How to access our Apps (iPhone, Droid, Web)

January 22, 2011 by Thomas Jason Smith


The Computer & Technology Section’s apps (iPhone, Android and Web versions) are available FREE to Section members. If you’re a Section member, click here for instructions on downloading and accessing the apps. If you are having trouble accessing an app, FAQs are here.

If you’re not a Section member, click here for instructions on how to join the Section (must be done before you can access the apps). For questions about joining the section or accessing the apps, please call (512) 814-8922.

Please note, if you cannot log into this site or access the app, and you have not specified an email address for your State Bar profile , you may be able to resolve the issue by logging into your MyBar page at  texasbar.com and adding an email address to your profile. You may have to wait for up to 24 hours for the change to be effective.


Ralph Brock: 1948 – 2013

July 15, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

Ralph Brock

It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we announce the passing of the Computer & Technology Section’s 2011-2012 Chair, Ralph Brock of Lubbock, TX. Ralph was loved and respected by all who knew him. We are better for knowing him and deeply saddened by the loss of this great Texas lawyer.

Obituary for Ralph H. Brock

Services for Ralph H. Brock, 64, of Lubbock, Texas, will be at 10:00 A.M., Wednesday, July 17, 2013, in Sanders Memorial Chapel. Interment will follow in the City of Lubbock Cemetery. Mr. Brock died on July 14, 2013.

He was born August 6, 1948, in Amarillo, Texas, to Charles and Waurika Haney Brock. He married Carolyn F. Moore on November 14, 1981.

Mr. Brock was raised in Spearman, Tahoka, and Lubbock, Tx. He received an undergraduate and law degree from Texas Tech University. Mr. Brock was a respected appellate attorney who was often referred to by his colleagues as a lawyer’s lawyer. He published scholarly articles in law review journals. He wrote historical articles on the boundaries of Texas and on the Republic of Texas movement that are considered authoritative. Mr. Brock was a long-time contributor to the Lubbock Law Notes and an editor of the State Bar College newsletter.

He volunteered in a variety of state bar activities. He won a contested election to serve as a director of the State Bar of Texas and was a sustaining life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, receiving virtually every award from the State Bar and also a distinguished award from the Foundation. His most recent awards were for pro bono work in writing an amicus brief for a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in December of 2012. He was the first chair of the State Bar’s Appellate Section and the only male who was President of the State Bar’s Women and the Law Section. He also chaired other sections, including the Computer & Technology Section and the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section.

His legal career was devoted to individual rights and justice and he received local recognition for his pro bono work. He received the first Lubbock County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award in 1986, and a special pro bono award from the Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in1989. Ralph Brock, an Eagle Scout, was a man who lived his convictions in his personal and professional life with honor.

He was an avid genealogy researcher and generous blood donor. He was a licensed amateur radio operator and helped administer ham radio exams. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Mr. Brock was predeceased by his parents; his in-laws, Webb and Frances Moore of Lubbock; and his brother-in-law Dr. Lewis D. Moore, of Lubbock. Survivors include his spouse; his brother, Billy Brock and wife, Janet, of Albuquerque, N.M.; his nephews, Charles Brock of Socorro, N.M., Daniel and Nicholas Moore of Austin, Tx.; his nieces, Waurika Ann Brock of Albuquerque, and Mary Pressler and husband Nate of Hurst, Tx.; his great nephew Maxwell Pressler of Hurst; and his many other family members and friends.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M., Tuesday, July 16 at Sanders Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to the Southwest Cancer Center at University Medical Center, the Texas Bar Foundation, or CLL Global Research Foundation, P.O. Box 301402, Unit 428, Houston, Tx., 77230.


2012-2013 Year In Review

June 20, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

Members of the Computer & Technology Section,

It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your Chair this past year. It has been another incredible year of growth for our section. Since 2009, our section membership has increased over 74%. And in 2013, we surpassed the 3,000 member mark for the first time in the section’s 23-year history, securing our place firmly among the Large Sections. In addition, one of our own council members, Grant Scheiner, was elected to become a Large-Section representative to the State Bar Board, another section first.

