Using technology in law firms in Africa

Being a good lawyer is no longer enough. In uncertain times, and an increasingly complex world, the market has begun demanding a new pace and scale of doing business.

Baker McKenzie

African innovation is on the rise and the continent could play host to several new technology disruptions in the next few years. According to Darryl Bernstein, Partner and Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Practice at  Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, it is an increasingly common belief that various technologies benefit from the lack of  IT legacy systems and old, entrenched infrastructure in Africa.

Andrea Tucker - Business Applications Head at e4

Cloud integration is rapidly becoming one of 2018’s top software trends. Andrea Tucker, Business Applications Head (R&D) at e4, says that developing data integration is proving to be a ‘must-have’ for cloud-focused enterprises and service providers.

Conveyancing scam alert for South Africans

As automation improves, so does the level of property scams, and while every precaution is taken, there will always be yet another way that fraudsters discover to deceive buyers and sellers out of large sums of money, says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.
Read more at Business Tech...

targeted cyber attacks on law firms

Corporate companies are by no means immune to cybercrime, with McAfee’s latest report1 indicating that it cost the global economy as much as $600 billion in 2017. According to Christopher Appanah, Claims Team Leader (PI and Liability) at SHA Specialist Underwriters, cybercrime is also evolving rapidly with attacks becoming more elaborate.

Darryl Bernstein

Businesses in Africa that process customer data from the European Union (EU) must ensure they are fully compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set to become effective in May 2018.

Wiping your old PC clean before selling it

While there’s nothing to stop you selling your PC with the contents of its hard drive intact, it’s a very bad idea. Apart from the fact that you’ll be giving the new owner access to all of your files and other personal information, you’ll also be selling any software that’s still installed. Even if this was legal (which it usually isn’t), that means you won’t be able to install the same software on your new PC — not without breaking the law, anyway.
Read more at BT Home...

Building blocks of a startup law firm

Running a successful law practice takes a lot more than just a law degree. While you may be the best in your chosen field of law, you will fall short if you are not able to compete with other successful attorneys in the marketplace.

lawyer email tips

“We deeply regret that privileged documents were inadvertently emailed to a reporter at The Wall Street Journal,” read the apology email to PepsiCo from law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale, and Dorr. No one wants to find themselves writing these words to a client.
Read more at National Law Review...

Mobile security

As social media continues to gain prominence among South African consumers, platforms like Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter have also become a platform where fraudsters attempt to catch unsuspecting consumers off guard.
Read more at BereaMail...

Hard drive and magnet test

You’ve heard it somewhere down the line: “Don’t put a magnet near your laptop, it will mess up the hard drive.” This is thanks to the popular tech legend that household magnets can interfere with the data stored on a hard drive. The theory is that if you place a magnet on a mechanical hard drive, it can wipe its data.
Read more at MyBroadband...

Digital conveyancing close in the UK

Changes to Land Registration rules announced today (23 January) will mean the UK is moving closer to buying and selling homes without the need for paper deeds.
Read more at Best Advice...

Best of CES 2018

Finally, after long hours of debating about which of our finalists should win our Best of CES (Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) awards this year, we've made our decisions. Below is our list of winners for each category, as well as Best of the Best and People's Choice. 
Read more at Engadget...

Be careful with document metadata

Last week, we indicated that there are a number of risks involved with accepting a printed document at face value. What follows are some visual examples of those pitfalls.

Domain Names

Choosing the right domain name can get some additional benefits for your business and make your website more appealing to new visitors. Currently, there are more than 330.6 million registered domain names and the number is increasing exponentially. This Website Builder infographic illustrates some interesting facts about domain names and their importance in your online presence.
Read more at Website Builder...

Electronic messages in court

Section 14  and 15 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 (ECTA) allows for the admission of documents which is of electronic origin on the same basis as documentary evidence and implicitly states that such documents may not be excluded merely because they are “duplicate originals” or emanates from electronic means.

