Basic Legal Tech Glossary​


2FA (Two-Factor Authentication): An electronic authentication method which grants users access to applications or websites only after they successfully present two or more factors to authenticate themselves. Factors may include something only the user knows (knowledge – such as a password), something only the user has (a possession – such as a bank card), and something only the user is (inherence – such as fingerprint). Regularly used forms of 2FA include websites which are configured to send the user a one-time code to their smartphone (a possession) after they successfully enter their password (knowledge). The goals of using 2FA in legal practice includes increasing security and reducing the risk of being victimized by cybercrime.

See also: Fingerprint Reader, Smartphone.


Access Controls: The selective restriction of access to specific electronic resources. For example, in an office setting, managers can typically access all of the data in the organization whereas employees and contractors can access only the information necessary to do their work. The goals of using access controls in legal practice includes increasing the ability to share access to information and enhancing security.

See also: Digital Document Policy, Digital Filing System.

Anti-fatigue Mat: A mat which is designed to help people who are working in standing positions for long periods of time. Such a mat causes users to make small movements while standing which stimulates blood flow, increases circulation, and reduces fatigue. The goals of using an anti-fatigue mat in legal practice include achieving health benefits such as reducing weariness, stress, and pain in the back, hips, legs, and feet.

See also: Hardware, Standing Desk.


Bluetooth: A short-range wireless technology standard which uses radio waves to transfer data between devices over short distances. Bluetooth can be used to connect computers to mice, keyboards, headsets, and other forms of hardware.

See also: Ergonomic Keyboard, Headset, Performance Mouse.


Cloud Computing: The use of software and applications in conjunction with data centers available over the Internet. The goals of using cloud computing in legal practice include increasing access to data and enhancing abilities to work remotely. Different jurisdictions may maintain different rules regarding the use of cloud computing vis-à-vis duties and obligations to keep client information confidential.

See also: Smartphone, Software, Digital Document Policy, Digital Filing System.

Cybersecurity: Protecting computers, networks, and systems from the misdirection or disruption of services and/or information damage, theft, and/or disclosure. The goals of considering cybersecurity in legal practice include staying safe online and avoiding security breaches.

See also: 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), Fingerprint Reader, Malware, Phishing, Ransomware, Software.


Desktop Scanner: A scanner which fits on a standard desk which is used in an office to scan items such as paper documents (letter and legal size), business cards, and plastic cards such as IDs and credit cards. Custom settings may include document save location, scan image quality, color, and compression, single/double-sided scanning, face-up/face-down document feeding, scan file format, auto-OCR functionality, and auto-paper size detection. The goals of using a desktop scanner in legal practice include reducing paper clutter and accessing the power of using digital documents.

See also: Digital Document Policy, Digital Filing System, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Portable Document Format (PDF).

Digital Document Policy: A policy designed to standardize practices and procedures around creating and managing digital documents. Suggested practices include [1] scanning documents immediately when they come in, [2] producing complete scanned copies of files before archiving or destroying, [3] running text recognition software on documents once they are scanned, and [4] applying uniform naming conventions. The goals of implementing and following a digital document policy in legal practice include saving time, making it easy to organize and recall digital files and information, ensuring completeness of records, and preventing the loss and misplacement of information.

See also: Cloud Computing, Desktop Scanner, Digital Filing System, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Portable Document Format (PDF).

Digital Filing System: A system used to file and organize digital documents including the use of consistent practices and naming conventions. Suggested prerequisites include [1] sorting files and folders by name chronologically and alphabetically, [2] scanning and filing all incoming physical documents into appropriate folders, [3] filing all incoming digital documents into appropriate folders, [4] running optical character recognition (OCR) on all scanned documents, and [5] using dedicated software to manage email, calendar, bookkeeping, accounting, and other functions. Suggested practices include using naming conventions to differentiate internal and external office files; for example, “YYYY-MM-DD name of document” for internal use and “Name of Document (MMM. DD, YYYY) for external use. The goals of using a digital filing system in legal practice include increasing productivity, security, design appeal, and stability.

See also: Cloud Computing, Desktop Scanner, Digital Document Policy, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Portable Document Format (PDF).


E-Mail Scheduling: The practice of scheduling when outgoing e-mail will be sent to the recipient. The goals of using e-mail scheduling in legal practice include increasing productivity and control over e-mail inboxes, reducing distractions and e-mail overload, and making it possible to alter e-mail messages before they are sent.

See also: Software.

