................................................................................... 16
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Most people would say that they are good at surfing the Internet but admit that
they might not efficient. The concept of a “search strategy” sounds quaint and out-ofdate. A strategy might serve a necessary role while on Lexis, Westlaw or PACER, but
search engine searches are free and so fast that trial-and-error or try-assess-and-tryagain seem reasonable approaches. However, when a single known result is desired,
patience is short or the viewable screen is too small to make scrolling desirable there are
a variety of handy tools and techniques to use to get the best out of the Web.
Modern search engines with their combination of a simple interface powered
behind the scenes by an automated index of Web pages first appeared in 1994. Few of
the names from those early efforts (Magellan, Northern Light, Excite, AltaVista, Lycos)
are familiar any longer. The pop of the Internet bubble made a diluvium break in the
field of contenders.
Curiously, two of the main players today, Google, and Bing (then known as
MSNSearch) trace their start to the same year: 1998. Major search engine tracking
services, comScore and Experian Hitwise give both independently credit Google with
65- 66% of the U.S. market share. Bing and Yahoo!Search alternate at the second and
third position with 13%-15% for the past six months.1 Although users can choose from at
comScore Releases January 2012 U.S. Search Engine Rankings, comScore (28 February 2012)
http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/2/comScore_Releases_January_2012_U.
S._Search_Engine_Rankings. And Search Engines, Experian Hitwise (29 February 2012)
http://www.hitwise.com/us/datacenter/main/dashboard-23984.html.
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least 66 different search engines, based on those figures, we will focus on Google and
Bing (with popularity is on the rise), talk about privacy considerations, and alternatives
to using search engines.
Google’s huge advantage in current market share is sustained by its excellent
name recognition and because the engine works very well. The simplicity of single box
on a mostly white page belies the explosion of data that is about to replace it once the
search results roll in—in a fraction of a second. But Google’s (and Bing’s) power goes
beyond the box. It’s all about how they index and interpret search strings. Very early on
Google had been praised for the intuitive and impressive results, creating an aura of
wonder about the variables analyzed and the formula used to produce a results list.
While some of the factors that Google considers are known publically (such as number
of links to the page, the position and size of the search terms within the page, and the
proximity of the search terms to one another on the page), most of the roughly 200
variables are not, which fuels much speculation.
For fun “Google” or “Bing” the search-phrase [“google searching”]. The results
highlight how useful crowd-sourcing or Web democratization can be. Stringing behind
“expert” blog posts and Web journal articles on the topic are many comments and
suggestions added by regular users with special interests and more up-to-date
information. The main takeaway is that over the past (nearly) twenty years of intense
competition among these search engines and fitful mergers and reconfigurations of
other players, search engines are very powerful but the full extent of their indexing and
ranking are tightly-guarded industry secrets.
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Each term within a search is not treated as a discrete unit. Google and Bing
programmers also consider contextual clues based on all the words in the search, but
Google more consistently interprets those clues correctly. Somehow Google is smart
enough to know that [private practice] should show items on solo practitioners first and
keep the private ice skating lessons below page 30. Even though the same search terms
appear in both the ice skater and in the attorney pages, Google has figured out that
searchers looking for lessons use other search terms, and it has accounted for this in the
rubric.
In addition to contextual clues, the placement of words matters. Reconfiguring
the above search as [practice private] does yield hits for pilot training on the first page.
Thus, in both Google and Bing, the first words are interpreted to be the most important.
Searches for [learning to play the guitar] and [guitar learning to play] retrieve similar
lists, but the page rankings are different, and the second (focus on “guitar”) has many
more hits.
Unless specifically instructed not to do so, Google and Bing automatically search
for variant forms of search words, including plural/singular forms, other verb tenses,
and common nicknames for proper nouns. Unfortunately, the English language has
many examples of cases in which these faux amis are not desired because they take on
different meanings, consider the meanings of “classified” and “classifieds.”
Google and Bing anticipate and factor out these cases surprisingly well, but to be
safe in any interface, tell the search engine to search only for the term as typed by
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enclosing the word in quotation marks. For example, [“Internet” “searching”] retrieves
pages that have both terms and ranks them higher than pages that more extensively use
the variants “Web” and “searches.”
In addition to limiting the automatic substitution of similar terms, quotation
marks can be used to instruct the search engines to look for only those terms and to look
for them in a specific order and without any interceding words. This strategy generally
works better for well-established subjects than it does for emerging scholarship simply
because terminology has coalesced. A search for the American Civil War should have
“civil war” enclosed in quotation marks, otherwise all pages that have “civil” and “war”
will be pulled as relevant.
Phrase searching also works better for terms than people because people have so
many variations of their names. [“George Washington”] is fairly safe, but [“Suzanne
Rockey Graham”] is overly proscriptive and returns only six items related to my
activities with one organization. Granted these six hits are all for the correct person, but
the search misses the 16,000 other hits that are also relevant.
Beware of Google’s “verbatim tool” at the bottom of the left column of options
after a search is run. It is not the same as enclosing the entire search in quotation marks.
The verbatim tool searches for each term without any variants, but it does not respect
the quotation marks as a phrase wrapper. If a search for [“civil rights legislation”] is run
through the verbatim tool in Google, it will search for the exact words [“civil” “rights”
“legislation”]. The word “law,” for example, is not in bold in the results list, but the
terms might not be found sequentially on the pages. The search [“civil rights
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legislation”] retrieves 1.76 million items, while the search in verbatim collects 6.5
million pages.
The English language has many homonyms, so as mentioned before, giving even
these super smart search engine some context is helpful. A user can refine the results by
telling the search engine that pages must include or must not include a term. Following
up with the example above, a search for [“Suzanne Graham”] uncovers a racy author, a
thrill-seeker, a real estate agent, and a librarian in Georgia. To instruct Google or Bing to
return pages about the librarian, one can use [“Suzanne Graham” *library], meaning the
pages must contain the word “library” (or one of its synonyms).
Another reason to use an asterisk is to ensure that a keyword is not ignored. It is
common to assume that the search engines are already returning only results with all
the terms, but instead they work hard to outsmart the search—even if that entails
returning pages with only two of the three search terms.
When librarians think search strategy, they think Boolean searching. It’s one of
those insidious ways that high school math continues to creep into the lives of adults in
unsuspected ways. Boolean searching employs the logic operators AND, OR, and NOT.
Google and Bing only recognize OR.
Even in all capital letters, search engines treat NOT as just another term. In order
to use it to limit a search, the searcher must use the minus sign in both Google and Bing
([civil rights –legislation]). Georgia is good example since it is both a country and a
state. Consider the advantage of [Georgia –Tbilisi] when trying to find information
concerning the state, not the country.
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On their help pages, Google and Bing both claim that they treat keyword searches
as AND queries, but they do not.2 The results list for [civil rights legislation] is quite
different from the list generated by the query [civil AND rights AND legislation]. The
first search string retrieves only a small fraction of the hits found by the second.
The OR operator is the most expansive search and should be used only to
elevating the relevance of one particular variant form over all others or to introduce
acceptable synonyms that the user does not think that the search engine’s thesaurus
recognizes already. The civil rights legislation search yields an overwhelming 25.3
billion hits when combined with OR operator ([civil OR rights OR legislation]). But
really such a search does not make sense since these terms are distinct concepts, not
variant of each other. A better search query is [civil OR human rights OR liberty
legislation]. In this example, the search engine will give higher ranking to pages that
contain the words “civil” or “human” and “rights” or “liberty” and “legislation.”
To illustrate the impact that this search has on any variants not specified, add
“OR law” to the end of the search. In the previous example, many of the hits on the first
page referenced the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Human Rights Act of 1988. “Act” is
clearly a variant for legislation in Google. By elevating a different synonym, “law,” the
Google ranking system pushes all those results with “act” lower on the results list. The
second hit is still to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but not because of the word “act.” “Act”
2
Operators and More Search Help, Google Inside Search (28 February 2012),
http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136861. And And MSDN (28
February 2012), http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff795645.aspx.
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is no longer highlighted in the results list. It is retrieved because of the prominence of
“legislation” on the page.
No variants specified for “legislation”
“Law” specified as preferred variant for “legislation”
Experts also recommend using a site specific search. This advice is helpful if the
site does not already have internal search capability, but many do. Going directly to a
site and using its navigation and native search functions is often faster than googling.
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One useful application of a site-specific search is to find professional contact
information. Many Web sites hide (wittingly or not) staff directories. In these cases, a
search that includes a firm’s URL and the person’s name might be the most efficient way
to retrieve current email addresses or business phone numbers: [Suzanne Graham
site:law.uga.edu].
This is a good time to mention the “invisible Web.” Think about the contents of
Lexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg. These documents exist on the Web, but one cannot do a
search in a general search engine to find them. The indexing only goes so deep into a
Web site, and regardless of architecture, Google only indexes the first 101 KB of a Web
page and about 120 KB of PDFs. Search engines also do not include proprietary data or
any documents hidden behind a log-in/password. The point here is that one can do a
site limit search and still come up empty.
Another tip is to search for specific types of files. If only a PDF (.pdf) or Flash
(.swf) video will do, then include those details as part of the initial search, so millions of
Web pages (.html) do not clutter the results list. For example, to find PDF vesions of the
Civil Code of Georgia, type [“filetype:pdf Civil code Georgia]. To find online video clips
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., try [filetype:swf “Martin Luther King”]. The full list of
common file types that Google indexes is available under the Webmaster Tools page at:
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35287
Google and Bing provide more than just search services, they connect users to
information. To this end, the basic search box also can be a calculator, a clock, a
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currency converter, a dictionary, a telephone book, weather reporter, and a recipe book.
One can type an equation or question directly into Google and Bing and get an answer,
not just a list of links. The operators are fairly predictable and both search engines can
now handle common symbols like the basic arithmetic operators and currency symbols.
•
Calculator: [(4+5)/2*(3.5-2)=]. The “equals sign” is essential in Bing, but
not in Google.
•
Clock: [Time in Bismarck]. Defaults to the most prominent city, so
including the state is helpful. Typing in a state or country with multiple
time zones retrieves a nice chart of major cities within the region with
their times [Time in Russia]. Bing provides the full date. Google provides
the day of the week only.
•
Currency converter: [$150 in euro]. Rates are updated daily. Citibank N.A.
provides exchange information for Google’s currency converter.
•
Dictionary: [define:digest]. Both Bing and Google have their own
dictionaries that power these searches, but both offer links to other
dictionaries (Black’s Law did not make the cut). As a bonus, the list of
synonyms, provided as part of the entry, gives the user a glimpse at the
main variants that the engines use in their searches.
•
Phone book: [706-555-5555]. This service is useful as a reverse look-up
tool (when the number is known but not the party).
•
Weather reporter: [weather in Harrisburg, PA]. Both Google and Bing pull
from weather.com, but they also offer links to AccuWeather, the Weather
Underground, and iMap Weather.
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•
Recipe book: [“bell pepper” hamburger “cheddar cheese”]. Both engines
are rich with recipes and pull those results to the top when a list of
ingredients is entered. Add “easy” or “quick” to the search string and
review the realistic options for after work.
The search engine developers realize that few people will commit to memory how
to do these specialized searches. Users do not need to remember exactly how, only that
they can. Google and Bing provide user-friendly icons and labels on the main search
screen to help remind users.
When a targeted search is required, most search engines offer more advanced
parameters to help a user filter out the chaff and zero in on the best pages. Google
recently made the advanced search screen harder to find. It no longer appears beside the
search box, but instead it is only visible after it performs an initial search (down the left
side of the screen). To start with an advanced search in Google, the searcher needs to
“google” for [“Google advance search”], click the link to go directly to the page, and then
bookmark it or save it for future reference.
The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button takes one directly to the first result, not to the full
list. Be advised that Wikipedia pages frequently appear as the top result. Clearly, some
special arrangement has been worked out or the Wikipedia designers have unlocked a
key code in the Google Webmaster tools.
Also be aware that the searches are customized by past search history and current
geographic location. One can hope that Google and Bing are doing just what they claim:
using the data they collect to improve the user experience. It is easy to find examples of
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how this is true. Google displays the nearest city to the user on the left side of the screen,
and in searches for commercial services, the first page of results will contain several paid
advertisements and unpaid listings for companies in the vicinity. Google Map also
provides a handy map showing where these businesses are located.
Google knows where your computer is
While much of Google’s relevancy ranking magic is not public knowledge, we do
know how Google finds Web pages. It tracks new Web pages in stages: first, Googlebots
crawl billions of pages, determine how much of the sites to index, and note links on the
pages. Next Google compiles an index based on words within the text of the page of
tucked into the code. The bots continue to track updates but not in real-time.3
Bookmarking a useful page is one way to bypass the search engines. When a user
finds an informative Web site, he or she doesn’t have to let it go. Internet browsers, like
Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome, allow users to save pages as
favorites (and store them in their log-ins) for a consistent Web experience, regardless of
3
Google Basics, Google Webmaster Tools (27 February 2012),
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=70897
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the computer being used. If the site is truly the one visited most frequently, they can
make it the browser’s homepage (or first page that loads when the browser is opened).
Many law-related portals (massive sites that bring together a huge amount of
targeted, vetted information) exist on the Web. Some of the most comprehenive portals
are Legal Information Institute, LII, (www.law.cornell.edu), FindLaw for Legal
Professionals (lp.findlaw.com), and THOMAS (thomas.loc.gov). These sites are powerful
starting points for legal information online. LII is broad in scope with federal and state
primary law and regulations, Supreme Court decisions, and some commentary. Findlaw
offers free caselaw, newsfeeds and legal articles. THOMAS is a service of the Library of
Congress that tracks legislative bills and various other activities of congressional
representatives. Rather than starting with Google or Bing, consider starting a search in
one of these respected megasites.
A third alternative to a general Web search or a single site homepage is a
customized personal portal or dashboard. A dashboard is a uniform, tailored page that a
user builds and designs just for himself or herself. It’s a virtual office with links to useful
online resources (a virtual bookshelf), RSS feeds (virtual mail) and electronic mail
(virtual telephone). These pages exist only for the user that created them. No one could
“Google” for a personal dashboard and find it. They are log-in protected and not crawled
by search engine bots.
Several free Web services provide basic platforms and help users create
personalized dsahboards. iGoogle, Netvibes, My Yahoo!, and Windows Live
Personalized Homepage are all players in this market and all are worth consideration.
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The page aesthetics can be customized, but most importantly, so can the
“gadgets” or the contents of the page’s various frames. Admittedly, the basic
configuration of iGoogle (weather, date/time, YouTube, CNN, Gmail, and Wall Street
Journal) appeals more to the casual surfer than to the legal professional. To begin
customization, start with the “Add Gadgets” button at the top left. The long list of prefabricated gadgets is searchable, but the search [Law Georgia] does not offer many
helpful resources, however, JURIST and Law.com appear. Arguably, at present the real
benefit is not in the available gadgets but in the ability to add RSS feeds and to create
and share gadgets. The promise of customized Internet dashboards is still emerging, and
this approach is not for everyone. But if a user is especially tech savvy, then developing
great gadgets for online law resources could really boost his or her Internet search
efficiency.
All of a searcher’s online activities leave a virtual fingerprint, and search engines
collect this data to tailor search results. Google made major waves this winter when it
announced a new privacy policy, effective March 1, 2012. On one level Google earned
praise for consolidating its 60-plus privacy-related policies into one unified statement.
Less well-received is Google’s announcement that it would “combine personal
information from one service with information, including personal information, from
other Google services” [emphasis mine].4
4
Preview: Privacy Policy, Google Policies & Principles (7 February 2012),
http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/preview.
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Google claims it collects this data to protect Google and users and to offer users
more tailored content, results, and advertising. Google Search had been harvesting this
information, but the full suite of Google products had not merged this data systemically
into such a holistic picture of a user before. Now, Google Search will share with iGoogle
and Gmail and Google calendar, merging multiple user profiles.5
Reactions to the new policy statement range from cries heresy to a matter-of-fact
resignation to this is how things have always been—but now more so. All activity on the
Internet requires a level of trust: clicking this button will not download a virus, opening
this page will not show something disturbing, entering account information will not end
in credit card theft, creating a user profile will not increase email spam. As yet, there are
no guarantees.
Expect much more on this discussion of online privacy and how we legally define
“reasonable expectation of privacy.” In two recent concurrences, Justices Samuel Alito
and Sonia Sotomayor consider at length the impact on the Fourth Amendment of a
digital age in which “people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third
parties in the course of carrying our mundane tasks.”6
In response to the privacy controversy, the last tip is how to opt out of the
tracking of Internet searches and storage of search history. In Bing, click on “Search
History,” which appears prominently in the tool bar. Under “Edit History,” select “Clear”
and “Turn history off.” In Google, the Google Dashboard allows users to configure many
settings, privacy is only one. The dashboard is accessible from the top right corner of the
5
Ibid.
United States v. Jones 565 U.S. ___(2012) (Alito J., concurring). And United States v. Jones 565 U.S.
___ (2012) (Sotomayor, J., concurring).
6
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Google screen. In Internet Explorer, the icon looks like a wheel, and in Chrome it’s a
wrench. In Firefox, there is no icon, but users can visit google.com/history/optout .
Once on the Dashboard, select “Web History” and then click on “Enable customizations
based on search activity” to change the first word to “Disable.” Google will not use future
activity to tailor ads or search results.7
This step only sets up blinders for Bing or Google. It does not erase the Internet
browser’s cookies or search history. The browsers also track search queries and page
visits. So, don’t take the company computer anywhere that Mom would not be proud of.
7
Turn Off Search History Personalization, Google Inside Search (24 February 2012),
http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54048.
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Driven by a demanding market, modern search engines are wonderful inventions
that continue to improve their effectiveness. Often the results of a basic search are fast
and good enough, but when patience or a two-inch screen demand extra brevity and
precision remember these tips and tidbits. Also keep in mind privacy concerns when
setting up online profiles and log-ins, and make sure that the search engine’s data
collection practices are understood and accepted.
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J is for Jurisprudence:
An Alphabet of Websites for Lawyers
Wendy E. Moore, M.S. in L.S.
Acquisitions Librarian
The University of Georgia School of Law
Law Library
Athens, GA
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................ 1
THE SITES .................................................................................................................................... 1
A TO D ......................................................................................................................................... 1
Attorney at Work ..................................................................................................................... 1
Bloomberg ............................................................................................................................... 2
Court Listener ......................................................................................................................... 3
Digital Library of Georgia ..................................................................................................... 3
E TO H ......................................................................................................................................... 5
EDGAR ................................................................................................................................... 5
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) ................................................................... 6
Georgia.gov ............................................................................................................................ 7
Hollywood, Esq. ...................................................................................................................... 8
I TO L ........................................................................................................................................... 8
iPhone J.D............................................................................................................................... 8
Justia ....................................................................................................................................... 9
Koehler Law .......................................................................................................................... 10
Lawscape............................................................................................................................... 10
M TO P....................................................................................................................................... 11
Municode............................................................................................................................... 11
NICB – National Insurance Crime Bureau........................................................................... 11
OpenSecrets.org .................................................................................................................... 12
Public Library of Law - PLoL............................................................................................... 13
Q TO T ....................................................................................................................................... 14
Quitamhelp.com .................................................................................................................... 14
Regulations.gov..................................................................................................................... 15
Stateline................................................................................................................................. 15
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Thomas .................................................................................................................................. 16
U TO Z ....................................................................................................................................... 17
USPTO.gov ........................................................................................................................... 17
Virtual Law Practice ............................................................................................................. 18
Wex........................................................................................................................................ 18
XE.com .................................................................................................................................. 19
YouTube - EDU ..................................................................................................................... 20
