In this five minute video, I share my wonder at the rapid advances in computer processing and memory capability and ponder on what it will mean for the practice of law in the next ten years as artificial intelligence and true legal expert systems become a reality.

The concept of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and the potential impact on the human species is fascinating to me.  The ramifications for our profession and the society at large are huge– I think. In the literature there is much fear mongering in the discussions of AI, such as the idea that machines will take over most of the jobs and leave human beings without meaningful occupations or sources of income (or worse).

Fear of the unknown is understandable.  Historically, however, advancements in technology have largely benefited the human condition and improved life.  For example, in 1900, 50% of the US population lived on farms and farming, or farming related work, occupied the majority of US workers.  Contrast that with today where less than 2% of the population lives on farms and less than 4% of the population is employed in farm related work.  If you were a farm worker in 1900 and knew that so many farm jobs would be lost in the upcoming century, you might be very afraid for the ensuing generations– “what will they do for a living?”  As it turned out, such fear of widespread unemployment would have been unwarranted. As technology disrupts and destroys old economic systems, it creates new ones from the rubble.  The trick is to adapt to the new normal.

Like farming in the 1900s, I believe that technology and economic efficiency pressures will force a transformation in the way we practice law. There will likely be fewer lawyers, working more efficiently and at a lower cost. which is probably a good thing for society, if not for us as individuals living through the change.   There will be winners and losers–  those that can adapt and innovate will thrive. Those that cannot will find employment elsewhere.

Below are links to some thought provoking references related to AI and the impact of technological change.   Do you think the practice of law will be fundamentally different in 10 or 20 years?  I invite your comments.

The Hytech Lawyer’s Tips and Tricks for Smooth Sailing on Your iPad, Part 1


Every year or so since the iPad’s introduction, we have run a “tips and tricks” article.  It’s that time again.  This is part one of a planned three part series – starting with the basics.

How to Keep Your iPad Up-to-Date and Running Smooth     iPad updates are used to fix bugs in the software, add functions and make improvements.  You need to have the latest version of iOS (the iPad operating system) to get the most out of your iPad.   The same thing goes for updating Apps.  To see if your iOS is up to date,  first make sure your iPad has a good Wi-Fi connection and a charged battery (or is plugged up to a power source).  Second, find the “Settings” icon

Snapseedand select.  On the next screen, select the “General” icon on the left had side–same icon as used for settings.


Snapseed22Then select “Software Update” found near the top of the right hand column.  You will be told your iPad is up to date or provided instructions on how to update.   As of the date of this entry, the Version should be 6.1.3.   A major upgrade, iOS 7.0, is due to be released sometime in September 2013.  Keep in mind that if you have not updated recently, it may take an hour or more to load the update(s).

The next question is whether all of you individual apps are up to date.  If your App Store indictor has a number on it then the answer is no.  The icon here indicates that 25 Apps need to be updated.


Select the App Store icon and then select update all.  You will be asked for your Apple password, however, application upgrades are free. This is the beauty of the App Store.  You can always have the latest version of the application. It is also important to install these upgrades because this is how bugs are fixed by the developers.

Screenshots    – did you know that you can take a screenshot of whatever is on your iPad screen?  Briefly push the home button and power button at the same time and a picture will be taken of your current screen. You can find the picture in your camera roll with your other photos.  You can then export the picture by email, insert it in other documents, Etc.  That is how I was able to insert the photo of my blog below.

Timesaving Shortcuts

Shortcuts – – do you find yourself typing out lengthy e-mail addresses, conference call instructions, addresses, or other repetitive information?  The iPad has a shortcut feature that allows you to type a few letters for a long phrase?  To activate, select the “Settings” icon.  Go to the right side toward the bottom and select “Keyboard.” At the bottom you will see “add a new shortcut.”  Select it, and then add the shortcut, (e.g., “em”  for your “longwindedemail”). Now, when ever you type “em” the long email address will pop up as choice that you can select by simply pressing the space key.