On the heels of continued popularity of our mobile device apps, we are planning to develop more apps, both for our own section members as well as in partnership with other Sections and Groups – both in and outside of Texas. Stay tuned to our website and social media sites for details.

We have launched an educational initiative on the hot topic of Cybersecurity/Data Privacy and our encryption presentation has been requested by local bar associations, law schools and conferences around the nation. The presentation has been approved for one hour of ethics credit and includes a hands-on component where attendees are provided an 8GB thumb-drive preloaded with mobile apps and encryption software and taught how to use it.

Our social media presence has also garnered national attention, with members of other state bar associations seeking our Council’s advice on adopting their own social media presence. We created a YouTube Channel this year for product reviews and other informative videos related to legal technology (Stay tuned for more information on the official launch).

The section partnered with the State Bar to produce the Adaptable Lawyer Legal Innovation Track at this year’s Annual Meeting and the track will include the ever-popular “60 Apps in 60 Minutes” and our new Data Privacy/Encryption presentation on both days of the conference given by our own Council members.

We also partnered with the Law Student Division to provide access to our apps, encouraging future generations of tech-savvy lawyers.

For more information on our Section, our Apps, or our Data Privacy Education Initiative, please follow us on Twitter (@TXBarCompTech), join our LinkedIn Group, or “like” us on Facebook.

Jason Smith
2012-2013 Chair, State Bar of Texas Computer & Technology Section


Computer & Technology Section Co-Founder to receive CLE award from State Bar

May 31, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

Congratulations to our own Peter Vogel for this well-deserved honor.


Scheiner Elected as Section Representative to State Bar of Texas Board of Directors

March 11, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

Grant Scheiner - Scheiner Law Group, P.C.Grant Scheiner, an active Past Chair of the Computer & Technology Section, a principle of Scheiner Law Group, P.C., was elected by the Council of Chairs to become the next Section Representative (for Large Sections) to the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors. Scheiner will fill the position of outgoing large section representative, Luis Garcia, whose term expires this year. Scheiner’s 3-year term will begin at the SBOT Annual meeting in June. This is the first time a Computer & Technology Section member has been elected to be a Section Representative.


In Memoriam: Gib Walton

February 11, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

The Council and Members of the Computer & Technology Section of the State Bar of Texas would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Gib Walton, past president of the State Bar of Texas, who passed away last Thursday, February 7, 2013.. In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions in Gib’s memory may be directed to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 22013. Houston, TX, 77227- 2013; The Methodist Hospital, P.O. Box 4384, Houston, TX, 77210-4384; or to the Brookwood Community, 1752 F.M. 1489, Brookshire, TX, 77423.



February 9, 2013 by Ronald Lyle Chichester

The Hill blog is reporting that the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee are set to re-introduce CISPA this coming week.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is intended to combat cybercrimes and hactivism by facilitating the sharing of intelligence information about the conduct of users on the Internet.

“The bill would allow the government, namely the intelligence community, to share classified cyber threat information with the private sector so companies can protect their computer systems and networks from cyberattacks. It would also encourage companies to share anonymous cyber-threat information with one another, and provide liability protection for businesses so they don’t get hit with legal action for sharing data about cyber threats.”

The article also added…

“Last year CISPA enjoyed support from a range of industry groups and companies, including Facebook, AT&T and Oracle. But civil-liberties groups and privacy advocates rallied hard against CISPA last year, arguing that the measure lacked sufficient privacy protections and would increase the pool of people’s electronic communications flowing to the military and secretive National Security Agency.”


Keeping Client Data and Your Law License Secure

February 7, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

Another article in this month’s Texas Bar Journal by Section Council members Jason Smith, Ron Chichester and Michael Peck.

If after reading this, you’re feeling a little insecure, consider join the Computer & Technology Section at the State Bar Annual Meeting in Dallas in June for a live presentation on this topic during the Adaptable Lawyer Legal Innovation track. This will include a hands-on workshop where thumb drives preloaded with mobile apps and TrueCrypt will be provided to attendees along with step-by-step instructions on creating encrypted files. For information on booking this session for your own event, please contact Council@sbot.org.


Ethics Compliance Pushes Senior Lawyers Into Canyon of Technological Divide

February 7, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

Great article in this month’s Texas Bar Journal by Section Council Members Joseph Jacobson and Robert “Tony” Ray.


