Dennis Kennedy

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Dennis Kennedy is one of the most knowledgeable legal technologists you will find. - Michael Arkfeld.

Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and legal technology expert in St. Louis, Mo., has been a significant influence in the ever-evolving relationship between lawyers and the Web. - Robert Ambrogi

Archive for March, 2003

Client Driven Technology at Preston Gates

Thursday, March 13th, 2003 reports that the Preston Gates law firm has developed software to manage electronic discovery documents and transactional documents. This effort illustrates another effort by a law firm to respond to client concerns with technological innovation.
“Whenever a client expresses cost concerns, a law firm responds,” says B. Gerald Johnson, Preston Gates’ managing partner.
The article says, “Johnson set up a committee called ‘Work Smarter,’ headed by IP partner Martin Smith, to search for the good ideas. It has taken awhile, but Preston Gates lawyers have created two tools that have made their lawyers work faster and their clients envious. One is the document search tool Patterns. The other, called Structure, helps assemble documents in transactions.”
While it probably helps to have Microsoft as a major firm client, this approach is one that law firms are going to have to consider and that large clients will want to request.

Partnership Has Its Rewards??

Wednesday, March 12th, 2003

A new study from Altman Weil confirms something many of us had already suspected: law firm partners feel like they are working harder than ever because they are. Average billable hours for law firm partners increased 11.4% between 1984 and 2001, from 1,531 in 1984 to 1,706 in 2001. Partners in some law firms are now seeing minimum billable requirements in excess of this average. Marci Krufka of Altman Weil notes that it is “now typical for a law firm partner to work a total of 2,400 hours (billable and non-billable) annually.”
Interestingly, average annual billables for associates increased only 3.8% during the same period, from 1,798 in 1984 to 1,867 in 2001.
Krufka’s conclusion is sobering: “What does this mean? It is no longer the case that associates ‘pay their dues’ with hard work to be rewarded with an invitation to partnership. To the contrary, law firm partners work harder and have more responsibility than ever before, and there is nothing to indicate that will change any time soon.”
More evidence of a system out of balance.

Out, Damn Metadata!

Monday, March 10th, 2003

Lawyers are beginning to focus on the issue of the hidden metadata that is carried by documents, particularly those generated by Microsoft products. This “metadata” includes both information contained in prior drafts, comments, information about authors and sources and other items that can result in embarrassing and damaging disclosures. I’m aware of several firms that have attacked this problem at a variety of levels. In general, however, these solutions have addressed solely Microsoft Word documents. Unfortunately, much embarrassing and damaging metadata can be found in both Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides and dealing only with Word Documents will leave a serious hole in your overall effort to scrub out metadata.
There is good news from KKL software. ezClean scrubs Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and integrates with Outlook, allowing you to scrub documents as you e-mail them. You can download a 45-day free eval copy of ezClean and KKL Software’s other useful utilities. The metadata issue is one issue on which lawyers should be in the forefront.

The Dupont Legal Model

Monday, March 10th, 2003

One of the compelling features of the Dupont Legal Model, one of the most studied approaches to inside counsel / outside counsel partnering and client-driven technologies, is Dupont’s transparency about the process. Dupont has created a first class web site for the Dupont Legal Model and it is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in this very important trend in the legal practice. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working toward developing a pretty comprehensive set of resources on this topic at

Let Us Now Lament the Final Issue of Legal Thought Leader

Monday, March 10th, 2003

John Kelly’s great newsletter, Legal Thought Leader, has long been a highly useful resource for me. Much of my first exposure to inside counsel / outside counsel partnering and the Dupont Legal Model came from reading this newsletter. With its insightful, well-researched, and just plain interesting articles, and John’s excellent book reviews of leading business and professional books, LTL became a must-read for me. Unfortunately, I just got word that the current issue is the final issue. The only silver lining in this black cloud is that the archives (in PDF) are still available online.

WordPerfect Office 11 Out Later This Spring – Sales Might Just Surprise

Thursday, March 6th, 2003

I was a bit surprised when I saw Corel’s press release about WordPerfect Office 11, because Corel seemed to have fallen off the radar screen over the past year or so. In the new version, there’s a curious mix of old (you can revert to the “classic” WP 5.1 for DOS interface) and new (enhanced XML features).
Although Microsoft Word’s march to domination of the legal market has been relentless, there remains a significant core of lingering good feeling and support for WordPerfect in the legal profession. Add to the mix the substantial cost of Microsoft Office and the reluctance of law firms to move up in versions of Microsoft Office because of costs and the unpopularity of Microsoft licensing options. With a lower price point, some built-in legal features and the ability to creat PDF files natively, we might see a comeback of WordPerfect, especially among the more cost-conscious lawyers and firms.

The World Goes Better with a Completely New Channel for Marketing?

Thursday, March 6th, 2003

I have an upcoming presentation on the role technology can play in inside counsel / outside counsel partnering and the talk was given the unwieldy title of “A Technology Manifesto.” So, I’ve been researching different historical manifestos.
I ran across a recent speech by Coca-Cola Co. chief Steve Heyer that falls into the category of manifesto and is one of the more thought-provoking discussions I’ve seen this year.
Heyer essentially argues that the traditional marketing medium can be inverted so that content deliverers and others can take advantage of the Coke delivery system. Far too simplistically, imagine that a TV show buys space on Coke cans rather than Coke buying ad time on the TV show.
Unlike many others, I think that the word “paradigm” can be useful and this approach seems to be one that suggests a paradigm change. Worth the time to read and think about.

Speaking of Legal Tech Blogs

Thursday, March 6th, 2003

I’m quite interested in what Glenn Garnes is experimenting with in turning a newsletter into a blog and other things at The ESQlawtech Weekly. kfsource is another place to look for legal technology news. FYI: There’s been some early talk of getting all the bloggers together for a, uh, get-together at ABA TechShow.

Oklahoma Bar Journal Blogging Article Online

Thursday, March 6th, 2003

Here’s Jim Calloway’s article in which he interviews Tom Mighell and me on the subject of legal blogging. As Tom mentions, the article is interesting for the parallels and overlaps, since we weren’t interviewed together and neither of us saw the other’s interview.

North by Northwest

Wednesday, March 5th, 2003

On far too many nights the Cable disappoints. But, tonight, the grand exception –
North by Northwest
with no commercial interruptions. This movie has been described as “a strong candidate for the most sheerly entertaining and enjoyable movie ever made by a Hollywood studio.” I could not agree more. I found myself thinking “great scene” “great line” “great shot” time after time. And, of course, the movie ends with the greatest jump cut ever. The legendary crop-duster-in-the-cornfield scene even works well despite the fact that Cary Grant is not blogging the scene by wireless. Total fun – I’m even thinking about getting the limited edition DVD.
The movie has become even more fun because it now has a personal, emotional resonance. My friend Jim McKelly has filmed and produced a documentary about Mount Rushmore. During the filming, he was allowed to go up on the heads (where Hitchcock was not permitted to go). One time when Jim and I were swapping fear of heights stories, he told me his story of climbing to the top, with a heavy awkward pack, up a hidden set of “stairs,” which consisted of little more than metal pegs driven into the rock and a rickety metal hand rail.
Now, I can’t watch the great Mt. Rushmore scenes in North by Northwest without thinking about Jim reaching a point where he decided that he felt better making the climb with his eyes closed rather than open. I have to believe that scrambling over the replica of the monument on a sound stage would have been much easier.