Resetting Frozen or Malfunctioning Apps

Resetting Malfunctioning Applications—No need to reset your whole iPad when an App hangs up or malfunctions.  Simple double click the home button.  Locate the offending App among the icons presented at the bottom. Push and hold the icon of the App you want to close, until the icon starts jiggling- then push the – to the left of the icon.  This closes (but does not delete) the App.

When Your iPad Needs a Reboot

When I encounter a frozen iPad or one that is not working correctly (e.g., like not picking up Wi-Fi), many times the problem can be straightened out by doing a hard reboot of the iPad.  Simply press the home key and the power key (on the side near the volume control) and hold both until the screen goes dark (but no longer).  Then, if the iPad does not start to power up by itself, push the power key until the Apple logo appears.  When the iPad resets, check to see if your problem is fixed.

Sending Multiple Photos via Email

Sending multiple pictures in an e-mail:  It is simple to send multiple pictures in an e-mail from your camera roll. First, press the “Photos” icon.  If you have your photographs in albums, select the album containing the pictures you want to send.  Select the “Send” icon in the top right corner—it will turn blue.  Then tap each photo you want to send.  A check mark will appear on each selected photo. Tap share and you will be presented a menu to Email, print or message.

Your iPad Can Read to You

Do you want your iPad to read to you on occasion (for example while driving)?  Select “Settings”.  In the left hand column select “General” and then in the right hand column toward the bottom select “Accessibility.”  Then select “Speak Selection” and turn it on.  You can select the pace of speech.  Now, when you select any text (for example word documents, emails or books) you can have it read to you by tapping “Speak.”   Note, that for those that are visually impaired, the iPad can be set to read everything displayed  (Settings–>General–> Accessibility –>VoiceOver).  Be sure to read the instructions on the screen because selecting this VoiceOver option changes the iPad commands (of course you can reset them).


Finally, a word on security.

So you want to use it an iPad your law practice.  That likely means using it to store and communicate confidential client information.  You may also be accessing your firm’s internal and cloud based systems.  It is also quite possible that unlike your traditional work desktop/laptop, you may be tempted to share this repository of client secrets with your spouse, children or friends—because after all, the iPad is first and foremost a super cool entertainment machine—right?

STOP!  LOOK!  LISTEN! If you want to use the iPad as a law practice tool and you value your license, clients and firm, then some basic security precautions are mandated:

Set a strong passcode.  In my opinion, it is malpractice to not have the passcode feature activated if confidential client information is on your device.  The default 4 digit code feature is inadequate if you are going to use the iPad out of the office (which of course you are).    By default (unfortunately), the iPad comes with the Passcode off.  Here’s how to turn it on and set it:

  • Press Settings, then General. To the right, Passcode Lock should show Off, if you have not already enabled it.  Press it; if you have already created a 4-digit passcode, you’ll be asked to enter it now.
  • On the Passcode Lock page, you’ll see Turn Passcode On. Don’t touch that yet. First, go to Simple Passcode and move it to the Off position.  If it’s turned on, you can only create a simple, wholly inadequate 4-digit passcode.
  • Once Simple Passcode is turned off, press Turn Passcode On.  You’ll be presented with a dialog box to enter your Passcode.  Set a strong passcode!  You can check out the strength of your pass word at this site: How Secure is My Password? You can enter any combination of number, letters, symbols – you are not limited in the length of your passcode. You’ll be asked to enter it twice, after which your passcode will be turned on. Also, press Require Passcode, and choose the time interval after which your iPad will require a Passcode to get back in.  Choose a time period that isn’t so often that you are constantly having to enter your Passcode, but is short enough so that if you leave it alone for a short time no one can get into it.

Activate the free “Find My iPad” and “Remote Wipe” features.  Apple’s find your iPad feature through iCloud enables you to find your iPad (its location will be displayed on a map) if it is lost, send a loud location sound, post a message on the screen, and if need be the ability to remotely wipe all of the data from the device. Detailed set up instructions Link.