Transporter Private Cloud Device

January 22, 2013 by Thomas Jason Smith

A question was posed by one of our council members:

Has anybody had any experience with the Transporter private cloud device? It sounds like something that could address many of the security concerns we have about cloud storage.

The Transporter requires a minimum of 160GB 2.5″ SATA hard drive, and will accept up to 2 TB. It can be ordered with no hard drive ($199), 1 TB ($299) or 2TB ($399), plus $10 shipping. Is there any reason a SATA SSD would not work, rather than relying on a spinning disk hard drive?

To which Council Member Craig Ball replied:

The Transporter is much better looking than its predecessors; but it’s been possible to purchase NAS devices that replicate over the net for years (the idea being that you locate them at different facilities for disaster recovery and fail over). These could also be configured for privileged-based remote browser access. The Transporter appears to offer no additional features or advantages except for being handsome. Neither does it equal the cloud in terms of significantly reducing the risk of certain types of data loss.

For example:
1. The Cloud offers greater physical security than any of us likely employ in our homes or offices. Anyone can get into my home or lab with a rock and a fixed intention. I think it would be tougher to invade one of Amazon’s data centers, and it would surely be MUCH harder to carry off all my data from AWS or Azure, even with physical access. Anyone can grab a Transporter and run.

2. Both the Cloud and the Transporter face the web, so either can be remotely hacked.

3. The Cloud offers protection against regional physical risks that might effect the Transporters. If I use a Transporter in my home and office, both locations are likely subject to the same regional disasters (hurricane, flood, wildfire, sustained power interruption, etc.–you know, like living in NYC).

4. A failure of a single disk device is inevitable, but hopefully won’t occur to both devices at the same time. However, a system based on two single drives in identical enclosures is statistically far more prone to such failure than a RAIDed and replicated system in a data center. Because both devices use the same web-facing software, firmware and hardware, a robust attack that destroys one will probably destroy the other one, too.

In the final analysis, I think it’s a nifty product, and probably far superior to managing a tape-based backup system for those who store modest volumes of data. But, I don’t share the view that the Transporter compares favorably against professionally-managed and secure Cloud systems.

As for the SSD issue, the throughput from a conventional drive and from an SSD are both faster than the network bandwidth for the device, so you likely wouldn’t see notably improved data delivery. SSDs cost significantly more and, so far, appear to have shorter overall lifespans (even with TRIM and wear leveling) than conventional electromagnetic drives. So, you could go to SSD, but you’d make the product less price-competitive.

Got an opinion? Feel free to comment below or send a response to our Council directly (let us know if we have permission to repost in case we find it post-worthy).


The Pace of Innovation (and Profit)

January 16, 2013 by Ronald Lyle Chichester

Charles Hughes Smith (OfTwoMinds) has posted a very interesting short article (with charts) regarding innovation and the ability to profit from that innovation.

You should read the article, but for the impatient, I would summerize it as follows: As innovation spreads, and skills become more widely available (worldwide), the ability for one company to maintain a large “profit gap” over its competition diminishes more rapdily. In other words, with more of the planet able to compete with American companies, it stands to reason that the profit margin that those US companies used to achieve will not last as long. Commoditization has become institutionalized.

As an example, he sites Apple and the premium that it used to command over devices running the Microsoft operating system. Today, however, even though the iPad and iPhone created a new category in the tech industry, Google has been able to make comparable (or arguably better) devices for half the cost in just a few years.

Smith’s observation echos that of Daniel Boorstin in “The Discoverers” who noted that the speed and expense of communication set the pace for learning and innovation. The obvious example of that observation is the changes wrought by the Internet.

This increased pace of innovation highlights a conundrum for patent attorneys. As the pace of innovation increases, the “lag time” between when a technology is developed and when it gets patented becomes more accute. In other words, in a fast-paced (innovative) industry, patents get issued after the profit differential (per Smith) has disappeared along with the utility of that patent. Picking up scraps for that patent is left to the patent trolls. Perhaps in those fast-pased industries, a patent registration system or a deferred adjudication system (like Japan) might be a better fit.

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