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 December, 2004

New Issue of Law Practice Today Posted – The Future of the Practice of Law

Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

The new issue of the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s webzine, Law Practice Today is out, with a theme of the future of the practice of law.
There’s a great roundtable article (I’m pretty sure I guessed who the mystery panelist is), other related articles and the usual excellent collection of columns and core section articles. I’ve written a short column about good Internet resources on the future of the practice, which notes how vibrant and lively the blog world is in comparison with the world of standard websites, especially on topics like this one.
Recommended reading as you consider what directions to go in 2005 and beyond.

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog and Other Resources

Monday, December 27th, 2004

Via Xeni Jardin:
The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog is blog devoted to providing news updates and other information about the Tsunami.
Other links and resources:
Another World is Here
Marcus Zillman has put together a list of useful resources.
Wikipedia on the Tsunami
Evelyn Rodriguez’s Close Call and a follow-up.
Lost Remote’s Links
Molly.com
There are many good reasons to buy a copy of FeedDemon, but Nick Bradbury’s donation pladge is another very good one.
The Command Post – How to Help
Via Scoble, another first-hand report from Andrew Sutton.
Jeff Ooi – Lots of good info about ways to help.

Sriram Krishnan’s touching post
.
Scoble’s other finds may be found at his linksblog.
Steve Rubel has a number of excellent posts with good links.
The Media Drop has a list of links.
Waypath’s Aggregation of Blog Posts on Tsunami News
Om Malik – also includes links to some of the well-known bloggers who I may not have mentioned in this post.
The Belmont Club on a Pearl Harbor Analogy
From Watermark:
“Tsunami
23,000 dead, and the toll still climbing.
God put out her hand and shook this world like a snow globe.”
What I was I thinking when I made casual references to the “information tsunami” when I spoke about email management topics this year? Those comments seem pretty silly now. I’m still trying to comprehend the notion that this earthquake changed the rotation of the earth, in addition to the devastation it brought. Let’s try to find ways to help.