Ergonomic Keyboard: A keyboard which features ergonomic design principles. Ergonomic keyboards are designed to increase efficiency and comfort by minimizing muscle strain and addressing typing related deficiencies. The goals of using an ergonomic keyboard in legal practice include improving typing positioning, identifying typing related deficiencies, and training better typing form and technique.

See also: Hardware, Plug and Play (PnP).


Fingerprint Reader: A small biometric scanner which authenticates access to a computer system, application, or website by reading a user’s fingerprint. Fingerprint readers can be used on desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones. The goals of using a fingerprint reader in legal practice include being able to start and resume work faster, being more prone to keeping devices locked, and increasing system security. Fingerprint readers can also be used as a form of 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication).

See also: 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), Hardware, Plug and Play (PnP).


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Hardware: All of the physical things related to information technology that are used in an office including computers, mice, monitors, keyboards, speakers, microphones, and fingerprint readers. Hardware also includes other equipment such as printers, scanners, fax machines, telephones, smartphones, and headsets, as well as furniture such as desks, chairs, mounting equipment, and mats.

See also: Anti-fatigue Mat, Desktop Scanner, Ergonomic Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, Headset, Monitor Mounts, Performance Mouse, Plug and Play (PnP), Standing Desk.

Headset: A set of headphones, typically with a microphone attached, which can be used to conduct phone calls, listen to and record audio, and use speech-to-text applications. Various makes and models exist including wired and wireless, models with and without microphones, models which fit around the ear, and models which fit inside of the ear (earbuds). Headsets come in different colors and may have buttons to control volume, call answering, and other functions including noise cancellation. The goals of using a headset in legal practice include making phone calls and listening to voicemail, reviewing voice recordings, listening to podcasts and educational materials, reviewing documents with text-to-speech, and dictating memos notes and emails using speech-to-text. Headsets may also be particularly useful to receptionists as it allows them to take calls while away from their desk and while keeping their hands free.

See also: Hardware, Speech-to-Text, Text-to-Speech.


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Keyboard Shortcut: A combination or sequence of keystrokes on a keyboard which invokes commands in specific applications. Examples in Microsoft Windows can be as simple as F2 to rename a file or as complex as Ctrl + Shift + Tab to navigate to a previous tab. Innumerable keyboard shortcuts exist across countless applications. Well-known shortcuts include copy and paste (Ctrl + C / ⌘ Cmd+C to copy and Ctrl + V / ⌘ Cmd+V to paste). The goals of using keyboard shortcuts in legal practice include increasing productivity by performing computer commands more quickly and easily.

See also: Ergonomic Keyboard, Software.


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Macro: A program made up of a sequence of pre-recorded instructions. The goals of using macros in legal practice include increasing productivity by automating repetitive tasks.

See also: Software, Workflow.

Malware: Any malicious software that is designed to damage or prey upon computer systems or users including viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and ransomware.

See also: Cybersecurity, Phishing, Ransomware, Software.

Monitor Mounts: Supportive brackets or arms which are designed to hold computer monitor, laptop, or other display screens. They can be used to set the height and location of different pieces of equipment. The goals of using monitor mounts in legal practice include increasing productivity.

See also: Hardware, Multi-Monitor, Standing Desk.

Multi-Monitor: The use of multiple physical displays running on a single computer to increase the area available for applications to operate. Displays may include monitors, televisions, and projectors. Monitors may connect by various standards including VGA (Video Graphics Array), DVI (Digital Visual Interface), HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), and DisplayPort. Software can be used to control, orient, and position sections in monitors. The goals of using a multi-monitor system in legal practice include seeing more information at once, spending less time searching for and switching between open applications, and working more efficiently.

See also: Hardware, Software, Standing Desk, Monitor Mounts.


Notifications: The different kinds of messages which are sent to users from applications running on electronic devices. Notifications include system notifications (regarding system information) and e-mail and calendar notifications (regarding new messages and upcoming events). The goals of managing notifications in legal practice include reducing distractions and making it easier to pay attention to high-importance matters.

See also: Software.


Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Refers to the use of software to convert images of text into computer encoded text. The goals of using OCR in legal practice include increasing productivity, allowing for working remotely, requiring less storage space, and producing securer and more versatile documents.

See also: Desktop Scanner, Portable Document Format (PDF), Redaction, Software.


Performance Mouse: A mouse with features which go beyond those of a traditional mouse. These features typically address ergonomics, productivity (shortcuts and scrolling), battery life, and multi-platform use. The goals of using a performance mouse in legal practice include increasing productivity and efficiency by helping users complete common tasks more quickly and easily.

See also: Hardware, Plug and Play (PnP).

