Sensei is excited to be a Bronze sponsor for Lawyerpalooza this year! Lawyerpalooza is a free annual event hosted by the FBA Young Lawyers Section. This year, the event will be at Nottoway Park Hunter House in Vienna, VA on Saturday, June 1 from 12:00 PM – 3:30 PM. All net proceeds will benefit The Honorable David T. Stitt Scholarship Fund for the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.
Recently, the 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide by Sensei’s Sharon Nelson, John Simek and Michael Maschke was mentioned in “Move to a paperless law firm with these scanning tools” by Nicole Black writing for the ABA Journal. The ABA Journal is read by half of the nation’s 1 million lawyers every month. It covers the trends, people and finances of the legal profession from Wall Street to Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Excerpt: As more law firms move toward a paperless office, the biggest hurdle they often encounter is a lack of information. For many lawyers, the idea of going paperless sounds like a good one, but the implementation can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be this way—the key is understanding which tools will be best for your law firm’s needs.
For starters, you’re going to need additional hardware. Specifically, one of the key tools needed is a reliable, affordable scanner. In The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide authors Sharon D. Nelson, John W. Simek, and Michael C. Maschke help lawyers sift through their technology choices and address the many different hardware needs of law firms. When it comes to scanners, they recommend two different models for law firms.
Read the entire article here.
In this article, Joan reaches out for advice on what to add and what to let go from the practice management pros. With the “one thing in, one thing out” idea in mind, we asked the practice management technology experts, “What’s one new thing lawyers should add to their practice to be more efficient and profitable — and what should they let go?” Here’s good advice from Heidi Alexander, Sheila Blackford, Natalie Kelly, Sharon Nelson and John Simek, and Lee Rosen.
Excerpt: Sharon Nelson and John Simek: Add Encryption, Give Up Fax Machines
One thing all lawyers should have is the ability to encrypt their electronic communications. ABA Formal Opinion 477R, issued in May 2017, says that if client information is of sufficient sensitivity, a lawyer should encrypt the transmission and determine how to do so to protect it sufficiently. But we still see many solo and small firms that don’t use encryption — ever.
These days encryption is cheap, simple, fast to use — and it no longer slows your machine down. Here are some of the products you should be looking at:
Proofpoint is an excellent encrypted email solution for solo and small firm lawyers. It is very affordable and there are options for Office 365 as well.
- If you are an Office 365 user, check your subscription level to see if encrypted email is included in your plan. (It’s included with the E3 plan.) Most likely you will need to add Azure Information Protection to your subscription. It’s only $2 per user per month.
- If you have a need for secure, encrypted group, text, voice, video, document and picture messages, install the free Signal messaging app.
As for letting one thing go, let go of your fax machine. This dinosaur doesn’t seem to know that its time to die has come and many small law practices still have them. Here are our recommendations for electronic fax solutions whereby the fax is delivered to your email:
- HelloFax is a top-rated service for as little as $9.99 per month.
- Ring Central Fax is another highly rated service starting at $12.99 per month.
- MyFax has plans starting at $10 per month.
‘Stuck on the status quo’: The future is here, but small firm lawyers too busy to change
By Peter Vieth
Excerpt: Nelson noted a disconnect: Most small firm lawyers said client satisfaction was a key measure of success, but “barely 40 percent actually track that metric.”
“This does not surprise me,” Nelson wrote in a March 26 post. Lawyers rarely track anything other than billing, she said. “They are not even good about tracking where their clients are coming from.”
Heath recommended the VSB’s annual Tech Show. If lawyers lack rudimentary technological knowledge, they don’t even know what questions to ask of experts, he said.
“We have to have a working understanding of the technology so we know how to interact with the professionals,” Heath said. “Lawyers need to be comfortable with the fact that lawyers need to be lifelong learners,” he added.
Sensei’s Sharon Nelson and John Simek were quoted in Legaltech News in an article entitled, “Mueller Report Keeps the Backdoor Encryption Debate Spinning” by Frank Ready.
Excerpt: John Simek, vice president at cyber forensics and information security company Sensei Enterprises, sees the ongoing debate as cyclical, something that will enter the spotlight and then fade back out again with the turning of the news cycle.
“It’s ongoing. I don’t know that it’s ever died nor do I think it ever will die. And anyone that’s in the security realm will tell you that it’s a bad idea, but if you’re a government employee, you’re under the significant misperception that it’s a good idea,” Simek said.
The very nature of communications like ephemeral messaging are part of what keep the conversation spinning like a hamster on a wheel. Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises, said that people in the middle of divorces are often willing to pay big bucks in the hopes of reconstituting evidence of an affair. But chances are slim.
“To be a good vendor, you have to tell them it’s a much longer shot with the ephemeral products,” she said.
To be sure, there’s no shortage of cheap and available ephemeral communications devices on the market. Last month, for instance, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg indicated that ephemeral messaging could play a big role in the future of the platform.