zShare.................................................................................................................................... 20
CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................................... 21
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Introduction
While searching the Internet often yields useful results, when conducting legal
research, it is helpful to be knowledgeable of a pool of websites, which one can draw
upon for fast and authoritative information. This paper contains an alphabetical list of
26 websites, each of which contains worthwhile information for one’s research or
professional development. The list features topical legal blogs, Federal and state
government websites, free legal information from both commercial and not-for-profit
organizations, educational resources, and helpful non-legal research tools. This list of
websites is not a definitive list of the best legal websites available, but rather the these
websites are a good starting place to familiarize oneself with the types of information
available on the Internet that can help one stay informed about legal issues and make
conducting legal research more effective.
The Sites
A to D
Attorney at Work
http:// www.attorneyatwork.com/
Knowing that information overload can be a problem, Attorney at Work is a blog that
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promises “one really good idea every day” for practicing lawyers. Its writers all draw
upon their expertise in practice management for their original and insightful daily blog
posts. The site covers practice management topics such as developing a client base,
dealing with personnel issues, incorporating technology into legal practice, and
achieving one’s goals while maintaining work-life balance. One can sign up to get their
“Daily Dispatch” or “Weekly Wrap” sent directly to one’s email account, or one can
follow the blog via RSS, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/
Bloomberg.com offers news and market analysis from this major financial information
service provider. Under their News section drop down, in addition to being able to
select subject categories such as “Law,” “Politics,” or “Economy,” there is also an
“Exclusive” category containing news found only at Bloomberg.com. Their “Market
Snapshot” section is a way to get current market information in an easy to navigate
interface. Under the “TV” and “Radio” sections, there are links to Bloomberg schedules,
live feeds, and podcasts. The affiliated BusinessWeek magazine
<http://www.businessweek.com/> can be accessed from Bloomberg.com. One can also
access Bloomberg Law <http://www.bloomberglaw.com/>, but one will need an
account to get anything beyond the “Legal News,” “Law Reports,” “Podcasts,” and
“Practitioner Contributions” sections they make freely available.
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Court Listener
http://www.courtlistener.com/
Court Listener provides a free and timely way to get alerts of cases at the Federal court
level. After creating an account, one can create alerts based on search queries. Even
without creating an account one can use the site to search across the Federal courts for
court opinions. Currently the site has over 600,000 documents with daily uploads of
information concerning all precedential opinions issued by the 13 Federal Circuit Courts
and the Supreme Court of the United States. There are also uploaded each day nonprecedential opinions from all of the Federal Circuit Courts except for the D.C. Circuit.
The site is very forthcoming about privacy issues, clearly stating what site use they track
and why, with their stated goal to making the site as secure and private as possible.
Court Listener is an open source project created by Michael Lissner as part of his
Master’s thesis at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information.
Digital Library of Georgia
http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/
Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is an
initiative of GALILEO, the state's virtual library. The Digital Library of Georgia
connects users to digital objects from 60 institutions and 100 government agencies of
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cultural and historical value in the state of Georgia. The various databases that make up
the Digital Library of Georgia contain digitized books, manuscripts, photographs,
government documents, newspapers, maps, audio, video, and other resources. One
can search across the many databases that make up the Digital Library of Georgia or
browse the databases by topic, time period, county, institution, or media type. There is
also an A-Z list of all the databases one can browse. Under the topic ‘Government &
Politics,’ one will find several databases that could be useful for legal research. Listed
below is a sampling of these ‘Government & Politics’ databases.
•
Historic Georgia Codes Collection
http://www.archive.org/details/ugalaw
Made available by the University of Georgia School of Law Alexander
Campbell King Law Library, this collection includes historical Georgia codes
beginning with the 1799 Watkins Digest of Statutes through the 1933 code.
•
Georgia Government Publications
http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggp/
A collection of monographic public documents from state government
departments and agencies, published from 1994 to the present.
•
Georgia Legislative Documents
http://www.galileo.usg.edu/express?link=zlgl
This collection contains fully searchable versions of the Georgia General
Assembly's Acts and Resolutions from 1799-1999. An excellent legal resource,
when one wants to do a keyword or subject search of the Georgia Laws.
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•
GeorgiaInfo
http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/
GeorgiaInfo provides extensive information about political life and
governance in Georgia.
•
New Georgia Encyclopedia
http://www.galileo.usg.edu/express?link=ngen;id=type%3DCatego
ries%3Bid%3DGovernmentPolitics
The New Georgia Encyclopedia provides an authoritative source of
information about people, places, events, institutions, and many other topics
relating to Georgia.
•
Trademark Registrations, 1894-1959
http://content.sos.state.ga.us/cdm4/trademarks.php
This collection is made up of trademarks from products sold in Georgia from
1894 to 1959.
E to H
EDGAR
http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml
EDGAR is a Federal government database providing free access to SEC filings, including
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registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms. Go to the website listed
above, then click on the 'Search for Company Filings' link to access the several search
options for accessing EDGAR information. All public companies, foreign and domestic,
are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and certain other forms
electronically through EDGAR, making it an excellent source for company information.
The EDGAR homepage provides a link to the current SIC Code List and a tutorial for
using the database. The website also provides links to written and oral statements made
by members of the SEC's staff on various accounting and legal matters and links to
related regulatory actions.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
http://www.fdic.gov/
The FDIC website is an excellent source of information about the banking industry and
can be helpful in factoring risk for a financial institution. The website features on its
homepage a “Bank Closing Information” section along with recent “Press Releases,”
“What’s New,” and “Consumer Resources” sections. At the top of the FDIC website is a
navigation bar to access articles, data, and statistics in the following categories: Deposit
Insurance, Customer Protection, Industry Analysis, Regulations & Examinations, Asset
Sales, and News & Events.
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Georgia.gov
http://www.georgia.gov/
Georgia.gov is the definitive portal to access information about Georgia from the state
government and its agencies. The homepage features a recent ‘Headlines’ section that
shares state government press releases about related news and events. Other sections
on the homepage include links to the most used ‘Online Services,’ quick links to ‘Local
Information’ for Georgia regions, counties, and cities, a ‘Most Search Items’ section that
brings attention to helpful resources, and the ‘At Your Service’ section linking to
directory information for members of state government. The topical menu list on the
upper left of the homepage, allows one to navigate to lists of links to the most prominent
state resources in those areas. While there is state information that could be of
assistance with legal research in all these topics, the two sections one should become
most familiar with are “Government” and “Legal, Public & Consumer Affairs.” The
“Government” section is subdivided into “State Government” and “Local Government”
with further subdivisions by branch of government. The “Legal, Public & Consumer
Affairs” section contains subdivisions focusing on the courts, law enforcement, safety,
and consumer protection, with quick links to offenders databases, parolee database, the
Georgia’s Most Wanted list, and crime statistics. One of the most useful parts of the
Georgia.gov is the ‘Search’ box found in the upper right of every page, which is very
helpful in tracking down a specific resource on this information rich site.
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Hollywood, Esq.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/thr-esq
Part of The Hollywood Reporter website, Hollywood, Esq. follows notable issues
happening in the entertainment industry with a strong focus on intellectual property
rights and contracts. While a majority of the blog posts focus on the film and television
industry, other entertainment subjects such as music, gaming, and sports are touched
on as well. This site allows one to learn about legal issues, while keeping up with
celebrity news at the same time!
I to L
iPhone J.D.
http://www.iphonejd.com/
iPhone J.D. describes itself as a website for lawyers using Apple’s iPhone or iPad.
Started in November 2008 and maintained by New Orleans attorney Jeff Richardson,
the site is not affiliated with a firm, organization, or Apple itself. Every Friday there is
an “In the news” post giving one a rundown of relevant news from the week pertaining
to Apple devices. There are insightful reviews of iPad and iPhone related products and
apps that a practicing attorney may find useful, including recent reviews of Westlaw
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Next, Lexis Advance, and Fastcase for the iPad. The site has a very useful “Index to
Prior Posts” arranged by category making it easy to access from alphabetical lists
previous reviews of apps, hardware accessories, books, movies, websites, tips, practice
stories, and “classic” posts (that may now be outdated). The site was voted the Best
Legal Technology blog by the ABA Journal for 2010 and 2011.
Justia
http://www.justia.com
Run by the original co-founders of FindLaw, Justia is a legal information portal
committed to making primary legal materials freely available for the benefit of society.
They also partner with educational, public interest, and like-minded organizations to
provide legal and consumer information to legal professionals and the public. The
website has a simple directory style layout, with the two major sections divided into
‘Legal Practice Areas’ and ‘Legal Research & Law Practice.’ There are also free daily
opinion newsletters one can sign-up for, documents for cases in the news, a separate
“News” page that gathers legal news from authoritative sources in one place, their own
“Law, Technology & Legal Marketing Blog,” and a listing of other useful legal websites,
with a special focus on sites committed to free primary law. Justia has a “Lawyer
Directory” and a “Legal Answers” section that allows the public to ask lawyers questions
for free. The website also maintains a law blog directory (BlawgSearch), lists of law
podcasts (Blawgs.fm), and a directory of legal professionals on Twitter (LegalBirds).
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Koehler Law
http://www.koehlerlaw.net/blog
D.C. based solo practitioner Jamison Koehler blogs about criminal law and his
experiences as a defense lawyer on the website Koehler Law. His well-written posts
focus on issues he encounters in the criminal justice system and stories from his
practice. This blog was voted the Best Criminal Justice blog as part of the 2011 ABA
Journal Blawg 100.
Lawscape
http://lawscape.wordpress.com/
Lawscape is a blog that looks at the law and legal issues in Georgia. The site offers
commentary, resources, and news, with a special focus on the rural areas and small
cities around the state. Mike Monahan, Director of the Pro Bono Project of the State
Bar of Georgia and Georgia Legal Services Program, is the primary contributor to
Lawscape, but the blog is in no way associated with those programs.
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M to P
Municode
http://www.municode.com/
Municode provides access to over 2,700 local codes from all around the country. The
coverage of Georgia county and municipal codes is particularly strong. One can browse
and search one code at a time for free under their ‘Code Library’ from the link in the
navigation bar or from the button on the homepage. The codes are now also available in
a mobile platform version in addition to the desktop browser version. The codes are
only as current as the most recent update from the local government, however, the last
updated date is clearly marked in the banner information for each code. Under the
‘Online Services’ link in the navigation bar, Municode also makes available free annual
“State Law Pamphlets” for 15 states, including Georgia and Florida, highlighting
important changes that have occurred to these state codes. Municode is the oldest and
largest codifier in the country and has demonstrated a strong commitment to making
these ordinances freely available on the Internet.
NICB – National Insurance Crime Bureau
http://www.nicb.org/
The NICB – National Insurance Crime Bureau is a not-for-profit organization whose
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mission is to facilitate the identification, detection, and prosecution of insurance
criminals by partnering with insurers, transportation-related firms, and law
enforcement. While their website offers information for their members, it also makes
available some helpful resources to the public. NICB’s VINCheckSM database is a free
resource to assist the public in tracking if a vehicle has been reported stolen or salvaged
by NICB members. In order to use the search, one must have the Vehicle Identification
Number (VIN) and are limited to a maximum of five VIN searches in a 24 hour period.
Under the ‘Theft and Fraud Awareness’ section on the navigation bar, there is access to
helpful brochures, posters, fact sheets, and checklists to assist the public with protecting
themselves from theft and fraud. There are even topical videos related to insurance
fraud and theft recovery, taken from various news programs as well as the NICB, under
their “Multimedia” subsection.
OpenSecrets.org
http://www.opensecrets.org/
Produced by the Center for Responsive Politics, OpenSecrets.org is an independent
website tracking the influence of money on U.S. Federal politics, public policy, and
everyday citizens. Gathering data beyond the offerings from the Federal Election
Commission, OpenSecrets.org looks at lobbying, the “revolving door” phenomenon,
politician’s personal finances, and congressional travel. The navigation bar allows one
to access information by ‘Politicians & Elections,’ ‘Influence & Lobbying,’ and ‘News &
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Analysis’ on this data rich website. There is a “Get Local!” subsection that breaks
contribution data down by state, by zip code, and by earmarks on what they term
“money maps.” OpenSecrets.org makes it easy to track donations and expenditures by
SuperPACs which have been in the news during the present election cycle. The
OpenSecrets Blog is an excellent source for news about money in politics. The
‘Resources’ and ‘Take Action’ sections offer FAQs, tools, apps, and social networking
opportunities for those looking to become more engaged in advocating for government
transparency. To locate information related to state government and politics in Georgia,
one should explore the resources available through the state run portal OpenGeorgia
<http://www.open.georgia.ga>. The resources linked on this site are gathered from a
variety of state agency websites, where they are sometimes difficult to locate, even if one
knows of their existence. While much of the information is only updated annually,
OpenGeorgia is an excellent, time-saving resource for Georgia state financial-related
information.
Public Library of Law - PLoL
http:// www.plol.org/
Created by Fastcase, the Public Library of Law – PloL is a resource for searching freely
available law on the Internet. It provides a searchable interface to a large collection of
primary law at both the state and Federal levels. PLoL features cases from the U.S.
Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals, cases from all 50 states back to 1997, as well as
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codes from all 50 states, regulations, court rules, and constitutions. There are also
helpful video tutorials and guides to learn more about searching for cases and statutes
on the site. PLoL requires registration and login before materials can be accessed,
however they note that they never give registration information to third-parties. It also
offers links to information on Fastcase that can be accessed through the State Bar of
Georgia agreement with Fastcase.
Q to T
Quitamhelp.com
http://quitamhelp.com/
Quitamhelp.com is a blog focused on providing news and information about the False
Claims Act qui tam whistleblower law and related tax, securities & commodities, and
state whistleblower laws. The blog is primarily focused on descriptions of current False
Claims Act news and cases, with links to news articles for further reading. The left
column provides links to explanations of qui tam and the specific Federal and state laws.
The “Articles” section takes one to a list of qui tam articles prepared by lawyers at
Getnick & Getnick LLP, a New York based commercial law firm that sponsors and
maintains Quitamhelp.com. The “Whistleblower Stories” section shares this firm’s view
on whistleblowers and examples of some of the lawsuits on which they have worked.
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Regulations.gov
http://www.regulations.gov/
Regulations.gov is a one-stop source to find and view all Federal regulations and related
materials. Through Regulations.gov, one may also comment on proposed regulations
open for comment and view closed for comment regulations. Regulations.gov is
managed by the eRulemaking Program with assistance from partner agencies. The
recently redesigned website offers three tabs in the upper right to help one explore
regulatory information. The default tab is the "Search" tab, which provides a keyword
search box to look for rules, comments, adjudications, and supporting documents. The
returned search results offer a variety of facets to simplify narrowing one's results.
There is also a "Browse" tab which groups regulations into ten industry-related
categories, which allows one to locate recent actions of interest by subject. Finally, there
is a "Learn" tab which gives a step-by-step explanation of the rule-making process and
helps to fulfill the website's mission of making it easier for the public to participate
directly in the regulatory process.
Stateline
http://stateline.org/
An excellent source for state government and political news, Stateline has an easy to
navigate, feature-rich website. One can view recent news stories gathered from
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newspapers, wire services, and from Stateline staff writers by selecting a specific state,
browsing all states, or in one of 15 issue areas. RSS feeds are available for individual
states and issue areas as well. The "Special Reports" section includes in-depth reporting
on issues of state services, budgets, and legislation. Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit
news service of the Pew Center on the States. Stateline content is published daily at
Stateline.org and can be found on LexisNexis, Factiva, and news outlets served by
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Thomas
http://thomas.loc.gov/
A free service of the Library of Congress, Thomas provides Federal legislative materials
in a timely manner, making it easy to access the texts of bills and resolutions, bill
summaries, and tracking bill status and actions in Congress, with bill texts being
updated several times daily. Thomas also provides a searchable version of the
Congressional Record and its index. The 'Current Activity' section is especially helpful
for keeping abreast of current actions and upcoming schedules, including links to video
from the House and Senate floors and committees. The website includes legislative
documents from the 93rd Congress (1973) through the current legislative session, with
full-text bills and the Congressional Record available from the 101st Congress (1989) to
present. In addition to legislation, there are also searchable databases on Thomas
containing information on 'Presidential Nominations' back to the 100th Congress (1987),
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'Treaties' back to the 90th Congress (1967), and 'Committee Reports' back to the 104th
Congress (1995). The 'Government Resources' section provides many additional links to
procedural, biographical, and historical documents. Thomas launched in January 1995
and over the past 17 years has become the most important source for Congressional
information.
U to Z
USPTO.gov
http://www.uspto.gov/
USPTO.gov, the newly redesigned website for the United States Patent and Trademark
Office, provides a wealth of practical information and resources for filing for patents and
trademarks, as well as offering news, public notices, and press releases from the agency.
The three primary sections of the website, “Patents,” “Trademarks,” and “IP Law &
Policy,” can be accessed from the large links under the revolving news photos or from
the navigation bar at the top of every page. Under “Patents” the variety of patent related
databases one can search are laid out and described. The patent search allows one to
search either issued patents or published patent applications. Under “Trademarks” one
can also access trademark application databases and search the Trademark Electronic
Search System (TESS), which contains the USPTO’s pending and registered trademarks.
There are step-by-step directions under “Patents Process” and “Trademarks Process” to
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help individuals and legal professionals with the process of obtaining a patent or a
trademark. While the USPTO.gov website is attractive and functional, the patent and
trademark database searches themselves are still very basic and remain unchanged from
years past. Under “IP Law & Policy” there is information that could be of interest to a
practicing attorney such as rulemaking, enforcement, and foreign protection of
intellectual property.
Virtual Law Practice
http://virtuallawpractice.org/
Can legal services be provided in a professional and ethical way from a web-based
virtual law office? North Carolina solo practitioner Stephanie Kimbro does just that and
uses her blog, Virtual Law Practice, to share her experiences with the issues
surrounding lawyering without a brick and mortar office. This blog is an excellent
source for articles and other information sources about virtual lawyering, including
links to downloadable books and presentations. The “Topics” section has a useful
subject list making it easy for one to access information on a specific topic. Virtual Law
Practice was named to the 2011 ABA Journal Blawg 100.
Wex
http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/
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Wex is a freely available legal dictionary and encyclopedia hosted by the Legal
Information Institute (LII) at Cornell Law School. It is edited and maintained
collaboratively by selected volunteer authors with qualified legal backgrounds. One can
keyword search Wex using the "Search Wex" search box on the right of the homepage or
clicking on the "Search" link. Clicking on the "Browse" link will take one to an
alphabetical list of all entries, so one can look up terms just like in a print dictionary.
Sometimes entries have lists of additional resources or illustrative examples in addition
to the overview definition.
XE.com
http://www.xe.com/
Launched in 1995, XE provides helpful foreign exchange tools and services for
individuals and businesses. Their Universal Currency Converter is the most popular
currency converter on the Internet. One can also access historical currency rate tables
or download their free mobile apps. XE has a news feed called “Forex News” focusing
on foreign exchange and currency news and in depth currency profiles as part of their
“Currency Encyclopedia.”
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YouTube - EDU
http://www.youtube.com/education
The ready availability of authoritative, high-quality educational videos on the Internet
makes it easy to explore new topics as well as brush up on legal subjects. YouTube
actually has a large collection of educational videos as part of their YouTube EDU Education subsection. Under "University," there is a "Law" section devoted to legal
topics, further subdivided by legal subject areas. Other sections, such as “Business,”
“History,” “Languages,” and “Social Sciences” may also have topics related to the law.
One can view entire courses, such as the Harvard University course ‘JUSTICE’ with
Prof. Michael Sandel (a total of 18 lectures) or the University of California, Berkeley,
‘Law 271 - Environmental Law and Policy - Spring 2008’ course (a total of 28 lectures).
There are also single classes, panel discussions, and special guest lectures featured
among the available videos.
zShare
http://zshare.net/
zShare is a free file hosting provider primarily used for large files that would be too large
to send via email or might need to be shared with several individuals. After creating an
account, one can upload audio, video, image, or flash files as well as document and
presentation files. The only people who can view these files are those with whom one
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chooses to share the files, as there is no publicly available search of all the files on the
site. zShare can also be used as a cloud-based location for backups for one’s own use.
There is unlimited downloading and no limit as to how long one can leave a file on the
site; however, any file that has not been downloaded for 60 days is automatically deleted
by the site. There are restrictions against uploading copyrighted material, as well as
offensive or sexually explicit materials. Their “Terms of Service (TOS)” is easy to
reference and clearly outlines conditions of use. Of course, one must be careful not to
place confidential or discoverable information on any file sharing site. For more on the
ethics of cloud computing, see Sharon Bradley’s Internet Legal Research CLE article,
“Ethics on the Wing: Examination of Opinions on Electronic Services and Cloud
Computing” (March 19, 2012).
Conclusion
These websites are just a sample of what is available on the Internet to assist one
in staying informed on legal issues and conducting legal research. When one knows
some ‘go-to’ websites that provide helpful and convenient information, then using the
Internet for legal research becomes a straightforward and successful experience.
21
Chapter 3
i
Ethics on the Wing: Examination of Opinions on Electronic
Services and Cloud Computing
Sharon Bradley
University of Georgia School of Law
Athens, Georgia
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. Cloud Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
III. State Bar Opinions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
North Dakota . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Vermont . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Massachusetts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Arizona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Virginia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Nevada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Florida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
