Friday, August 19, 2016

This and That in Court Technology – August 2016

In this edition of "This and That" we share E-Courts conference updates, US Federal Courts updating their E-filing rules, IJIS Institute Mid-Year Update Meeting, the ABA Future of Legal Services report, information regarding the new Microsoft Two-Step Authentication app, and last a handy home improvement app I recently used.


E-Courts Justification Letter and Agenda Notes

For those of you who have been able to attend past e-Courts Conferences you know how valuable they are.  But for those of you who haven’t been before, or who may need some supporting ideas to convince your management, the conference has posted a “Support Letter” to explain the value in both ideas and cost of attending.  You can view and download the PDF file here.

Also of note is that there will be three sessions that resulted from the CourtHack event earlier this year.  The sessions on the agenda are the Grand Prize Winner, “Robot Lawyers” (pictured above); My UT Guardian, guardianship monitoring enhancement system; and the OneLegal Prize Winner, “Secure City”.

US Courts Propose Update to E-Filing Rules

In a press release issued on August 17, 2016 we learned that the US Federal Courts Judiciary’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure among several other items would “require lawyers to submit all federal court filings electronically, unless an exception is granted. Most courts already require electronic filings through local court rules.
“Electronic filing has matured,” wrote the Judiciary’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. “Most districts have adopted local rules that require electronic filing, and allow reasonable exceptions as required by the former rule. The time has come to seize the advantages of electronic filing by making it mandatory in all districts.” 
“At the same time, pro se civil litigants—those without lawyers—would file by paper, unless local court rules permit otherwise. The report noted that electronic submissions remain difficult or impossible for many pro se filers.”
IJIS Institute Mid-Year Briefing

Via e-mail on August 10, 2016 we received a reminder regarding the IJIS Institute’s 2016 Mid-Year Briefing to be held September 14-16, at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

They write:

“We are excited about the program, beginning with the IJIS advisory committees and task forces on the 14th.  IJIS advisory committees and task forces cover a range of high priority national issues facing the law enforcement, justice, public safety and homeland security missions – and they only meet in person twice a year. All IJIS members, partners, and associates are welcome to attend the meetings.  Please see the agenda (PDF) for specific subject areas.”

 ABA Report on the Future of Legal Services in the US

From our friend Rob Richards at Legal Informatics Research Network we learned about the recent release of an extensive and interesting report from the American Bar Association Commission on The Future of Legal Services.  Their report is appropriately presented on their website: and can be downloaded in PDF by section or in its entirety.

Of note to the courts the Commission finds that “The vast number of unrepresented parties in court adversely impacts all litigants, including those who have representation.” And that “The legal profession’s resistance to change hinders additional innovations.”

They also found:

“Advancements in technology and other innovations continue to change how legal services can be accessed and delivered.
1. Courts, bar associations, law schools, and lawyers are experimenting with innovative methods to assist the public in meeting their needs for legal services.
2. New providers of legal services are proliferating and creating additional choices for consumers and lawyers.
And in Recommendation 2 they stated that:

Courts should consider regulatory innovations in the area of legal services delivery.
2.1 Courts should consider adopting the ABA Model Regulatory Objectives for the Provision of Legal Services.
2.2 Courts should examine and, if they deem appropriate and beneficial to providing greater access to competent legal services, adopt rules and procedures for judicially-authorized and-regulated legal services providers.
2.3 States should explore how legal services are delivered by entities that employ new technologies and internet-based platforms and then assess the benefits and risks to the public associated with those services.
2.4 Continued exploration of alternative business structures (ABS) will be useful, and where ABS is allowed, evidence and data regarding the risks and benefits associated with these entities should be developed and assessed.
Of course there is much more and I encourage you to go to the website and read the results of their good work.

Microsoft Two-Step “Authenticator” App

Earlier this month Microsoft released their new mobile phone Authenticator app for Apple iOS, Android, and in the near future for Microsoft Phone.  The app works with Microsoft accounts such as as well as Azure AD (active directory)

They explain how it works and the reasons why this is important here.  Specifically"
"Two-step verification helps protect you by making it more difficult for someone else to sign in to your Microsoft account. It uses two different forms of identity: your password, and a contact method (also known as security info). Even if someone else finds your password, they'll be stopped if they don't have access to your security info. This is also why it's important to use different passwords for all your accounts. 
You set up two-step verification with an email address, phone number, or authenticator app. When you sign in on a new device or from a new location, we'll send you a security code to enter on the sign-in page. 
If you turn on two-step verification, you’ll get a security code to your email, phone, or authenticator app every time you sign in on a device that isn't trusted. When it’s turned off, you will only have to verify your identity with security codes periodically, when there might be a risk to your account security."

Finally, I had to do a little house painting recently and thought, I bet there is an app that can use the camera on my iPhone to match the paint?  I found several.  The one I chose (although it may or may not be the best) was ColorSnap by the Sherwin-Williams paint company.  It is available for both iPhones and Android smart phones that have a camera.

Check it out here.

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