Set a time for your iPad to lock up if not used.   In “Settings” choose “General” and then select the “Auto-Lock” feature.  Pick a time limit.  The shorter the better.  This feature protects your client data if the iPad is not used for the specified period of time. Set Your iPad to Auto-Wipe after Ten Failed Password Attempts.  Your device can be set to Auto-Wipe all data after 10 failed password attempts.  To access this feature in settings choose “Passcode Lock” and you will be prompted for your Passcode.  After entering the Code, turn “Erase Data” on.


Individually Password  Protect Client Information If You “Must” Share Your iPad with Others.   If you are going to allow your spouse, significant other, children, friends, random strangers or others to “play” with your “work” iPad  (BAD IDEA!), then at a minimum secure confidential client information with an Application password.  Many applications have their own password feature that will protect data in that application. For example:  GoodReader, Evernote, SpiderOak.  Just keep in mind that letting someone use your iPad without protecting your confidential client information is like handing someone a brief case of client documents so that they can retrieve the magazine among the client papers. USE COMMON SENSE!   Treat your iPad like you would a paper file of highly confidential client documents.  Do not leave it unattended in unsecure areas.  Keep it locked up when not in use.

If you follow these tips, confidential information on your iPad should be “reasonably” secure.  Ignore them and your license may not be.


Part 2 of our tips and tricks series will focus on having fun with the iPad.  As always, we welcome your suggestions and comments.

Hytech Lawyer Recommended Professional Desktop Microphone for use with Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 (Video Demo)

I have used Dragon Dictation in my legal practice for over 10 years.  Dragon converts dictation to type in real time.  Year by year the program has been improved by its developer Nuance to the point that its accuracy is in the high 90% range–if used properly.  Nuance is no casual player in the voice recognition field, and its software powers many of the voice recognition applications we encounter in everyday life.

One thing that has held true over the past ten years is that the quality of the microphone used with Dragon Dictation directly correlates with the transcription accuracy of the program.  For this reason, I have tried all manner of microphones and headsets to find the perfect fit.  Now I have found that microphone – and it’s a stylish one too.



The Yeti series from Blue brand microphones is big, heavy, and beautiful.  It is styled like those microphones used by professional radio personalities and studio singers.  Not only does the whole series of microphones look really neat, the sound quality is wonderful.  I purchased the Silver Edition of the Yeti microphone which cost me $89 (on sale regularly $149) at

Seeing and hearing is believing.  So I recorded a short video demo showing the microphone, and demonstrating the sound quality and the accuracy of dictation using it with Dragon Naturally Speaking 12.  Features of the Yeti include:

*     Tri-capsule array – 3 condenser capsules can record almost any situation

*     Multiple sound pattern selection – cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo

*     Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output

*     Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, conference calls and Dragon Dictation

*     USB Plug ‘n play – Mac and PC compatible

This is one of my favorite tech toys of the past year—and that is saying something.  Highly Recommended!

Some of the Best of Hytech Lawyer- Readers’ Choice

Boat-sun.jpgAs Summer winds down we present ten (in no particular order) of the most viewed posts from the last three years of hytech lawyer:

1.     The Lawyer’s Toolbox: How to Make a Wireless Presentation with an iPad using Apple TV (HDMI) with a VGA Projector, Monitor, or Smartboard


2.   The Lawyer’s Toolbox:  How to Convert PowerPoint Presentations to Keynote and Transfer to the iPad (Video)

3.   The Hytech Lawyer Recommends Thirty-One Great Apps for Lawyers – SUMMER 2013

4.   The Lawyer’s Tool Box: Video Demo of Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 (with Service Pack 12.5) made with Camtasia Studio 8