New Jersey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Maine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Illinois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Arizona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Alabama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
California . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Iowa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Oregon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Pennsylvania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
North Carolina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
IV. The Lawyer’s Duty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A. Relationship with Service Provider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
B. Create an Enforceable End-Users Licensing Agreement (EULA) . . . . . . . . . .
C. Understand the Security Measures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
D. What Happens to the Data Itself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
E. Security Begins in the Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
13
13
13
14
14
15
V. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
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I. Introduction
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, many law firms became concerned
about maintaining electronic copies of client files. Should they do so as a back-up
and what kind of access was needed? Generally state bars adopted opinions that
did not require lawyers to create electronic copies but if they did the files had to
have adequate safeguards to protect client confidentiality and the security of
unique items or materials that could not be reproduced. Online back-up services
became popular. These were not active files so to speak but could be retrieved if
necessary. They were not intended to be “working” files. In those simpler days files
could be copied to discs or external hard drives and stored off-site. Control was
maintained by the lawyer.
A decade later and lawyers can operate their entire practice remotely using
reasonably priced web-based tools and applications. All active and archived
documents can be stored securely on remote servers. They are practicing in the
clouds.
II. Cloud Computing
Computer scientist John McCarthy is credited with connecting computers
and clouds. At a 1961 program at MIT he fantasized that "computation may
someday be organized as a public utility.”1 A component of cloud computing is
Software as a Service (SaaS). In this software distribution model applications are
hosted by a vendor or service provider and customers access applications, software,
Architects of the Information Society, Thirty-Five Years of the Laboratory for Computer
Science at MIT, Edited by Hal Abelson.
1
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platforms, services, and data over a network. You can use traditional desktop
computers or a variety of mobile devices. Your “computer” no longer needs to have
large hard drives to hold your applications and documents because they are now
held in the cloud.
Email services like Hotmail and Gmail are good examples of cloud services.
All of your messages and folders exist on a remote server, not on your computer.
The advantages to the cloud include:
•
•
•
•
Do not have to buy periodic upgrades. The service provider keeps the service
current and makes it work with new and improved browsers.
Do not have to send the IT staff to every computer to install upgrades.
Everyone has access to everything from everywhere, attorneys can work
from multiple sites.
There are many free services.
Google Docs is one of the best known free services. Google Docs is not as
sophisticated as Word but for most users performing most tasks it is good enough.
In addition to being free it is accessible from any Internet connected device. Your
documents are always available. Facebook and Flickr are cloud services.
Disadvantages to cloud services include:
•
•
•
•
•
Many services have transactional, monthly, or yearly costs.
Everyone has access to everything from everywhere. Not all employees need
total access.
A target for hackers. The developers and service providers encrypt their
data, but every few months there is a news story about big company
databases being compromised.
Loss of access; if your internet connection is down, you are without email or
much else.2
In the cloud you don’t actually know where your documents are. It may be
difficult to trace the location where the service provider actually stores your
documents.
You can download your messages and folders and work “offline” or “locally” but that is a
different issue.
2
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For lawyers cloud computing raises concerns associated with entrusting a
third party with confidential client information. Rule 1.6, Confidentiality of
Information, of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct imposes the obligation to
protect client confidence. Those states with ethics opinions concerning the use of
cloud services stress the importance of taking reasonable care to protect a client’s
confidential information.
III. State Bar Opinions
Let’s review the recent bar ethics opinions regarding electronic storage and
access to client records. They are discussed in reverse chronological order. You
can access the full text of the opinions at our research guide Georgia Bar CLE
2012, libguides.law.uga.edu/cle2012, under the “Cloud Ethics” tab.
North Dakota - Opinion 99-03, June 21, 1999
The ethics committee identified two separate confidentiality issues: 1)
transmission of data over the Internet, and 2) the storage of electronic data. The
committee concluded that the transmission of data and the use of online data
backup services are permissible provided the lawyer ensures adequate security,
including limiting access only to authorized personnel and requiring passwords.
Who would have predicted that North Dakota would lead the way in approving
online storage.
Vermont - Advisory Ethics Opinion 03-03, 2003
In an advisory opinion, the ethics committee concluded that a lawyer may
use third-party vendors as consultants for confidential client database recovery if
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the vendor fully understands and accepts the clearly communicated confidentiality
rules. The lawyer has to make his own determination if the vendor has sufficient
safety measures to protect information. A significant breach obligates the lawyer to
disclose the breach to the client.
Massachusetts - Opinion 05-04, March 3, 2005
A law firm uses a third-party vendor to maintain its integrated document
management application. In order to provide technical support and updates the
vendor needs periodic access to the firm’s network which means they would have
access to client files. The law firm’s clients are deemed to have “impliedly
authorized” the firm to make their confidential information accessible to the
vendor in order to permit the firm to provide representation. The law firm must
take reasonable actions to make sure the conduct of the software vendor, or any
other independent service provider for that matter, is compatible with all
professional obligations, particularly the obligation to protect confidential client
information.
Arizona - Opinion 05-04: Electronic Storage; Confidentiality, July 2005
The inquiring attorney was concerned about his obligations to protect
electronic files from theft, inadvertent disclosure, and loss or destruction. The
ethical rules require that an attorney act competently to safeguard client
information and confidences. It is not unethical to store electronic information on
computer systems whether or not those same systems are used to connect to the
Internet. The lawyer is obligated to take reasonable precautions to assure that the
client's confidences are not disclosed to third parties through theft or inadvertence
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and to assure that the client's electronic information is not lost or destroyed. To
meet that obligation, a lawyer must either: 1) have the competence to evaluate the
nature of the potential threat to the client's electronic files and to evaluate and
implement appropriate computer hardware and software to reduce the threat; or 2)
if the attorney lacks or cannot reasonably obtain that competence, to retain an
expert consultant who does have such competence.
Virginia - Opinion 1818, Sept. 03, 2005
Due care was required in selecting a service provider for technical assistance
and support for electronic storage.
Nevada - Formal Opinion No. 33, Feb. 9, 2006
The ethics committee revised the original question to more “broadly address
the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality with respect to electronic client information.”
Does an attorney violate court rules by “storing confidential client information
and/or communications, without client consent, in an electronic format on a server
or other device that is not exclusively in the lawyer’s control.” A lawyer must act
competently and reasonably to prevent the accidental and unauthorized disclosure
of client information. The lawyer may use an outside agency to store confidential
client information in electronic forms, and on hardware located outside the
attorney’s direct supervision and control, so long as the attorney observes the usual
obligations applicable to such arrangements for third-party storage services. If, for
example, the attorney does not reasonably believe that the confidentiality will be
preserved, or if the third-party declines to agree to keep the information
confidential, then the attorney violates ethical rules by transmitting the data to the
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third-party. But if the third-party can be reasonably relied upon to maintain the
confidentiality and agrees to do so, then the transmission is permitted by the rules
even without client consent.
Florida - Opinion 06-1, April 10, 2006
A lawyer may use electronic filing provided that reasonable precautions are
taken to ensure confidentiality of client information, especially if the lawyer relies
on third parties to convert and store paper documents to electronic records.
New Jersey - Opinion 701: Electronic Storage and Access of Client Files,
April 10, 2006
The inquiring attorney wanted to implement an electronic filing system in
which all documents received in the office would be scanned into the PDF format.
He did acknowledge his responsibility to retain certain documents like wills and
deeds in their original hardcopy. When using any kind of third-party service
provider it must be under circumstances in which the outside party is aware of the
lawyer's obligation of confidentiality. The service provider must agree, by contract,
professional standards, or otherwise, to assist in preserving the confidentiality.
Lawyers have long used messengers, delivery services, document warehouses, or
other service providers, in which physical custody of sensitive documents is
entrusted to them even though they are not employed by the firm. The lawyer’s
duty of care has not changed just because the method of transmission has changed.
Maine - Opinion 194: Client Confidences: Confidential firm data held
electronically and handled by technicians for third-party vendors, June
30, 2008
With appropriate safeguards, an attorney may utilize transcription and
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computer server backup services remote from both the lawyer's physical office and
the lawyer's direct control or supervision without violating the attorney's ethical
obligation to maintain client confidentiality. In view of the changing use of evolving
technology the committee could not delineate acceptable and unacceptable
practices. At a minimum, the lawyer should take steps to ensure that the company
providing transcription or confidential data storage has a legally enforceable
obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the client data involved.
New York - Opinion 820, Feb. 8, 2008
The obligation to preserve client confidentiality does not preclude using an
email service provider that conducts computer scans of emails to generate
computer advertising. The question clearly describes free email services such as
Gmail and Hotmail. The service provider’s privacy policies stated that the emails
are not reviewed by or provided to other individuals. The generation of advertising
based on scans of the emails posed no greater risk to client confidentiality than
email services without the feature.
Illinois - Opinion 10-01: Confidentiality: Law firm’s use of a third-party
technology vendor, July 2009
A lawyer may use an off-site network administrator to assist in the operation
of the office if reasonable efforts are made to ensure the protection of confidential
client information.
Arizona - Opinion 09-04: Confidentiality; Maintaining Client Files;
Electronic Storage; Internet, Dec. 2009
The question indicates the technical knowledge of the attorney: may the
lawyer maintain an encrypted online file storage and retrieval system for clients in
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which all documents are converted to password-protected PDF format and stored
in online folders with unique, randomly-generated alpha-numeric names and
passwords? The lawyer’s system of encryption and multi-layers of random folder
names and passwords satisfied the obligation to take reasonable precautions. The
committee did note that reasonable precautions today may not be reasonable
tomorrow and the lawyer also had the obligation to conduct periodic reviews of the
security precautions.
New York - Opinion 842, Sept. 10, 2010
The New York opinion is the first to use the word cloud. “Various
companies offer online computer data storage systems that are maintained on an
array of Internet servers located around the world. (The array of Internet servers
that store the data is often called the ‘cloud.’)” A lawyer may use an online data
storage system to store and back up client confidential information provided that
the lawyer takes reasonable care to ensure that confidentiality is maintained in a
manner consistent with the lawyer’s ethical obligations. The lawyer should stay
abreast of technological advances to ensure that the storage system remains
sufficiently advanced to protect the client’s information, and the lawyer should
monitor the changing law of privilege to ensure that storing information in the
“cloud” will not waive or jeopardize any privilege protecting the information.
Alabama - Opinion 2010-02: Retention, Storage, Ownership,
Production and Destruction of Client Files, Dec. 2010
The disciplinary commission came to the now standard conclusion that an
attorney must exercise reasonable care in storing client files, which includes
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becoming knowledgeable about a provider’s storage and security and ensuring that
the provider will abide by a confidentiality agreement. Lawyers should stay on top
of emerging technology to ensure security is safeguarded. Attorneys may also need
to back up electronic data to protect against technical or physical impairment, and
install firewalls and intrusion detection software.
California - Formal Opinion 2010-179: Confidentiality and Technology,
Jan. 20, 2011
An attorney using public wireless connections to conduct research and send
e-mails should use precautions, such as personal firewalls and encryption, or risk
violating professional obligations of confidentiality and competence. Some highly
sensitive matters may necessitate discussing the use of public wireless connections
with the client or in the alternative avoiding their use altogether. Appropriately
secure personal connections meet a lawyer’s professional obligations. Ultimately,
the committee found that attorneys should: 1) use technology in conjunction with
appropriate measures to protect client confidentiality, 2) tailor such measures to
each unique type of technology, and 3) stay abreast of technological advances to
ensure those measures remain sufficient.
Iowa - Opinion 11-01: Use of Software as a Service – Cloud Computing,
Sept. 9, 2011
The Iowa opinion was the first to use the phrase “software as a service”
(SaaS). The committee discussed Comment 17 to Iowa's Rule 32:1.6:
When transmitting a communication that includes information relating to
the representation of a client, the lawyer must take reasonable precautions
to prevent the information from coming into the hands of unintended
recipients. This duty, however, does not require that the lawyer use special
security measures if the method of communication affords a reasonable
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expectation of privacy. Special circumstances, however, may warrant special
precautions. Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of
the lawyer's expectation of confidentiality include the sensitivity of the
information and the extent to which the privacy of the communication is
protected by law or by a confidentiality agreement. A client may require the
lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this rule or
may give informed consent to the use of a means of communication that
would otherwise be prohibited by this rule.
The rule seemed reasonable and flexible in helping a lawyer evaluate and
use constantly changing technology. It recognizes that the degree of protection to
be afforded client information varies with the client, matter, and information
involved. But it places on the lawyer the obligation to perform due diligence to
assess the degree of protection that will be needed and to act accordingly.
Oregon - Formal Opinion No. 2011-188: Information Relating to the
Representation of a Client: Third-Party Electronic Storage of Client
Materials, Nov. 2011
Lawyers may contract with third-party service providers to store client files
and documents on remote servers so that the lawyer and the client can access the
documents over the Internet from remote locations. The lawyer must take
reasonable steps to ensure that the storage company will reliably secure client data
and keep information confidential. Under certain circumstances, this may be
satisfied through a third-party vendor’s compliance with industry standards
relating to confidentiality and security, provided that those industry standards
meet the minimum requirements imposed on the lawyer by the rules of
professional conduct. This may include, among other things, ensuring the service
agreement requires the vendor to preserve the confidentiality and security of the
materials. It may also require the vendor notify the lawyer of any unauthorized
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third-party access to the materials. The lawyer should also investigate how the
vendor backs-up and stores its data and metadata to ensure compliance.
Pennsylvania - Formal Opinion 2011-200: Ethical Obligations for
Attorneys Using Cloud Computing/Software as a Service While
Fulfilling the Duties of Confidentiality and Preservation of Client
Property, Nov. 23, 2011
The ethics committee concluded that lawyers may ethically allow client
confidential material to be stored in “the cloud” provided the lawyer takes
reasonable care to assure that: 1) all such materials remain confidential, and 2)
reasonable safeguards are employed to ensure that the data is protected from
breaches, data loss, and other risks. This opinion considers both the practical and
technology-related issues that are raised when lawyers use cloud-based services. To
determine reasonable care the committee included a thorough checklist of
questions to ask and information to gather. There is a strong emphasis on lawyers
being ultimately responsible for making informed decisions about the benefits and
risks of placing client data in the cloud. The storing of client data can be
outsourced, but the responsibility for making sure it is safe and secure remains
with the lawyer.
North Carolina - 2011 Formal Ethics Opinion 6: Subscribing to
Software as a Service While Fulfilling the Duties of Confidentiality and
Preservation of Client Property, Jan. 27, 2012
Despite the number of other bar opinions approving the use of SaaS
products for case or practice, document, and billing/financial management, or
storage of client files, billing information, and work product, on remote servers, the
North Carolina Bar felt compelled to specifically ask and then answer this question
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in the affirmative, “provided steps are taken to minimize the risk of inadvertent or
unauthorized disclosure of confidential client information and to protect client
property, including the information in a client’s file, from risk of loss." The opinion
includes a list of points lawyers should consider when evaluating SaaS vendors in
order to minimize potential security risks.
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IV. The Lawyer’s Duty
All of the opinions make clear that the lawyer’s duty is that of competence
and reasonable care in selecting and working with any third-party service provider.
The opinions also make clear that you are not required to guarantee that the
methods of access and storage are infallibly secure and invulnerable to
unauthorized access. Just as you cannot guarantee that someone will not break into
your office and steal client property. In either circumstance you must take all
reasonable steps necessary to minimize the risk of an unauthorized disclosure of
client information.
It is your duty to competently investigate and exercise sound professional
judgment in forming a reasonable conclusion as to the security of a potential
service provider. The following list was compiled from the various state bar ethics
opinions and may help in making a reasonable conclusion.
A. Relationship with Service Provider
•
Did you perform “due diligence” in checking the background of the service
provider?
•
Are they a solid company with a good operating record and a good
reputation with others in the field?
•
In what country and state are they located and do business?
•
Did you notify the vendor of the confidential nature of the information
stored on the firm’s servers and in its document database?
•
Does the vendor understand a lawyer’s professional responsibilities?
•
Did you examine the vendor’s existing policies and procedures with respect
to the handling of confidential information?
B. Create an Enforceable End-Users Licensing Agreement (EULA)
•
What is the cost of the service, how is it paid, and what happens in the event
of non-payment?
•
Do you loose access to your data, does it become the property of the
service provider, or is the data destroyed?
•
Are any proprietary rights over your data granted to the service provider?
•
Does the vendor assure that confidential client information on your
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•
•
•
•
computer system will be accessed only for technical support purposes and
only on an “as needed” basis?
Does the vendor assure that the confidentiality of all client information will
be respected and preserved by the vendor and its employees?
Do you and the vendor agree on additional procedures for protecting any
particularly sensitive client information?
How is the relationship terminated?
•
What type of notice is required?
•
How do you retrieve your data, is the policy different then that for
non-payment ?
Are there any choice of law or forum, or limitation of damages provisions?
C. Understand the Security Measures
•
Know how these things work
•
Encryption
•
Is there an encrypted connection to which to send your
information?
•
Will you have the ability to encrypt some data using higher
level encryption tools?
•
Was the service provider’s initial encryption scheme tested by
an independent auditor?
•
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) - This an industry standard that ensures
that the communications between your computers and the cloudbased server are encrypted and protected from interception
•
Intrusion detection - What security measures are used to protect the
servers and keep out hackers?
•
Firewalls
•
Passwords - Who has access to the passwords?
•
Tiered data center - The Uptime Institute's tiered classification
system is an industry standard approach to site infrastructure
functionality. Tier 4 data centers have the most stringent protection
for their servers.
•
Does the company conduct regular security audits, in-house or thirdparty?
D. What Happens to the Data Itself
•
Retrieving the data
•
What if the service provider goes out of business, or there is a break
in continuity (sales, merger, etc.)
•
Server failure
•
You close your account/cancel the service
•
Will you be able to take the data with you.
•
Make sure data will be returned in a readable format.
•
Back-up policies;
•
How often is data backed-up, and are backups distributed across
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•
•
•
•
•
geographic regions? Backups should not be located in only one place,
in case something catastrophic happens at that location.
•
What are the steps to recover data?
Are you able to quickly sort, organize, search, and produce your data
Where are the servers located? It should not be located outside the U.S.
where it might be subject to foreign laws. Foreign privacy laws can differ
markedly from U.S. law
Who has access to your data? Can employees of the service provider access
the stored data, and is their access restricted and tracked? Do the service
provider’s employees understand their responsibilities regarding
confidentiality?
What would the service provider do if served with a subpoena? Federal laws
like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (financial services modernization) and the
Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) require
safeguards to be in place to prevent disclosure of private and personal
information. How does the service provider meet these federal
requirements?
Will you have unrestricted access to the stored data? Is your data stored
elsewhere so that if access is thwarted you can acquire the data via another
source?
E. Security Begins in the Office
•
Client security includes the security of the desktop or laptop from which you
are accessing the service.
•
All office computers need to be properly secured with firewall and anti-virus
protection, and the latest security updates for your operating system and
web browsers.
•
Enforce strict password protocols; use a password generator.
•
Employees have to be trained to use the products and everyone held to the
same security standards.
V. Conclusion
The primary and final responsibility for file integrity, maintenance,
disposition, and confidentiality rests with you. Addressing the issues above should
help you find the best cloud computing service provider for your practice, while
also ensuring that your law firm is taking the necessary steps to minimize the risk
of inadvertent disclosure of confidential client information. And finally,
recognizing your limitations is also part of exercising professional competence. If
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you have neither the time nor the inclination to develop sufficient technical
knowledgeable then hire a consultant.
16
Chapter 4
i
Crossing Borders: Adventures in
Transnational Legal Research
Anne E. Burnett, J.D., M.L.I.S.
University of Georgia School of Law
Athens, Georgia
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction ......................................................................................................................1
II. Useful Sites ..................................................................................................................... 3
a. Hague Conference on Private International Law ................................................ 3
b. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) .... 4
c. International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) ............ 6
d. TransLex Law Research………………………………………………………………..7
e. Pace Database on the CISG and International Commercial Law……………………8
f. International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration………..9
g. Department of State - Private International Law…………………………………………9
h. Uniform Law Review .......................................................................................... 10
i. INCOTERMS ........................................................................................................ 11
j. Department of State - International Judicial Assistance, Notarial Services, and
Authentication of Documents ...................................................................... 11
III. Additional Resources: ..................................................................................................13
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I. Introduction
American attorneys often find themselves at some point involved in a transaction
or dispute crossing national borders:

a probate case involves property in Georgia and Germany

parents in the United States seek to adopt a child in Korea

goods manufactured in Thailand are the subject of a contract formed in the
United States

a client in Atlanta seeks child support from a divorcing spouse in Bangkok
In these types of cases, the laws of the involved nations may vary significantly.
When conducting business between entities in more than one country, whose law
governs the transaction? If a dispute arises, where and how will it be resolved? How is
service of process completed outside of the United States? How is discovery of
documents and other types of evidence accomplished? If judgment is entered in one
country, can it be enforced in another? These are questions that many American
attorneys face, regardless of whether they intended to practice Ainternational [email protected]
A few preliminary definitions:

transnational law - an evolving legal framework governing economic and
monetary transactions and contracts involving two or more countries or parties
from two or more countries. The purpose of transnational law is to regulate
international commercial transactions by a uniform system of law.
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
lex mercatoria - refers to a set of rules governing the transactions between
merchants in medieval Europe. The term is often used currently to refer to the
modern principles and rules of transnational law.

private international law - not actually international law but rather the branch of
municipal, or domestic, laws dealing with cases having a contact with some
system of law other than the domestic system. Private international law is often
referred to as Aconflicts of [email protected] GERMAIN=S TRANSNATIONAL LAW RESEARCH asserts
that private international law always includes choice of law questions, and in
many legal systems it also includes questions concerning choice of jurisdiction,
inheritance, marriage and divorce, injuries, accidents, gathering of evidence
abroad, and the recognition of judgments.

Public international law - usually refers to the laws governing the relations
between nations, although the term also encompasses individuals in the context
of international human rights.
This paper lists organizations and online resources designed to assist the
domestic lawyer in global transactions or litigation. The focus is on free resources
available in English, although a few resources available in other languages are included
as well.
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II. Useful Sites
a. Hague Conference on Private International Law
http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php
Established in 1893, the Hague Conference is an intergovernmental organization
working toward the unification of private international law through the negotiation and
drafting of multilateral treaties or international conventions in the different fields of
private international law, including:
$
international judicial and administrative co-operation;
$
conflict of laws for contracts, torts, maintenance obligations, status and
protection of children, relations between spouses, wills and estates or trusts;
recognition of companies; and
jurisdiction and enforcement of foreign judgments.
$
Over 70 countries belong to the Hague Conference, and 130 countries are parties
to Hague Conventions. From 1951 to 2008 the Conference adopted 38 Conventions.
Some of these conventions deal with the determination of the applicable law, some with
the conflict of jurisdictions, some with the recognition and enforcement of foreign
judgments and some with administrative and judicial co-operation between authorities.
According to the Hague Conference Secretariat, the most widely-ratified Hague
conventions address:

the abolition of legalization (apostille)

service of process

taking of evidence abroad

access to justice
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
international child abduction