Paperless with DocFusion

In today’s age, merging all the processes required for an automated system can be tricky and costly. This has paved the way for the development and introduction of solutions that streamline critical business processes and functions, of which document automation is considered one of the most important.

LinkedIn produces resume in ms word

The next time you need to work on your resume in Word, you can get a little help from LinkedIn. Microsoft's latest LinkedIn integration, since acquiring the professional network in 2016, will see it leveraged in Microsoft Word to help Office 365 subscribers craft their resumes.
Read more at Windows Central...

Craig Leppan, business development manager at Assimilated Information Systems (AIS)

Today it is possible for any company to apply systems, manage projects and drive content management to the extent that it actively facilitates true digital transformation. 
This is according to Craig Leppan, Business Development Manager at leading specialist software and IT services provider Assimilated Information Systems (Pty) Ltd. (AIS).

Bad Rabbit ransomware

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that a new kind of malware was spreading around Europe. The apparent ransomware which researchers are calling Bad Rabbit bubbled up in Russia and Ukraine and appears to also be affecting Turkey and Germany, though spread isn’t fully known at this time.
Read more at TechCrunch...

What is happening with Krack Wifi hack

South Africa’s mobile networks are working with device manufacturers to patch a vulnerability in the WPA2 standard. The flaw was found by security researcher Mathy Vanhoef, who said his Key Reinstallation Attacks (KRACKs) are exceptionally devastating against Linux and Android 6.0. The vulnerability allows an attacker to masquerade as a WPA2 network without its password, and decrypt traffic a device sends over the fake hotspot.
Read more at MyBroadband...

Multi-tasking for paralegals and attorneys

Does this describe you? While you are on a teleconference call you are writing up your quarterly report, checking your email, and texting your friend about where you are meeting for lunch. You would say that you are good at multi-tasking, right? You might want to re-think your strategy. Recent estimates are that you can lose up to 40% of your productivity if you multi-task.
Read more at Psychology Today...sychology Today...

Examining electronically stored information

Many companies and individuals are regularly in the position where they wish to source Electronically Stored Information (ESI) from a third party during litigation. The process may occur through consent or may be in terms of a court order. The applicant should always consider the nature and the volatility of ESI as well as the format in which the data will be collected.

opensource forensic tools

There are a number of excellent opensource forensic tools (OSDF) available online and utilisation of these tools can lead to inexpensive investigations and information gathering in relation to electronically sourced information (ESI)- this will include all data that is stored in electronic format. 

Keyboard Shortcuts

Letters, check. Numbers, check. Basic punctuation, check. You’re off to a good start if you know how to use those things on your computer keyboard. But what about the other keys you never touch for fear of somehow breaking your computer (like those ‘F’ ones)? This article will walk you through what those soon-to-be-known keys do and some shortcuts to make your technological journey quicker and easier than ever.
Read more at The Hearty Soul...

Megan Jackson

As the volume of big data escalates and data storage capacity increases, law firms need to take a proactive approach to data discovery, retention and management. Electronic discovery (eDiscovery) is the process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case. 

Litigation and social media

Companies and individuals as well as legal representatives  should take note of a recent case heard by the High Court in Bloemfontein Bainsvlei Lodges (Pty) Ltd t/a Bains Game Lodge and Others v Lessing and Another (6215/2016) [2017] ZAFSHC 119 (27 July 2017), which is indicative of the courts attitude towards ill-considered postings.

OpenLaw offer Smart Contracts to lawyers

US and Swiss project, OpenLaw, is launching a new smart contract platform that will allow lawyers to make legally binding and self-executing agreements on the Ethereum blockchain. The OpenLaw system allows lawyers to make use of a searchable database of templates on the platform (see video below) to then create customised contracts for specific transactional uses, e.g. a finance agreement, or a short-term employment contract.
Read more at Artificial Lawyer...

