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. 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 October, 2004

Electronic Discovery Research Report from EDDix Released

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

My pal Michael Clark at EDDix, LLC sends me news of the release of their new research report called Electronic Discovery in Litigation: EDD Supplier Landscape. He describes it as “118 pages of solid, primary research and analysis.” Michael has tempted me with a free copy for mentioning the report on my blog, so don’t tell him that I would have mentioned it anyway. Details on purchasing the report are at
I’ve got to get into this electronic discovery book business. Both Michael’s report and my electronic discovery column co-author, George Socha, have published reports on electronic discovery this year that are priced a little bit higher than my $45 500-page eBooks. Maybe I should have consulted with them before pricing mine. I know who will be picking up the lunch check when I see both of them next.
Seriously, though, there is a crying need for good, solid information about what is happening in elecronic discovery. The market for and the impact of electronic discovery over the next few years will be ENORMOUS. Like the Socha Report, the EDDix report represents a major effort to bring some solid numbers and information into what has been a world of guesstimation. Great work!
George and I’s new electronic discovery column should be appearing very soon at It’s called “Eight Simple Steps for Doing Effective E-Discovery.” And, don’t forget about the great virtual roundtable of 18 experts on electronic discovery that appeared in Law Practice Today this summer, an article I edited that generated me lots of compliments, all of which are the result of the great work of the contributors.

The Dennis Kennedy 500 – Blog Posts, That Is

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

A little milestone.
I noticed that I passed the blog post number 500 milestone. That’s chump change for Howard Bashman, but it’s nice for me. It reflects well on meeting my original target of 3 to 5 solid posts per week.
Speaking of 500, last summer, I got the chance to take a special tour of the Indianapolis Speedway, riding around the track and seeing places most people don’t get to see. As I tell people, if you grew up in Indiana, as I did, or you are a racing fan, it doesn’t matter whether you are in a little tour bus, a race car, a bike or walking, when you first round turn four and see that big straightaway open up in front of you, you will definitely get goose bumps.
We also got the chance to get out of the bus at the start/finish line and have a picture taken kissing the original bricks at the starting line. Again, an amazing thing when, like me, you grew up with the Indianapolis 500 being such a big event.
So, now I’m at another 500 milestone. It’s cool, but the track tour was way cooler.
Remember, it’s still DennisKennedy.Blog Reader Appreciation Week. Return the survey and win a prize.

Interesting Speculations on CLE, Blawgs and Blawg Channel by Stephen Nipper

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

In the who was carbon copied on that memo department:
Stephen Nipper, in a fascinating post, raises some thought-provoking questions about the role blawgs, such as The Blawg Channel, which he specifically mentions, might grow to play in the world of continuing legal education and meeting minimum CLE credit requirements. A must-read.
It does make me wonder whether Stephen might have touched on some things that might already be in the works. Not that I’m saying that I mean anything by making that comment, of course.

Oh My! Omea!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

It’s pretty rare that I get excited about a software program when I first try it out, but the Omea Reader from Jet Brains definitely got my attention.
It uses a “dashboard” style of interface to handle bookmarks, feeds, newsgroups and contacts in one handy place and then lets you easily annotate, flag, link and organize all of this items through categories, views, rules and the like. It’s quite impressive and provides much of the functionality I’ve wanted to see in a personal knowledge management tool.
Here’s the description from Jet Brains:
“Omea is an extremely powerful yet simple to use Integrated Information Environment. With Omea, you can access, organize, and quickly search all your digital resources, including e-mails, syndicated Web feeds, instant messaging conversations, newsgroup articles, favorite web sites, personal contacts, and even locally stored files (.doc, .pdf, .txt, etc.), all in one easy to use composite interface that’s well organized and efficient to navigate.”
The Omea Reader is free since it is in its Public Beta phase (I crashed it a couple of times with some aggressive use, but I remained undeterred).
Thanks to Shimon Rura who lead me to Omea Reader.
I’ll give my usual caveat that your experience with any tool in the “personal KM” category will depend on your preferences and requirements. Omea, after just a few days, appears to hit a number of my biggest needs and has a tool set that fits me well. I’d like to see more than one color of flag, but I suspect that its rules and views will accomplish more than simple flagging can.
You might want to check this one out before fawning all over the Google Desktop, which struck me as being vastly overrated. I’ve liked the lightning fast LookOut for desktop search for quite a while. Google’s security and privacy track record still makes me wary of jumping into any Google release early on.