intercountry adoption

conflicts of laws relating to the form of testamentary dispositions

maintenance obligations

recognition of divorces
The Hague Conference web site provides the texts of the Conventions from 1951
to 2009 at http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=publications.listing&sub=3. The
site also includes charts showing the status of the different Conventions, enabling the
practitioner to determine if a specific country has signed on to a particular Convention.
At http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=text.display&tid=10, the site provides a
listing of Conventions grouped by subject, such as AProtection of [email protected] or
AInternational Judicial and Administrative [email protected]
b. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
(UNCITRAL)
http://www.uncitral.org/
The United Nations General Assembly created UNCITRAL in 1966 as a response
to perceived disparities in national trade laws which were viewed as providing obstacles
to the free flow of trade. The General Assembly gave UNCITRAL a mandate to further
the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law. UNCITRAL=s
work includes identifying areas where outdated or unpredictable laws hinder
international commerce. The goal is to craft solutions which are acceptable to countries
with different legal systems and levels of economic and social development. As part of
its work, UNCITRAL produces conventions, model laws, legal guides, legislative guides,
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rules, and practice notes. UNCITRAL differs from the World Trade Organization (WTO)
which deals with trade policy issues (liberalization, abolition of trade barriers, unfair
trade practices or other similar issues) usually related to public law, whereas
UNCITRAL deals with the laws applicable to private commercial parties in
international transactions.
The major areas of UNCITRAL=s work are:
$
International Commercial Arbitration and Conciliation
$
International Sale of Goods (CISG) and Related Transactions
$
Insolvency
$
International Payments
$
International Transport of Goods
$
Electronic Commerce
$
Procurement and Infrastructure Development
$
Penalties and Liquidated Damages
UNCITRAL=s web site provides access to its numerous international agreements,
including the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of
Goods (CISG), which sets forth a uniform transnational sales law. The CISG has been
ratified by over 70 countries, including the United States. The texts of all of
UNCITRAL=s conventions, model laws, legislative guides, arbitration rules, legal guides
and other documents are linked from
http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts.html.
Of particular use to the practitioner may be the database called Case Law on
UNCITRAL Texts (CLOUT) http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/case_law.html , which
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collects information on global court and arbitral decisions related to UNCITRAL=s
conventions and model laws. CLOUT provides abstracts in several languages, including
English, of these decisions. In addition, the CLOUT record provides a citation if the
decision is published and also includes known reproductions or summaries in additional
languages. CLOUT also includes a digest arranged by CISG article number at
http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/case_law/digests/cisg.html.
c. International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)
http://www.unidroit.org/
UNIDROIT=s purpose is to study needs and methods for modernizing,
harmonizing and coordinating private and commercial law as between countries and
groups of countries. UNIDROIT=s work has resulted in the adoption over the years of
numerous international conventions and model laws related to international
commercial law, including the 1988 UNIDROIT Convention on International Financial
Leasing, the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural
Objects, and the 2002 Model Franchise Disclosure Law. In addition, UNIDROIT has
published Principles of International Commercial Contracts, which serve as a
[email protected] for international commercial contracts, providing black letter rules
reflecting current trade practices. The Principles were first prepared by legal experts
from around the world in 1994 and updated in 2004 and again in 2010. They can be
found on the UNIDROIT web site at
http://www.unidroit.org/english/principles/contracts/main.htm. In addition to
providing guidance to arbitrators and courts in matters relating to international
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commercial contracts, the Principles have been influential in reforming national laws.
For example, the Principles played an important role in the drafting of Russia’s new
Civil Code in 1995. Michael J. Bonnell, UNIDROIT Principles 2004 B The New Edition
of the Principles of International Commercial Contracts adopted by the International
Institute for the Unification of Private Law, 2004 UNIFORM LAW REVIEW 5, also
available at
http://www.unidroit.org/english/publications/review/articles/2004-1-bonell.pdf.
UNIDROIT=s web site includes the UNILEX database which collects court
decisions and arbitral awards concerning both the CISG and the UNIDROIT Principles.
UNILEX provides abstracts and the full text of the cases in their original language. The
cases are searchable by date, country, and instrument article. UNILEX also includes a
bibliography of publications about the CISG and the UNIDROIT Principles. Access
UNILEX at http://www.unilex.info/.
d. TransLex Law Research
http://trans-lex.org/index.php
TransLex is a project of the Center for Transnational Law (CENTRAL) at the
University of Cologne. The CENTRAL team uses the web as an online research and
codification platform for posting its “creeping codification” of the “New Lex Mercatoria.”
The site contains:
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 TransLex Principles – more than 120 principles and rules of transnational law,
set forth as black letter rules with references to domestic statutes, legal
doctrine, uniform law instruments, court decisions and arbitral awards
 TransLex Bibliography – selected collection of bibliographic references on
transnational law with hyperlinks to the full text of the referenced document if
in TransLex
 TransLex Materials – domestic statutes, international conventions, model laws,
restatements and other soft-law instruments relevant to the transnational legal
researcher
 TransLex Links – selected links to sites related to transnational and international
business law
e. Pace Database on the CISG and International Commercial Law
http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/
This database (hereinafter referred to as the CISG Database) is produced by the
Pace Institute of International Commercial Law and the Law Library at Pace University
School of Law. The CISG database includes an annotated version of the text of the CISG.
The annotations include legislative history, case law, and links to scholarly articles. The
site also provides a searchable database of CISG cases at
http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/cisg/text/caseschedule.html.
In addition to producing the CISG database, the Pace Institute of International
Commercial Law participates in the Queen Mary Case Translation Programme, which
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is a public service open to the academic and practicing legal communities and provides
high quality professional translations into English of foreign case law (including arbitral
awards) relating to the CISG and UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial
Contracts. Lawyers from all over the world provide the translations. More information
about the Queen Mary Translation Programme is available at
http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/cisg/text/queenmary.html.
f. International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration
http://www.iccwbo.org/court/arbitration/
The ICC International Court of Arbitration is a leading institution for resolving
international commercial and business disputes. The court has handled more than
17,000 cases since its founding. In 2010, cases handled by the court involved parties
from over 140 countries.
In addition to describing its services and posting the rules governing its
proceedings and actions, the ICC Court provides access on its site to standard and
suggested clauses for dispute resolution services. These model clauses are available in a
number of languages and file formats.
g. Department of State - Private International Law
http://www.state.gov/s/l/c3452.htm
This site is helpful for determining whether the United States is a party or plans to
be a party to a particular treaty. The site=s stated purpose is to provide a convenient
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location to find treaties in force for the United States, other international instruments,
and information on current negotiations and projects covering the private international
law in the following categories:
$
commercial law
$
judicial assistance
$
arbitration and judgments
$
family law
$
wills, trusts and estates
$
general resources
Within each category, the site groups private international law agreements
according to whether the United States is a party, is considering ratification, or is not a
party (and not considering ratification). In addition, the State Department site provides
information about AWorks in Progress,@ including drafts, background reports, U.S.
government position papers and proposals, and other working documents concerning
conventions and other international instruments that are currently under negotiation.
h. Uniform Law Review
http://www.unidroit.org/english/publications/review/main.htm
Published by UNIDROIT, the Uniform Law Review is a bilingual
(English/French) law periodical covering legal harmonization and uniform law
instruments relating to private international commercial law. The web site includes an
index from 1996 to present and the full text of selected articles.
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i. INCOTERMS
http://www.iccwbo.org/incoterms/
Uniform Commercial Code definitions of commercial delivery terms such as
F.O.B. (Free on Board) and F.A.S. (Free Alongside) are not always used in global
commerce. More widely used are the Incoterms, a set of definitions published by the
International Chamber of Commerce (I.C.C.). Incoterms sets forth the obligations of the
seller and buyer based on the terms of the contract. The I.C.C. web site provides a FAQ
about Incoterms, the preambles to the set, a PDF chart illustrating the buyers' and
sellers' obligations under each of the Incoterms (including a list of critical points), and
information about ordering the full set of Incoterms.
j. Department of State - International Judicial Assistance, Notarial Services,
and Authentication of Documents
http://travel.state.gov/law/judicial/judicial_702.html
This State Department site provides information about authenticating and
legalizing documents for use abroad, obtaining an apostille (a certificate issued by a
designated authority in a country where the Hague Convention Abolishing the
Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents applies), notaries public
abroad, obtaining evidence abroad, and preparing letters rogatory abroad. The site also
provides country brochures detailing specific issues and procedures within selected
countries. For example, the brochure at
http://travel.state.gov/law/judicial/judicial_672.html contains State Department
admonitions about the dicey proposition of an American attorney taking depositions in
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Brazil (“such action potentially could result in the arrest, detention, expulsion, or
deportation of the American attorney or other American participants”) and the brochure
at http://travel.state.gov/law/judicial/judicial_3831.html discusses the difficulties in
obtaining judicial assistance from the Russian authorities despite both countries having
signed relevant treaties designed to assist in these matters (“the Russian Federation also
declines to give consideration to U.S. requests to obtain evidence”).
III. Additional Resources:
The chapter on International Economic Law in the ASIL Guide to Electronic
Resources in International Law at http://www.asil.org/resource/iel1.htm includes links
and annotations for selected web sites covering private international law.
The Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL), at
http://www.eisil.org/, is an online database of online resources for international law.
EISIL contains a category linking to numerous online resources related to private
international law. The resources are divided into the following categories: Basic
Resources, Trade & Commerce, Finance & Banking, Wills, Trusts & Estates, Family &
Children, International Judicial Assistance, and Jurisdiction & Judgments. For each
resource, EISIL provides not only a link to the most authoritative online source but also a
record providing detailed information about the document, including citation
information where relevant.
In most U.S. states the authority and responsibility for document authentication
and apostilles rests with the secretary of state. Use a web search engine, such as Google
or Bing, to locate the secretary of state sites. On each secretary of state=s home page, look
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for a link to “Authentication of Documents” or “Apostille” to find the pages containing
information about these services.
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CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................1
II. BANKRUPTCY ....................................................................................................1
A.
American Bankruptcy Institute -http://www.abiworld.org ............... 2
B. Georgia Bankruptcy Courts –
http://www.ganb.uscourts.gov/
http://www.gamb.uscouts.gov/
http://www.gasd.uscourts.gov/ ............................................................................. 2
C. Georgia Bankruptcy Law Blog –
http://www.georgiabankruptcyblog.com .............................................................. 2
D. Legal Practice Pro –
http://www.legalpracticepro.com............……...................…………………………………2
E. National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys –
http://www.nacba.org ............................................................................................ 2
III. CONSUMER LAW.............................................................................................. 2
A. Loyola Consumer Law Review –
http://www.luc.edu/law/activities/publications/consumer.html ......................... 2
B. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ ......................................................................... 3
C. Consumer Product Safety Commission –
http://www.cpsc.gov/ .............................................................................................. 3
D. National Consumer Law Center http://www.nclc.org ................................................................................................. 3
E. Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection –
http://consumer.georgia.gov/..................................................................................3
F. Consumer Law & Policy Blog http://pubcit.typepad.com ...................................................................................... 3
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IV. CRIMINAL LAW ................................................................................................ 4
A. Georgia Criminal Appellate Law Blog http://www.georgiacriminalappellatelawblog.com …………..…………………………….4
B. Georgia Innocence Project http://www.ga-innocenceproject.org.......................................................................4
C. ABA Criminal Justice Section http://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice.html.................................4
D. ACLU Criminal Law Reform http://www.aclu.org/crimnal-law-reform...............................................................5
E. Crimelynx http://www.crimelynx.com/....................................................................................5
V. FAMILY LAW ....................................................................................................... 5
A.
Family Law in the 50 States -
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/family_law_in_the_50_states.html..........5
B. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers –
http://www.aaml.org/ ........................................................................................... .6
C. International Academy of Collaborative Professionals –
http://www.collaborativepractice.com.................................................................... 6
D. LII Divorce Resources –
http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/Divorce…...................……………………...…………..6
E.
Related Topics (blog) – http://julieshapiro.wordpress.com .............. 6
F. Elder Law Clinic Wake Forest University School of Law –
http://elder-clinic.law.wfu.edu/resources/ ............................................................7
G. National Center for Adoption Law and Policy –
http://law.capital.edu/adoption/ ………………………………………………………………….7
VI. GENERAL INTEREST........................................................................................ 7
A. LexMonitor: a Daily Review of Law Blogs and Journals –
http://www.lexmonitor.com .................................................................................... 7
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B.
Law Professor Blogs -
http://www.lawprofessorblogs.com/ ........... 7
C. SCOTUSblog –
http://www.scotusblog.com/ ................................................................................... 8
D. JURIST: Legal News and Research http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/ ........................................................................................ 8
E. How Appealing –
http://howappealing.law.com/................................................................................8
VII. LAW PRACTICE MANAGEMENT ................................................................... 9
A. ABA Law Practice Management Section –
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice_management.html .............. 9
B. State Bar of Georgia Law Practice Management http://www.gabar.org/programs/law_practice_management/ ............................ 9
C. Findlaw: Law Practice Management –
http://lp.findlaw.com/law-practice-management/ ................................................ 9
D. myshingle.com http://myshingle.com/ ............................................................................................ 9
E. Continuing Education of the Bar – California http://blog.ceb.com/................................................................................................9
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I.
INTRODUCTION
When the librarians at the University of Georgia Law Library began
offering this Internet Legal Research CLE program, free legal resources on the
Web were new and amazing.
decisions was remarkable.
Every addition of a code or a collection of case
Today, that is really not true.
The bankruptcy code,
rules, and forms have been online for years, and everyone pretty much knows
that.
Every member of the state bar has access to FastCase.
state code is easily found online.
Virtually every
Google has case law! (and a citator!)
Nonetheless, there are still many hidden gems of useful information on the
Web for the practicing attorney. Many of them are hidden in plain sight, such as
the many pages of commentary, explanation, practice tips and tools available on
the ABA’s site; or the news feeds and collections of case decisions offered by
many other professional associations.
individuals or small private groups.
Other valuable sites are the work of
These offer news, analysis, advice, comic
relief and more.
I have tried to gather a handful of Internet sites that might be of some use
or interest to a broad range of practitioners.
To that end, I have pulled sites
focused on common practice areas--bankruptcy, consumer law, criminal law, and
family law; a few sites of general interest; and several that offer resources and
advice on law practice management.
II. BANKRUPTCY
A. American Bankruptcy Institute
http://www.abiworld.org
Although much of the content of this site is reserved for members only access,
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there is still plenty of valuable freely available information here. Most notably,
the site offers summaries of decisions on bankruptcy issues from every level of
the federal court system, with links to the full opinions.
B.
Georgia Bankruptcy Courts
http://www.ganb.uscourts.gov/
http://www.gamb.uscourts.gov/
http://www.gasd.uscourts.gov/
Each of the state’s bankruptcy courts offers opinions, calendars, local rules, and
forms linked from their web site.
C. Georgia Bankruptcy Law Blog
http://www.georgiabankruptcyblog.com/
This blog is authored by bankruptcy attorney Scott B. Riddle. Although he
seldom posts more than two or three times a month, the vast majority of posts
include analysis of Georgia or 11th Circuit cases.
D. Legal Practice Pro
http://www.legalpracticepro.com
This web site, authored by a practicing consumer bankruptcy attorney who also
offers consulting services to other attorneys, features articles on marketing and
client service.
E. National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
http://www.nacba.org/
The NACBA web site links to news stories about pending or proposed legislative
action impacting bankruptcy practice, and to news and opinion pieces on
bankruptcy generally. In addition, the “Resources” tab takes you to a collection
of links to useful resources such as the Bankruptcy Code, bankruptcy forms, the
Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the home pages of various bankruptcy
related associations and of all of the bankruptcy courts.
III. CONSUMER LAW
A.
Loyola Consumer Law Review
http://www.luc.edu/law/activities/publications/consumer.html
Six years of the Loyola Consumer Law Review are available online at the journal’s
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web site.
B.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
http://www.consumerfinance.gov/
The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a very user friendly web site.
While most of the material at the site is geared for lay consumers, the site is an
easy place to find the regulations under which the bureau operates, the reports it
has generated, and its guidance documents.
C.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
http://www.cpsc.gov/
Another useful federal government site is posted by the Consumer Product Safety
Commission. As do most federal agencies, the commission offers the full text of
the statutes and regulations which it enforces. This site also contains safety
standards and guidance for products, as well as a list of products without
mandatory standards. For many products, the site provides the statistics
gathered by the commission or other experts on injuries and deaths caused by the
product and an explanation of the design and use issues.
D.
National Consumer Law Center
http://www.nclc.org/
The National Consumer Law Center is a nonprofit advocacy organization that
seeks to build economic security and family wealth for low-income and other
economically disadvantaged Americans. The Center offers expert witness and
complex case consultation services. The Center’s web site offers policy papers,
news, model state laws, and forms. The site is organized by subject: Arbitration
and Access to Justice; Banking and Payment Systems; Bankruptcy; Car Sales and
Financing; Credit Cards; and the like.
E.
Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection
http://consumer.georgia.gov/
This site is designed for lay consumers and business owners. It is good to keep in
mind as an easy source for explanations of various consumer complaint
processes, sample letters, and required filings for business.
F.
Consumer Law & Policy Blog
http://pubcit.typepad.com/
The contributors to this blog are lawyers and law professors who practice, teach,
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or write about consumer law and policy. The blog is hosted by Public Citizen's
Consumer Justice Project, the arm of the Public Citizen Litigation Group that
pursues consumer rights. The blog authors post news, analysis and opinion on a
variety of consumer law issues including advertising, arbitration, auto issues,
credit cards, debt collection, and the like.
IV. CRIMINAL LAW
A.
Georgia Criminal Appellate Law Blog
http://www.georgiacriminalappellatelawblog.com/
This blog is written by appellate lawyer Scott Key, whose practice focuses on
criminal appeals and habeas corpus. It features news and commentary on
issues impacting the criminal justice system in Georgia, analysis of appellate
decisions in criminal cases in both the federal and state systems, and explorations