Dennis Kennedy’s 2004 Legal Blogging Awards

Sunday, December 26th, 2004

The end of the year is a time for awards and lists. I have decided to announce the initial version of Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Blogging Awards, which I have nicknamed the Blawggies. The name Blawggie is based on the well-known word “blawg” coined by Denise Howell and often used when referring to legal blogs.
I have seen a number of blogging awards based on popular vote. In each case, I’ve seen candidates for the awards all but begging for their readers to vote early and often.
The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or scientific measures. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes.
In general, I like to see blogs (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment and talent. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis. I read almost all blog posts in a newsreader these days, so the awards will reflect a bias toward blogs with full-text RSS feeds as well as all of my other biases and personal preferences.
Here are the 2004 winners and runners-up for each category in the Dennis Kennedy Legal Blogging Awards.
1. Best Overall Legal Blog.
Winner: BeSpacific.com – Sabrina Pacifici
Runner-up: Inter-Alia.Net – Tom Mighell
Comments: I can’t even count the number of conversations I had in 2004 with other legal bloggers where the question of “what is the best legal blog” came up. The overwhelming consensus was that Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific.com was not only first on the list, but it was first by a wide margin. We all admire Sabrina’s professionalism, hard work and consistently excellent content. Tom Mighell’s Inter-Alia.Net receives second place in 2004. I usually tell bloggers-to-be to look at Tom’s blog to get a good idea of how to post quality content on a regular basis. Inter-Alia.Net provides a steady stream of useful information and Tom’s generosity in mentioning the blogs of others is unparalleled.
2. Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog.
Winner: The Trademark Blog – Martin Schwimmer
Runner-up: George’s Employment Blawg – George Lenard
Comments: Any lawyer or firm thinking about starting a blog would be well-advised to study each of these blogs. Marty Schwimmer covers trademark law with an excellent eye for relevant content and his trademarked wit. The Trademark Blog is a great example of a way lawyers can speak in a plain voice to both a legal and non-legal audience in an engaging way. He’s so good that most of us don’t even blog about trademark developments because we know Marty will do it better. George Lenard has developed a great plain-spoken style and filled the George’s Employment Blawg with lots of useful information designed to help readers deal with real-world issues. It’s another model that bloggers in other practice areas should study carefully.
3. Best New Legal Blogger.
Winner: The [Non]billable Hour – Matt Homan
Runner-up: LawTech Guru – Jeff Beard
Comments: With a variety of innovative approaches and consistently useful content, Matt Homann not only made us think, but he also exploded onto the legal blog scene in 2004. He is one of the few legal bloggers to have posts consistently picked up outside the legal blogosphere. His Five by Fives and other features have raised the bar for the types of content that should be expected from legal bloggers. If Jeff Beard wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking about starting his blog, he would have been a 2003 blog rather than a 2004 blog. In this case, the blog was worth the wait. LawTech Guru gives us a steady stream of Jeff’s useful reviews and helpful insights into the application of technology and business principles to the practice of law.
4. Best Legal Blog Sectors
Winner: The Intellectual Property Blogs
Runner-up: Legal Tech and Law Practice Management Blogs
Comments: There are some subject matter areas of legal blogging that are especially strong. It makes it difficult to single out one blog. In 2004, no category of legal blogs was stronger than the intellectual property law blogs. You can easily find twenty excellent blogs and these blogs have played influential roles in proposed legislation and driving the discussion of intellectual property issues. The other category is a category that can be loosely termed “law practice management” blogs. These blogs range from the previously-mentioned LawTech Guru to Adam Smith, Esq. to knowledge management blogs to MyShingle.com to my own blog. In both of these categories, you will find consistently useful and topical information, provided by bloggers with the ability to explain complex ideas and new concepts in plain language.
5. Funniest Legal Blogs
Winner: Notes from the (Legal) Underground – Evan Schaeffer
Runner-up: Anonymous Lawyer – Jeremy Blachman
Comments: Both of these bloggers would be in the running for a hardest-working blogger award, since they both author multiple blogs. Evan has been able to sustain a consistent high level of humor all throughout 2004. Jeremy, who recently decided to reveal his identity, is much more inconsistent than Evan, but delivered some good laughs at the expense of big firms. I personally think it was a mistake for Jeremy to give up the anonymity and wonder whether it will prove to be the end of his blog, but he didn’t ask my opinion.
6. Best Legal Blogging Experts
Winners (tie): Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighell
Runners-up (tie): Kevin O’Keefe, Jerry Lawson
Comments: I know that I named myself, but, darn it, I really get this blogging thing, or, more so, the RSS feed piece of the blogging thing. Tom Mighell is my main “go to” person on blogging because his level of knowledge and understanding impresses the heck out of me. If you ever get the chance to hear Tom speak, you should make sure that you take advantage of the opportunity. Another blogging expert I bounce ideas off of is Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog. Kevin is one of the lawyers who pioneered the use of the Internet and I’ve respected his opinions for years. We have slightly different approaches to blogging based on our histories of using the Internet, so I always learn something from his perspective and his insights. Jerry Lawson is the guru on everything related to the use of the Internet by lawyers. He’s been busy on other things most of this year or he’d have probably walked away with this award.
7. Best Legal Blog Trends
Winner: Group Blogs
Runner-up: Law Librarian Blogs
Comments: The Blawg Channel is a good example, but 2004 saw the appearance of a number of group blogging experiments by both new bloggers and long-time bloggers. I like this trend because it offers the potential providing better content to a bigger audience and may open up revenue opportunities. The law librarian blogs also demonstrated once again how the content management skills, professionalism and generosity of librarians translate so well on the Internet.
8. Legal Blog Trends to Avoid
Winner: Flashy Entry/Quick Exit Blogs
Runner-up: Who Am I Blogs
Comments: I can almost predict which new legal blogs will last for any significant length of time. There is generally an inverse relationship at play: the splashier and noisier the launch, the quicker the fade into silence, especially if law firms are launching a blog strictly for marketing purposes. A shocking percentage of legal blogs do not last longer than a month or two. Blogging is hard work, especially if you don’t have a good understanding of what you are getting into. I’d like to see more blogs launched with at least a one-year survival plan. The second trend I’d like to see more people avoid is the “cleverly named” blog approach, often where it is difficult to determine who is the author or how to contact the author. For better or worse, people know who is the author of my blog. I occasionally have exchanges of email with people who I only later learn are the authors of blogs I read. Blog naming reminds me of the early days of Compuserve, AOL and the Internet where people used nicknames for email addresses. Using a clever name can cause all kinds of issues as time goes on.
9. Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Ernie the Attorney – Ernest Svenson
Bag and Baggage – Denise Howell
Comments: Most of us would not be blogging if not for the inspiration Ernest and Denise gave us and the models and standards they created for good blogging. Many of us would also not be blogging well if not for the actual advice and help that Ernest and Denise routinely and generously give to people. They’ve been clearing the path and leading the way for a long time. It’s easy to take them for granted as we flit from new blog to new blog, but the Blawggies do not take them for granted.
And there they are – the 2004 Blawggies. The cool thing about blogging is that if you don’t like them, you can create your own and post them today. I don’t mind if you do. The point, after all, is to recognize and publicize those who are doing the best work and bring the ones you are not familiar with to your attention and, I hope, the ones I am not familiar with to my attention.
Onward to 2005, when legal bloggers will really rock the legal world. I guarantee that.

