Technology-Lawyer

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 January, 2004

The Continuing Search for a Personal KM Solution

Friday, January 16th, 2004

Once again I’ve found that my favorites and folder system have become unworkable, my system for tracking good info in e-mail newsletters doesn’t work, and I still haven’t figured out a good ways to store and manage news feed items.
On the NetLawyers discussion list this week, there was a program that covered Wikis and other collaboration tools and even included a session on the AskSam database.
I’ve been thinking about personal Wikis, freeform databases, OneNote and other possible solutions to my personal knowledge management needs. Some people have even sent me programs to try, but I had not reached the point of frustration that is required before I am actually willing to start at ground zero and build a completely new system. Now, I’m definitely looking for help.
I ended up posting the following to the NetLawyers list:
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Because of my blog, various columns and the like, I’m always finding references, blurbs, postings, links and such that I know that I might want to use later.
For example, in an email newsletter I got today, I saw the following:
+++++++++
“How to make great-looking CD labels
KILLER DOWNLOADS: When creating mix CDs, the label and jewel case can be almost as important as the music. So make sure yours look good. It’s easy with these three apps Jason’s found.”
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Today, I might do any of the following:
1. Click on the link, visit the page, and add the page to my Favorites, ideally putting it into a subcategory folder. (as a practical matter, though, my Favorites are so unwieldy that they are but unusable).
2. Keep the newsletter in my Newsletters folder and apply a “flag to it” to identify that there is something in that email that I might want to look at in the future or simply use the all-but-inadequate “find” feature in Outlook.
3. Use Worldox, Enfish or another search program to find the email later.
4. Add a short post to my blog about it, with a link to the page (but it may not be “on topic” for my blog) or add it to an appropriate “links” page on my website.
5. Try to remember that I’ve seen something on this and search for it later.
6. Think about creating a Word document or a database into which I can copy items like this.
Ultimately, none of those really work.
Here’s what I think I want in a system that worked best for me:
1. Total ease of entry – not much more than copy-and-paste or copy and hit a “macro key”
2. A simple and easy to assign category system (“blog”, “IP Memes”, “Law Practice Today column”, “Article Ideas”)
3. Automatic indexing or strong search capacities
4. A way to assign keywords (probably)
5. A time stamp to show hold old or new an item is
6. A way to “browse” the clippings to see what’s there and get ideas
7. A way to see related items
8. An easy way to pull the information out, retaining any links and formatting. A bonus would be to parse and pull out the URL in the form of http://www.url.com. A super bonus would be to automatically parse and produce the HTML: “Description goes here
Here are my questions:
1. Assuming that the tool I use only needs to be local and private, what might be the best tool?
2. Assuming that the tool I use can be sourced on a third party server and accessible to me, but made private, and provide better functionality (i.e., meet more of the 8 requirements), what might the best tool be.
Here is my quick list for #1, but I really want to get the opinion of the experts.
1. I might email anything like this to myself and set up rules to put them into special Outlook folders or with Outlook 2003 set up saved searches.
2. I might create one or more Word documents and skillfully apply styles so that I can use the outline and document map functions.
3. I might use a bookmark tool such as PowerMarks to organize Favorites better (or switch to Mozilla), although I’ve been looking for the perfect bookmark management tool for years.
4. I might set up a new “unlisted” blog for myself and take advantage of categories.
5. I might try a personal Wiki, ideally one that would run locally (and with a built-in server component).
6. I might experiment with OneNote or Excel.
7. I might try a database, like Access.
8. I try AskSam, because it seems like I can do what I want without the overhead and learning curve of Access (but I already have a license for Access, so why not use it).
9. I might try a “clipping” tool, such as Snippy, or a “card file” type of program like AZZCardfile, both of which I have installed and need to try anyway.
10. I could throw everything into a folder, create a bunch of documents and just use a search tool – Enfish, Worldox, X1, to find stuff.
Or, something better.
There’s a part of me that says that a personal Wiki might be the solution that I’d most like to try. However, my real interest is getting something together that’s better than what I have (an Outlook folder for email newsletters, Favorites, and news bins in FeedDemon, and, as a practical matter, searching on the Internet because I forget to check one or more of those).
Ultimately, I’m looking for a personal KM tool rather than a collaborative tool, but I recognize that using something that could eventually be made collaborative would have a big upside.
OK, it’s a long question, but with the collective intellectual firepower on this list, I thought this might offer a good way to sum up the pros and cons of various approaches and help me find an answer to my own little dilemma.
Dennis
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I got a great answer back from Jim Hartman of AskSam Systems. I had already considered AskSam as an option, so I’ll look into that further. I also got a very interesting idea for OneNote and a response about personal Wikis. This confirms my suspicion that there may be a number of paths to take.
I have to believe that my issue is not unique.
So, I’m inviting you to help me find a really good solution. You can e-mail me with your recommendations. I’ll share the results of what I find and what route I decide to go.

