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ABA Journal’s top 10 legal tech stories

Legal News Reporter

Published: February 16, 2018

It can safely be said that, with everything else going on, 2017 was a year in which legal technology became standard headline fare ion the mainstream media. No longer just the subject of interest from geeks like me, legal tech decisions now affect the fabric of life for everyone.

In that spirit, the ABA Journal recently listed its “top ten” legal tech stories of last year, and you can see what I mean.

First up is the destruction of net neutrality by the FCC (subject, of course, to Congressional intervention). The story included “millions of fake comments” on the FCC message board, and lots of public interest. Possibly the biggest legal tech story of the decade.

Second on the list is the Paradise Papers story. Millions of documents stolen from a law firm to the rich and famous showing how money laundering and tax evasion is just a standard way of doing business. In a normal year, this story would have dominated the headlines. Not in 2017.

Three: The Twitter account of the president of the United States is used as evidence against him in several federal cases. We are so far past OMG we’re going to have to develop new letters.

Four: The SEC gets involved in cryptocurrencies. In an administration averse to regulation this seems counterintuitive, but the SEC is investigating cryptocurrency initial offerings, called ICOs, as securities. I’m getting a headache.

Five: Patent trolls get shot down at the Supreme Court. This column has been following this story for a couple of years.

Six: A New York court, under very limited circumstances, ordered the public release of a private (actually state-developed) computer algorithm source code. Don’t expect a lot of transparency to follow, really, but if you’re interested you can read this: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/federal_judge_releases_dna_software_source_code

Seven: Lots of hacking into major law firm databases, particularly DLA Piper, which had to shut down operations in a move that probably cost the firm millions. Told you so, 25 years ago.

Eight: The Internet of Things spies on everyone and can have evidence of crimes. Like they say, we are living in a Black Mirror world (and if you don’t know what I mean, I don’t even know what to say).

Nine: Legal tech firms are going through a period of takeovers, consolidation, and buyouts. It is now a mature industry.

And, finally, the US Supreme Court came online with a 21st century website (covered in this column).

That’s it!