Phishing: Fraudulent attempts to gain access to information or data which are made by cybercriminals who disguise themselves as trustworthy entities. The main goal of phishing is to obtain authorization credentials (usernames and passwords) by tricking users into thinking that they are providing their information to a trusted entity. Users are directed to enter personal information at fake websites which imitate the look and feel of legitimate websites to which the user is accustomed. Phishing is typically carried out by email and instant or text messaging.

See also: 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), Cybersecurity, Malware, Ransomware.

Plug and Play (PnP): A hardware device which can be used by a user without the need to resolve computer resource conflicts or configure the device. In general, a PnP device is one that can be readily installed and used without the need to take additional steps.

See also: Ergonomic Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, Hardware, Performance Mouse.

Portable Document Format (PDF): A standardized file format developed by Adobe which allows documents to be presented and used in various forms of software (applications and operating systems). The goals of using the PDF format in legal practice include accessing the power of electronic documents and using advanced functions such as managing, storing, editing, locking/encrypting, redacting, creating forms, running Optical Character Recognition (OCR), using workflows, and applying digital signatures.

See also: Desktop Scanner, Digital Document Policy, Digital Filing System, Redaction, Software.


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Ransomware: A virus designed by cybercriminals to enter a computer system to steal information or block access to files by encrypting them before extorting the victim to pay a ransom to return access to the files.

See also: 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), Cybersecurity, Malware, Phishing, Software.

Redaction: Deleting or blacking out text in a document so that certain parts can be disclosed while other parts are kept secret.

See also: Desktop Scanner, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Portable Document Format (PDF).


Smartphone: A phone which combines mobile phone and computing functions. Standard features typically include a touchscreen, camera, speakers, and software operating system capable of running applications (also called “Apps”). Strengths of smartphones include being reasonably affordable, highly portable, and capable of running many different apps which achieve different goals. The goals of using a Smartphone in legal practice include allowing improved ways to stay organized and be more productive, and providing greater access to documents, email, and calendar, increase ability to communicate (using traditional phone, text message, and instant messaging), using advanced features (such as speech-to-text and text-to-speech software), and providing a way to take still photos and record audio and video. To prevent the time savings of using a smartphone from being eliminated by being interrupted, policies and practices should be followed to reduce distraction.

See also: Fingerprint Reader, Hardware, Headset, Software, Speech-to-Text, Text-to-Speech.

Software: The different kinds of programs that run on various electronic devices including operating systems (which run computers, smartphones, and tablets) and applications that run on these devices which are used to complete tasks in legal practice such as reading, writing, proofing, redacting, scheduling and managing, and securing documents. Software also includes the programs that operate on and through internet and network technology, including email, voice over internet protocol, cloud computing, and websites.

See also: Cybersecurity, E-Mail Scheduling, Macro, Notifications, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Portable Document Format (PDF), Security Policy, Speech-to-Text, Text-to-Speech, Workflow.

Speech-to-Text: Software which converts spoken words into typed text through speech recognition software. The goals of using text-to-speech software in legal practice include assisting with drafting documents (including memos, notes, emails, letters, and other documents), reducing the need for typing, and eliminating the need for dictation.

See also: Headset, Smartphone, Software, Text-to-Speech.

Standing Desk: A desk which is designed to be used in an upright standing position. Includes stand-only and sit-stand models. Simple home standing desk configurations can be achieved by stacking boxes or books to increase the height of a working space on a traditional desk. Professional office standing desk configurations are achieved by using custom equipment such as a workstation and/or mounts for monitors, keyboards, mice, and telephones. The goals of using a standing desk in legal practice include improving posture, health, energy, and productivity.

See also: Anti-fatigue Mat, Hardware, Monitor Mounts, Multi-Monitor.


Text-to-Speech: Software which converts typed words into audible synthesized speech. The goals of using text-to-speech software in legal practice include proofing typed documents, detecting typos, producing more concise writing, and assisting with processing and memorizing information.

See also: Headset, Smartphone, Software, Speech-to-Text.


USB: Universal Serial Bus is a standard industry specification for connectors, cables, and protocols for power supply, communication, and connection between various types of Hardware (wired and wireless).


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): A group of technologies and a method for delivering multimedia and voice communications sessions over internet protocols including the Internet.

See also: Headset, Software.


Workflow: A repeated pattern of activity which is used to achieve a certain specific goal. The goals of using a workflow in legal practice include conserving resources and increasing productivity by implementing purposeful systems which make it faster and easier to complete individual steps and entire tasks.

See also: Macro, Software.


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