How Digital Resources are Helping NY Communities, One Car at a Time

Over the past three years, students in Columbia Law School’s Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic have teamed up with the judges at New York City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings and the Legal Aid Society to create a website to help people who had their cars confiscated during an arrest get their cars back. The NYC Police Department can seize a car during the course of an arrest for a variety of reasons, Continue Reading →

RE: Cloud Science, Dropbox, and Behavioral Economics

What is a cloud?  I’m no meteorologist. In fact I can hardly spell the word (I mean, I have troubling spelling “meteorologist”; I can spell “cloud”). But I know what I see – and that’s that clouds are externally opaque.  Still we assume they work. In the context of cloud computing, this much is true as well. What is cloud computing? The National Institute for Science and Technology defines cloud computing in richly technical NIST-speak. Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 5)

(Links to parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.) Smart document generation If giving legal advice is one of the two core skills of legal practitioners, the other is drafting legal documents. No matter what area of the law you practice in, you will need to generate a brief, a lease, a will, a contract, a certificate of incorporation—you name it. It is no surprise therefore that ever since PCs were first introduced into law firms, Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 4)

(Links to parts 1, 2, and 3.) What can you do with the Semantic Web that you can’t do without it? The Semantic Web is a powerful way of structuring data and giving it a precise, machine-readable meaning. The most obvious and immediate benefit of semantic technologies is in organizing large quantities of information in a particular domain to make it easier to retrieve and analyze. This is reflected in the contexts in which these Continue Reading →

STLR is on Twitter

If regular RSS and Google reader aren’t your preferred methods of consumption, you can receive a tweet each time we post a new story, which will be once or twice per week during the academic year.  Our Twitter name is columbiastlr, and you can find our Twitter page here. To any aspiring Twitter-ers: signing up for Twitter is free and pretty easy.  You can read more about it on Wikipedia or on Twitter’s About page. Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 3)

(Check out Part 1 and Part 2, if you missed them.) A machine-readable version of the law? David Siegel, an entrepreneur and early blogger, recently published a book entitled Pull, The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business, the first “business” book about the Semantic Web. Siegel devotes one chapter to exploring the possible impact of the Semantic Web on the law and lawyers. An enthusiastic backer of the new technology, Siegel sees Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 2)

(If you missed part 1 of the series, check it out here.) What is the Semantic Web? The Semantic Web is a way of making data smart. The idea is, rather than building smart applications that can analyze “dumb” data, you make the data smart in the first place. The problem with dumb data is that the ability of applications to make sense of human language is limited. Currently, the information in most web pages Continue Reading →

Semantic Lawyering: How the Semantic Web Will Transform the Practice of Law (Part 1)

“Predicting the future is a hazardous business.” So cautions Richard Susskind in his recent exercise in legal futurology, The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, citing a number of amusingly inaccurate predictions made over the years about the future of IT. In a series of posts, I venture into that hazardous business by taking a look at the Semantic Web, an exciting current development in IT, and considering how it might impact Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – January 15, 2010

Here’s the latest on the STLR radar: Twitter is a source of evidence for a murder charge, reports the New York Daily News.  But could those tweets be copyrighted?  Law.com’s Law Technology News weighs in. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides a good, link-heavy analysis of the unanswered questions surrounding Google’s decision to stop censoring their Chinese services. For some reason, Psystar keeps fighting Apple, posts Gizmodo. Custom and Border Protection’s laptop searches may have gone Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – January 8, 2010

Here’s the latest on the STLR radar: Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco decided to allow showing the trial challenging California’s Proposition 8 on YouTube, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog questions whether that’s a good thing. Patent Librarian notes that Wikipedia citations in patent applications are up 59%, but Patently-O puts that increase in perspective. A report commissioned by the French government recommends taxing Google on Continue Reading →