3rd IDP Congress on Internet, Law and Politics. Briefings, part VIII: Use of technology among law professionals

The Congress on Internet, Law and Politics has the aim of continuing the task of reflecting on, analyzing and discussing the main changes taking place in law and politics in the information society. This third congress focuses on the questions that currently represent the most important challenges and new developments in the fields of copyright, data protection, Internet security, problems of responsibility, electronic voting, and the new regulation of e-Administration, as well as dedicating a specific area to the current state of the use of new technologies by law professionals.

Lawyers and information technologies: uses and trends
Marta Poblet, researcher at IDT, the Law and Technology Institute, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Left to right: Pere Fabra, Marta Poblet
Left to right: Pere Fabra, Marta Poblet

The topic says that lawyers are technophobes, but really shows that (mostly) they are not. In Europe there is a strong interest in how lawyers in Spain are doing with ICTs. The reason for choosing Spain is that the ration of lawyers per person is the highest and, also, they mostly work autonomously outside of big firms. Hence, how they manage with ICTs is important because institution says that those tools help empower this individuals so they can interact in the market with ease.

A study shows that ICTs are quite well integrated in day-to-day lawyers’ activity, reaching for instance a 93% of e-mail use or web browsing. This technology adoption seems to back the fact that it is easier now to work from one’s workplace instead of having to commute to the clients’ place. On the other hand, handhelds and other mobile devices have also been quickly adopted as a means to set up one’s mobile office.

BTW, this arises the question of the sensibility of data transferred through e-mail and how the efficiency of e-mail management has become a must and a top priority among firms: knowledge management, e-mail content backup and filing, etc. And, indeed, should firms “monitor” the employees’ correspondence in order to reach quality standards, accomplish institutional discourse, etc. This would include the employees taking part into forums, blogs and virtual communities in general.

Pere Lluís Huguet, Dean of the Reus Guild of Lawyers,
President of CICAC, the Council of Catalan Lawyers’ Guilds

[Pere Lluís Huguet reinforces Marta Poblet’s observations about e-mail management and the leadership of spanish lawyers in the adoption of ICTs in Europe]

Left to right: Miquel Roca, Pere Lluís Huguet, Luis Fernández, Marta Poblet
Left to right: Miquel Roca, Pere Lluís Huguet, Luis Fernández, Marta Poblet

Notaries’ application of ICT
Miquel Roca Bermúdez de Castro, notary

Lawyers are both issuers and users of electronic signature. As users, e-signature is absolutely a need and a legal requirement for notaries. And the key of success is usefulness: if a new tool is useful for a notary’s client, the tool will last.

Electronic signature will enable all the notaries in Spain to work networked, using the same systems and data, and with the maximum guarantees of security. And security not only because systems are properly protected, but because of traceability of all actions performed within the network, which is quite an important issue in notaries’ work.

Uses of ICT in mercantile and property registers
Luis Fernández del Pozo, mercantile registrar

What the citizen wants is not doing the same procedures in the same places, but with the public servant noting them down on a computer, but doing less procedures and doing them online. One of the frustrations about e-Administration is that some duplicated procedures that could be either eliminated or automated do still have to be done by those citizens. There is a sort of leap from old fashioned procedures to state of the art e-Administrations with poor results while simple but effective ideas could be implanted without much buzz or budget and maximum satisfaction.

3rd Internet, Law and Politics Congress (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “3rd IDP Congress on Internet, Law and Politics. Briefings, part VIII: Use of technology among law professionals” In ICTlogy, #44, May 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=545

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