“EDD Supplier Landscape” – Required Reading about the Business of Electronic Discovery

Sunday, December 26th, 2004

I’ve spent a lot of time this year reading and having conversations with experts and vendors about the electronic discovery market and where we are headed. I’ve felt that information on the electronic discovery market is, for the most part, anecdotal. It’s difficult to put your hands on anything like hard numbers or to pull together direct evidence to support trends that many of us commonly accept as true.
“EDD Supplier Landscape” from EDDix, LLC represents a welcome step toward giving us the data we need to understand what is happening in the world of electronic discovery.
“EDD Supplier Landscape” is EDDix’s first in a series of research projects and analytical reports on the business of electronic discovery. It gets the series off to a very strong start. EDDix has gotten the answers to many of the questions that everyone interested in electronic discovery has been asking.
I was impressed both by the reasonable and even-handed approach to interpreting the numerical data gathered from the surveys of vendors that form the basis for much of the report and the insightful conclusions that the report draws from this data. This careful approach to the underlying numbers gives the conclusions the great impact they have. It’s nice, for a change, not to see conclusions based on extrapolations on the high range of the data that most favors those conclusions.
For example, during 2004, I’ve heard many people throw around the idea that electronic discovery could be a billion dollar business. This report is the first place I’ve found where someone shows how you can reasonably arrive at that number.
I found many valuable nuggets of information all through the report. Let me note that while, by a 2 to 1 margin, law firms make the selection of EDD providers, in the majority of cases the projects are awarded on a non-competitive basis, in many cases without even a request for proposals. The survey responses also indicated a belief that 75% of the AmLaw 200 law firms did not have the expertise to handle a complex electronic discovery case.
I also found new ways of looking at the business of electronic discovery that are quite helpful in understanding developments in the industry.
For example, I think that there is much to be gained from thinking in terms of the report’s underlying theme that EDD is a market, not a standalone industry. In that market we are simultaneously likely to see consolidation at the top and significant expansion at the bottom of the market as new providers move into the EDD market. Yet, as the report notes, EDD is a surprisingly non-competitive market.
The information I found in the report made for compelling reading, but the informal and engaging style also helped. I especially like the comments on why the acronym EDD is used for “electronic discovery.” The report also makes excellent use of graphs and charts.
I was so impressed with the report that I called Michael Clark at EDDix to tell him how good it was and to thank him for getting a copy to me. We talked for a while about the EDD market and I pitched him about setting up a way to give readers of this blog a discount if they bought the report. He seemed pretty responsive and I’m hoping that I’ll have some news on that in the next day or two.
I’ve had a good number of calls from EDD providers in the last few months wanting to pick my brain about the EDD market, so I know many companies, law firms and individuals are doing research these days.
Based on my own experience at trying to track down good information, I can tell you that you will not find any better starting point than “EDD Supplier Landscape.” You will save enough time to more than pay for the report.
Any EDD provider who wants to grow and capture a bigger share of this market must read this report.
Lawyers and large litigation clients will also find much of value in this report. In the case of the discussion of the changing locus of decision-making, law firms will be well-advised to study the results and the implications for the survival of firms who do not develop strategies to address the issues raised by EDD.
“EDD Suppliers Landscape” is, by a significant margin, the most important work on the electronic discovery business I’ve read to-date and I’m looking forward to the upcoming reports on other aspects of the EDD industry.

