LLRX May 2024 Issue

Articles and Columns for May 2024

  • Ransomware in the Digital Age: Multidisciplinary Legal Strategies for Minimizing Cryptocurrency Ransom Payments – 2023 witnessed an unprecedented escalation in ransomware attacks, affecting users from homeowners to critical infrastructure like healthcare, education, and government. With over 5,200 reported incidents—a 74% increase from the previous year—ransomware has not only intensified in frequency but also sophistication and financial demands, with total payments exceeding $1 billion. This surge highlights the value of data and the increasing likelihood that victims will pay ransoms, often facilitated by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies have played a pervasive role in the rise in ransomware attacks due to their anonymity and ability to facilitate cross-border payments. Jawad Ramal explains how using cryptocurrencies to facilitate ransom payments offers complex challenges due to their high transaction costs and regulatory ambiguities that complicate compliance efforts. The pervasive role of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks underscores the necessity for multi-disciplinary legal professions that are capable of utilizing blockchain analytic tools, financial hedging techniques, and general knowledge of the evolving cryptocurrency space. Instituting safe harbor provisions would also ensure that victims do not face the threat of prosecution after making ransom payments.
  • Dissecting The Processes of Law Firm Strategic Planning – We have been informed that 49% of law firm leaders indicate “strategic planning is more important than ever.” Another 20% say it is tremendously important. Law firms have more money at risk than ever before. They have more attorneys in their firms to communicate with. And – they are looking at bigger markets along with a multitude of new ones. Meanwhile, the world is awash in geopolitical risk. Strategic planning brings all this together by evaluating risk and opportunity – the plan itself defines what a law firm will and won’t do. The strategic path brings about the most informed and thoughtful decisions – and with the amount of money at stake – no firm deserves less. Such is the world of law firms and their strategic planning efforts as identified in a survey we just distributed to over 200 large North American law firms. This survey defines where these law firms are in their strategic planning process and where they are headed. Patrick J. McKenna and Michael B. Rynowecer canvassed and received detailed feedback from firm leaders, all from firms of over 100 lawyers in size, on their specific approach to strategic planning and their responses to 16 sequential questions covering everything from who was involved in developing their current strategic plan and how long it took, to how satisfied they were and the one thing they would change with respect to their efforts going into the future.
  • AI in Banking and Finance, May 31, 2024 – This semi-monthly column by Sabrina I. Pacifici highlights news, government documents, NGO/IGO papers, industry white papers, academic papers and speeches on the subject of AI’s fast paced impact on the banking and finance sectors. The chronological links provided are to the primary sources, and as available, indicate links to alternate free versions. Seven highlights from this post: Banks could lose $40 billion from fraud with the help of AI, Deloitte predicts; Mastercard’s AI system is helping banks keep fraudsters in check — and it could save millions of dollars; Measuring Development 2024: AI, the Next Generation; Gita Gopinath: Crisis Amplifier? How to Prevent AI from Worsening the Next Economic Downturn; JPMorgan is making a big bet on AI. Here’s how its private bankers are using it; Will banking’s increasing turn toward AI level the playing field or widen the gap between big and small banks?; and Artificial intelligence (AI) act: EU Council gives final green light to the first worldwide rules on AI.
  • Evaluating Generative AI for Legal Research: A Benchmarking Project – It is difficult to test Large-Language Models (LLMs) without back-end access to run evaluations. So to test the abilities of these products, librarians can use prompt engineering to figure out how to get desired results (controlling statutes, key cases, drafts of a memo, etc.). Some models are more successful than others at achieving specific results. However, as these models update and change, evaluations of their efficacy can change as well. Law Librarians and tech experts par excellence, Rebecca Fordon, Sean Harrington and Christine Park plan to propose a typology of legal research tasks based on existing computer and information science scholarship and draft corresponding questions using the typology, with rubrics others can use to score the tools they use.
