Having had the benefit of a few days of reflection after attending ABA TECHSHOW 2013 in Chicago last week, I thought I would highlight certain aspects and themes arising from the conference and in particular, why lawyers should be attending this or similar conferences (and indeed why it may be obligatory to do so).

The Borg

Prepare to be assimilated.  Only in this case The Borg = The Cloud.   This was particularly brought home in the session with Wells Anderson and Catherine Sanders Reach.  Microsoft is moving to a monthly subscription model.  The benefits to users to going to Office 365 as compared to the traditional way of installing MS Office on your laptop or desktop (the desktop licensing plan) is apparent.

Microsoft has made it both financially and practically advantageous to move to Office 365.  One advantage to Office 365 (aside from the continual updating and interconnection with other services such as ) is the ability to save to the cloud or save to the local drive (i.e. you don’t have to store data on the cloud).  According to Wells Anderson, Office 365 is the better choice as compared to other web-based office productivity suites.

Security and Privacy

This was a major theme of the conference in virtually all sessions. Sites such as MyPermissions.org highlighted how lawyers want to know who – and what- are gaining access to their personal information.  People are leaving FaceBook due to privacy concerns (and moving to LinkedIn at least professionally).  Viivo.com is being used to encrypt Dropbox for greater security.  The Honeynet project hosts a web site that allows you to see..in real time..where attacks are taking place on the web (http://map.honeynet.org)

John Simek and Sharon Nelson in their session on the capture of the Craigslist killer highlighted how video surveillance, internet records and cell phone records all combined to lead the police to the medical student who was eventually arrested for the killing.  It was a very interesting overview of how commonly recorded information can lead a path to anyone..depending on the circumstances and notwithstanding the attempts by the killer to use disposable email addresses, disposable cell phones and such to hide his tracks.

Macs and iDevices

The Mac Track was packed.  And the vast majority of attendees – in all tracks – were using iPads, iPad Minis and MacBooks.  If anyone doubted the impact of Apple on lawyers, the proof was evident. While I am sure that many were using their iDevice as a secondary device (BYOD), their questions showed that these lawyers were interested …intent … on using Macs in their practices.   And the Droid users are not far behind…

Finding Information and Things

People are finding new..and creative ..ways to lever the internet to find things…people and information ..on the Web.  For example, Google has a reverse image search..if you have an image (drawing, photograph, cartoon etc) you can use this service to find out who is using it on their websites.  It also has facial recognition technology built-in.

You can use TaskRabbit.com to find people who are willing to do ..for a small fee ..the tasks that you don’t wish to do.

Then there are ways to hide on the Internet. DuckDuckGo.com doesn’t match your info to your IP address..allowing you to be anonymous (“We believe in better search and no tracking”).

You Can Live On

_LivesOn  is an application that will keep tweeting in your name even after you have passed away (“When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting…”).

This is the first of applications that can be described as your social afterlife.

Ahh the things you learn at ABATECHSHOW.  What was apparent is the technology has completely changed the way that law is practiced. It was evident to me that the ABA was correct this summer …that competence in practice includes understanding how to use technology appropriately.  With the rate of change that is occuring in technology, it is apparent that lawyers should be attending a conference such as ABA TECHSHOW  on a regular basis if for no other reason but to extend their knowledge beyond their ‘unknown unknowns’; or in other words, to learn about those things that we don’t know we don’t know. Isn’t that what competence is all about?

I can hardly wait until next year…(ABA TECHSHOW 2014: March 27-29, Chicago Illinois).

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