What the Blue Man Group, Matt Homann and I Have in Common

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004

Matt and I spent some time together Monday shooting a marketing video for Intel’s Centrino group and HP on the benefits of mobile computing for lawyers.
I took a minute during the interview portion to make some pointed remarks about the worst idea in legal technology – the efforts (that should be resisted by any lawyer who cares about technology or his or her work!) by some firms and IT departments to roll their lawyers back to desktop computers only. I’m sure my sermonizing will end up on the cutting room floor, but I felt better for getting it on tape.
On Monday evening, I noticed the Blue Man Group doing a commerical for Intel’s Centrino technology and thought, hey, I’m just like them, except that I’m less known, not on TV and not painted blue.
However, I completely lost my voice this afternoon from laryngitis. I think that makes me more like the Blue Man Group than Matt is, at least today.
We had fun working on the video and got to work with a great team – thanks especially to Melinda, Gail, Caleb and Lisa for putting this project together and letting us be the “talent” for a production.
I believe that the video will be used primarily for internal purposes, but it might appear on the Internet at some point.
Matt is right about the Tablet PC. Once you get your hands on one, it’s hard to let go. They make so much sense for lawyers.

Announcing LexThink! Chicago

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

What do you get when you bring together a select group of innovative, big-thinking people from the worlds of law, business, technology, marketing, and consulting for a full day and ask them to design the perfect professional service firm?
We call it LexThink! Chicago.
Innovate. On April 3, 2005, we will turn the Catalyst Ranch space in downtown Chicago into laboratory space for a group of innovators and thought leaders. We’ll create and test ideas for transforming the delivery of professional services, to better match the needs of professionals and their clients alike. With a full day of targeted presentations, small group discussions, collaborative brainstorming and other exercises, we will will mix innovative business practices with proven client service strategies and promising technology applications to create the formula for the perfect professional services firm. The focus of every conversation will be on turning talk into action, and bold ideas into realities.
Motivate. Attendees will take away dozens of practice-changing ideas while making many new friends. LexThink! Chicago will be a chance to meet in person bloggers, authors and speakers that have motivated and challenged us over the years. Spending a day with this group will generate renewed energy and enthusiasm and give you a new action list for making the changes you want in your practice, your business and your life.
Activate. In too many cases, the surge of enthusiasm from an inspirational conference drains away steadily as you return to the real world. LexThink! Chicago is designed to create extended relationships, with opportunities for structured feedback and continuing discussions, social support, and ongoing motivation to transform your practice. The collaborative experience will continue with ongoing discussion groups, monthly conference calls and other ways to connect with LexThink! alumni.
LexThink! Chicago is the brainchild of well-known lawyer bloggers Matthew Homann, Dennis Kennedy and Scheherazade Fowler, who have been thinking (and blogging) about ways to make meaningful changes in their professional practices. LexThink! Chicago grew out of one of their brainstorming sessions and their own “what if” questions.
To permit meaningful participation, to generate the best conversations, and to work within the limitations of the creative space we’ve reserved, participation in the first LexThink! Chicago will be by invitation-only. We’re limiting it to a select group of professional service providers—lawyers, accountants, consultants, strategists, coaches, technologists, marketers and entrepreneurs.
If you are interested — or know someone who might be — get in touch with us soon by e-mailing Matt Homann at homann@gmail.com. We will send out the invitations before the end of December, so make sure you let us know about your interest as soon as you can. We are seeking sponsors for LexThink! Chicago and expect to set the registration fee at less than $200 per attendee.
Many people always ask “Why?” There are also some who ask “Why not?” We’re the second kind. How about you?

The Savvy Blawgger Panel, Version 1.0

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

Bruce “Adam Smith, Esq.” MacEwen has launched the first iteration of his Savvy Blawger Panel, a feature in which he poses important questions to a panel of, well, savvy blawgers. This edition looks into the future and the question was:
“Looking out five to ten years, what will the single most significant change be in terms of how sophisticated law firms (think AmLaw 200) are managed, on the ‘business side’?”
There are some great ideas and I highly recommend you study the answers carefully.
I’m one of the panelists and comment on the vital importance of diversification in its different forms by saying:
“The most significant change for successful firms will be the development of a diversified, portfolio approach to the various businesses of a law firm – services, products and licensing of intellectual property – in a much more diversified environment of people and outside partnerships.”
I know that some of my readers will be surprised that, for once, I have one of the shortest comments in the collection.
I’ll note that Bruce mentions “Capital Asset Pricing Model” in introducing my comment, but I’m thinking in terms of modern portfolio theory, which I’ve written and spoken about on a number of occasions.