  • The Federal Reserve Banks’ New Transparency and Accountability PolicyMichael Ravnitzky is an attorney and former journalist who has more than 25 years of experience in using the Freedom of Information Act and state public records laws. On December 21, 2023, the Federal Reserve Banks each announced the adoption of a uniform Transparency and Accountability Policy (TAP). The Banks have begun responding to public records requests under that policy. Following implementation of the new policy, Ravnitzky initiated several records requests directed at individual Fed Banks, utilizing the provisions of the TAP. His extensively documented evaluation of the new process is that TAP is a good start but it has some shortcomings.
  • A Chat With Legal Rebel Richard GranatJerry Lawson had a conversation with Richard Granat, a lawyer, frequent speaker on legal technology, blogger, and consultant. His professional work has earned many awards, including the ABA’s Legal Rebel Award, the ABA’s Louis M. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award, and the ABA’s James I. Keane Memorial Award. He has long been a leader in using technology to improve access to legal services.
  • How to tell if a conspiracy theory is probably false – Conspiracy theories abound. What should you believe − and how can you tell? H. Colleen Sinclair, a social psychologist who studies misleading narratives, identifies seven step you can take to vet a claim you’ve seen or heard.
  • AI in Banking and Finance, May 15, 2024 – This semi-monthly column by Sabrina I. Pacifici highlights news, government reports, NGO/IGO papers, industry white papers, academic papers and speeches on the subject of AI’s fast paced impact on the banking and finance sectors. The chronological links provided are to the primary sources, and as available, indicate links to alternate free versions. Four highlights from this post: Artificial Intelligence and the Skill Premium; Rising Cyber Threats Pose Serious Concerns for Financial Stability; The Future Of Banking: Morgan Stanley And The Rise Of AI-Driven Financial Advice; and The Pitfalls of Mixing Up AI and Automation in Finance.
  • What Happens When Your Art is Used to Train AI – A conversation with web cartoonist Dorothy Gambrell on the curdled internet, labor, and how we became just numbers.
  • As climate change amplifies urban flooding, here’s how communities can become ‘sponge cities’ – Dr. Franco Montalto is a water resources engineer who studies and designs strategies for sustainably managing urban stormwater. In response to recent flooding episodes, some U.S. cities are beginning to take steps toward incorporation of sponge city concepts into their stormwater management plans, but most of these projects are still pilots. If this concept is to evolve into the new standard for urban design, city officials and developers will need to find ways to scale up and accelerate this work.
  • If using LinkedIn makes you feel like an imposter at work, here’s how to copeDr. Sebastian Oliver acknowledges when it comes to professional social media, LinkedIn, with its billion-plus members, stands unrivaled. The platform for career updates, networking and job searches has effectively become a requirement in the professional world. It can be a great tool to help you progress in your career. But, as Oliver describes, just like other social media, using LinkedIn can lead to feelings of envy, comparison and self-doubt.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, May 31, 2024Four highlights from this week: The NSA advises you to turn your phone off and back on once a week – here’s why; HHS targets single points of failure in healthcare cybersecurity; Google Researchers Say AI Now Leading Disinformation Vector; and New Tech Locates Cell Phones of Lost Hikers.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, May 18, 2024Four highlights from this week: Librarians Are Waging a Quiet War Against International “Data Cartels”; Why car location tracking needs an overhaul; How to find out if an AirTag is tracking you; and New mailing list aims to share hacking attempts on open-source projects.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, May 11, 2024Four highlights from this week: Bank scammers using genuine push notifications to trick their victims; How VISA is using generative AI to battle account fraud attacks; War Zone Surveillance Technology Is Hitting American Streets; and Negating all VPNs may have been possible since 2002.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, May 4, 2024 – Five highlights from this week: 9 Disturbing Stories From People Who Say They Found Cameras in Their Airbnb; Stop Using Your Face or Thumb to Unlock Your Phone; How Netflix and Other Streaming Services Charge You Forever; Kaiser gave 13.4M people’s data to Microsoft, others; and Huawei has been investing in US research despite being banned.

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