Technology


Cool Tools: Canva

This post was written by Dorota Turlejski from the CCLA Technology Committee.

Would you like some Graphic Design made easy? Canva provides ready-to-use templates for any form of communication that requires a visual component. As long as you are online, it is very easy to use the Canva search engine to find a template most closely connected to what you’re trying to do. You get to provide content in a way a visual artist or a graphic designer would without actually hiring one.

Canva gives you access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts and 50,000 templates for various types of visual outputs.  For example, say, you wanted an appealing first page of a presentation you will be showing at the first CCLA Technology Lunch and Learn entitled, “Lawyering while Travelling.” You go to www.canva.com, click on the “Find templates” tab, pick “Presentations”, and you are provided with some subcategories.  I picked the “Simple” subcategory and chose from the available options. I thought this template might work nicely:

All I had to do is replace the information provided in the template.  The result is:

       

Simple! You can then save it on your desktop, and you have the option of saving in “pdf” or “jpg” format, and the file is ready to be uploaded into your presentation.  

The great parts about Canva are that it is cost effective, you can get a visual that looks good very quickly, and you can easily transfer the created file onto whatever file you are working on.  

Some drawbacks are that the tool is dependent on the speed of wireless connection, and that you have to get comfortable with the copy and paste functions and how they are used to replace content in the templates. Also, there is paid content on the templates that you need to watch out for. You can add paid elements or take them out of the templates. The paid content is worth paying for as it blends in well with the whole template and each element or image is usually no more than $1 or $2 (USD).   

Category: Graphic Design Software


Cool Tools: Evernote

This post was written by Christiane Saad from the CCLA Technology Committee.

Lawyers can use Evernote to collect, organize, access, and manage data, as well as collaborate in day-to-day law practice.

In addition to supporting digital and handwritten notes, Evernote’s Web Clipper allows saving articles and web pages, taking screenshots and bookmarks sites directly from the web browser to store and organize. Evernote’s strength lies in its organizational features, like its notebooks, stacks, tags, and powerful searching tools, making content easily accessible everywhere. Further, features such as reminders and checklists aid in daily work projects, keeping users informed and on top of deadlines while providing teams with workspaces with in-app discussions, knowledge discovery, and presentation mode.

Evernote is also a great place to scan, store, manage and search business cards. With the Premium option, it’s possible to digitize and connect your card to your LinkedIn profile. In the legal practice, Evernote may also be used to organize firm’s policies, procedures, and checklists as well as legal research or precedents.

In terms of security, Evernote allows two-step verification and a pass code lock for mobile devices. However, just like any other cloud based system, it’s a question of risk and how much the user is willing to accept. In terms of data ownership, data protection and data usage, you can read Evernote’s policies to verify compliance with your needs.

Evernote is available for Microsoft Windows, on Android, iOS, web and has a Chrome extension. It’s also available for the Apple Watch and Android Wear. While these apps don’t have full functionality, it’s possible to receive notifications, create notes, check off to-dos, and search using voice command.

Currently, the free account provides only up to 60 MB data and is limited to two devices. However, the premium or business version offers more features with an affordable upgrade. To learn more: https://evernote.com/compare-plans.

Categories: Note-taking, Collaboration, Productivity

 


Global Legal Hackathon Ottawa: Feb 23-25, 2018

 

We’re quite excited that there’s an Ottawa meetup for the Global Legal Hackathon, coming up on February 23-25, 2018!

For those not familiar with the concept of a hackathon, quite simply it’s a meetup that looks to brainstorm and implement technical solutions to solve a problem or address a need. Programmers, lawyers, business leaders and more are set to come together, form teams, and create solutions which they will then present to a panel of judges.

The hackathon is free to participate, and is looking for legal community members with all types of skills to join in! If you have an interest in legal tech and the future of technology in law, this is definitely not to be missed!

You can find out more information and register for the hackathon on their website, as well as following the hashtags #GLH2018 #glhOttawa on Twitter.

Here is a more detailed FAQ, for those inclined to know more:

What is it?
The Global Legal Hackathon is a chance for thousands of people in 40 cities around the world to combine ideas and technology to build concepts and solutions that address business and practice of law challenges and access to justice opportunities. This 3 minute video tells the story: https://youtu.be/QOly-S2x8NA

In Ottawa, collaborators from Invest Ottawa, Compass / vLex Canada, UOttawa faculty of law and its Programme de Pratique du Droit, and many others, with the generous support of IBM and the CCLA, will converge on Bayview Yards for a weekend of collaboration, hacking, creation and education. Visit the Ottawa event site for full details.

Specifically, multi-disciplinary teams come together to collaborate, build and launch mobile, web apps or any other innovations aimed at solving a particular problem. People can come individually or as a team, with an existing idea to pitch, or to listen and join one of the teams that will be formed at the start of the event.  The goal is to come up with a prototype or proposal at the end of the hackathon to present in front of a panel of esteemed judges that includes UOttawa Law Dean Adam Dodek, Invest Ottawa CEO Michael Tremblay, and National Chair of the CBA Futures Committee Martine Boucher. With adequate sponsorship, we also hope to create a number of other local competition categories.

Throughout the week-end, teams will be assisted by mentors, be entertained and educated by many guest speakers  addressing such topics as privacy issues for legal apps, the Internet of Things, blockchain, legal market changes, AI and Machine Learning, among other things. We are also expecting a very special guest to speak about the Ontario Minister of Attorney General’s efforts to introduce technology innovations to improve access to justice.