My Late Night Conversation with Elvis Presley

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

One of our holiday traditions for the last several years has been attending a holiday party hosted by the parents of one of my daughter’s classmates. They are generous and gracious hosts and I’ve never met anyone who enjoys entertaining others more than they do. We always have a lot of fun and it helps set the tone for the season.
At their typical party, you’ll find, in addition to a large number of great people, diversions ranging from magicians and musicians to palm readers and handwriting analysts to a Marilyn Monroe and an Elvis Presley impersonator.
For several years, people have carried on about how great the Elvis impersonator was. He looked the part and he certainly can sing the part, but I’m a little reserved when it comes to talking to a guy playing Elvis. However, people told me that this guy was amazing because of how well he knew his facts and how he never ever broke character.
Last Saturday night, I was at this year’s party, sitting and talking with a group of people around a table. The chair next to me was open after someone left and Elvis came and sat down in the chair. Despite what you might think later, Elvis and I were the ones at the table not drinking.
I resisted my natural “flight” impulse and decided to hang in there.
People proceeded to hit Elvis with all kinds of questions and I’ll be darned if he didn’t answer them all completely in character. It’s an odd thing sitting with someone who is telling you a detailed, fascinating, first-person account of Elvis’s meeting with Richard Nixon at the White House and finding the story absolutely compelling.
He also told a great story of the only meetings between the Beatles and Elvis. Since it was getting late, people gradually left to go home. Eventually, there were three guys at the table – Elvis, another school parent and me.
I recently finished reading a great collection of articles on Johnny Cash. To my surprise, I heard myself asking Elvis about his relationship with Johnny Cash. His answers to my questions were so compelling that I decided to move into the state Coleridge called “the willing suspension of disbelief.”
I decided to ask the questions that I was most interested in about Elvis, as if I actually had the chance to talk with Elvis.
In short, I asked about the music.
So, for what was probably close to an hour, I had a wide-ranging discussion with Elvis about the music. We talked about the band members, the history of the bands he used, guitars he and Scottie Moore and James Burton used, the Southern tradition of “rendering” songs (I’m fascinated that Elvis never really wrote any of the songs he performed), the role of the Mississippi region as both the source of the delta blues and country/rock and roll, what I refer to as country acoustic gospel music, the role of the Stax sound in Elvis’s music, Motown, Graham Parsons, the 1968 comeback show, the Million Dollar Quartet, Roy Orbison, the Carter family and lots of talk about Johnny Cash. The term “wide-ranging” is an appropriate descriptor.
Although I haven’t done this for a few years, I used to try every year to “learn” an important musician (e.g., my Duke Ellington year) by listening to a lot of the music and doing a lot of reading. I had already decided that 2005 was going to be my Johnny Cash year, although after my conversation with Elvis, I might refer to it as my John Cash year – it seems more respectful. I admire Elvis’s way of respecting people.
I must admit that when Elvis was urging me to make 2005 my John Cash year and suggesting the albums I should get, I got the feeling that, although this might seem like a bizarre event to some, it was, in its way, quite magical. It was like getting a personal version of a great documentary in the form of stories from someone who actually “saw” what happened. I’ve wished from time to time that I could “master” a single subject to the kind of depth this Elvis had, but people tell me that my gift is the opposite one – the ability to understand and explain many things and to see the connections between seemingly dissimilar things, but with a push and a willingness to move on and explore new things on a regular basis. How many other lawyers do you know who figured out ways to work in a discussion of Twyla Tharp into presentations on several different legal technology topics last year? That night, however, I was getting the point of view of a master of a subject.
Eventually, someone came up to ask the most commonly asked question that I heard: what does Elvis think of his daughter marrying Michael Jackson? The answer, if you care, is that Elvis realizes that you can’t micromanage your children’s lives.
Anyway, it came to be time to leave and Elvis thanked me for giving him to chance to have that kind of conversation. I agreed that it had been great, really great. He encouraged me to get those last John Cash albums, but to get some of the early stuff too. We shook hands and I realized that, even though Elvis never broke character during the whole time, he almost broke character at that point. I actually broke my own character of being the reserved guy who thought he was too cool to play along. There was a point where I consciously chose to stop saying “Did Elvis . . .” and instead asked, “Did you . . .,” which I did out of respect for the quality of the performance and how impressed I was with the thoroughness of his knowledge and the obvious respect he has for Elvis.
I don’t know that I have to make a point with this story. It makes its own points. Once again I learned to move past some of my preconceptions and be a little more open to new experiences. Perhaps more important, whether someone is impersonating Elvis or blogging or whatever, you can find true art and artists in unexpected places if you are willing to see things in new ways and respect the integrity, work and vision people put into any number of non-traditional forms. In many cases, it can be an unappreciated and lonely art – Elvis walked off into the cold night by himself – but, given a chance, it can be as vital and touching as anything you’ll ever find. If you’ve read all the way to this point, I know that you agree. Let it rock.