Nelson thinks combating elicit activity conducted over ephemeral messaging will take a strong legal deterrent. “I think that is where they have to go. When this stuff carries jail time it’s serious.”
But it seems unlikely that the law will head too far in that direction any time soon, especially as the focus on privacy continues to sharpen within the United States.
On April 8, Doug Austin of CloudNine featured the Ride the Lightning (RTL) post “The Lawyer’s Ethical Duties After a Data Breach” in his own post. His blog post, “What’s a Lawyer’s Duty When a Data Breach Occurs within the Law Firm: Cybersecurity Best Practices” is featured in CloudNine’s eDiscovery Daily Blog. CloudNine is a legal intelligence technology company with deep expertise in the analysis, processing, and review of electronically stored information (ESI). Ride the Lightning is an electronic evidence and cybersecurity blog by Sensei’s Sharon Nelson.
Excerpt: When I spoke at the University of Florida E-Discovery Conference last month, there was a question from the live stream audience about a lawyer’s duty to disclose a data breach within his or her law firm. I referenced the fact that all 50 states (plus DC, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) have security breach notification laws, but I was not aware of any specific guidelines or opinions relating to a lawyer’s duty regarding data breach notification. Thanks to an article I came across last week, I now know that there was a recent ABA opinion on the topic.
An article written by Anton Janik, Jr. of Williams Mitchell and originally published in the 2019 Winter edition of The Arkansas Lawyer and republished on JD Supra (The Lawyer’s Duty When Client Confidential Information is Hacked From the Law Firm, hat tip to Sharon Nelson’s terrific Ride the Lightning blog for the reference) takes a look at a lawyer’s duties following a data breach and discusses the requirements of ABA Formal Opinion 483, which was issued in October 2018.
Sensei’s Sharon Nelson and John Simek’s article, “ABA TECHSHOW 2019” was featured recently in Slaw Magazine. Slaw is a Canadian online legal magazine.
Excerpt: As we write this, we are a week out from ABA TECHSHOW 2019, which author Simek had the honor of co-chairing along with our longtime friend Lincoln Mead.
There was a lot of conversation before, during and after TECHSHOW about the future of legal tech conferences, especially ABA TECHSHOW itself. Before the conference began, our friends Tom Mighell and Dennis Kennedy recorded a Legal Talk Network podcast on-site on the TECHSHOW EXPO floor discussing the future of legal tech conferences. You may listen to the podcast here.
During the conference, we talked at length with other members of the faculty, attendees and exhibitors about the future of ABA TECHSHOW.
After the conference, Bob Ambrogi wrote a thoughtful piece in Above the Law entitled “After 33 Years, The ABA TECHSHOW Remains Relevant and Essential”.
Internet Defamation: What Lawyers Need to Know
What do lawyers need to look out for when handling a defamation case? In this edition of Digital Detectives, hosts John Simek and Sharon Nelson welcome Joe Meadows for a discussion about internet defamation. They outline what constitutes online defamation and talk about the key issues lawyers need to consider in this highly nuanced practice area. Joe discusses current trending cases and gives his take on the future of defamation case development.
Joe Meadows is a former DOJ attorney and current partner with Bean, Kinney & Korman in Arlington, Virginia. He focuses on internet defamation, cyber-attacks, and business dispute litigation.
If you look at the “Hot Buttons” column in the March/April 2019 issue of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine, you will find the article “13 Cybersecurity Questions Lawyers Ask” written by Sensei’s Sharon Nelson and John Simek. Law Practice magazine is a bi-monthly publication of the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Division.
Excerpt: As many readers know, we lecture a lot. A whole lot. So we thought it might be interesting to relate the questions we have been asked most often in the past several months. It’s always fascinating to see what is “top of mind” at conferences and CLEs.
Sharon Nelson was featured in “Future Tense: To Overcome Anxiety Over Legal Tech, Lawyers Need Education” by Peter Vieth for Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
Excerpt: The emphasis on legal tech is not surprising. Outgoing futures committee chair Sharon D. Nelson is a tireless exponent of the tech-savvy lawyer. New committee chair Kellam T. Parks is a devotee, adopting a paperless office and using digital technology in all aspects of his practice.
Lawyers – especially those in solo and small offices – may resist, but adopting new technology is not only a necessity, it can be a time and work saver, the leaders said. “Most professionals are slow to change, and I believe the legal profession is slower than some,” Parks said. “You still have lawyers who don’t want to learn it. They would rather retire than learn technology. But the benefits are so great,” Nelson said. And clients now expect some degree of technological proficiency, she added.
Lawyers who take two hours to perform a task will be upended by lawyers who have figured out how to do that job in 15 minutes, Nelson said.
But the most compelling reason for calling in IT help at a small law office is that it’s the only way to meet the demands of Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility. “To have a prayer of compliance, you’re going to have to secure information and preserve client confidences,” Nelson said.
Read the entire article here. (Subscription Required)