Announcing DennisKennedy.Blog Reader Appreciation Week

Monday, October 25th, 2004

As you probably already know, I’ve recently redesigned my website and blog. I am so pleased with the work Spry Legal Design has done to make the redesign a reality (thank you Corri and Lance).
There’s still some work I need to do on the site, but I wanted to give the redesigned site an “official” launch. The official launch date will be November 1, which will also be the official launch date of my two eBooks and at least one eBooklet. I’ll be doing a number of things on November 1 to make the launch official, so be sure to watch for the November 1 launch “event.”
As you may (and should) also know, this blog is very important to me. That’s another way of saying that the readers of this blog are very important to me. I read all the commentary that you do about the business and marketing aspects of blogs, but the true benefit of blogging is the friendships and relationships that grow out of your blogging efforts. It’s no more complicated than that. Well, there’s also the two turntables and a microphone thing.
As a pre-launch treat, I wanted to offer a thank you to my readers in a tangible way. I also wanted to give my readers a chance to give me some feedback. I also decided to have a little fun at my own expense and hope that longtime readers of my articles will get a chuckle out of the following title:
Five Ways DennisKennedy.Blog Will Show Its Appreciation For Its Readers Through November 1
1. Free eBooklet. Email me with your response to the survey below and I will email you for free the PDF file for my new eBooklet called “Preparing Your Law Firm for the Internet Era: 150 Steps Toward a 21st Century Practice of Law.”
2. Free NoteMap License. Follow the instructions here and Danielle Carwell at CaseSoft will give you the serial number and other info you need to obtain a free license to the great outlining tool, NoteMap. (If you are a litigator, check out CaseMap 5, an essential tool for litigators).
3. 33% Discount on eBook Bundle. My eBooks, “Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Primer: Best Technology Practices for Lawyers and Law Firms” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Legal Technology and Technology Law: Finding Your Way in the First Internet Era” are priced at US$45 each, or US$75 for both. If you note on your order form that you are a reader of my blog and send me the order form and your check on before November 1, your price for both will be US$50. You will also get the eBooklet for free if you send me your response to the survey below.
4. 10% Discount on Services. If you become a new client of mine before the end of 2004, simply mention that you are a reader of my blog and you will receive a 10% discount on my project fee or hourly fee.
5. 10% Discount on Seminars. If you retain me to provide one of my seminars before the end of 2004, simply mention that you are a reader of my blog and you’ll receive a 10% discount on my package fee (note that a 50% down payment is required to reserve a seminar date).
Instructions for Responding to the Survey.
Copy the survey questions below. Answer the questions. Either (1) paste your answers to the questions into an email message to me, or (2) mail me your answers along with your order form and check if you are ordering the eBook bundle.
DennisKennedy.Blog Reader Appreciation 2004 Survey
1. What do you like best about the website and blog redesign?
2. What improvement(s) would you like to see made to the website and blog?
3. Do you subscribe to the RSS feed for my blog?
4. What topics would you like to see me give more coverage to my blog?
5. What topics that I do not now cover would you like me to cover in my blog?
6. I am considering either category feeds or separate blogs for a number of topics. Do you have a preference for either method, or would you prefer to see my blog continue to collect whatever I want to write about all in one place and in one feed?
7. One of the reasons for the redesign was that people found it difficult to determine what I did or what services I provided. Do you believe that you have a good picture of the services I provide? What might I do to make the picture clearer?
8. I highly value the expertise, experience and suggestions of my readers. In terms of the services and products I’m offering and my business approach in general, what would you do differently if you were me?
9. If you were asked to describe DennisKennedy.Blog in one or two sentences, what would those sentences be?
10. As you may know, CaseSoft and Fios currently are sponsors of my blog. Consistent with current blogging practices, I have not yet placed ads or sponsor logos in my RSS feeds. Would you have an objection to the placement of tasteful, non-intrusive sponsor logos / taglines at the bottom of full-text posts made available through my RSS feed?
Thank you for your responses and thank you for being a reader of DennisKennedy.Blog.
- Dennis