of various aspects of criminal practice.
B.
Georgia Innocence Project
http://www.ga-innocenceproject.org/
GIP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals who have been
convicted of crimes they did not commit. The Project works to secure
post-conviction DNA testing for Georgia inmates where DNA analysis could
prove guilt or innocence and adequate DNA evidence was not available at trial.
The project’s web Site includes a calendar of CLE programs sponsored by the
organization, news of Georgia cases handled by GIP, and directions for convicted
individuals who would like to request assistance.
C.
ABA Criminal Justice Section
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice.html
The Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association has over 20,000
members including prosecutors, private defense counsel, appellate and trial
judges, law professors, correctional and law enforcement personnel, law students,
public defenders, and other criminal justice professionals. The Section initiates
studies and research; publishes reports, articles, and other widely-disseminated
materials; reviews and makes recommendations concerning legislative,
administrative, and judicial proposals relating to the criminal law and the
administration of criminal justice; and authors amicus curiae briefs, filed with
the United States Supreme Court. The web site provides access to many of the
section’s publications including newsletters on juvenile justice and white collar
crime, and Criminal Justice Magazine. Also available at the site are Supreme
Court Case Summaries by Professor Rory K. Little of UC Hastings, and all of the
Criminal Justice Standards prepared by the Section.
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D.
ACLU Criminal Law Reform
http://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform
The Criminal Law Reform Project's current priorities include: challenging police
and prosecutorial misconduct and other government abuses of power; reducing
reliance on incarceration, with a focus on decriminalizing drug offenses and
shortening sentencing schemes overall; and reducing racial disparity in the
criminal justice system through challenging the selective enforcement of criminal
laws. In addition to these core priorities, the Project also works in the following
areas: marijuana law reform, including protecting emerging rights of the
seriously-ill to use medical marijuana; reducing the collateral consequences of
drug convictions; and addressing the criminal justice implications of emerging
surveillance technologies. Its web site offers links to blogs and news about
criminal justice, ACLU Reports on criminal law issues, and pleadings and other
documents relating to cases the ACLU is pursuing.
E.
Crimelynx
http://www.crimelynx.com/
Crimelynx calls itself the “legal resource center for the criminal defense
practitioner”. In fulfilling that role, the site offers links to a wide range of useful
primary and secondary legal sources; access to expert resources that explain and
simplify forensic issues; directories of experts; and a list of groups and
individuals who write on criminal justice policy.
V. FAMILY LAW
A.
Family Law in the 50 States
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/family_law/resources/family_law_in_the
_50_states.html
The charts at this web page show the law on alimony and spousal support,
custody, child support, grounds for divorce and residency requirements, property
division, third party visitation, and appointment (of guardians ad litem) in
adoption, guardianship, unmarried parent and divorce cases in each of the fifty
states. These charts are published annually in the Family Law Quarterly.
There is also a link to the current issue of that journal.
B.
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
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http://www.aaml.org/
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers was founded: “To provide
leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in
the practice of family law.” There are currently more than 1600 Fellows of the
Academy. The academy’s web site offers an extensive library of useful
information for the family law practitioner, including the organization’s
newsletter which is largely institutional news and events but contains at least one
substantive article, and its bi-annual journal which usually contains a half dozen
articles on a single topic in family law practice. In addition, the library also
features articles on topics ranging from arbitration to domestic violence to
palimony.
C.
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
http://www.collaborativepractice.com/
The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals is an international
community of legal, mental health and financial professionals working in concert
to create client-centered processes for resolving conflict. In true collaborative
practice, disputes are never settled in litigation. Collaborative practice attorneys
refer clients to litigators when negotiation processes do not lead to settlement.
Among the resources available to practitioners at the academy’s web site are the
group’s standards and ethical guidelines, model participation agreements, and a
collection of articles on collaborative practice.
D.
LII Divorce Resources
http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/Divorce
The Legal Information Institute at Cornell has provided extensive coverage of
primary law on the Internet for many years. One service they have developed is
a legal encyclopedia (WEX) which offers general descriptions of numerous areas
of the law, as well as links to a variety of primary sources relevant to each area.
The divorce entry begins with a clearly written overview of divorce law. More
relevant to the practitioner is the “Resources” tab, which features links to recent
divorce rulings from the US Supreme Court and the Federal Courts of Appeal, to
all of the state laws on divorce, and to all of the relevant Uniform Laws.
E.
Related Topic s(blog)
http://julieshapiro.wordpress.com/
Julie Shapiro is a law professor at Seattle University School of Law who teaches
family law. She says that she began her blog “ to create a forum for intelligent
and sustained discussion of some of the more compelling family law issues”. So
far the discussion revolves around questions of parentage—who are the parents of
a child; and entries have touched upon most imaginable permutations of
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parentage, both those arising from modern science and those that are a product
of modern society.
F.
Elder Law Clinic Wake Forest University School of Law
http://elder-clinic.law.wfu.edu/resources/
The Elder Law Clinic at Wake Forest has a web site with a rich variety of
resources and links. Included are a list of books for elder law practitioners, with
links to the publishers, as well as full text articles and newsletters. The court
opinions link takes you to 4th Circuit and North Carolina cases. There is an
extensive library of ethics resources, and a catch all “resources” page with articles
and links to every conceivable organization, government agency and interest
group involved in elder law.
G.
National Center for Adoption Law and Policy
http://law.capital.edu/adoption/
Capital University Law School in Ohio sponsors the National Center for Adoption
Law and Policy. The Center’s web site has a wonderful database of laws and
court decisions from all 50 states. It is searchable by state or by type of
resource. The site also offers a weekly summary of news stories and case
decisions in the areas of adoption and child welfare.
VI. GENERAL INTEREST
A.
LexMonitor: a Daily Review of law Blogs and journals
http://www.lexmonitor.com/
LexMonitor is a free daily review of law blogs and journals highlighting
prominent legal discussion and the lawyers and other professionals participating
in this conversation. It pulls from nearly 2,000 sources and 5,000 professional
authors. The front page highlights popular topics and discussions. A column
down the left side allows readers to choose topical channels from over two dozen
practice areas.
B.
Law Professor Blogs
http://www.lawprofessorblogs.com/
Law Professor Blogs is a network of web logs ("blogs") designed from the
ground-up to assist law professors in their scholarship and teaching. Each site
focuses on a particular area of law and combines both regularly-updated
permanent resources and links, and daily news and information of interest to law
professors. The group adds blogs fairly regularly, and right now it includes
blogs covering more than three dozen subject areas.
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C.
SCOTUSblog
http://www.scotusblog.com/
In the ten years of its existence, SCOTUSblog has become the most
comprehensive media source for news and analysis about the work of the US
Supreme Court. Generally, the blog reports on every merits case at least three
times: before the court prior to argument, after argument, and after decision.
Often the advocates in a case before the court record summaries of their
arguments as a podcast available on the blog. There is also coverage of significant
cert. petitions, nominees to the court, and books written about the court. Each
business day, the blog provides a round up of writing about the court.
D.
JURIST: Legal News and Research
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/
JURIST is based at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and its coverage
of legal news is the work of law students under the supervision of a member of
the faculty. JURIST covers legal news stories based on their substantive
importance rather than on their mass-market or commercial appeal. It's entirely
non-commercial and ad-free. The site is particularly good about locating and
linking to the primary documents related to the stories it covers: petitions,
decisions, testimony, and reports.
E.
How Appealing
http://howappealing.law.com/
This blog, by appellate lawyer, Howard Bashman covers appellate practice
around the country. Entries highlight opinions, news, and blog posts. The site
concentrates on providing a great quantity of interesting links and excerpts from
other sources.
VII. LAW PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
A. ABA Law Practice Management Section
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice_management.html
Like many ABA Sections, the Law Practice Management Section hosts a useful
and informative web site. On the front page of the site, the section advertises its
services for members, but also lists the CLE programs it sponsors, which deal
with both the unchanging aspects of practice management like obtaining
malpractice insurance, the ethics of advertising, employment issues faced by law
firms, and billing; and the cutting edge topics that have arisen from new
technologies and practice methods like cloud computing, iPad use, the ethics of
blogging or using social networking tools, and changes in forensic evidence.
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Law Practice Magazine, Law Practice Today, and Law Practice News are all
available at the site. In addition, the site offers advice, examples, tools and
resources organized by topic: marketing, work/life balance, staffing, practice
management, rainmakers, and insurance.
B. State Bar of Georgia Law Practice Management
http://www.gabar.org/programs/law_practice_management/
The State Bar’s Law Practice Management section also offers a variety of
resources on the web, most notably a rich library of forms. It also features a ‘Tip
of the Week’ column with helpful descriptions of how to maximize your use of
technology, and practice tricks (like letting clients know when payment for the
services you render may be tax deductable).
C. Findlaw: Law Practice Management
http://lp.findlaw.com/law-practice-management/
Findlaw describes this portion of its site as “a wealth of resources to help you
effectively manage your law practice, regardless of the size of your firm. Law
Technology has the latest legal technology tips, news and product releases. Law
Office Management offers legal marketing and practice articles. Browse In-House
Legal Departments for over 7,000 articles and sample contracts by industry and
practice area.”
D. myshingle.com
http://myshingle.com/
Nearly ten years ago, lawyer Carolyn Elefant began to blog at myshingle.com with
this post:
We seek to serve a broad audience -- solos and small firm lawyers foremost of
course, but also lawyers who dream of hanging out a shingle and law students
for whom solo and small firm practice might some day offer a career option.
Here's the place to learn the basics about starting and running a law practice,
read about solo and small law firm concerns, learn about solo and small firm
accomplishments, discuss new models for collaboration between large and
small firms and ponder the place that we solos and small firms occupy in the
legal universe.
The blog still lives up to her original purpose, and her writing—on every topic—is
compelling and informative.
E. Continuing Education of the Bar – California
http://blog.ceb.com/
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This blog is affiliated with both the State Bar of California and the University of
California. The posts cover topics ranging from law practice management to legal
writing to developments in a wide variety of practice areas.
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Contents
Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 1
The Incredible Shrinking Computer ........................................................................................... 1
What are Apps Anyway? ........................................................................................................... 2
Legal Apps .................................................................................................................................... 4
Subscription Based Apps .......................................................................................................... 4
FastCase ............................................................................................................................... 4
Lexis Advance ....................................................................................................................... 5
Westlaw Next ......................................................................................................................... 6
Primary Material Apps ............................................................................................................... 7
The Congressional Record .................................................................................................... 7
Constitution ............................................................................................................................ 7
FedCtRecords and FedCtBank ............................................................................................. 7
LawStack and Federal Civil Procedure ................................................................................. 8
General Legal Apps .................................................................................................................. 8
Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Edition and Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary ........................ 9
Court Days and Court Days Pro ............................................................................................ 9
MPEP Plus .......................................................................................................................... 10
PaperPort Notes and Notes Plus ......................................................................................... 10
TranscriptPad ...................................................................................................................... 11
TrialPad and Evidence ........................................................................................................ 11
Wolfram Lawyer’s Professional Assistant ............................................................................ 12
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Introduction
The Incredible Shrinking Computer
“It’s a Small World” isn’t just a ride at Disney Land with one of the most
notorious “earworms” (song that easily gets stuck in your head) in Western society. It
also describes the future of technology and computing. Significant advances in the world
of electronics are measured in how small and more powerful something can be rendered
compared to previous versions. The microprocessor, the electronic brain of nearly every
single piece of personal electronics and one of the most profound developments in
modern technology, is still being miniaturized and beefed up. We currently have multicore CPUs (Central Processing Units) available now, each core multiplying the unit’s
capacity by two or four times, but recent advances have been made in adding up to 50
cores to a single CPU.
This miniaturization can be observed in the development of computers in the last
40 years: from the first computers that were the size of a barn and used paper punch
cards to crunch numbers, to more traditional desktop PC towers, to the more mobile
laptops, then the even smaller and mobile netbooks, and now smart phones and tablets.
Each generation is smaller and more capable than the last. A desktop computer from 10
years ago and a hand sized smartphone today have almost the exact same computing
power and the phone is capable of doing even more varied tasks. What characterizes the
current trend is portability: modern tablet computers and smart phones are remarkably
versatile devices, enjoying nearly unparalleled mobility and ever increasing computing
power. This raises an interesting dilemma: how many tasks are people comfortable
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performing on a full sized desktop computer as well as a smartphone? Reading and
writing email? How about checking your favorite social networking sites? Finding cute
pictures of cats or silly videos? What about writing and editing a professional
document? Performing research? Reviewing documentation and material? Would you
prepare a brief with the same device you update your Facebook status with? One
interpretation of this apparent divide in the tasks is that traditional computers and their
more portable companions serve different niches and needs. Another interpretation, the
focus of this paper, is that with the help of some creativity and programming prowess,
mobile devices should be able to do all that and even more. Enter the “app.”
What are Apps Anyway?
“Apps,” an abbreviation of “applications,” are computer programs designed to
add functionality or perform particular tasks. If this definition sounds rather broad,
that’s because it is; some apps you may have experience with include Microsoft Office
and Gmail. It may seem unintuitive to categorize a popular software suite with an email
service, but they fall squarely within the definition. Office brings word processing,
spreadsheets, and presentation functionality to a computer, while Gmail allows you to
send email from the same computer.
If apps are nothing especially new to the realm of computing, why have they
suddenly become “the big thing” lately? It’s largely due to the decision of Apple to create
their “App Store” and to release their “SDK” (Software Development Kit) to software
developers. It may be anti-climactic, that a single company decided to call new pieces of
software “apps” and the term just happened to stick, but considering the situation and
the prestige Apple is held in, it’s hardly a surprise. By providing both the platform (the
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App Store) and tools (the SDK) to create the apps, along with the incredibly popular
iPhone, Apple created an explosion of popularity for these kinds of programs.
Apps developed for certain devices are called “native apps.” Native apps are
written in a specific programming language for a particular mobile device. For example,
a native app for an iPhone needs to be written in the ObjectiveC language and work with
the iPhone’s operating system, iOS. Likewise, a native app for one of Google’s Droid
phones would be written in the Java language and work with the Android operating
system. Recently, “web apps” or “mobile web apps” are becoming increasingly popular.
These apps are written in programming languages usually devoted to creating web
pages; languages like HTML and JavaScript. As the name implies, web apps are
accessed with an Internet connection and provide the functionality of a native app.
These are distinguishable in that only one version of a web app needs to be made
compared to making a separate version of a native app for every possible operating
system. However, web apps were limited in what functions they could offer considering
the necessity of an Internet connection and the limitation of the programming
languages. These are now becoming more popular due to ubiquitous Internet
connectivity, web apps with an offline mode that operate at nearly the same capacity as
when they’re online, and new programming languages that can offer more functionality.
A brief history of mobile technology and apps is all well and good, but how does
all of this apply to the legal professional? More so than one would initially guess, all
things considered. Attorneys were very early adopters of mobile technology, with nearly
universal acceptance of Research in Motion’s Blackberry devices early in their
development. The proliferation of such devices has set a precedent that has given rise to
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numerous apps designed specifically for lawyers, judges, law students, and other legal
professions. Few other fields enjoy such consideration and development, perhaps
behind only to the titanic entertainment industry with their non-stop flow of
advertisements, media, and games. Particularly helpful for a legal professional is that
many apps are in some aspects more convenient than their bulkier, desktop-bound
counterparts. Apps are usually created for small-to-medium sized touch screens, and
their simplified design and functionality reflects that. In streamlining the look and feel
of an app, the final product is in many ways far more convenient and ultimately more
efficient. What follows are descriptions of some of apps specifically designed to aid
attorneys in their practice, enable them to perform tasks that would otherwise require
access to a full desktop computer, or generally make their jobs easier. Many of these
apps are available for the iPhone, and Android versions, when available, will be noted.
Legal Apps
Subscription Based Apps
Subscription based apps are apps provided to supplement or provide a mobile
interface for existing access to sites that charge annually or for use. These apps are
usually free but use is contingent upon being a subscribed user of the primary service. In
general these apps provide different functions, including extensive access to a variety of
materials, specialized ways of interacting with those materials, and some
interoperability with the research service that offers the app.
FastCase (http://www.fastcase.com/iphone/): As members of the State Bar of Georgia,
the name FastCase should be familiar to many. Freely accessible to any member of the
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Bar, FastCase is a legal research service that offers access to the primary law of every
state, federal material, cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and more. The free
iPhone app offered by FastCase offers an impressive set of tools for something meant to
be stored in your pocket. One review of the app went so far as to say that the usefulness
of the app “is a compelling reason for any attorney not using an iPhone to purchase one
today.”1
The main screen of the app allows you to search for caselaw or statutes with operators
like “and,” “or,” specific phrases designated with quotation marks, and other functions.
After searching you can narrow your results by jurisdiction and date range, or enable a
feature called “Authority Check” when search for caselaw. Authority Check will note how
many times the case has been cited, and how many times the case is cited by cases
returned by the search. Full text versions of cases are available with links to cited cases
within the document. Search terms are highlighted in cases, and a “Most Convenient”
button will bring up the section of the case that has the best match with the search
terms. Cases can be saved and recalled at a later time but cannot be emailed, so it serves
more as a reminder when sitting in front of a full computer or laptop later. Searching for
statutes is similar, but with a few restrictions. After finding a desired law, you cannot
navigate to the next or previous section of the code, and to locate a specific statute you
must browse by title, then chapter, then section.
Lexis Advance (http://www.lexisnexis.com/newlexis/mobile/): Available for free to
subscribers to the new Lexis Advance research system, this app is available for both the
iPhone and the iPad. One of the most appealing features of the app is the simplicity of