The Surprisingly Negative Response of Bloggers to New Space Missions

Friday, January 16th, 2004

I have been greatly surprised by the overwhelmingly negative response I’ve seen from many bloggers about the proposed re-emphasis on Moon and Mars space missions. If any group would be in favor, I expected it to be bloggers in general.
The negative reaction has disappointed me. Today, however, I was cheered to see Tom Peters talk about his support of space exploration in his newsletter.
For me, no one has captured my position better than J. Michael Straczynski in Babylon 5:
“Is it worth it? Should we just pull back, forget the whole thing as a bad idea and take care of our own problems at home?”
“No. We have to stay here and there’s a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you’ll get ten different answers, but there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu and Einstein and Morobuto and Buddy Holly and Aristophenes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.”
- Mary Ann Cramer interviews Cmdr. Sinclair in Babylon 5: “Infection”

My 2004 Legal Technology Trends Article Is Out

Wednesday, January 14th, 2004

As an author, blogs give you an entirely new set of expectations, especially about time-to-publication. I have several new articles that I’ve written, but I am waiting until they first appear in print before I can blog them or put them on my website. The time lag is a little frustrating.
The first of these articles is now out. It’s my annual legal technology trends / predictions article, which is called “2004 Legal Technology Trends: Do We Stand on the Threshold of the Next Legal Killer App?” It appeared yesterday as a TechnoFeature on the must-read TechnoLawyer email list. I recommend that anyone even slightly interested in legal technology become a member (it’s free) of TechnoLawyer. I also am a regular contributor to the IP Memes newsletter that TechnoLawyer produces. (There will be some interesting news about that newsletter coming soon.)
My 2004 legal tech trends article is now also available on my website at http://www.denniskennedy.com/pred2004.htm.
The answer to the question in the subtitle, by the way, is yes, I think so; and it is the combination of Tablet PC, Microsoft OneNote, Wireless networking/Internet access and practice-specific software. The likely place we will see this happen is with litigators.
The article lists seven of my key trends for 2004:
1. Litigation Technology is Hot.
2. Stopping the Waste of Technology Dollars.
3. Big Firm Lawyers Go Small.
4. Blawgs and RSS Feeds.
5. The Impending Security Disaster.
6. Clients Fire Law Firms Due to Tech Shortcomings.
7. Are We On the Doorstep on the Next Killer App for Lawyers? The Tablet PC, WiFi, OneNote and Practice-Specific Applications.
I also add a few discussion questions.
I’m doing something a little different this year. The published version of the article is about half the length of the full version. The full version contains several more “big” trends and a few “small” trends to watch carefully, as well as a more complete discussion than is found in the published version. The full version will be available in either of two ways: (1) free to my clients or (2) as part of my new “eBook,” Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Primer, a collection of more than 100 of my articles on legal technology topics.
Stay tuned, because I plan to launch the eBook with a giveaway drawing for readers of this blog next week.
The material in this article will also make up part of my presentation on 2004 technology strategies for law firms at ABA TechShow 2004 and one of the seminars I’ll be offering this year.