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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 October, 2004

Australia Calling on Legal Technology

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

I’m forming an opinion that some of the coolest things happening in technology are being developed in Australia. Earlier this year, I had an amazing conversation with Rod Payne at Quickscribe about some of the cool things he’s working on in multi-media.
Tonight, I had a great conversation with two members of the management team at SpeedLegal about the current state of document assembly in the legal market. I’ve been dabbling in document assembly for about 15 years and have gotten to know a number of the leading experts in the field. There were points in our conversation this evening where I felt like we were completing each others’ sentences. I so much enjoy talking with people in the tech business who are doing cool things that show a deep understanding of both how people work and how best to help people accomplish what they want to do. I really like SpeedLegal’s approach.
I know that I’ll be keeping a much closer eye on what is happening in Australian technology. You might consider doing the same. The Internet makes the neighborhood you can live in so much bigger.

The Cure is Worse than the Problem

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

My trio of examples in the last 24 hours of how the tools designed to “protect” us have succeeded in making life even harder. Or, perhaps more accurately, more examples of how we live in a world where we are constant beta testers for unfinished programs.
1. I stand second to no one in the belief that spam filters have destroyed the reliability of e-mail. I sent an email to a lawyer yesterday about a potential referral I might send him. In a reasonable world, I could simply use a subject line of “Potential Referral.” Of course, we all know that an email with that subject line has about a 2% chance of making past spam filters. So, I spent about 5 minutes crafting a subject that might work and checking the language in the body of the message. The good news is that it made it through to my recipient. The bad news – I found the response accidentally from my colleague in my junk mail folder. In the meantime, of course, the spammers continue to develope techniques every day to stay ahead of the filters.
2. The pop-up blockers are making it impossible to use the Internet. Hey, want a Gmail invitation? I’d like to give you one but I can’t find a way to adjust the settings in either IE or Firefox to let me open the new window that contains the invitations. I actually run both IE and FireFox at the same time specifically to provide an alternative when the pop-up blockers kick in. I don’t need any instructions or tips – I’ve tried everything, including enabling pop-ups on the site and compromising my security settings to get some javascript windows to open. The best approach seems to be to try the other browser if one does not work. It’s not that I like pop-ups, but I can at least close them. The blockers keep me from using certain sites.
3. Here’s my new favorite. I was at a restaurant using the WiFi yesterday and tried to go to my brother’s website, http://www.plantingbythemoon.com, which covers a variety of gardening topics. However, a content filter blocked access to the site because it was an “occult” site! Good Lord! I supose I should be grateful that someone is protecting me from my ignorance about the dangers of viewing a site that discusses how to garden and grow herbs and other vegetables, but I trust my brother a helluva lot more than someone’s content filter. I don’t suppose the filtering company offers any compensation for the audience that they block from the site. Now I have a better understanding of why Howard Stern gets so nuts about the absurd and arbitrary bleeping he gets in various markets. Maybe someone can put together a “satellite radio Internet” where we don’t have to ride around with someone else’s idea of training wheels.

Hey, John Kerry Called Me!

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

I was a little worried that my negative reviews of John Edwards’ performance in last night’s debate might have knocked me off the Kerry-Edwards A-List. However, John left me a voice mail message personally inviting me to the post-debate party in St. Louis on Friday night.
It’s beginning – the relentless telespamming calls that make the periods before elections a living hell as the phone rings and rings. I’ve vowed to try to keep my cool in the next few weeks. I’m still feeling a little badly about how I snapped in the primary season and told some luckless volunteer that he had personally guaranteed by badgering me with his call that I would absolutely vote against his candidate.
On the other hand, we were all kind of impressed to hear John Kerry’s voice on the message. Perhaps he might record a personal answering machine message for us. President Bush, what’s the story? Don’t you have time to call us? My favorite of these calls is still when Barbra Streisand called me to urge me to vote for someone. Maybe they can set up a “please have one of these celebrities call me” list so we can hear from some of our favorite celebs.

Instant Debate Analysis

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

I pity the transcriptionist who has to try to punctuate John Edward’s stream-of-conscious statements. I was awash in a sea of buzzwords and catch-phrases as he rushed to include everything but the kitchen sink in each answer.
When I clerked for a trial court early in my career, I ran into a number of trial lawyers who gave rambling, stream-of-conscious summations as they flipped, seemingly randomly, through pages of legal pads. I remember watching in horror and wondering what they thought they were presenting to the judge and jury. I kept flashing back to those memories this evening. I see now why Edwards sticks to the same speech at every appearance.
I suspect that he probably made some good points, but I was lost in the high speed stream of conscious flow.
I also kept being reminded of the Dan Quayle debates, especially the one with Al Gore that was so surreal, but suspect that Quayle is celebrating that his performances no longer represent the nadir of these debates.
I suspect the contrast what just what the Republicans hoped for and what the Democrats feared.