5.   Avoid Legal Malpractice— How to Select a Reasonably Secure Password

6.   Lawyer Ethics- Is Your Head in the Cloud?– The Ethical Implications of Using Dropbox and Other Cloud Services

7.   Litigation War Stories– Using the iPad and TrialPad in a High Stakes Class Certification Hearing

8.   Presenting Witnesses via iPad, Skype and Facetime—Video

9.  How to create Your Own Law Blog (Blawg) in an Hour or Less

10. iPad Tips and Tricks Useful to Lawyers



Is there a topic you would like to see us cover?– send your ideas to

The Hytech Lawyer Review and Video Demo of Leap Motion Controller


For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I’ve been anxiously awaiting the Leap Motion Controller (“Leap”). The promise of the Leap is the ability to control your computer by simply moving your hands, without touching a mouse or the screen itself– like Tom Cruise did in 2001 movie “The Minority Report.” I had visions of waving my hands in court during a presentation and making magic occur for the judge and jury– I’m still waiting.

As you will see from my video review, the Leap is in fact quite amazing. However, that does not yet translate into the Leap being a practical tool for use by lawyers in their work. For now, it is simply much more efficient to control your computer using a mouse or touch screen than using the Leap and currently available software. No doubt that will change as clever developers and the Leap Team continue to refine what is now still a beta quality device.

The Lawyer’s Toolbox: One Hand iPad Presenter’s Case (with video)


When using the iPad for presentation purposes, if appropriate, I like to walk around the room presenting my slides and any other media wirelessly using Apple TV or the Reflector App.  The challenge is that the iPad takes two hands to hold and operate. One solution is my favorite presentation case.  It is from  New Trent and called the “Grabbit.” The price is  $34.95 from Amazon, which is about 1/2 the original retail price.


I have prepared a video demonstrating the case and its functionality.  The case works with iPad generations 2, 3 and 4.  RECOMMENDED.

The Lawyer’s Toolbox: How to Make a Wireless Presentation with an iPad using Apple TV (HDMI) with a VGA Projector, Monitor, or Smartboard

I am frequently asked how to make a wireless presentation over Wi-Fi using the iPad and the Apple TV (HDMI output), when the projector, monitor, or SmartBoard display to be used has only an “old” style VGA input:


To do this, an HDMI digital to VGA analog converter is required [just using adapters without an electronic converter will not work]. There are a number of converters available on the market. The Linksys system that I use has been discontinued.


The alternative I now recommend is the Kanex ATVPRO  ($43.00 Amazon).  A third-party video review and demonstration of the Kanex converter can be found at This Link.


This converter has received good reviews and is sold by Apple in  its own stores for $16.00 more.





Set-Up Steps:

1.  Plug VGA cable into projector and turn projector on.

2. Plug other end of VGA cable into Converter box.  If you are going to be using audio, plug mini plug audio cable into converter and the other end into speaker input.

3. Plug HDMI Cable from converter into Apple TV. Turn on Apple TV.  Connect Apple TV to Wi-Fi Network

4.  Turn on iPad.  Select the same Wi-Fi network as you set for Apple TV

5.  Push the iPad Home button twice– slide over to volume control where you should see the “Mirror” symbol. Turn Mirror “on” and your iPad should be Mirrored on the Projector.


photoHelpful Hints:

  • Test the setup on your home Wi-Fi system before relying upon it in public.
  • Many computer monitors still have VGA inputs and you can use one to simulate a VGA projector for test purposes.
  • Keep in mind, that for the wireless system to work, the Apple TV and the iPad must be on the same Wi-Fi network .
  • Many networks have security features that will block the Airplay functionality of the Apple TV. To work around this, I always bring my own Wi-Fi to presentations- either using the hotspot on my iPhone or my MiFi card as the Wi-Fi source for the iPad and Apple TV.  This way, I know the setup works and there are no surprises.

If you have questions regarding using the iPad for presentations, please comment publicly below , or send me an email at   If your question is of general interest I may answer in a post, or if not will try to respond individually .

