Productivity & Technology
Today you would be hard-pressed to find a process that has not been impacted by technology. Below is an excellent article on the status of evolving technology and communication as it relates to the service of process.
The legal profession is not known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to utilizing new technology. In fact, the profession is more known to gravitate toward tradition over innovation. However, sometimes new technological/cultural norms force themselves upon the profession, and the courts are forced to deal with the issues. One of the issues courts are facing more and more is the issue of service of process via email or social media. While the cases below, one that permits service via email and social media and one that does not, are from outside of Pennsylvania, they illustrate an issue that will face all litigators in the near future; the tension created by trying to reconcile constitutional concerns pertaining to service of process and evolving technology/communication.
While there is no substitution for visiting the scene of an accident, there are instances where the collection of information and data must begin quickly. Drone mapping is an evolving technology that is assisting numerous insurance companies in preserving key details that were once lost as a result of delay. This article explains the latest technology and its recent advancements.
Drone mapping provides insurance companies with an easy, fast and accurate method of documenting a scene and preserving key details while also letting the process of clean-up and reconstruction begin as quickly as possible. Recently, Dronotec, a start-up company specializing in drone inspection for insurance companies conducted a case study to determine just how much money this drone mapping was saving insurance companies. Dronotec’s founder, Emilien Rose, worked as a loss assessor in France and Australia for 10 years and conducted assessments of about 8,000 claims. Rose believes that Dronetec and drone mapping can really save time and money for insurers.
For example, recently a fire in France consumed 5 acres of a vacation destination on the coast. Once the insurance company came in to assess the damages, they realized that the sheer size of the site posed quite a challenge. Moreover, so much of the property was damaged by the fire, inspectors could not enter the properties or inspect the roofs without the threat of personal injury. A plane attempted to capture photos but many of the photos were not clear or sharp enough to use. However, the loss adjuster recommend a drone to do the mapping of the scene. In about 10 minutes, the drone collected more than 300 geo-tagged photos flying about 180 feet over the property. The images were uploaded to a drone mapping program, and three hours later a 2-D map and 3-D model of the property and the damages were available. The high degree of accuracy of not only the photos but the mapping improved the likelihood of identifying the cause of the accident exponentially. And the insurance company’s team members were able to collaborate and review the mapping in one cloud-based space. In this one case, the use of drone mapping saved this French insurance company about €99,985,000 (or about $110,600,000).
The ability to quickly process claims is very helpful to insurance companies with large scale disasters that have many claims filed related to the same incident.
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An attorney is only as valuable as the amount of information that they can readily access. With that said, there is not a day that goes by that I do not use Dropbox. It is an awesome tool that turns your mobile devices into electronic filing cabinets.
Dropbox is popular with lawyers. According to the ABA’s most-recent technology survey, 58% of lawyers use Dropbox, making it the most popular online file storage option among lawyers. Here is everything you need to know about Dropbox, from how to install it to securing your client files.
For more see, Dropbox for Lawyers and Law Firms: the User Guide
Every so often, the writers over at The Sweet Setup interview a featured guest on the setup of one of their devices (iPhone, iPad, or mac). I find these posts extremely interesting because they expose the reader to the different workflows of industry leaders. While brief, it is generally very enlightening. I often compare it to the simple but once iconic question, “who do you have on your ipod?”
This inspired me to create a similar “Sweet Setup” column, one that may interest young burgeoning attorneys and professionals. If I have learned nothing at all, it is that a great deal can be learned from an individual’s device workflow/setup.
With no further ado, here it is, my self-interviewed iPhone Setup:
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Andre J. Webb and I am a twenty-eight year-old attorney in Delaware. I am also lead writer and editor of The Burgeoning Young Attorney. Through blogging I use my keen interest in law to provide miscellaneous pieces for readers to enjoy. Blogging also enables me to develop a voice in the legal community for young attorneys.
What iPhone do you have?
I believe that a strong integration with technology and efficiency is what will separate good legal services from great ones in the future. As a result, I try to use the latest and greatest. I have a 32GB iPhone 5S in Space Gray.
I am a huge proponent of using folders to group similar applications used frequently. Random apps used often are placed into favorite folders. Other folders include different groups of applications whether, writing, reading, research, entertainment, or financially related.
What apps do you use the most, and why?
The hot phrase for E-Discovery in 2014 will be “bring your own device” (BYOD). BYOD is a policy that permits employees to bring their own electronic communication devices (smartphones, tablets, computers) to their place of work to access company information. The phrase was first used in a paper by Ballagas et al., at UBICOMP in 2005. By 2011, the term was used frequently in blog articles and conversation.
As BYODs grew in popularity, companies found themselves in need of protocols and procedures to ensure company information was safe. This is how BYOD strategies were created.
Over time, BYODs have become beneficial for both parties. Employers often reimburse the employee for a portion of the device cost, some even going so far as to cover plan fees as well. BYODs enable employers to reduce their training budget since employees are often already familiar with their personal device. Additionally, reports show that BYOD employees feel empowered in their position, which yields greater productivity.
As employee’s personal devices are used more frequently with the employer’s system, the race continues to fully understand and address the legal implications. Gartner, reports that “by 2017, more than half of companies will require their employees to supply their own devices on the job…”
Employers currently have IT restrictions and programs in place to prevent employees from inadvertently releasing confidential information or accessing protected files while using the employer’s devices; however, this is not as simple with BYODs. While the employee may be more productive due to the increase in access, the employer is exposed to greater liability.
The issue now becomes, with so many questions left unanswered, how do employers ensure they do everything necessary to protect confidential information? And, what happens when things do not go as planned such as termination or early departure?
A recent survey by Acronis found that 21% of companies “perform remote wipes when an employee quits or is terminated.” In my opinion, this is a huge problem for BYOD growth. According to the Wall Street Journal, the most common complaint the nonprofit National Workrights Institute receives from workers is phone wiping — companies remotely clearing out the contents of personal smartphones that employees sometimes use for work purposes. One employer even complained of losing photos of a family member that had passed when the company wiped their device.
While the future of BYODs appear strong, the manner in which companies adopt strategies moving forward will be key. The most prudent course of action is for companies to invest money into the development of mobile application programs. While the initial investment may be substantial, over time it will be extremely advantageous. This strategy would prevent companies from drastic routes, such as wiping an employee’s device upon termination or early departure. Instead, the employer could simply restrict the access of the employee’s device to the application. Similar strategies could also be used to adjust restrictions as best practices further develop. This would allow companies with BYOD policies to adapt quickly.
The future of BYODs remains to be seen for now, but the best advice for an employee is to have a clear understanding of the synching guidelines and rules. Employees are encouraged to back up their device often, without the companies confidential information so that in the event your employer wipes your device, all your information will not be lost.
Just before Thanksgiving, Ari Kaplan Advisors conducted a flash telephone survey of 26 predominantly administrative professionals from Fortune 500 (or Global 500) companies with knowledge of, and responsibility for, their organization’s electronic discovery protocols and litigation practices. Half of the respondents were either the director of legal operations or the director of electronic discovery. They shared their views on the key trends that are likely to shape e-discovery in 2014, which should be noted before you review product offerings at LegalTech New York from Feb. 4 to 6 at the Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of Americas, New York, N.Y.
1. Do you anticipate the volume of litigation to change significantly in 2014 and 2015 versus 2013?
Answer: Litigation volumes will increase.