1
Jeff Richardson, Review: Fastcase -- free caselaw and statute research for the iPhone,
http://www.iphonejd.com/iphone_jd/2010/02/review-fastcase.html (Feb. 2012)
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the interface and ease of use. A search can be executed without narrowing any of the
options, but cases, statutes, jurisdictions, or specific practice areas can be searched.
Results are listed by relevancy but can be reordered by court, jurisdiction, date, and
others. When searching caselaw, cited cases are linked and a Shepardize button
retrieves the full history of the case. Cases can be saved into customizable folders for
later reference, or PDF copies of the case can be emailed. As of this writing, the Lexis
Advance App has only just launched, so expect more features in the future.
Westlaw Next (http://store.westlaw.com/westlawnext/mobile-ipad/ipadapp/default.aspx): Like the other two subscription based apps, the Westlaw Next is free
for people who pay for the next generation Westlaw research system. What is far more
noteworthy the availability of the app: there exists a version of the app for just about
every type of smartphone or tablet computer, not just the iPhone or iPad. This wide
adoption allows for synchronization across platforms. Research performed on a mobile
device can easily be retrieved on another device (a computer or even another mobile
device) using your account to match and display the data. The search interface is
relatively simple with the option to search specific materials (cases, regulations, etc.),
but the primary search bar is rather smart in finding the item without any adjustments.
A list of the search results appears on the left, categorized by material type, with the
search terms highlighted in short summaries that appear on the right. Copying text and
adding notes is feature that seems fairly straightforward and helpful, but this
functionality is unique to Westlaw Next. Useful material can be saved in customizable
folders for reference later, drawing on the functionality provided by the aforementioned
synchronization.
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Primary Material Apps
“Primary Material Apps” are apps designed to allow direct access to important
laws and documents. Some of these are offered by governmental organizations, while
most are offered by individuals or companies that have taken the time to repackage
freely available information into a mobile format.
The Congressional Record (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-congressionalrecord/id492077075): This is a free iPad app offered by the Library of Congress that
offers access to the Congressional Record back to January 25, 1994. You can select a
specific day and view the four parts of the Congressional Record for that day (the House
of Representatives, Senate, Extension of Remarks, and the Daily Digest summary) or the
entire Congressional Record for that day. After selecting a section, a searchable PDF
that looks exactly like what would be printed or found on FDSys.
Constitution (http://cbagwellconsulting.com/const.html): This free app for the iPad
and iPhone is relatively simple, tiny, and straightforward. The main page of the app is a
table of contents corresponding to the parts of the U.S. constitution. The entirety of the
Constitution is available, with some additional information like the biographical
information about the signers or the dates the sections were signed into effect. This is
an accessible app that provides some fundamental legal information.
FedCtRecords and FedCtBank
(http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fedctrecords/id476096463): These iPhone apps, both
created by the same developer, allow for access to the electronic records for the Federal
District Courts (FedCtRecords) and the Federal Bankruptcy Courts (FedCtBank). At
$10.00 a piece, these apps are designed to provide an iPhone friendly interface for
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PACER. An account with PACER is still required, and any fees that would normally be
accrued will still apply when viewing a docket. PACER does have a mobile version for
their site, but actually viewing documents is cumbersome. Using the app, you can select
a court and search using the fields typically found on PACER. Dockets retrieved can be
viewed with the app and saved as a PDF (the app will not open the PDF, though). Cases
can be saved in a My Cases location for quick reference later.
LawStack and Federal Civil Procedure (http://www.lawstack.com/ and
http://www.puglabs.com/apps/fcp/): These are two different apps that present roughly
the same information in different formats: frequently used rules and procedures.
LawStack is a free app with the federal rules of civil procedure, criminal procedure,
evidence, etc. The app displays all of the groups of laws and allows you to navigate to a
desired section or search through the text. The app also includes a “store” that allows
you to load more free or paid laws, bills, statutes, and other collections. Federal Civil
Procedure is a $1.00 app that, like LawStack, lets you reference various bodies of law
from your iPhone or iPad. When browsing a rule, after the end of the text, various
Internet resources (like related forms or advisory notes) are linked. The search feature is
more robust, integrating Boolean operators (AND and OR) into search results. Relevant
rules can be saved, grouped together, and if the device is configured for it, printed.
General Legal Apps
“General Legal Apps” are apps that would be beneficial in the everyday life of an
attorney, either in their practice or their general productivity.
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Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Edition and Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary
(http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blacks-law-dictionary-9th/id312542731 and
http://itunes.apple.com/app/nolos-plain-english-law-dictionary/id319070903): Legal
dictionaries made the obvious jump to apps relatively early; early enough that 9th
edition of Black’s is an update to the 8th edition app. While typing a term into Black’s
Law Dictionary app, results will begin appearing (not unlike Google’s predictive search
technology). Underlined terms are links to other terms in the dictionary while double
underlined terms are links to Westlaw.com. Many terms have an audio pronunciation
guide, and frequently used words can be bookmarked for later use. Nolo’s dictionary has
definitions for hundreds of terms, as well as explanations for important cases and other
materials. The central icon towards the bottom of the screen navigates the app to Nolo’s
lawyer directory. The app designed for non-lawyers, and that is apparent in the
coverage, features (shaking the iPhone with the app open displays a random term), and
price. Black’s Law Dictionary is $55 compared to the free Nolo app.
Court Days and Court Days Pro (http://www.lawonmyphone.com/court-days/ and
http://www.lawonmyphone.com/court-days-pro/): These are date calculator apps: apps
designed to figure out the deadline of when documents are due, when responses are
required, how much time is left, etc. With Court Days, after selecting a jurisdiction, start
date, and whether you want to find dates before or after the start date, the app will
calculate the number of court days and calendar from the date. The “court days” takes
into account legal holidays like national or state holidays and weekends. Court Days Pro
takes this a step further by allowing a user to program in “rules” to help calculate dates
based on specific “events.” An event is an occurrence, something like a motion being
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filed. A simple rule would be something like having 30 days to respond after that motion
was filed. Using the app to create the event and the associated rule, whenever a motion
was filed, the date of the event would be entered and the app would calculate the date 30
days out while also accounting for legal holidays. Rules can become rather complex and
programming them all in can take some time, but after the initial investment of effort,
the app will help track a myriad of deadlines automatically. Court Days and Court Days
Pro are both free apps.
MPEP Plus (http://www.iphonejd.com/iphone_jd/2012/02/review-mpep-plus.html):
MPEP Plus is app for patent agents and attorneys to navigate U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office resources. The app features a copy, as well as the index of, the Manual
of Patent Examining Procedure, a patent finder (implemented via a “card game”), a
patent term adjustment estimator, recent Supreme Court decisions, and more.
Retrieved patents can be opened with the iPhone’s Safari browser and saved as a PDF.
PaperPort Notes and Notes Plus (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paperportnotes/id476134017 and http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/notes-plus-handwritingnote/id374211477): Each of these apps provide note taking functionality to the iPad
beyond those offered by a true word processor. PaperPort Notes is a free app performs
some basic note taking tasks. The basic interface looks like a yellow legal pad and takes
input from a keyboard (both real and on-screen), stylus (or fingers), and voice-to-text.
The app can also annotate and add sticky pad-esque notes PDFs. Note groups can be
emailed, sent to another iPad, or downloaded as PDF. Notes Plus is a far more robust
app that costs $8.00. The app handles handwritten input with a stylus rather intuitively,
providing ease of manual input. Circling hand written text allows for various
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manipulation, including copying, deleting, or converting the handwritten text to
computer text. Similarly, shapes drawn in the app can retain the form drawn or be
automatically corrected into cleaner or more symmetric shapes. Pictures can be
inserted, text can be highlighted, and documents can be saved as PDFs locally or into
the cloud on Google Documents or Dropbox.
TranscriptPad (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/transcriptpad/id400464448):
TranscriptPad is a transcript management app of note for attorneys that review
depositions on a regular basis. After loading a text file of the deposition into the app, it
automatically detects information about deponents, dates, and other identifying
information. Touching the first and last line numbers of a noteworthy section lets you
highlight and assign a label or designation (like “infringement” or “causation”) to it.
Highlighted sections are displayed on the left or as an index depending on whether the
iPad is using landscape or portrait format. The labeled text can be output in multiple
formats: print, emailed, a report with just the labeled text, or a report with the full text
of the marked up text in a table format.
TrialPad and Evidence (http://www.trialpad.com/ and http://www.reactionapps.com/content/evidence): These apps are designed for the purpose of displaying and
marking up documents in court, during mediation, or other kinds of meetings on an
iPad. Exhibits or documents can be loaded into the apps and manipulated to enhance
readability or clarity. Zooming, highlighting, underlining, and annotating are each
handled by the apps, albeit in slightly different manners. When an exhibit is fully
marked up and ready for use, the apps will operate in “presentation view,” displaying
the content on the entire screen and transitioning between all of the documents like a
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Power Point presentation. The difference in the apps comes in the ease of managing
multiple cases and file locations. TrialPad is designed to handle different cases at the
same time, while Evidence will only handle one presentation at a time. For one off
situations or if the iPad isn’t going to be a constant presence, Evidence is a satisfactory
app that does plenty for $5.00. However, if there are multiple court appearances or
meetings that will feature multiple exhibits concurrently, the more robust TrialPad
would be the more stable choice at $90.00.
Wolfram Lawyer’s Professional Assistant
(http://products.wolframalpha.com/professionalapps/lawyer.html): Wolfram Alpha is
a search engine unlike traditional search sites. Rather than linking to content out on the
web, Wolfram Alpha uses its own database of information to compute an answer.
Applying this database of information to legal minded folk, the Lawyer’s Professional
Assistant app is a set of tools likely to be useful to attorneys, judges, law students, and
others. Included are some tools that seem obvious, like the statute of limitations in
different states, interest and tax rates, and settlement calculators. More arcane and
unexpected tools include occupational salaries, Roman numeral conversion, and blood
alcohol calculators. While this may seem like a convenient collection of tools for only
$5.00, none of these are inaccessible outside of pointing the Safari web browser to
Wolfram Alpha and accessing it freely. The price reflects a more efficient layout on the
iPhone and iPad, as well as lawyer-specific search fields that increase the efficiency of
some tools.
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Technology Trends and Predictions:
Is a Flying Car in Our Future?
Carol A. Watson
Alexander Campbell King Law Library
University of Georgia School of Law
Table of Contents
I.
The Future of Legal Research .......................................................................................2
A. More like Google........................................................................................................2
B. More like Siri – ..........................................................................................................2
C. Knowledge Management ...........................................................................................3
D. More E-books .............................................................................................................3
II.
A.
Law Office Technology ..............................................................................................3
Cloud Computing ......................................................................................................3
B. More Mobile Apps and Devices ................................................................................. 5
C.
Data Mining ............................................................................................................. 6
D. Data Visualization .................................................................................................... 6
E.
Client Portals............................................................................................................. 7
F.
Voice Over IP (VoIP)................................................................................................. 7
G.
Virtual Assistants ..................................................................................................... 8
H. Virtual Meetings....................................................................................................... 8
II. Courtroom Technology .................................................................................................. 9
III. Social Networking Sites .............................................................................................. 11
A. Legalonramp ............................................................................................................ 11
B. LinkedIn .................................................................................................................. 12
C. Twitter...................................................................................................................... 12
D. Google Plus .............................................................................................................. 12
E.
2012 Predictions for social media .......................................................................... 13
F.
Up and coming social networking .......................................................................... 13
IV.
General Hardware and Software Predictions ......................................................... 14
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Predicting the future is always a risky undertaking. The flying car is the perfect
example. It seems plausible and practical. George Jetson never seemed particularly
smart and he always drove one easily. However, if you’ve ever done any work in the
information technology field, you learn pretty quickly that what seems easy and logical
to the client with an idea can often be much more difficult to execute in reality. The
flying car is the perfect case in point. For all sorts of reasons, such as lack of air traffic
control mechanisms, danger to urban environments or lack of standards, we might not
see the flying car in our lifetime. But oftentimes, fantasy ideas have a kernel of truth
within them. In fact, the February issue of Wired magazine discusses the potential for
Google’s new cars of the future to “drive themselves.” If it’s possible that our next car
might drive itself, what might the future of legal technology, social networking and
general technology hold for us?
For further reading: Tom Vanderbilt, “Let the Robot Drive: The Autonomous Car of
the Future is Here”
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2012/01/ff_autonomouscars/all/1
In today’s tough economic times, lawyers who can maximize their work
productivity and efficiency will have a significant advantage over their competitors. It
is, therefore, essential that attorneys harness technology and remain up-to-date on the
latest computer developments .
In this paper, I will begin by discussing the future of legal research. I will then
discuss technologies that are currently available for law offices. I will highlight current
technology trends and predictions. Next, I will discuss the latest innovations in
courtroom technology and what you might expect to see in the courthouse of the future.
Finally, I will conclude with a list of general technology predictions that will hopefully
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provide food for thought and excite you about the coming prospects of technology.
I.
The Future of Legal Research
A.
More like Google – Natural language searching has been evolving for
years on Westlaw and LexisNexis. For years now, legal researchers have asked, why
can’t legal research be more like Google? With the introduction of Westlaw Next and
LexisNexis Advanced, the two major proprietary databases have taken steps to simplify
the search process. Both services offer a simple search box and allow users to refine or
filter their search after running it by choose the type of materials such as case law,
statutes, treatises, etc. to focus upon.
The infamous single search box is available for free searching of legal materials
available on the web via Google Scholar. It includes legal decisions as well as legal
periodicals. As more and more law reviews become freely available via the web, the
value of Google Scholar increases.
B.
More like Siri – Instead of asking why legal research can’t be more like
Google, in the future, we’ll be asking why it can’t be more like Siri? The astonishing
ability of Apple’s technology to interpret language has created even higher expectations
for improvement in search technology. Some have even referred to Siri as a Google
Killer or the Future of Search. Siri’s search experience is similar to artificial intelligence
rather than literally searching for words entered into a search box. Note Siri uses
Google’s search technology as its back end but its user interface is a new disruptive
technology that is likely to change the face of web searching.
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C.
Knowledge Management – Effective knowledge management has long
been the holy grail of law firms. Law firms seek the ability to deal with their mountains
of data and paperwork. Storing and organizing data centrally for all attorneys in the
firm to access can increase productivity significantly by reducing the need for attorneys
to waste time searching for answers to common questions or re-inventing the wheel on a
new case. Law firms wishing to gain a competitive edge will solve the dilemma of how
to archive their legal research materials and leverage their previously gained knowledge
to their advantage.
D. More E-books – As you know, sales of e-books are on the rise. The
number of legal treatises that are now available allows law firms to be completely print
free if they so desire. There is still some turf battling over the best platform for e-books.
Kindle, iPad, Nook? These are but a few of the choices. Most titles are available on
several different platforms so you can choose your reader based upon your personal
preferences.
II.
A.
Law Office Technology
Cloud Computing – Any discussion of future trends in legal technology or
technology in general inevitably must include cloud computing. Cloud computing is
generally defined as software that is hosted by a third party for your office and delivered
via the web. In other words, consumers of cloud computing “rent” software from the
vendor of choice and don’t install any programs locally. Gartner Inc., a well-respected
technology research firm, predicts that by 2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises
will be paying for some type of cloud computing services. Owning software will soon
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become a thing of the past.
The launch of Microsoft Office 365 last June has been a major impetus for changing
the average consumer’s use of cloud software. Office 365 is a web version of Microsoft
Office that also integrates email, document sharing, collaboration, instant
messengering, videoconferencing, voice over IP telephony and social networking.
Until the release of Office 365, Google apps and Zoho were battling for domination of
the collaborative cloud software market. Microsoft Office 365 provides look and feel of
current Microsoft programs with documents being saved online rather than your hard
drive. For a subscription fee, law firms can use Microsoft Office 365 and no longer have
to worry about supporting in-house networking hardware and software with the added
benefits that attorneys can access documents from any remote location.
In addition to automating general office productivity tasks, cloud computing
offers specialized solutions for law offices such as online case management andediscovery.
If you are seeking a new vendor for law office services, the Georgia Bar’s website
maintains a database of legal resource vendors. See:
http://www.gabar.org/manage/vendors/VendorCategoryResults.php
Caveat: When using cloud computing, you must be aware of security. Be sure
you know who owns the data, under what circumstances you can access your data and
take it with you, and how they are securing it.
For further reading: Nicole Black, Cloud Computing for Lawyers, ABA Law
Practice Management Section (January 2012) available for purchase from the ABA Web
Store.
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B. More Mobile Apps and Devices – It’s a safe bet to predict that the number of
mobile applications and devices will continue to grow exponentially. A fact that is
demonstrated by the inclusion in this year’s CLE of an entire presentation devoted to
mobile applications. Revenue from the sale of mobile applications has grown more
than 500% in the past five years. That is an almost unheard of growth rate for an
industry.
If you still have any doubts, note it has been predicted that smart phone sales will
surpass PC and laptop sales in the upcoming year. The long-predicted convergence of
technology into small portable devices is already a reality. Mobile devices currently
allow users to literally carry the office in their pockets. In fact, the trend of bringing
personally owned devices (also referred to as BYOD, Bring Your Own Device) to work
has become the norm rather than the exception.
As mobile apps and devices become increasingly sophisticated, one of the side
benefits is that law firms can reduce their footprint in traditional brick and mortar
storefronts. It has been suggested that perhaps law firm offices should be on the
endangered species list since more and more attorneys want to work from remote
locations.
In the public sector, mobile wallets and near field communication devices that allow
vendors to seamlessly connect with consumers will become more commonplace. You
may have seen travelers flashing their iPhone rather than a boarding pass at the airport.
Soon, you will be able to pay for services by flashing your mobile devices.
For further reading: Tom Mighell, iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, ABA Law
Practice Management Section (April 2011) available for purchase from the ABA Web
Store.
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C. Data Mining – In the future, more law firms will apply data mining techniques
to analyze their business practices and maximize their profitability. Popular in fields