How to Kill an IT Project

Monday, October 4th, 2004

The sad secret of many technology projects in law firms is that they have become time and money sinkholes. As hard as getting tech projects started may seem to technology-starved lawyers in many firms, it is even harder to get the plug pulled on bad tech projects that have no likelihood of success.
I commented on this phenomenon in my article “Seven Easy Ways for Law Firms to Throw Away Money on Technology.” Heck, I’d be happy to help you get rid of those projects – just the thought of them bugs me and I’m not even the one paying for them.
In an article called “How to Kill an IT Project,” ComputerWorld reports:
“Close to 40% of IT projects fail or are abandoned before completion, resulting in annual financial losses of more than $100 billion in the U.S. alone, according to the Center for Project Management. The center has developed a process called ProjectHALT to help identify and cancel doomed projects early.”
There’s a nice flow chart to help you evaluate your projects and make appropriate decisions. Sit down with your IT director, use this flow chart and add a pinch or two of courage and save some real dollars.

One Terabyte of Storage for $400

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004

For many years, one of my favorite technology newsletters has been The Harrow Report. Jeff Harrow recently made some comments about the rapidly falling price of hard drive storage, especially in terms of how the ready availability of one terabyte of storage had been sneaking up on us and had, incredibly, recently broken the $1,000 barrier.
$1,000 for 1 terabyte of storage beats the heck out of the $1,000 I spent on a 30 megabyte external hard drive for my Macinstosh SE many moons ago.
The price drops are happening so fast and furious that the $1,000 barrier has been shattered. The “cost for a terabyte” number has been falling so quickly in the last week or two that the $1,000 standard has been shattered.
From the incredibly useful DealNews.com comes the announcement of a deal that takes the price (after rebate) of one terabyte of hard drive capacity to an astonishing $400, assuming that you partner up with another “household.” Here’s the quote:
“**Western Digital 250GB IDE 8MB cache for $100 after rebate** – 9:38 am
Fry’s Outpost.com offers the Western Digital Caviar Special Edition
250GB IDE 8MB cache 7200 rpm hard drive, model no. WD2500JBRTL, for
$154.99. A $55 mail-in rebate yields a net price of $99.99, the
lowest we’ve seen by $10. Shipping starts around $5. Limit two per
household. Rebate ends October 5.
http://dealnews.com/newsdaily.html?article,73162
It looks to be fairly easy to break the $1,000 terabyte barrier by shopping Internet bargains, and you might even be able to beat the $400 number.
Jeff Harrow’s newsletter was originally called “The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing,” and his catchphrase is “Don’t blink!” In hard drive storage, both phrases are highly appropriate.
Now, we can begin to consider the ramifications of the availability of this amount of storage at these prices.

“Profiting from and Protecting Your Intellectual Capital”

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004

“Profiting from and Protecting Your Intellectual Capital” is the title of my upcoming presentation at the IMC Consultant’s University in St. Louis. My talk will be the most practical talk I’ve ever given about intellectual property, with lots of examples from my own experiences in writing, speaking and creating learning products.
The IMC Consultant’s University is traditionally the best one-day education seminar for consultants in the St. Louis area. The 2005 slate of programs look great. Here’s the info:
The Institute of Management Consultants – St. Louis announces:
The Second Annual…CONSULTANT’S UNIVERSITY…A full-day conference for management consultants who want to enhance performance and results!
When: October 15th 2004
Where: The Junior League, 10435 Clayton Road in Frontenac
Time: 8:00 to 4:30
Cost: $75.00 for members/$95 for non-members
Highlights:
. Two motivating general sessions
. Four sets of concurrent sessions to choose from . Lunch and energy breaks included . Vendor area . Lots of networking time . Receive valuable materials from sessions
GREAT TOPICS and TERRIFIC PRESENTERS:
Keynote Speaker: Linda Nash http://www.lindanash.com/ “Rhythm and Blues” – The ups and downs of the consulting business – Nationally known and televised personality.
Concurrent sessions so valuable it will be hard to choose:
“Effective Networking Skills” – Cheri Hanstein .
“Dealing with Difficult Clients” – Jan Daker
“Getting on The List”: “How to learn about and get government contracts” – Rich Fyke
“Powerful Questions” – Ron Moore
“Monopolize Your Market”: “Marketing the professional services firm” – Danette Kohrs
“Extra Hands or Trusted Advisor” – Jim Mittler
“Profiting from and Protecting Your Intellectual Capital” – Dennis Kennedy
“Mke Your Point Visually” – Wendy Gaunt
Closer: Mike Bitter http://www.bizresults.net/mbitter.html
“Now What?” – Avoiding FTI Disease – The #1 Killer of Great Endeavors – “The Failure to Implement Disease.”
3 EASY WAYS TO REGISTER:
CALL 314 416 2240
EMAIL info@imcstlouis.org
ONLINE www.IMCSTLOUIS.org
DEADLINE OCTOBER THE 8TH

