Law and Software

Pro Bono Considered Harmful

[September, 2015] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: Ethics,law

Giving back is good. This truth we hold to be ¬†self-evident. Lawyers learn the importance of service from their first days in law school. Securities lawyers take asylum cases, high-powered litigators mediate landlord-tenant disputes and fight evictions. So many important issues that need the volunteer pro-bono attorney. So much neglect, so many wrongs that need to be righted. And these challenges are often a welcome change from the day to day lawyering that these lawyers are skilled in. more…

The Truthiness of Judge Hanen’s Opinion

[March, 2015] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: DACA,DAPA,Ethics,Immigration Law

I wrote this analysis earlier in the year, when Judge Hanen applied his injunction. But I wrote it for myself, not with a view to publish. I assumed that the lawyers would raise all these issues and more, and the appeals court would sort out the mess. Since Judge Hanen severely reprimanded the government lawyers for “misleading” him about the three-year DACA awards that were accidentally given after his injunction, I assume that the misinformation in his opinion was also accidental – probably due to misleading arguments in briefs offered to him by the parties. more…

Mediation Confidentiality in California

[March, 2013] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: Ethics,law,mediation

The statutory rules for mediation confidentiality in California are in Sections 1115-1128 of the California Evidence Code. And they have been clarified in a few recent California Supreme Court decisions. Cassel v. Superior Court in 2011 is a must read. Also Foxgate Homeowners Assn. v. Bramalea (2001).

But where does the mediator fit in these rules? The answer is murky, and leads to another question. Whatever it says in the CEC, what might happen to confidentiality if a case ends up in Federal court. more…

Confidential Messaging – send me a CM

[March, 2013] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: Ethics,law,Legal Technology,software

Everywhere I turn as I set up my practice there’s software that needs writing. Maybe that’s because legal tech is mostly designed for lawyers, not by them. I can’t believe those “contact me” or “send me an email” boxes on attorney websites. They scream malpractice.

I had some fun with CM this week. Confidential Messaging. Like Instant Messaging except a) it isn’t instant, and b) it is confidential.

And I mean “really confidential” – as in, “if I weren’t a lawyer building this for attorney/client privileged conversations, I’d probably be on a no-fly list by now” more…

A Little Attorney-Client Privilege in the Cloud

[February, 2013] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: Ethics,law,Legal Technology,software

Recently I posted about how to keep confidential files encrypted in the cloud storage you may be using with an online practice management system. The screenshots below are unrecognizable but are from me using Clio. This is just a quick note about the other side. I’ll blog it in more detail when I get a moment.

Attorney-Client Privilege is the #1 issue facing lawyers who wants to use super-convenient cloud solutions to get away from having to run their own office computer infrastructure. Apart from documents, the big problem is that day-to-day data in a cloud based practice management system may occasionally be very sensitive. What if your client is undocumented? Adding their name to an online data record may be malpractice. It is certainly not wise. more…

Encrypted Cloud Storage for Lawyers

[January, 2013] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: Ethics,law,Legal Technology,software

Do your clients tell you secrets? Mine do. That makes my business different. Clients don’t have to get me to sign an NDA. I am a walking, talking, living, breathing NDA. The license to be an attorney and practice law is a very nice thing to have. The right to be a Keeper of Secrets is priceless.

So when I hear of lawyers discovering the wonders of Evernote (which is wonderful) or cloud storage (which is free) or Software as a Service (which is better than aspirin), I wonder if they practice law on the same planet as me. more…