John Kerry Narrowly Avoids Elmer Fudd Moment

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

When I first heard about John Kerry’s goose hunting extraganzer, the two words that flashed across my brain were “Elmer Fudd.”
In an era of campaigns that are so controlled, micromanaged and poll and focus group tested, it seemed impossible that any candidate would risk any event when any factor was not subject to complete control, let alone one that had so many factors out of control and all-but-invited a “Dukakis in the tank” moment or, worse, Jimmy Carter’s panicked paddle slashing at the rabbit that swam out to his canoe.
Reruns of cartoons of Elmer Fudd kept running through my head. Would Kerry make the mistake of wearing the classic Elmer Fudd hunting cap, a few sizes too large or too small? Even experienced hunters like Bob Knight have had hunting accidents. There are so many things that can go wrong.
What happened to his senior campaign advisors? Are they suffering from campaign fatigue?
I nervously awaited the news footage last night. I would have recommended bringing in a tailor for a custom-fitted hat and hunting outfit. However, even though the hat didn’t quite fit, he avoided the Fudd model. He hadn’t fallen, shot a wascally wabbit by mistake or anything else. Presumably there is some footage documenting that he is the one who actually shot the goose.
The choice of having one of the manservants actually carry the dead goose is open to some question, as is the wisdom of following up a resounding win in the Nickolodeon kid’s presidential poll with the potentially child-traumatizing scene of him shooting an innocent goose. There also was just a hint of Herman Munster on the hunt as he lumbered through the field, although that’s a subtle observation that says more about my childhood TV habits than about the candidate.
So, I say bravo! Here’s to taking a bit of a risk and stepping outside the totally controlled glass box of today’s politics. Bravo, too, for showing that you can shockingly offend the Hollywood PETA and Vegan movement with nary a concern of risking their votes.
Bravo, too, for me in my effort to reach a number 1 ranking in Google for a search on John Kerry and Elmer Fudd.

Ten Tips For Effectively Managing Open Source Software Legal Risks for Businesses

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

I’m giving a presentation next week on legal issues businesses must consider when jumping into the world of Open Source software. For the handout materials, I’ve written a new article I’m now calling, until something snappier comes to mind, “Best Legal Practices for Open Source Software: Ten Tips For Managing Legal Risks for Businesses Using Open Source Software.”
My approach is my usual one – avoid the relentless nay-saying and theorizing that many lawyers are known for and try to establish a basis for making informed decisions that reasonably manage legal risks in the context of sound business decisions. Don’t get me wrong, debating philosophy and theory has its place, but I’m the more practical kind.
I haven’t decided yet how and where I’ll publish this article (inquiries welcomed), but I thought I’d excerpt some of it here as a bit of a teaser. The result has a little bit of a Zen feel in comparison to the full article. The full article will be available to attendees of my presentation.
The following ten tips are intended to help you deal with some of the big legal and practical issues. They are, of course, not intended to cover all issues, but they will give you a good checklist to help guide your discussion and make good decisions.
1. Understand the Different Approaches That the Open Source Licenses Take. It is important not to think about the Open Source licenses in monolithic terms.
2. Pay Special Attention to the General Public License. If you choose only one thing to have policies about and require special review of, it should be the General Public License.
3. Remember the Source Code. In simplest terms, the biggest difference between Open Source software and commercial software relates to the source code of the program.
4. Make Reasonable Comparisons with Commercial Software. It’s easy to find frantic concerns about Open Source software over reasons that apply just as easily to commercial software.
5. Think in Terms of Choosing, Rather Than Negotiating, Open Source Licenses. As frustrating as it can be to lawyers, the best approach is to evaluate the available choices and weigh the consequences, not to think in terms of ways to tinker with or improve the terms of agreements.
6. Do Not Confuse Open Source with Public Domain. Make no mistake – Open Source software is real intellectual property that is governed by a real license that puts limits on your rights and imposes certain obligations.
7. Inventory and Assess What You May Already Be Using. It has become very important for both business decision-makers and lawyers to have a good understanding of the technology issues, including what the software does and the alternatives available.
8. Open Source Use Requires Open Source Training. Knowing the right questions to ask is half the battle, but IT staff, contract negotiators and legal personnel, including outside lawyers, must be trained on the legal issues involved with Open Source as well as on the policies and procedures that you decide to take.
9. Reasonable Policies and Procedures Are Not Optional. Many business people believe that if you give a lawyer a look at a business process and he or she will find the need for a written policy. However, a reasonable, evolving set of policies and procedures crafted to fit the business needs and corporate risk comfort level of your company will invariably be the best approach to take.
10. Treat Open Source Policy as a Team Game. If the lawyer only looks at the legal issues and the CIO looks only at the IT issues, you increase the likelihood of finger-pointing when an unexpected, but quite predictable, bad result occurs.
Don’t be an Open Source ostrich. Addressing this area from a reasonable knowledge base, with your eyes wide open, only makes good sense in today’s business environment. These ten tips will help you get your Open Source house in order and pave the way for effective and wise use of Open Source software with your legal risks kept within your level of comfort.

