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 March, 2004

What Lawyers Need to Know About the Open Source Licenses

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

My new article on the Open Source licenses has appeared in the February 2004 issue of the Journal of Internet Law. The article is called “What Lawyers Need to Know About the Open Source Licenses.” It is the practical and in-depth article on the Open Source licenses that I’ve been wanting to write for several years. I’m pleased that it found a home in one of the most-read publications for computer lawyers.
Unfortunately, the Journal of Internet Law is a print publication only. However, I have eight extra copies of the issue in which the article appears. As a benefit for readers of my blog, I’ll send a copy of the issue to each of the first eight people whose e-mails requesting a copy I receive (dmk @ denniskennedy.com).
Otherwise, you may obtain reprints from the Journal of Internet Law, find a copy in a law library or, even better, obtain my original version of the article as part of my new “Practical Principles of Legal Tech and Tech Law (1996 – 2003)” CD – a collection of nearly 500 pages of my best articles in the PDF format.
I’ve also collected my well-known “online book” I call “Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Primer” and am also making that available in the PDF format. Both collections will soon be available from a number of sources as downloadable eBooks. Until then, you can obtain the collections in the old-fashioned way – by mailing me an order form with your check. If you are interested in licensing my original version of the article for distribution in your organization, please contact me. Because I do appreciate there is some irony involved here, I expect to make a version of the article available for free sometime later this year.
Remember that I keep a list of Open Source license law resources on my website at http://www.denniskennedy.com/opensourcelaw.htm.

David Allen’s New Blog

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Thanks to Buzz Bruggeman, Robert Scoble, and Jim McGee, I am now happily subscribed to organization guru David Allen’s new blog. I’m a long-time fan of David Allen’s approaches set out in his classic book, Getting Things Done, and I wrote about the GTD approach earlier this year in the context of the software tool, The MasterList.
Interestingly, in another example of blogsynchronicity, I was planning to write about and recommend Allen’s excellent e-mail newsletter and website in my blog today. In the post I planned, I was also going to point out Jason Womack’s GTD to Me blog, which covers Allen’s principles and provides excellent tips. As it turns out, Womack wrote about Allen’s newsletter today.
I’ve recently completed a more thorough and aggressive implementation of Allen’s principles than I’ve ever been able to do to this point. It’s amazing how making even a good faith attempt to follow Allen’s procedures reduces your level of stress and feeling of being overwhelmed. I’ll also confirm the comment Womack makes in his blog today that you can reduce the message count in your inbox to zero and feel good about doing so by using the basic principles.

The House Where I Grew Up

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

I love the satellite map sites like ACME Mapper. Here’s a view of the house where I grew up. It’s hidden by some big trees, but I recognized the whole neighborhood. Of course, growing up in a town of 5,000 people means I don’t have as much to remember as others of you might.
If you look two blocks to the east and across the street (facing the park), you will see the hospital where I was born (shortly before they stopped delivering babies there), which is now undergoing a restoration. If you zoom out a bit and go the proverbial mile east, you’ll see the schools I attended, walking a mile each way.
Do you recognize the house and neighborhood where you grew up as it now looks?

Tech Firms Cash In as Lawyers Plug In

Wednesday, March 10th, 2004

In what well could be the most optimistic article I’ve ever seen about the prospects for growing use of technology in the practice of law, USA Today’s “Tech firms cash in as lawyers plug in” paints a rosy picture for several companies in key legal technology areas.
While the article at times reads like a PR piece for some of the companies mentioned (not a bad thing at all for them), it’s most interesting for some of the statistics it provides:
“That’s a marketing bonanza for tech companies trying to boost revenue after the two-year tech-spending bust. Among law firms and other business service providers, 69% expect to spend more on tech this year than last, vs. 43% of all industries, new IDC research says.
Investors are taking notice. Venture-capital firms pumped $112 million into 11 tech start-ups aimed at the legal industry from 2000 to last year, MoneyTree Survey says.”
I don’t want to throw cold water on this article (I’ll let others do that, if they wish) because I think that anything that gets lawyers moving toward better use of technology is a good thing. However, I will caution any vendors (and VCs) looking longingly at the legal market to be highly careful about accepting the assumptions of this article at face value.
I’ve regularly talked with companies wanting to enter the “legal vertical,” as they commonly refer to it, over the past few years, and they’ll all tell you that I’ve given them a lot of things to think about, especially about the underlying business models and the common assumptions vendors like to make about how lawyers and law firms work. I used to do that for free, but now that I’m on my own, I offer that kind of analysis and advice as a service. Whether you talk to me or someone else, don’t dive into the legal market on the basis of what you might like to conclude from this article.
That said, the article does provide a good update of trends and what is happening. One of the most important trends is mentioned in passing – the reference to LexisNexis buying Applied Discovery. You don’t have to be too sharp of an observer to notice that LexisNexis and WestLaw have been buying up quite a few legal tech/service providers in the last couple of years. Where are they going? In what may one day be looked back on as one of the key milestones of legal tech in the early 21st century, the leaders of Lexis and WestLaw will sketch out their visions of the future in a special joint keynote presentation at ABA TechShow in two weeks in Chicago. There are also many other reasons to attend TechShow and I hope to see you there.

Lawyers Still Don’t Get the Metadata Problem

Thursday, March 4th, 2004

CNET’s article Document shows SCO prepped lawsuit against BofA is a textbook study of the potentially embarrassing (or worse) issue of lawyers circulating Word documents without removing metadata hidden in the document.
In this example, we get to see comments, revisions and, perhaps worst of all, an intended defendant that was later dropped from the suit that was filed. The only good news for the law firm involved is that the CNET article temporarily spared the firm the embarrassment of being named in the article. I’m betting that the name of the firm will become quite well known in the very near future.
Resources other law firms unaware of the metadata issue might want to check are:
EZ Clean – http://www.kklsoftware.com/products/ezclean/details.asp
Metadata Assistant – http://www.payneconsulting.com/public/products/ProductDetail.asp?nProductID=34
Office 2003/XP Add-in: Remove Hidden Data – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=144E54ED-D43E-42CA-BC7B-5446D34E5360&displaylang=en
Note to clients of law firms: Do you know what your lawyers are leaving in your documents?

Festering in My Head

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004

Tom Coates at Plasticbag.org has a great post called “Festering in My Head” that sums up exactly the way I was feeling after taking a mini-break from blogging.
He says:
“Because the longer you leave [blogging], the more pressure there is to make your return worthwhile, valuable, interesting. I am currently backlogged with about three weeks worth of things I feel I need to say – mostly about ETCon, but also about online communities, social software, ConCon and politics – but I know now that I’ll never manage to get most of it out onto the page. Had I not been so self-indulgent about making it perfect, then anything useful I had to say would actually be out there doing some limited good rather than festering in my head.”
Sometimes, the best is indeed the enemy of the good.