My Two Cents on Last Night’s Debate: Dazed and Confused

Friday, October 1st, 2004

I’m really trying hard to understand this presidential election campaign, but it seems like a losing battle. I know that I’m definitely not part of the target audience of voters for this election, but, gee whiz, most of what I heard last night made no sense. Unfortunately, the post-game “analysis” only made things worse. I thought it might be therapeutic to get this stuff out of my head, so I can free up some space for other things.
So, here are my notes on last night’s debate.
Biggest Revelation
Realizing that John Kerry can best be understood as an example of the “trial lawyer” category rather than the “professional politician” category, as I had initially thought. He reminds me of the lawyers who oppose every single point, large or small, regardless of whether it is in the interest of his or her client to do so.
Strongest Accomplishment
Bush – Hammering the inherent difficulty of convincing other countries to participate in the “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time” and “colossal error of judgment.”
Kerry – Successfully making Bush irritated and angry and taking him off his game,
Second Strongest Accomplishment
Bush – Wrapping himself in the presidency, especially by stressing personal relationships with (in addition to knowing the names of) world leaders.
Kerry – “He speaks so well” – as strong and polished a performance as I’ve seen him do. The contrast between speaking styles of the two is especially striking in the audio excerpts. Bonus points: successfully getting Bush to say “nucular” on multiple occasions.
Biggest Negative
Bush – Leaving me with the nagging feeling that he is preparing to fight the prior war.
Kerry – Leaving me with the feeling that he is willing to say anything to become president.
Second Biggest Negative
Bush – Making me wonder whether he can listen to or take into account any opinion that doesn’t agree with his own.
Kerry – Is there anything he isn’t critical of? When you criticize everything, it’s unclear which points are really important.
Strongest Moments
Bush – 1. The complimentary comments about Kerry, especially about being a good father. 2. Struggling not to say “That’s crazy” after Kerry insisted on immediately opening bilateral negotiations with Kim Jong Il of North Korea.
Kerry – 1. Turning the “body armor” issue on which commercials have been hammering him into a strong criticism of Bush. 2. Finally getting the sense for good ways to use his military background to give credibility to his criticisms.
Weakest Moments
Bush – Not understanding that, even if the rules prevented reactions shots, the reaction shots would still be used.
Kerry – I initially thought Kerry had simply misspoken on his North Korea comments, but he then insisted on taking a position that undercuts the fundamental logic of his criticisms of Bush on Iraq.
Help Me Understand this Stuff
1. Which is it – global summit or unilateral approaches?
Kerry argues that his first move on Iraq would be to call a “global summit” and bring the leaders of the world together. His criticism of Bush’s failure to build a large enough coalition is one of his strongest points. Why in the world would he then undercut the whole argument by advocating bilateral negotiations with North Korea, especially when China, South Korea and others are already involved??? What matters in a president is “judgment”?
2. Pluck?
Did Kerry actually use the word “pluck” in his opening? I’d burst out laughing if anyone I knew used “pluck” to describe someone. It’s so . . . quaint.
3. “We’ve got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every day, and they’re blowing people up.”
I wrote down this John Kerry quote because I had no idea what he meant. Still don’t.
4. “I’ve worked with those leaders the president talks about, I’ve worked with them for 20 years, for longer than this president”.
I thought Bush was especially effective at one point in detailing his personal conversations with world leaders. Kerry said that he had been working with the same leaders for 20 years. Yeah, right. It’s a debating technique, but why bring your own credibility into question when your goal is to question your opponent’s credibility?
5. Get Out of the 1960s!
Maybe I’m too devoted a reader of John Robb’s Global Guerillas blog, but I don’t get the exclusive priority on nuclear proliferation. I’d like to hear something about the priority of defending against “cascading” infrastructure attacks, multiplying small soft target attacks, “swarming,” bioterror and the like. The focus on Vietnam is numbing to me – are we gearing up to fight the war that was two or three wars ago?
6.” Global Test.”
Don’t they have focus groups to help them avoid the use of terms like “global test”?
What’s My Take-away?
1. Two very flawed candidates.
2. Can either of these guys admit to making a mistake (other than a mistake in word choice)?
3. How do the “spinners” for each candidate sleep at night? Did they get a high enough price when they sold their souls?
My Advice for Debate 2
Bush
- Lose the suit, especially if the next debate involves audience participation. The whole campaign has been done in shirt sleeves and Bush looks uncomfortable in a suit.
- Ask where Kerry’s legislation implementing his plan is? I would have expected that, as a matter of strategy, Kerry would have spent the last few years proposing legislation that he could criticize Bush for not signing.
- Invoke Reagan and the Reagan legacy. The Giuliani convention speech is a good model to study.
Kerry
- Make the “presumptive close.” Begin to talk in terms of what you will be doing when you take office.
- Be positive about something. All I’m hearing is constant negativity and criticism of everything. The relentlessly negative attacks should come from the lieutenants, not Kerry. Again, the Giuliani convention speech is a good one to study. Look out the window – not everything in this country is terrible.
- The winning approach is to acknowledge the common goals, but to suggest better ways to get there. E.g., the common goal is justice, but there is a better way to get there than through John Ashcroft.
How to Tell If the Tide Has Really Turned for Kerry
Watch for the debut of Republican commercials using the video of Bush throwing the first pitch in the World Series and including the amazing video of Kerry bouncing the first pitch of a game from a month or so ago.
How to Help Me Out
Would someone focus on being a uniter and not a divider?