Interested in Exhibitor / Sponsor Opportunities at ABA TECHSHOW 2005?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

As you may know (especially after reading the two companion posts), I’m on the Board for ABA TECHSHOW 2005, by any measure one of the premier legal technology conferences held annually.
If you sell legal technology products or services, let me make this personal request that you put TECHSHOW on your list of conferences to consider for exhibitor/sponsor participation in 2005. TECHSHOW is well-known for its emphasis on education and the large number of attorneys who attend TECHSHOW. In addition, a large proportion of the authors, speakers and thought leaders in legal tech will be found at TECHSHOW (one of the factors that makes TECHSHOW so much fun for me).
The general sponsor/exhibitor info you need to get started can be found at
I also want to highlight the Technology Training Institutes we debuted in 2004. The TTIs were very popular and well-received and give vendors an opportunity to provide extended demos, presentations and Q & A sessions for attendees who visit exhibit booths or develop interests from other sessions and want to learn more about specific products. See for more info.
You are more than welcome to contact me with questions, but because I ‘m not involved in the sponsor/exhibitor sales process, I’ll quickly reach a point where my knowledge ends and I’ll turn you over to the appropriate contacts.

Have Some Ideas for Sessions Topics for TECHSHOW 2005?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

As you may know, I’m on the Board for ABA TECHSHOW 2005, by any measure one of the premier legal technology conferences held annually.
As we look to finalize the schedule for TECHSHOW 2005, I’m interested in collecting any good ideas for sessions topics that people may have. I feel that our working list is very strong, but I also would like to get a sense of what topics are “hot” or of special interest today so we might make appropriate adjustments.
In addition, if you have feedback on TECHSHOW 2004 or other ideas, comments or suggestions for TECHSHOW 2005, please send them to me and I’ll carry them to the Board.

Interested in Speaking at ABA TECHSHOW 2005?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

As you may know, I’m on the Board for ABA TECHSHOW 2005, by any measure one of the premier legal technology conferences held annually.
We will soon be finalizing the sessions and speakers. I always like to make an extra effort to learn about new (or former) speakers we might consider for 2005.
Let me first make this DISCLAIMER. I’m only one of nine votes and speakers are selected by the Board as a whole.
If you’d like me to add you to my list of potential speakers, get me the following information:
+ Short bio, listing relevant experience/expertise, prior speaking engagements, et al.
+ A list of topics you can speak on, arranged more or less in order of your preference and/or strengths. TECHSHOW speakers are generally expected to speak in two sessions.
I’ll take it from there and can answer any questions.
Please note that we prefer to use lawyers and others in the legal profession as speakers when possible and, in most years, employees or reps of vendors will not be selected as speakers. However, we do have Tech Training Institute sessions that are intended to be vendor-specific that can be purchased by vendors. The TTI sessions can feature vendor reps and employees and were very well-received when we introduced the concept last year. For more info on TTI sessions, see