The Hytech Lawyer and Kids Have Fun with Green Screen Effects on iPad

IMG_1475 Lest you think that being the Hytech Lawyer means all work and no play, here is a little window into the recreational part of my world.  In this video, my “hytech” kids and I play around with the green screen functionality of a neat iPad app named VideoFX Live.  Green screen technology also known as Chromakey, is how your local TV weather person appears to stand in front of a moving weather map, when in actuality, he or she is standing in front of a solid green screen. The green (and just the green) is replaced electronically with another image, such as a weather map or anything else you can imagine.  When used with a good quality green screen, the VideoFX Live green screen app on the iPad gives results close to professional grade. The creative possibilities are endless and can make the production of a family video an entertaining and interactive family activity.

The green screen effects are just a few of the many available for this app. The basic App is free, but the really cool effects require an in app purchase.  We spent about $12 to buy all the effects that looked interesting.

We also purchased a large green screen (10 x 7) with stands for about $ 90.00.  The assembled unit is huge, but packs away nicely.  Other green colored material can work, but having a good screen makes a big difference.

We would love to hear about your favorite fun apps—leave a comment below if you are so inclined.

Technology Blunders by Lawyers in Zimmerman Trial Limit Effectiveness of Prosecution

If you have followed the second degree murder trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, you may have seen the two major technological blunders made by the prosecution.  These two incidents involving Twitter and Skype, are prime examples of why the ABA was correct in revising the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to require that attorneys keep current on new technology.

In the first incident, the prosecution attempted to show that it’s own witness Jenna Lauer was biased in favor of Zimmerman by trying to get Lauer to admit on the stand that she “followed”  Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., on Twitter.    [For those not familiar with Twitter, if you follow someone, you  receive their messages posted on Twitter].  Lauer placed the 911 call on which screams for help could be heard.  In response to the prosecutor’s questioning, Lauer claimed she did not understand how Twitter works and denied following Zimmerman–  which it appears now was not true. See

Viewing the prosecutor’s examination, the one thing that was abundantly clear was neither witness, nor the prosecutor had a good understanding of how Twitter works.   Perhaps the witness can be excused for this ignorance, however, the prosecutor cannot.   The result was this line of questioning, which had the potential to show real bias and call into question witness credibility, had to be abandoned by the prosecutor because he had not done his homework and could not conduct an effective cross-examination on a social media technology he did not understand.

The second prosecution technological fiasco was the attempt to present a witness via Skype. Skype is a video teleconference service.  As reported by Vishal Persaud with Washington NBC affiliate channel 4:

“Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College had been called to testify about Zimmerman taking an online criminal justice course in 2011. About one minute into Pleasants’ testimony, delivered from Colorado, an onslaught of incoming Skype calls began to pop-up on the television screen in the courtroom, which interfered with the testimony.

Apparently, Pleasants’ Skype username was visible on the television screen in the Sanford, Fla., courtroom, as well as to everyone watching the trial across the country, prompting the slew of prank Skype phone calls accompanied by the service’s trademark “ping” sounds.

Towards the end of the prosecutor’s examination, the calls had become so numerous that the judge had to intervene and order Pleasants to end the Skype call.”

I have written about Skype for the presentation of witnesses and the problem of pop-ups. Had someone in the courtroom been familiar with Skype, the program settings could have been adjusted to prevent access by the pranksters.

See Below [limit IM messages to contacts]:

Skype Popup options


Because the prosecutor and/or his staff did not know how to properly use Skype in this situation, the impact of this witness’ testimony was diminished.  The lesson— know your presentation technology and try it out before using it in a nationally televised murder trial.

Recognizing the importance of attorneys staying technologically current, in August of 2012, the ABA’s House of Delegates voted to amend the comment to Model Rule of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.1.   The Rule itself remains unchanged and states: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”

The revised comments to the rule, which are to be used to interpret and provide guidance for construction of the Rule, add the following italicized language: “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.”  While the ABA Model Rules are not themselves binding on lawyers, they serve as a model for ethics rules in most jurisdictions.

So the lesson here for lawyers young and not so young–  take the time to familiarize yourself with the lastest technology– especially before attempting to use it at a nationally televised trial.