such as engineering and healthcare, data mining is still a new topic for most law firms.
Data mining is accomplished by using sophisticated statistical algorithms to study such
key productivity metrics as billable hours, actual collections and unbilled times. By
studying these metrics, law firms can gain a competitive edge. For example, does your
firm know which employees are performing which tasks versus billing costs? Other
trends you might analyze include determining the percentage of revenue you receive for
each client; identifying referral sources that provide clients with larger percentages of
revenue; and sorting clients by industry.
Currently third party vendors exist to assist law firms with data mining. Never
fear thought, in the future, our mobile devices will have enough power to perform
analytics for every action undertaken in the law firm.
D.
Data Visualization – Data visualization is the practice of manipulating raw
data into a graphical or visual format that helps novices understand, analyze or visualize
the raw data more effectively. Many industries have predicted that “big data” is a
dilemma that must be dealt with in the near future. As we become more and more
overwhelmed by the sheer amount of digital information, data visualization techniques
are being developed to portray data in meaningful visual displays. Data visualization
can be used to identify trends and sort through e-discovery materials as well as to
portray complex data to jurors and clients.
Data mining focuses on defining relevant data as opposed to data visualization which
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focuses on how to display data. Both data mining and data visualization (also referred
to as extreme information processing) will allow businesses to analyze historical data
and create simulations or predictions for the future.
For further reading: Sharon Machliss, “22 Free Tools for Data Visualization and
Analysis,” Computerworld (April 20, 2011),
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9215504/22_free_tools_for_data_visualizat
ion_and_analysis
E.
Client Portals – Lawyers will develop more ways to interact with clients and
provide services via the web. We all currently use online services to share information
that we previously thought was highly confidential. For example, online banking is no
longer viewed with suspect. Online secure client portals allow attorneys to share
documents and communications with clients effectively and efficiently. For example,
many common questions from clients that are currently handled by telephone and email
can be provided via personalized client portals. Other tasks that clients can perform
include paying legal fees online; answering basic questionnaires; and scheduling
appointments. Lawyers can use portals to share documents and keep clients apprised
of the case status. It’s possible that in the future, artificial intelligence algorithms will be
included so that clients might pose scenarios via the portal.
For further reading, visit the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s
eLawyering Task Force web page:
http://apps.americanbar.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=EP024500
F.
Voice Over IP (VoIP) – Transmitting telephone calls via the Internet as
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opposed to traditional public telephone switches will continue to gain momentum.
Using the Internet to make phone calls rather than a land line can significantly cut your
firm's telecommunications costs. VoIP offers many advantages such as flat fee pricing,
the ability to save phone data with other electronic data and ease of installation.
Voicemail messages and faxes are readily available and retrievable via the web. On the
other hand, VoIP is dependent upon a good Internet connection and your VoIP phone is
dependent upon a power connection (no phone calls during electrical outages).
For further reading: FYI: VoIP, American Bar Association,
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources
/resources/charts_fyis/voip.html
G.
Virtual Assistants – More small and solo firms will use virtual assistants to
reduce office overhead costs. You can hire a professional virtual receptionist to handle
your phone messages 24x7 much cheaper than you can hire a full time 8 5 receptionist.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who use the web and telephone to
provide administrative support. For example, a virtual assistant can answer your phone
remotely without the caller knowing there is no administrative assistant physically
present in your office. Greetings can be customized. Most law firms report the
employees are highly trained and personable. The best way to find a virtual assistant is
by word of mouth. However, you can also google law firm virtual assistants and many
options will be available for you to choose from.
H.
Virtual Meetings - As travel costs continue to rise and user friendly
technology such as Skype, GoToMeeting and WebEx continue to develop, virtual
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meetings will become more and more commonplace. PowerPoint presentations can be
easily commented upon. Not to mention, the green benefits of virtual meetings are an
additional incentive.
Skype is a popular virtual meeting program, perhaps because it is free. All you need
is a headset and a microphone. You can make regular phone calls, video conference
using a web cam or just chat using Skype. Some law firms advertise their Skype
connectivity in case their clients are interested in getting touch via Skype.
II. Courtroom Technology
Just as office technology will undergo changes in the new future, courtroom technology
will also advance dramatically. The courtroom of the future holds tremendous promise.
A. Video Displays - We all learn via screens in today’s world and it is likely that
displays will increase in the courtroom.
The majority of jurors are likely to be visual
learners. More courtrooms will provide individual monitors for juries and witness to
allow attorneys to have more visual contact with individuals. Jurors have already
reported that having jury instructions printed on monitors as the judge reads them has
helped their understanding tremendously. Additionally, monitors will employ
touchscreen technology to allow witnesses to pinpoint and mark items of interest.
B.
Jury Room - Just as courtrooms become more electronic, jury rooms will
become so as well. Jurors will have access to laptops, kiosk and monitors to review
electronic exhibits.
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C.
Self-Service Kiosks – Self-service isn’t just for grocery stores any more.
Conveniently placed kiosks will allow jurors to scan their ids, print juror badges, print
attendance letters, answer qualification questions and automate juror service payment.
D.
Videoconferencing – The use of videoconferencing will continue to grow and
will soon routinely include 3D high definition technology. As technology improves so
that jurors can interpret the nuances of witnesses, testifying remotely will become the
norm. Videoconferencing can also reduce the security and expense of transporting
prisoners to the courthouse.
E.
Process Serving – Courts will be seeking new ways to streamline delivery of
process serving. Will they text it to our iPhone? Is a robot service processor in our
future?
F.
Virtual Reenactment - Accident and crime scene reconstruction will become
more and more realistic. Perhaps jurors will eventually wear virtual reality goggles?
G.
Online Dispute Resolution and Juries - Currently online services exist to
provide mediation services as well as virtual jurors to evaluate your case. In the past, it
was expensive for small and solo firms to hire focus groups to evaluate potential jury
presentations. Online services offer affordable jury consulting.
For more information on current legal technology vendors, visit the 2012 ABA
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Tech Show website, http://www.techshow.com/. You can browse through all of the
vendors’ websites and virtually stroll through the exhibit hall.
III. Social Networking Sites
You might think that social networking is limited to Facebook and is only
relevant to high school or college students. Or that social media is only about socializing
rather than business. Think again. Facebook is predicted to attain 1 billion users in
2012 and all major businesses have social media strategies. Social media cannot be
ignored and the legal profession is no exception.
Social media sites can provide a gold mine of information about clients, rivals
and business prospects. Social networks can be useful in a variety of other ways as well.
For example, they can help you get to know a fellow lawyer on a more personal level so
that you=re more able to judge whether you would be compatible in situations such as
co-counsel or client referrals.
Aside from Facebook, some of the other major social networking technologies
currently used in the legal community include:
- an invitation-only, members-only online community of
corporate in-house counsels and leading law firms with facebook/linked in
functionality. Legalonranmp is primarily for in- house counsel. Firm lawyers may
request admission based on the fit of their practice, their authoring of content, and their
ability to expand the network. LegalOnramp is geared to information sharing,
collaboration and negotiating honest value for legal work. As of February 2012, nearly
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10,000 lawyers participate with the site.
- LinkedIn allows you to create a free online profile which
includes relevant professional background information about yourself. LinkedIn will
provide you with matches of people you likely know already. You can then explore
matches they have included in their LinkedIn profile. The end result is a ready-made
network of business contacts. Sounds like a great way to locate contacts, identify
referrals or develop your professional reputation, eh? The reality is that most people
create a LinkedIn profile and then leave them to languish.
Sure, it’s a safe,
professional way to network, but don’t get too excited.
- By now, everyone knows that Twitter allows you to send a short
message (140 characters or less) to mini-blog about yourself on the Twitter website, but
have you considered how you can exploit the public relations potential of Twitter?
Perhaps you want to publicize that you've added an entry to your blog or updated your
website. Or perhaps you'd like to ask friends for a referral for a nonlegal service.
– The rival to Facebook is coming on strong. Google Plus
offers all of the benefits of Facebook but also adds a few bells and whistles. You can
group your contacts into Circles to divide who you share information with. Google
Hangouts allow you to use online chatting and web cams as a basic form of
videoconferencing among contacts. Google Plus is also becoming more and more
integrated into other Google apps. Note Google Plus information has started appearing
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in Google search results while Facebook and Twitter have been excluded.
:
•
The FTC will crack down on misleading advertising via social media
•
Google Plus use will continue to rise
•
Whether to allow the use of social media as evidence will continue to be litigated
•
More employment law disputes over the employee use of social media
:
1. Get Glue – Get Glue is described by Inc Magazine as a type of FourSquare for
entertainment. Get Glue users to check in with friends to discuss, like and
critique television shows, movies, videogames, books and music.
2. Instagram – Instagram is technically a cross between an app and a social
networking tool. Named Apple’s App of the Year, Instagram allows users to
seamlessly share photos from their iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad after choosing
from a variety of filters. You may have already noticed Instagram photos in your
facebook stream.
3. Pinterest – Pinterest allows users to save web content onto bulletin boards and
share their “pins” with other users. One attorney found Pinterest useful for
collecting memes that simplified regulation of the oil and gas industry. He was
able to network effectively with clients by sharing these images.
For more information or tips on employing social media effectively in your law
practice, the theme of the January/February issue of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine is
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social media. See:
http://www.americanbar.org/publications/law_practice_magazine/2012/january_febr
uary.html
IV.
General Hardware and Software Predictions
In addition to legal technology and social media developments, there are
numerous general technologies on the horizon. Some of them are practical and others
are simply fascinating. A few trends and predictions that I have found interesting
include:
•
Printers – Small and portable photo printers that allow printing from camera
phones are forthcoming. Additionally 3D printing is becoming a reality. Inkless
printers are on the horizon. Inkless printers use heat technology to mark special
paper with images. Ultrafast printers that print at the speed of sound are also
predicted.
•
Screens - There are several innovations in screen technology evolving.
o Touch screen technology will become more prevalent. This trend is
spurred not only by the popularity of iPads but will increase with the
rollout of Windows 8. It’s possible that a touch screen television could be
introduced in the upcoming year. Maybe even by Apple, Inc.
o Bendable interfaces are also being predicted. Nokia and Samsung have
hinted they might release bendable interfaces this year, although we’re still
years away from being able to roll up the screen like a newspaper.
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o Second screen experience – Many users have a portable device such as an
iPad in their lap while watching tv. In the future, the device will interpret
from the tv’s audio which program you are watching and display relevant
or related content.
•
Cameras - There will be a decline in sale of cameras as smart phone cameras
continue to improve. A 12 megapixel smart phone camera will be available in the
near future. On the other hand, the rise of 3D cameras could revive interest in
consumer cameras. Future cameras will be able to focus automatically like we do
with our own eyes currently….no small feat.
•
Internet-Enabled Appliances – Also referred to as the Internet of Things
(IoT), for some time now, it has been predicted that appliances will be reachable
via the web for remote programming. Finally, this prediction is becoming a
reality. For example, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the
Nest Learning Thermostat (http://www.nest.com/) received a great deal of
attention. Not only does the thermostat sense your presence at home and adjust
temperatures but it is programmable via your mobile phone as well.
•
Voice recognition – Voice recognition applications will become ubiquitous.
The popularity of the iPhone’s Siri is a clear proof of concept. There are rumors
that Apple will use voice control to replace tv remotes. Until recently, voice
recognition interfaces have been slow to develop.
•
Data Storage – Capacity for portable data storage will significantly increase.
Victorinox has announced plans to add a 1 terabyte USB drive on its Swiss Army
knives.
•
Geo-location – Google is extending its reach by expanding maps to include
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indoor spaces. You can now view interior spaces that have been voluntarily
submitted such as airports or shopping malls.
•
E-commerce – E-commerce will become more prevalent than traditional
storefronts. A recent Forbes article describes how the consumer practice of
browsing at Best Buy yet buying online at better prices is squeezing out big box
retailers. See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2012/01/02/whybest-buy-is-going-out-of-business-gradually/?partner=technology_newsletter
Amazon is facing significant criticism from local retailers for their new
Price Check app which is available for iPhone and Android which encourages
shoppers to browse in local retailers yet purchase online. The app promotes the
practice of scanning items in stores to compare with Amazon pricing.
Furthermore, it encourages shoppers to share prices with Amazon so they can
offer competitive pricing. At one point, Amazon even offered participants a 5%
discount up to $5 on qualifying purchases.
•
Batteries – Power for electronic devices will continue to be a problem for the
foreseeable future. One of the latest developments for outdoor enthusiasts is the
PowerTrekk Water Charger, a battery charger that uses water to produce energy.
IBM predicts that in the future people power will be harvested so that no energy
production goes to waste. When people walk, ride bikes or run, we’ll capture the
excess energy for productive use.
•
Near Field Technology – Mobile cell phone readers that detect your presence
and receive related information will soon experience significant growth. Soon
you’ll be able to wave your mobile phone at a reader to pay for services such as
transportation costs, retail services and health expenses.
16
APPENDIX
ICLE Information
1 of 5
INSTITUTE OF CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION IN GEORGIA
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The State Bar of Georgia and the Law Schools of The University of Georgia, Emory
University and Mercer University established the Institute of Continuing Legal
Education in Georgia in August 1965. In 1984, Georgia State University College of
Law was added to the consortium, and in 2005, John Marshall Law School was
added. The purpose of the Institute is to provide an outstanding continuing legal
education program so that members of the legal profession are afforded a means of
enhancing their skills and keeping abreast of developments of the law. The Institute
is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of twenty-eight members consisting of
the Immediate Past President, the President, the President-elect, the Secretary, and
the Treasurer, all of the State Bar of Georgia; the President, President-elect and the
Immediate Past President of the Young Lawyers Division; nine members to be
appointed by the President of the State Bar of Georgia, each for a term of three years
(the President has three appointments each year); two representatives of each of the
participating law schools; and the Immediate Past Chairperson of the Institute. The
Immediate Past President of the State Bar of Georgia serves as Chairperson of the
Board of Trustees of the Institute.
2011-2012
S. Lester Tate, Cartersville
Chairperson, ICLE
Immediate Past-President, State Bar of Georgia
Term Expires
2012
J. Ralph Beaird, Athens
University of Georgia School of Law
Kimberly S. Boehm, Duluth
At-Large Trustee
2014
Bryan M. Cavan, Atlanta
Immediate Past-Chairperson, ICLE
2012
Thomas C. Chambers, III, Homerville
At-Large Trustee
2014
Robin Frazer Clark, Atlanta
President-Elect, State Bar of Georgia
2012
A. James Elliott, Atlanta
Emory University School of Law
Denny C. Galis, Athens
At-Large Trustee
2013
Michael G. Geoffroy, Covington
Immediate Past-President, YLD, State Bar of Georgia
2012
ICLE Information
2 of 5
Karlisle Y. Grier, Atlanta
At-Large Trustee
2013
Stephanie J. Kirijan, Atlanta
President, YLD, State Bar of Georgia
2012
Laurel P. Landon, Augusta
At-Large Trustee
2012
Ray Lanier, Atlanta
Georgia State University College of Law
Richardson Lynn, Atlanta
Dean, John Marshall Law School
Michael Mears, Atlanta
John Marshall Law School
Jonathan B. Pannell, Savannah
President-Elect, YLD, State Bar of Georgia
2012
Rudolph N. Patterson, Macon
At-Large Trustee
2014
Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker, Atlanta
Secretary, State Bar of Georgia
2012
Charles L. Ruffin, Macon
Treasurer, State Bar of Georgia
2012
Kenneth L. Shigley, Atlanta
President, State Bar of Georgia
2012
David Shipley, Athens
University of Georgia School of Law
Gary Simson, Macon
Dean, Mercer University School of Law
Roy M. Sobelson, Atlanta
Georgia State University College of Law
Hon. Mary E. Staley, Marietta
At-Large Trustee
2012
Nancy Terrill, Macon
Mercer University School of Law
John W. Timmons, Jr., Athens
At-Large Trustee
2013
Derek J. White, Savannah
At-Large Trustee
2012
ICLE Information
3 of 5
ICLE Staff
Lawrence F. Jones
Executive Director
Stephen J. Harper
Director of Programs
Daniel U. White
Director of Projects
Revised: 10/19/11
ICLE Information
4 of 5
GEORGIA MANDATORY CLE FACT SHEET
• Every “active” attorney in Georgia must attend 12 “approved” CLE hours of instruction
annually, with one of the CLE hours being in the area of legal ethics and one of the CLE
hours being in the area of professionalism. Furthermore, any attorney who appears as sole
or lead counsel in the Superior or State Courts of Georgia in any contested civil case or in
the trial of a criminal case in 1990 or in any subsequent calendar year, must complete for
such year a minimum of three hours of continuing legal education activity in the area of trial
practice. These trial practice hours are included in, and not in addition to, the 12 hour
requirement. ICLE is an “accredited” provider of “approved” CLE instruction.
• Excess creditable CLE hours (i.e., over 12) earned in one CY may be carried over into the
next succeeding CY. Excess ethics and professionalism credits may be carried over for two
years. Excess trial practice hours may be carried over for one year.
• A portion of your ICLE name tag is your ATTENDANCE CONFIRMATION which
indicates the program name, date, amount paid, CLE hours (including ethics, professionalism and trial practice, if any) and should be retained for your personal CLE and tax
records. DO NOT SEND THIS CARD TO THE COMMISSION!
• ICLE will electronically transmit computerized CLE attendance records directly into the
Official State Bar Membership computer records for recording on the attendee’s Bar record.
Attendees at ICLE programs need do nothing more as their attendance will be recorded
in their Bar record.
• The Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency staff will mail a prescribed affidavit
form to each active attorney at the end of the year. The form will show the CLE courses
attended and the number of credit hours that are entered in the Bar records. Each attorney
will swear or affirm that the CLE credits claimed on the affidavit were ACTUALLY
ATTENDED. Attorneys who are late attending or have to leave a seminar for a period
of time will have to strike the CLE hours shown on the affidavit and enter the hours
actually attended and claimed; or inform the ICLE staff at the seminar to reduce the hours
in the ICLE records before transmitting the credit hours in the ICLE record!
• If the affidavit is correct, the member need only sign the form confirming actual attendance
and return it to the Commission.
• If the affidavit is incorrect, the member should enter the corrections, sign the form, and
return it to the Commission.
• Do not mail anything to the Commission other than the affidavit. No receipts or other
evidence of attendance are required to support the affidavit unless requested by the
Commission.
• Should you need CLE credit in a state other than Georgia, please inquire as to the procedure
at the registration desk. ICLE does not guarantee credit in any state other than Georgia.
• Any questions concerning attendance credit at ICLE seminars should be directed to Linda
Howard Toll Free: 1-800-422-0893 x306; Athens Area: 706-369-5664 x306; Atlanta Area:
770-466-0886 x306
ICLE Information
5 of 5
TO:
ICLE Seminar Attendee
Thank you for attending this seminar. We hope that these program materials will provide
a great initial reference and resource for you in the particular subject matter area. There
is a chance, however, that you might find an error(s) in these materials, like a wrong case
citation or a typographical mistake that results in an obvious misstatement of blackletter law, such as an incorrect length for the applicable statute of limitations.
In an effort to make them as correct as possible, should you discover a significant
substantive error(s), please note it (them) on the Errata Sheet below. Then, please detach
the sheet and mail it to ICLE, P.O. Box 1885, Athens, GA 30603-1885 or fax it to (706)
369-5899. We will collect all the errata sheets and, after a reasonable time mail a
correction to all seminar attendees and those attorneys who have ordered the book.
Should you have a different legal interpretation or opinion from the author's, the
appropriate way to address this is by giving him or her a call, which by the very nature
of our seminars is always welcome.
Thank you for your help. It is truly appreciated.
ICLE ERRATA SHEET
Seminar Title: _______________________________________
Seminar Date: ___________
Page(s) Containing Error(s): ____
Text of Error(s): ___________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
Suggested Correction(s): ___________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
Name _____________________________________________________
Date _______________

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