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‘Some lawyers are already using wearable technology in their practices’

With approximately 20 years of experience in the legal field, Nicole Black is a “go to” expert on legal technology matters Recommind April 10,2015: With approximately 20 years of experience in the legal field, Nicole Black is a “go to” expert on legal technology matters. In addition to her published work, Nicole also frequently speaks and attends legal technology conferences. I was fortunate to catch up with...

With approximately 20 years of experience in the legal field, Nicole Black is a “go to” expert on legal technology matters

Recommind

April 10,2015: With approximately 20 years of experience in the legal field, Nicole Black is a “go to” expert on legal technology matters. In addition to her published work, Nicole also frequently speaks and attends legal technology conferences. I was fortunate to catch up with Nicole recently and got her opinions on how technology is transforming the legal industry.

1. Tell us about your background and how you became interested in the legal technology space?

I am an attorney based in Rochester, NY. My legal career spans two decades and I have extensive criminal and civil litigation experience. I have been employed by MyCase, a web-based practice management software company, for 3 years now and my job title is Legal Technology Evangelist. That means that it’s my job to educate lawyers about the benefits of using new and emerging technologies in their law practices. I became interested in the intersection of law and technology in 2005 when I started my first law blog, Sui Generis. From there, the effect of social media on the practice of law became apparent and I co-authored my first book with Carolyn Elefant, “Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier” (ABA 2010). Then cloud computing tools began to come of age and I started to focus on ways that lawyers could use cloud computing platforms in their law practices. Shortly thereafter, I wrote the book “Cloud Computing for Lawyers” which was published by the ABA in 2012.

2. Will lawyers use wearable technology in their law practices and if so, how?  

Some lawyers are already using wearable technology in their practices. For example, Mitch Jackson, a California personal injury lawyer, has used Google Glass during depositions to record the proceedings. Similarly, Florida litigation attorney Rick Georges uses his Samsung Gear smartwatch to receive notifications from his Android phone and answer calls, among other things. Another interesting way that a law firm has used Google Glass is to provide Glass to some of its severely injured clients to help them record “day-in-the-life” videos from their perspective. Now, with the looming release of Apple Watch, wearables will become even more commonplace and lawyers will start to use them increasingly in the coming years–with smartwatch use paving the way.

3. How has cloud and mobile computing affected the lives of lawyers?

Lawyers are increasingly using cloud and mobile tools in their law practices. Not surprisingly, lawyers acclimated very quickly to mobile devices. This occurred, in large part, due to their familiarity with cellular phones and the convenience of being able to run their law practices and answer calls no matter where they happened to be. When smartphones and then tablets arrived on the scene, these tools were a natural–and familiar–extension to the mobile devices they were already used to. Accordingly, lawyers and law firms have quickly adopted mobile devices into their technology arsenals. Cloud computing adoption rates have been a bit slower, but as lawyers’ familiarity with this technology increases, so too does their appreciation for the many benefits it can offer, including mobility, flexibility and 24/7 secure access to law firm files from any location with Internet access. Once lawyers experience the convenience of being able to run their law practices from any Internet-enabled device, the technology sells itself.

                  Nicole Black

4. What are the biggest challenges that client social networking activity are presenting for lawyers and litigants?

Social media use is pervasive and people share all sorts of information on social networks, much of which has the potential to be useful in litigation. In recent years, lawyers have become aware of this virtual treasure trove of online data and have sought to access it for use in litigation on behalf of their clients. A few years ago, this was uncharted territory and many lawyers who attempted to access social media information stored behind privacy walls sometimes unintentionally ran afoul of their ethical obligations. Fortunately, since 2010, a number of jurisdictions have handed down opinions regarding how to ethically access data stored on social media sites. These decisions are helping to create a framework for lawyers to assist them in navigating the social media maze, allowing them to represent their clients both ethically and effectively.

Thank you, Nicole. Our best wishes to you in your future endeavors.

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