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Dennis Kennedy

Technology Law and Legal Technology. Dennis Kennedy is one of the few technology lawyers who is also an expert on the underlying technologies. Dennis an award-winning leader in the application of technology and the Internet to the practice of law. DennisKennedy.com gives you access to a wide variety of Dennis Kennedy's resources on legal technology, his writings, his well-known blog, DennisKennedy.Blog, and information about how you can have Dennis speak to your organization or group.

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 September, 2003

Identifying Start-up Programs

Wednesday, September 17th, 2003

Here’s a great resource for identifying those mysterious files that run when your computer starts up.
Periodically checking these files will help you see what’s going on without your knowledge, and not all of it is good.

Spreadsheets Forever

Wednesday, September 17th, 2003

Is it 25 years already? CFO Magazine has an interview with Dan Bricklin, one of the creators of the spreadsheet program, on the past, present and future of spreadsheets. Lots of good ideas in this article.

American Computer Choppers

Wednesday, September 17th, 2003

I got hooked the other day on the Discovery Channel‘s motorcycle design and building shows. And I’m not even close to a motorcycle person.
In particular, there was a show called The Great Biker Build-Off in which a designer/builder named Indian Larry made the argument that building choppers was a true art form and would one day be recognized as such. He then backed up his words by building an absolutely stunning bike.
So, I started to think about other places where the notion of “choppers” might come into play.
Why not PCs?
Lo and behold, Wired magazine has a piece on custom fabrication of PCs. Cool stuff.
Is there a market for this? I think there might well be.

Restless Nights – Great Sleep Apnea Resource

Tuesday, September 16th, 2003

I have been trying to find a really good book on sleep apnea for quite a while now. I’ve now found Sleepless Nights, by Peretz Lavie, and recommend it most highly.
Lavie points out that sleep apnea as a diagnosis virtually did not exist until the last 20 years or so, even though reports of the symptoms go back quite a while in the literature. The “newness’ of the condition is part of the reason for the lack of standard popular references.
Now, we are beginning to understand that perhaps 1 out of every 4 males over the age of 40 (and I’m one of them) has some level of sleep apnea. I’m certainly starting to run into a number of people with it.
Lavie’s book is quite good, perhaps a little long on the history, but he’s an insider and it is an interesting vantage point he provides. I stayed up way too late reading the book from cover to cover.
He also does a great job of sorting through the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.
If you have sleep apnea or live with someone who does, this is a highly recommended read. If someone is complaining about your snoring, you probably will want to give this a look.
Most important, if you have a sleep apnea diagnosis and have decided to forego using a CPAP mask, you must read this book and reevaluate your decision.

James Champy on the “Idea Recession”

Friday, September 12th, 2003

“There’s a growling bear in the marketplace of ideas.” So says James Champy in this article wondering if our current tendencies toward retrenchment bode ill for creating the ideas and structures we need to evolve business in the coming years.

This Week’s Windows Security Patch

Thursday, September 11th, 2003

Arrgh! Another Windows Critical Update for security. Apparently, since preparing the viruses to attack the new flaws will be fairly easy, time is of the essence in installing the update.
On the “What took so long to come up with this idea” front, the excellent Microsoft Watch site reports that Microsoft is preparing to release a convenient “all XP patches in one place” update.

Freeware Arena

Thursday, September 11th, 2003

Every now and then, I have the need for a simple software tool that I probably only need to use once or twice, or only need to use a single feature or two. The ideal solution would be a freeware program.
Unfortunately, adding the word “free” to a search for software on Google introduces a lot of “noise” into your results.
The excellent site, Freeware Arena is a great resource for freeware and will help you locate a wide variety of freeware programs. These are true freeware programs, not demos and trials. As always, if you like and use the programs, think about making a donation to the author. Great resource.

The Shadow of 9/11

Wednesday, September 10th, 2003

One of the coolest things about no longer working in a law firm and being on my own is that I can take a morning and just go out and do something with my wife. One of the best things to do in St. Louis is to go to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
We were at the Garden last week on a beautiful September day, barely a cloud in the sky. As we walked through the Japanese garden, I found myself thinking, in spite of my efforts not to, that the sky was that “unbelievable blue” we’ll now always associate with September 11, 2001.
It was an unsettling, disturbing feeling, made more eerie by the sound of a passenger plane flying over us, seemingly a little too low and a little too loud.
We all have associations and memories now. For me, the bluest clear sky holds a cloud you can’t see.

ELawyer Blog on Demise of Legal Web Sites

Wednesday, September 10th, 2003

Carolyn Elefant has a great post on the eLawyer Blog about a recent article about the lack of success of the early web sites designed to provide or enhance legal services.
Carolyn’s analysis is right on target.
I might add a few other observations.
First, the interpretations of the ethical rules that affected many of these sites were murky at best and lawyers wanting to go all out with some of these ideas would have definitely taken a risk of disciplinary hearings (rightly or wrongly – it was just new territory). Whether a lawyer can add his or her name to some types of directories is still an unresolved question.
Second, the MDP (Multi-disciplinary practice) debate had a definite chilling effect (and I speak from personal experience here), because there were so many concerns being raised about what law firms could and could not do, whether you could hire non-lawyers, and, perhaps most important, there were arguments that in a legal service business a lawyer’s compensation could be drastically limited because the lawyer could not receive compensation based on the work of the non-lawyers. This stuff was extremely complicated and difficult to figure out.
Third, many of the legal sites came into being in the go-go days of the dot-com era, leaving them vulnerable to underfunding and only a short-term business plan. We learned that it’s difficult to build a lasting business based only on a clever domain name.
Fourth, no one ever quite figured out what part of the legal business could actually be delivered over the Internet. I think I know some of the answers, and I’ll share those at my consulting rates, but most of these legal sites missed the mark.
Fifth, the visions of IPOs and making millions blinded people, moving them toward elaborate universal approaches and neglecting good, profitable niches.
Sixth, the failures scared everyone. Rather than learn from the failures, the general tendencies were to write off the whole idea. This reaction is a corollary of the typical view of lawyers that “the law is unique; the law is a profession, not a business.”
Not suprisingly, I believe that after the shakeout, there are opportunities and we may still see very successful legal sites develop over the next few years – too many people are looking the other way and it’s a good time to reinvestigate this area.
The eLawyer blog is definitely a great blog and well worth your attention.

Law Tech Guru Blog Debut

Tuesday, September 9th, 2003

Jeff Beard is one of my “go to” experts on legal tech matters. He’s now launched the Law Tech Guru Blog. Jeff has always done a great job of tracking done breaking tech news, providing great tips and reviewing products and software, so this blog should be a great resource for lawyers interested in using technology well. Highly recommended.