The winner for Ottawa will go through to a global competition, culminating with a global winner announced at a banquet in New York on April 21. But in the long term, we all win as the Ottawa law and tech communities come together and find new ways of supporting each other!
Our objective is to bring 150 people together, with up to a further 100 participating remotely or attending different parts of the event as observers. We are making great progress toward those targets.
When is it?
February 23rd at 5pm through to February 25th at 9pm. Full schedule details are updated daily on the Ottawa site.
Who else is involved?
Globally, city hosts include major legal publishers like Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwer, major tech companies like Microsoft and American Express, major law firms like Orrick and Baker Hostetler, and major law schools like USC and the Singapore Academy of Law. More city sponsors as being announced every day, and it reads like a who’s who of forward-thinking legal tech companies and institutions.

We are anticipating very good participation from the law school, and are pleased to see strong interest brewing in the Department of Justice and other areas of the government and of the courts, but we have an especially strong desire to engage the tech talent being developed in Ottawa’s colleges and universities. The world is watching and this is great place for those with technology, design, and programming skills to shine. With the legal community coming around to understanding its need to collaborate with these professionals, this event will prove a great opportunity for that collaboration to begin.

What about the technology aspects?
Any and all technologies are permitted and can be expected to be used in this event. In addition, some organizations will be making available technology and content to help turbo-charge participant efforts. Details of sponsored technologies will be posted on the global site shortly. As set out in this blog post from the global organizers  vLex (in partnership with Compass / vLex Canada) will be making its Iceberg AI platform available to 100 teams around the world. The platform enables access to the vLex case citator as well as to Machine Learning capabilities such as automated legal topic classification, entity and key phrase extraction, and “semantic comparison” functionality trained on legal information but applicable to any document type. In addition, teams will have the option of having their version of Iceberg pre-loaded with either 33,000 Canadian Federal Court decisions or 30,000+ decisions of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Iceberg will be have at least one IBM Watson capability directly integrated (a natural language understanding module that extracts names, topics and key phrases from any document type), and IBM will shortly be announcing the details of other Watson capabilities that will be available for teams to use.

As to what teams may build — who knows! The results will be influence by the depth and breadth of law and tech community participation as well as the quality of guidance teams receive from volunteer mentors.

Great!! How do I get involved?
To sign up as a participant or attendee, access the sign-up forms through lawtech613.com
To volunteer as a mentor (which essentially amounts to sitting at a table for an hour or two as teams come up to share what they are doing and seek your guidance on elements that could make the idea useful in the real world), please contact Colin Lachance at colin@compass.law or 613-316-3290
To participate as a sponsor or to offer up an expert speaker for the Saturday education sessions, please contact Colin Lachance at colin@compass.law or 613-316-3290.
Sponsorship packages will go to support food, tables, room rental and other aspects. The associated rights, privileges and recognitions will be tailored to the firm, and the packages will range from $1,000 to $3,000.
Yes, as you might have guessed, to step up and support your community as a sponsor, please contact Colin Lachance at colin@compass.law or 613-316-3290.
What do I get as Platinum Presenting Sponsor?
For $5,000, the Platinum Presenting Sponsor will receive:
  • premiere recognition as sole Platinum sponsor
  • scope and space for firm signage (up to 5 placements, including behind the speakers on opening day and sunday evening pitches, a booth and collateral display table for the full event
  • acknowledgement from the main stage at each main step of the event
  • option of delivering a 30 minute information session during a Saturday speaking slot
  • a designated “<your firm/institution here> Mentor” corner to provide business of law counselling and feedback to hacking teams
  • premiere placement and high volume mentions and thanks on the lawtech613.com site, the event app and social media communications between now and one week following the event
  • opportunity, at your option, to create a designated prize category and award
  • authorization to use and re-use for any purpose, the week-end media reel developed by the videographers we bring in to capture all the excitement and action of the week-end!

Information Security Checkup

Are you protected? The WannaCry ransomware wreaked havoc on the world’s information systems this weekend and it continues to spread; and you know what they say, the best time to make sure your information systems are up-to-date is yesterday. The second best time, of course, is now. Trust is infinitely harder to regain than it is to lose, so it’s important you don’t fall into the “it won’t happen to me” fallacy. It’s important you take the time to make sure your firm and your personal information systems are adequately secured.

Here are some bare minimum steps you should be taking to protect your data.

  1. Ensure all of your software is legitimate and up-to-date. WannaCry, as does other malware, propagates itself through flaws discovered in older versions of software. Microsoft patched the vulnerability a month ago, but the ransomware was still able to target systems that had not made the update. It is extremely important to make sure that your software has installed the latest patches. Equally as important is that your software is not so old that it is no longer being supported by the developer.
  2. BACKUPS, BACKUPS, BACKUPS. I can’t stress this enough: you need to consistently backup your data! Attacks such as WannaCry can be easily avoided by just restoring your files from a recent backup. If you’re dealing with your personal system, there is plenty of free software out there to do this, and some low cost cloud options as well. Make sure you can restore your systems easily in case of an emergency.
  3. Don’t click on links from emails until double-checking. Even if it’s seemingly from someone you know, double-check where the link goes first by hovering, or checking with the person who sent it. Better safe than sorry.
  4. Use a password manager. Many problems occur because passwords are too simple and open to a brute force solution by a computer. Additionally, reusing the same passwords on different sites allows easy unauthorized access. Use different, complex passwords on different sites, and use a password manager so you don’t have to worry about remembering all the variations.
  5. Have you been pwned? Check if your email address or passwords have been included in any breaches, and be emailed if it is in any future breaches. If you administer multiple emails across a domain you can check if any are on the lists. If you are; don’t panic! Change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.

All of these might sound a little obvious, but they are simple safeguards to take especially when you are dealing with potentially sensitive information.