Attorney Brown Continuing Education

In October, Attorney Brown returns to class by taking three, technology-related, non-credit courses:

Introduction to Machine Learning,
Introduction to Databases, and
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.

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Data Backup Basics for Pennsylvania Lawyers

With the recent massive flooding, a hurricane, and an earthquake in Pennsylvania, lawyers may be re-evaluating data backup plans (you DO have a current, data backup plan). This article provides basic information for creating backups for solo or small law firms.

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Navigating the Fog of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing may raise ethical questions. It also requires technical competence. Are you ready?
Published as: Shannon Brown, Navigating the Fog of Cloud Computing, The Pennsylvania Lawyer 18–22 (Sept./Oct. 2011).

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Cloud Computing for Lawyers: Understanding the Difference Between Private and Public Clouds

Not All Clouds Are Alike—Cloud Computing Architectures May Influence Lawyer Duties and Obligations
Cloud computing may pose challenges for the Pennsylvania legal community just as cloud computing poses challenges for any highly regulated profession. “Normal” businesses might be able to jump into cloud computing. For lawyers, however, cloud computing must be carefully analyzed within the context of a lawyers special, regulated duties—especially competence and confidentiality. General purpose cloud computing “solutions” might not recognize or understand the special challenges that lawyers face—and the lawyer, not the cloud computing vendor, pays the penalty for failing to fulfill the duties.

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Navigating the Fog of Cloud Computing: An Unofficial Supplement to The Pennsylvania Lawyer Article

Attorney Brown compiled some of his most recent articles and blog posts related to cloud computing. If you read the recent article, “Navigating the Fog of Cloud Computing” in The Pennsylvania Lawyer, these articles might also be of interest for lawyers.

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S/MIME Encrypted Email Available

Attorney Brown now offers an additional method for client’s to encrypt emails sent to Attorney Brown and for Attorney Brown to authenticate emails.

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An Unofficial Quick Guide to Installing a VeriSign Digital ID (S/MIME Certificate) for Lawyers

Installing an email encryption S/MIME (SMIME) certificate on Mozilla Thunderbird and Mozilla Firefox is simple. However, the instructions provided by Verisign (as of August 2011) do not appear to address newer versions of Mozilla products (circa 5.0+) and can be frustrating for a novice user.

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Hiatus Explained—Technology & Ethics CLE Pending

For the past few weeks, Attorney Brown took a brief hiatus from blogging and website articles to prepare for a forthcoming Legal Ethics & Technology CLE. Attorney Brown is scheduled to deliver the CLE at the Lancaster Bar Association on September 9, 2011. The CLE will address (as time permits) emerging issues for lawyers related to technology

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Layered Cloud Basics: Awareness of Cascading Issues from Sub-clouding

Layered Clouds for Lawyers: Cascading Issues May Arise When Your Cloud Provider Sources (Sub-clouds) from Another Cloud Provider
As cloud computing continues to pose new challenges for the legal community, an additional complexity, potentially missed by many lawyers, may arise when Cloud Provider A sources (or sub-clouds) services from another cloud provider—Cloud Provider B. Issues with Cloud Provider B may cascade upwards and affect Cloud Provider A (and Cloud Provider A’s subscribers).

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Attorney Brown Attends Sessions of “Cloud Computing: Securely Moving From the Fringes to the Mainstream”

On June 22, 2011, Attorney Brown attended sessions of the online seminar entitled “Cloud Computing: Securely Moving From the Fringes to the Mainstream.” Sessions addressed the technical and business challenges arising from cloud computing

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Cloud Nines: Understanding Accessibility Versus Availability in Cloud Computing for Lawyers

Cloud computing, by definition, relies on networks as well as servers, software, and related items. The lawyer, thus, should understand the important distinction between cloud provider promises of service availability (uptime) and network accessibility when considering the use of cloud computing.

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A Basic Computer Data Backup Option for Solo or Small-firm Attorneys: Areca Review

Several months ago, I embarked on what I thought would be the easy task of finding a simple, usable, and effective computer data backup solution for my solo attorney law practice. I was wrong; I seriously underestimated the [needless] complexity of this task (even with my technology background). While backup solutions abound, I struggled to find a solution that met basic criteria. I provide this article to hopefully help other Pennsylvania lawyers evaluating backup options.

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Cloud Computing Article Published in At Issue

At Issue published my article entitled Cloud Computing 101 for Lawyers. The article discusses the basics of cloud computing for lawyers. The topics include defining cloud computing, explaining the common Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) options, and identifying cloud computing issues specific to lawyers.

