Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Law Practice's Brave New World

Technology advances has changed the way law gets practiced and attorneys not keeping up with the changes are on a road to professional ruin.  This at least is the conclusion a judicial panel reached at a recent LegalTech New York conference, reports Joe Dysart, ABA Journal.  The judges' comments touched upon e-discovery, ethics and technology.  One panelist, U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis of New York's Southern District, summarized, "The absence of technical knowledge is a distinct competitive disadvantage."

Craig Estlinbaum

 

 

April 17, 2014 in Conferences, CLE, Ethics, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2013

On Professors on Wikipedia

Anna Samoilenko and Taha Yasseri's study, "The Distorted Mirror of Wikipedia: a Quantitative Analysis of Wikipedi Coverage of Academics" is posted at the Cornell University Library.  Robinson Meyer has commentary on the paper on The Atlantic.  He writes:

Does your professor have their own Wikipedia page? Well congratulations!, a new study finds. That probably doesn’t mean anything important.

The Oxford University study, submitted for review to EPJ Data Science* late last week, found no meaningful correlation between an academic having their own entry on Wikipedia and being productive or prolific in their field. It also didn’t find a correlation between any major measure of Wikipedia success—the length of an entry, say, or the number of edits to that entry—and an academic’s prolificness.

In short, a scientist having their own Wikipedia entry means—to use a technical term—diddly squat.

Hardly surprising, when you think about it.

Craig Estlinbaum

November 8, 2013 in College Professors, Technology | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Is Folk Music Still Possible?

Geoffrey Himes at Paste asks, "Is Folk Music Even Possible Anymore?"  He begins:

Is folk music even possible anymore?

 

By “folk music,” I refer not to the diluted meaning of the term, where anyone with an acoustic guitar or a fiddle can be considered a folk musician. I’m talking about true folk music, songs that are created by and for a small, self-contained community, where musicians are performing for friends and neighbors in a style they all grew up with. These folk musicians don’t have to bring out the universal—or generic—elements in their songs because they’re not traveling to play for strangers.

 

A singer/songwriter who travels the continent with her banjo and Martin guitar is not a folk musician in this sense; she’s a pop musician with different instrumentation.

Himes' article is a good read on how mass media and the consumer culture impacts indiginous and organic art forms.   He also warns that the "diminishing possibility of folk music" impoverishes popular culture.  Himes thus defends popular artists that "play old styles the same way previous generations did," arguing that if those artists did not, "what [wells of musical tradition] would we drink from?"  Himes writes, "When the teenagers in every Appalachian gas station and every Mississippi convenience store are wearing ear buds, can there be a region isolated enough to evolve its own mutated music?"  Can there, indeed.

Craig Estlinbaum

October 10, 2013 in Music, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Campbell Law Review Call for Papers

From the Campbell Law Review website:

The Campbell Law Review is pleased to announce a call for papers for its National Edition, which will be focused broadly around Internet Law and related themes.  The Internet and associated technologies continue to evolve a pervasively networked, globalized society, creating new forces that are shaping law, society, culture, and the legal profession.

The Law Review seeks to publish papers on legal, social, cultural, and economic issues that relate to the emerging technological changes.  In particular, we seek recent essays that deal with the challenges posed and the steps that must be taken for the law to respond, now and in the future.  Representative topics include privacy law, freedom of speech, and the changing nature of the legal profession.

The call for papers includes an August 1, 2013, submission deadline for publication in Fall 2013.

Hat Tip:  SSRN Legal Scholarship Network.

