Something borrowed, something blue may be aspirational for brides wear, but not for legal tech. Yet sadly, all too many applications these days are characterized by borrowed ideas (the next Uber!!) and make users blue either because they run afoul of ethics rules, don’t work, or solve problems lawyers don’t have .
So what would legal tech look like if it really worked? I’ve always thought that I’d know it when I see it, and yesterday, I did, in the form of a website page capture product called Page Vault that I learned about at the Legal Tech.
Page Vault does one thing but really well: it “easily captures web pages for legal use.” Essentially, with a couple of clicks, an attorney can capture and archive websites where they can either be accessed via a browser or downloaded and printed exactly as they appear on line. Once a page is captured, both the URL and capture timestamp are placed on the page (see photo) for the users’ records. Because the documents are housed in the cloud, users can’t tamper with or alter them.
In this way, Page Vault solves a very real problem for solo and small firm lawyers: capture and authentication of web evidence for compliance and trial. With Page Vault, a family law attorney could capture threatening posts on Facebook by a client’s spouse and use them as a basis for a protective order. If the posts are later removed, the client will have a time-stamped record. Even better, Page Vault will provide an affidavit for use in court to establish a digital chain of custody and to assure that the screen capture hasn’t been altered.
Page Vault can work in other contexts. Small businesses can monitor and capture their competitors’ activity and identify and capture plagiarism and copyright violations that may later be removed. PI defense practices can capture online photos of a supposedly injured plaintiff cavorting on the beach or running a marathon. In fact, Page Vault’s representative told me that the company has learned of several threatened actions that never went forward once the litigant was confronted with Page Vault evidence.
Page Vault can also help solos and smalls deal with onerous ethics restrictions that may require lawyers to save and file copies of all advertisements, including websites and blog posts. Page Vault can be used to capture the sites, with a digital copy provided to the bar for compliance.
Page Vault costs $95/month for solo lawyers. And while that’s not an insignificant expense, for solos with a significant litigation, IP or compliance practices, the $95 cost is far less expensive that tasking a paralegal or law clerk to monitor online sites, or to hire a forensics expert to authenticate a screen capture before trial.
Maybe Page Vault won’t disrupt the legal profession or scale to millions of users. It has something more important to offer lawyers: a product that works. How disruptive is that?