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New, Active-controller Hard Drive Technologies Pose Challenges and Benefits

Toshiba plans a new line of hard drives that self-encrypt data and automatically wipe the drive (delete data) if the drive is removed. [FN1] A smart controller embedded in the hard drive provides the self-encryption and wiping capabilities. These new technologies pose potential challenges to lawyers (e-Discovery and digital forensics) and may provide benefits such as additional data encryption options to protect client data.

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Cloud Computing: Who Holds the Encryption Keys? [And Why It May Matter to Lawyers]

General cloud-provider statements simply indicating that the cloud-based data is encrypted might not be adequate protection for a lawyer’s data. The lawyer should also know 1) when the data is encrypted and 2) who holds the encryption key(s). (See my prior article entitled Storing Files in the Cloud: Storage-as-a-Service for Lawyers—Encryption.)

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Storing Files in the Cloud: Storage-as-a-Service for Lawyers—Encryption

For attorneys, special considerations may be appropriate before implementing a STaaS solution especially if storing client data in the cloud. What might an attorney consider before using a Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) such as DropBox, SpiderOak, IronMountain, JungleDisk, or MozyPro? Salient factors may include 1) encryption, 2) functionality, and 3) long-term accessibility. This article addresses encryption.

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Avoiding Being “Bit”ten: Bandwidth Issues With Cloud Computing Backups

As attorneys consider using cloud computing for file backup, the time required to restore files after a disaster may [unpleasantly] surprise a law firm. Backups in cloud storage may take days to download depending on the speed of the internet connection and the amount of data. Anticipating the potential download times, and creating a plan, may help a law firm to avoid unexpected problems should a disaster occur. (And confirms that off-site cloud storage should be combined with local backups to minimize down-time and law firm disruption in the event of a catastrophic data loss.)

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Study Offers Insights into Law Practice Technology

The 2010 Case, Matter, and Practice Management System Software Study provides interesting insights into law practice technologies. The 312 page report widely addresses technology use in law practice. However, three areas particularly intrigue: cloud computing use, OpenOffice word processor use, and overall technology evaluation.

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Attorney Brown Attends VirtualLegalTech 2011

Attorney Brown attended VirtualLegalTech 2011 on March 17, 2011. VirtualLegalTech online seminars allow an attorney to keep current with breaking and emerging Law & Technology issues.

The dominant theme of the March 2011 VirtualLegalTech Show was the fundamental shift in law practice—a shift largely driven by technology and the changing economy. The presentations illustrated that mobile, virtual law firms are an emerging, new paradigm for delivering legal services. According to the presentations, law practice technology may help increase efficiency and may enhance services for the added-value-conscious client.

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Encrypted Email Option

Attorney Brown offers clients the option to encrypt email communications. Using the widely-deployed OpenPGP-based encryption technology, clients may obtain Attorney Brown’s OpenPGP/GNUPG Public Key via the Contact Section of this website (or on request). OpenPGP/GNUPG uses public-key technology to encrypt and “sign” email messages. (See GNUPG…

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Gone in a Flash…Or Is It? Emerging Legal Issues in SSD Flash Drive Technology

Recent articles and academic papers demonstrate emerging challenges from sold state drives (SSDs). [See sources below] SSDs pose at least three challenges for the legal community:

potential limits on forensic imaging (e.g., during e-discovery),
a potential defense to spoliation claims, and
data security in the law firm.

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Basic Email Encryption and Authentication for Lawyers

Some compare email to sending a post card via postal mail. As an open format, standard email is potentially readable by any intervening person. Encrypting email provides some privacy and confidentiality protection by obscuring the text of the email. Encryption uses a computer algorithm to transform the plain text email into an encrypted email. Perhaps surprisingly, many email clients (MS Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) include at least one form of built-in email encryption. Furthermore, email encryption tools can also serve as an “authenticating signature” and confirms the message’s origin—this email came from A.

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What Is Law Practice Technology?

Contemporary law practice incorporates the use of technologies, and “law practice technology” simply labels these uses. A working definition for law practice technology is
common office and information technologies used to perform or deliver legal services.
The essential part of the definition for lawyers is “used to perform or deliver law services.” That is, the use of otherwise common office technology in a legal services context triggers additional duties such as confidentiality, privacy, and security and thus distinguishes law practice technology from other uses of office technology.

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