Craig Estlinbaum

May 22, 2013 in Announcements, Law Review Articles, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mobile Tax App

Attorney Matthias M. Edrich developed what appears to be a remarkable product for tax lawyers. It is called Touch Tax which includes the ability to read the entire IRS Code on your Blackberry, Android, I-Phone, or Palm. He describes the product as follows:

TouchTax includes the ability to load and read all 7,700+ sections of the Code and Regulations offline without the need for an Internet connection.  As a result of user feedback, I’ve also added a new keyword search function (which, however, does require an Internet connection) allowing you to search Code and Regulation sections based on exact keyword matches as well as natural language relevancy hits.  TouchTax also permits you to add individual notes to Code and Regulation sections and to email entire Code or Regulation sections along with your notes (which the author thinks is a very convenient feature!).  If you have access to an HP printer with wireless networking, you can also use TouchTax to print a Code or Regulation section.  TouchTax also has a bookmark feature, permitting you to bookmark frequently referenced sections, as well as other relevant links, including a link to lookup IRS tax forms.  If you enjoy using TouchTax, please consider leaving positive feedback in the application market.  Read “Getting Started” on the TouchTax support site for more information on how to get started with your Code and Regulation reading using TouchTax.  Note that the BlackBerry and Android versions are currently being upgraded to contain these features.  The HP/Palm and Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod versions are already up-to-date.

More information and a link to purchase (between 0.99 and 5.99) can be found here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 29, 2012 in Tax Law Information, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Offices Allowing Employees To Purchase Their Own Tech Equipment

More Offices Let Workers Choose Their Own Devices is an interesting September 22, 2011 New York Times article. As the title states, more companies are allowing workers to purchase their own technology at company expense. 

Is this a good idea? On some level, yes-and that is certainly the tenor of the article. But there are two may problems with having the employee purchase the equipment and being reimbursed later. First, there is the issue of security. I do not know much about technology so I cannot further comment.

But, there is also an employment law issue. If the company provides the equipment, case law provides that the employees do not have a reasonable expecation of privacy. Therefore, employers can, and often do, mointor email and the like. So, does an employee have a greater expecation of privacy if he purchases the equipment and is simply reimbursed? Maybe.

Law review commentary on this important issue would be most welcome.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

December 5, 2011 in Employment Law, Law Review Ideas, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Free Office Products (Fax and Conference Calls)

There are now several products on the web which allow you to send and receive a fax for free as an email and to make free conference calls via a regular telephone. There are limitations to all of these services, but the are free and I thought I would share them with readers. My favorites are as follows: 

-Send Fax Via Email (www.K7.net)

-Receive Fax Via Email  (www.freefaxbutton.com)

-Free Telephone Conference Calls  (www.FreeConferenceCallHD.com)

I will be adding these links to the left side of my blog for future reference. If anyone has other suggestions that are totally free (not low cost), please comment below.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

July 25, 2010 in Misc., Legal, Misc., Non-Legal, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The End of The Legal Yellow Pad??

A Legal iPad is an interesting April 2010 ABA Journal article which raises the question whether the iPad and like devices will single the end of the legal yellow pad?

Will any technology device ever fully replace the ubiquitous legal pad? I’ll take the easy way out and say it’s too early to tell. Yet, it does feel like something big is about to happen, and we are moving to an era of computing where we have more choices and are more likely to pick devices that best fit our needs. Lawyers who travel a lot might find the case for an iPad compelling. Lawyers who work only at their desks might find little use.

While I’d like to see what would happen if an innovative large firm did a wholesale adoption of iPads, I don’t think that’s likely. Where I expect to see significant early iPad adoption is among solos and small firms (including boutique firms started by refugees from large firms) that are already using the Internet and technology in new ways.

Personally, I rather use a lap top. I do not see this device as getting rid of paper any time soon.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 18, 2010 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Judges and Google

Our sister blog, Legal Writing Prof Blog, has an interesting story about a case involving a judge who googled a search term about a defendant during a criminal trial. In a nutshell, the Second Circuit held that the judge did not act improperly. As the blog posting states:

On appeal, the Second Circuit vindicated the trial judge's impromptu factual investigation by concluding that:

[The Judge's] use of the Web was merely the electronic equivalent of what a judge in an earlier era would have done: gone to a local department store to confirm in person the "common-sense" belief that a variety of yellow rain hats, like that worn by a bank robber, can be purchased.

As 'broadband speeds increase and Internet search engines improve,' judicial use of computers is only likely to increase, the court said.

'As the cost of confirming one's intuition decreases, we would expect to see more judges doing just that,' the court held. 'More generally, with so much information at our fingertips (almost literally), we all likely confirm hunches with a brief visit to our favorite search engine that in the not-so-distant past would have gone unconfirmed.'