Preserving digital evidence

Whether you elect to have an external or internal team,  having an efficient and quick response in today’s information age is essential. Where twitter, Instagram, Facebook and a number of other social media platforms are utilised to spread news, many of which has been proven to be so-called “Fake news” to instigate disharmony – your brand may be at serious risk.

Windows OS updates

For about 15 years it has been a standard practice among law firms to skip iterations of Desktop Operating Systems—go to Windows 7 from XP, for example, or from Windows 7 to 10. As a result, desktop deployments used to be projects slated for every few years. This model, however, is no longer sustainable. With a new update schedule and a less than forgiving end-of-support timeline, skipping versions will leave firms scrambling to test, pilot, and deploy updated builds in uncomfortably small windows.
Read more at Legal IT Professionals...

ESI - outsource or in-house

It goes without saying, that paper based transactions are declining and communication via email are increasing at a rapid rate. The majority, if not all documents, are created digitally. Taking into account current news headlines, a number of in-house legal teams as well as legal firms will be inundated with enquiries regarding their documentation, including the ESI (Electronically Sourced Information).

Chatbots for law firms

Two years ago, Joshua Browder launched his DoNotPay chatbot as “the world’s first robot lawyer” to help people fight parking tickets.  He later expanded it to provide free legal aid to the homeless, then expanded it again to help refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. and Canada, and earlier this week he announced a massive expansion into another 1,000 legal areas.Today, Browder took it a step further, opening up his platform so that anyone can create a legal bot for free, with no technical knowledge.
Read more at Law Sites Blog...

Paperless with DocFusion

How do we transform our business by applying digital technologies with minimal impact on our current processes and budget? What constitutes a successful digital transformation journey? Let’s see if we can answer some of these questions, but we will do so while answering a more specific question: How do we digitally transform our paper and resource intensive business into a well-oiled, automated paperless office?

Outsourcing digital forensics

Many large corporates have internal legal counsel, who then work in tandem with their preferred external legal representatives. However, with the advent of information technology, and the increased requirements of specialised knowledge of the IT world, it is becoming very apparent that in-house counsel require a multi skilled team approach to all litigation related matters:

Drive Practice Cloud Solution

Cloud computing, very different to hosting, has enormous benefits for businesses.  Law firms large and small will stand to benefit the most from this innovative technology. Many legal practice management solutions are now being offered as “cloud” solutions.  Effectively these vendors “cloud offering” is to provide their solutions hosted on a server in a datacenter for each of their clients. Cloud computing and hosting are similar, in that cloud computing also uses computers hosted in a datacenter, but there is a fundamental difference between hosting and cloud computing.
Read more at Drive Revenue...

Social media investigations

It is estimated that the internet contributes to over $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales. Negotiations are conducted over continents via email, major contracts are concluded, electronic service of notices are accepted by courts as proper service etc. (This includes service by social media such as facebook).

6 search tips for google

Google is the go-to destination when you need to find something on the web—the verb "to google" even made it into the dictionary. But while everyone's heard of the popular search engine, very few know how to make the most of it. Behind the unassuming Google interface, you'll find a host of useful tricks to help you zero in on what exactly you want to find. Looking for an obscure recipe or rare photo? Read on to start using Google like an expert.
Read more at Popular Science...

Installing Windows 10 by USB

With its range of office and networking capabilities, Windows 10 has a lot of advantages for members of the legal profession in South Africa. When you're putting together the ideal PC, either for personal use or for your firm, money is sometimes a consideration.

Biometric access will need improved security

The past few years have seen an increasing trend in the implementation of biometric clocking systems to monitor and control employees' access to the workplace.

Understanding technology is important for lawyers

Serious money can be saved if you don’t listen to a vendor peddling snake oil at a conference, or an IT consultant whose prime concern may not be your wallet/purse. When you learn about technology, you at least know the right questions to ask. You may not know enough to make the decisions and you may still need guidance, but you may know enough to be a “BS filter.” And once you smell that bull, you’ll know you’re talking to the wrong person. That is very useful in and of itself.
Read more at Law Practice Today...

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