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

April 5, 2010 in Judges, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 26, 2010

PDF Web Sites For Free

PDFmyURL.com will pdf any page on the internet for free. Might be a nice way to save cases and articles.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 26, 2010 in Misc., Non-Legal, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Social Networking Judges and Attorneys??

Pitfalls of Social Networking for Judges is an excellent March 16, 2010 New York Law Journal article by Mark Strutin (registration required). The article highlights issues that Judges and attorneys may face if they engage in social networking. Obviously, a judge may be interacting with a party and not even know it. That may create an appearance that something is inappropriate. Attorneys, like other employees, may be embarrassed by what they write. As the article explains:

Transitions from one form of communication to another never occur neatly. They frequently wend their way through society by fits and starts, embraced by a few at first, then by masses of people until they are commonplace.

But as technology cuts a swath through established practices and institutions in this piecemeal fashion, we have to be cognizant of the perils to our professional lives and the judicial process. A social networking site cannot sanitize conduct that transgresses ethical boundaries when done in person or in print.

The article cites several ethic opinions. Law review commentary on this important topic is needed.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 18, 2010 in Judges, Law Review Ideas, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Free Kindle For Blackberry Released

Amazon has released its new, free Kindle for BlackBerry app for the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and 8900, Bold 9000 and 9700, Storm 9530/Storm2 9550 and the Tour 9630. Details and download here.

Unfortunately, at the present time, you can only download books. This is one app worth downloading.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip: Law Librarian Blog

February 21, 2010 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Beta Available With A Free Download

Hurray and get it while you can. Microsoft Office Professional 2010 is available now with a free download. It could take over an hour to download-depending upon your computer's speed.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

November 18, 2009 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Smart Phone Apps

Well this is not exactly a law-related post, but it may be very helpful to lawyers, law students and scholars.

The Oct. 2009 ABA has an interesting article entitled Sizzing Apps. It is about apps that can be downloaded (many at little or no charge) to your smartphone (Palm, Blackberry, I-Phone etc.). As the article state:

Apps: It’s a little word for those mini-programs that can pay off big in productivity, knowledge or just plain fun. And they come at all price points, from expensive-but-worth-it to absolutely free.

Whether you’re a born techie or a reluctant one, you, too, can harness the power of technology with these 70 apps lawyers are sure to love.

For those of you who are not smart phone savvy, you may want to check this article out.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

November 5, 2009 in Articles, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Facebook, Law Students and Professors

On Sept. 28, 2009, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran an interesting article entitled Facebook, The New Classroom Commons?(registration required for full article).The article highlights the pros and cons of friending students on Facebook.

On the one hand, it crosses social boundries and may give students access to private information about the professor. On the other, it may give the professor an insight to student opinions about class and the subject matter being taught. As the article states:

A neighbor is busy, a colleague is tired, a long-lost friend wants to know which 80s band best describes me. A few of my students are stressed about their forthcoming internships, and another is working on her research. I know this because their Facebook postings tell me so.

Without a doubt, my Facebook page provides plenty of minutiae. But is it useful in the context of academic relationships, specifically with students? Is Facebook a new commons keeping us connected?

I for one believe there is a happy medium. Profs who use face book should set up a separate page for class work and not friend anyone but students. They can have a separate friend page for personal use.

On a different note, I have noticed that more and more profs are friending each other on face book. I think this is a good thing. It encourages communication and the exchange of ideas.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

September 28, 2009 in College Professors, Colleges, Law Professors, Law Schools, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Technology Addiction

Workplace Prof Blog has a very interesting posting questioning whether employers can be liable for technology addiction. Prof Bales cites to a non-law review publication, journal Strategic Change article entitled "The Unbalanced High-Tech Life:  Are Employers Liable?"The abstract provides:

  • Technology has created new capabilities, as well as new demands, for many of today’s employees. For those who work in technology-enhanced environments, the pace and round-the-clock activity creates a source of stimulation that may become addictive.
  • While the potential for this type of behavioral addiction is recognized by both researchers and the popular press, few companies are seriously considering the associated risks, one of which could be legal action against the organization. 
  • By combining research on addiction, technology use, workplace demands, and legal precedent, this article considers issues likely to require decision by the courts, as well as background on the evolution of related legal questions for insight to possible outcomes.

This is a nice issue to debate, but it is doubtful that an employer could face liability even assuming that technology addiction is disability-which is a big if. Are employers responsible because employees drink? Are bars liable if a bartender becomes develops a problem. Of course not. The same rule should apply here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

June 6, 2009 in Employment Law, Technology | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Slow Computer Boot-Time Suit

Laptop Mag  at page 112 (April 2009), reported in a brief blurb (no link to the story online) that employees at AT&T, Cigna an United Health Group are suing their employers for the time they have to spend waiting for Windows to boot up. They claim that this amounts to 15-30 minutes per day.
The mag does not go into any detail about the plaintiffs legal theory. My guess is that this is a wage and hour claim for either OT or the min. wage under the FLSA. My guess is that these employers do not count the employees as working until they actually log in to their network.
If I am right, is this a good FLSA case. Is this any different than employees having to wear a uniform or have a long commute to work. Something to think about-maybe even an interesting article may come out of this story. Are my students getting the hint that this might be a good paper topic??

Mitchell H. Rubinstein  

May 22, 2009 in Employment Law, Interesting Cases, Oddly Enough, Legal, Technology | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blackberry As A Security Risk! Sorry I Don't Bye It

Risky For All Executives is an interesting Jan. 5, 2009 National Law Journal article about the so called security risks posed by Blackberrys.The article notes that Blackberrys can be lost or stolen and provides:

The risk from BlackBerrys is exacerbated because messages can be configured by users so that they are transmitted and archived through corporate servers; transmitted with limited archiving, if any, through a carrier; or transmitted via peer-to-peer technology and not saved anywhere outside of the sending and receiving devices. Once the users choose to delete these messages, they are gone forever. A smart computer usage policy may require the devices to be configured so that the second and third options are not available to users.
 
Policies should also regulate the purging of any mobile device messages stored or processed on corporate servers. Although there is a duty to preserve business records, it is limited by laws, policies and litigation requirements. Routine destruction of electronic records is cost-effective and also helps organizations avoid needlessly broad and expensive discovery requests during litigation.

As you can see, this article advocates computer usage policies which probably a wise thing for corporations, law firms, unions and everyone to do. However, laptops can get stolen and hacked. Brief cases get lost and dare I say the risk of misplacing paper is greater than the risk of misplacing your Blackberry.

Its time for us to embrace technology. President Elect Obama says he cannot live without his Blackberry. He certainly has made good use out of it.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

 

January 8, 2009 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Free Phone Call From Any Computer To Any Phone In U.S.

Check out http://callingamerica.com It is an advertising supported service that allows you to make free phone calls from any computer in the world to any phone in the U.S. Your limited to a 2 minute phone conversation without registration. With registration, your limited to a 15 minute phone call. There is no limit to the number of phone calls you make.

Don't believe me?  A NY Times article about this service is available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

December 25, 2008 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Use of Wiki's In Legal Practice

We have all seen them. Wiki's. They are a cross between a blog and a web site. The way they work is that the web site is collaborative. It allows others to post and comment. That opens up opportunities for law firms and other business who often work on documents collaboratively. A May 8, 2008 Law Technology article entitled "Wikis Put Lawyers on a Collaborative Path" discusses one law firm's use of a Wiki.

It would have been helpful if the article posted a link to a portion of the Wiki (with client names removed) so we could have actually seen how it works. Additionally, I have concerns about security which the article does not address.

This probably is an emerging technology that will be of great help to many law firms. If any one has a link to a law firm or lawyer Wiki that they could share, I will post it as an update to this article.

An excellent Wiki maintained by Akin Gump is SCOTUS WIKI. However, that Wiki is not maintained for law office use. Rather, it supports the SCOTUS blog about Supreme Court developments. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 22, 2008 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)