Jeffrey Rosen Gets All Mixed Up About Blawgs, Blogging and Other Things

Monday, December 20th, 2004

Professor Jeffrey Rosen, apparently unnerved by the success of Matt Homann’s write-in campaign to be named as of the “Top 20 Legal Thinkers,” has launched a publicity-seeking missile in a wide-ranging attack on a range of blogging targets with his recent article in the New York Times Magazine.
Unfortunately, as a mere practicing lawyer, I was unable to follow or understand most of the article. However, Rosen did paint a view of the blog world that was new to me. He set up quite a number of straw men and mowed them right down. Mainly, I was left wondering what he could possibly be saying to his students that had him so worried about them blogging about him. That’s more a criticism of me, of course, than it is a criticism of his article, which I’m sure that I’d find quite good if I could understand it.
I know this is petty, but I took a secret pleasure in seeing the Treo 650 called the “Trio 650″ in an article criticizing the loose standards of bloggers in comparison to the high standards of the lords of journalism. I also enjoyed that in an article focused on privacy, Rosen managed to give away the secret that two anonymous bloggers are students at his law school. Oops. Note that Rosen is actually listed as an official candidate for one of the Top 20 Legal Thinkers, unlike popular write-in candidate, Matt Homann who was left off the list, as were practicing lawyers in general.
I had more concern, however, for the unfortunate impact of the article, which seems to have successfully garnered a lot of publicity (what diatribe against blogging won’t these days?), on fellow Blawg Channeler and legal blogging pioneer, Denise Howell.
As many bloggers, but not all nominees for Top 20 Legal Thinkers such as Rosen, know, Denise has long been known and credited for coining the term “blawg.” I can understand that there might not have been enough room in this extremely long article (4 separate sections on 4 separate pages, with a long, long animated ad to sit through) to mention Denise by name.
However, it would have been nice to get the definition right. “Blawgs” are most definitely not limited to blogs written by law students, as Rosen and the fact-checking team at the NYT Magazine might lead you to believe. The general definition of “blawg” is “a web log written by lawyers and/or concerned primarily with legal affairs.” Denise is far too generous and inclusive a blogger to have intended the limited definition used by Rosen. In fact, someone less generous and inclusive than Denise might even suggest that some of the law student blogs cited by Rosen might not, in fact, meet the definition of “blawg.”
So, the term Denise coined gets mentioned without attribution to her and mis-defined in an article that offers the back of the hand to bloggers and appears in a prominent and high profile print publication. The great irony, of course, is there is now a good chance that Jeff Rosen will soon be cited as the source of the definition of “blawg” with the citation noting the definition he uses in his article. Oh, where is the justice?
I’ll keep my eyes open for a”clarification,” but, in the meantime, I’ll be volunteering some of my time to the Vote Matt Homann effort.
By the way, if you want to read a very good, thoughtful discussion of the subject that Rosen attempted to cover in his article, check out Ugly Exhibitionism While We Gawk at the Soap on Renee Blodgett’s excellent Down the Avenue blog. In the “it’s a small world” department, I actually met Renee at an ABA TECHSHOW several years ago when she worked for Dragon Systems and I was writing a legal technology column for Lawyers Weekly USA. It was at the first vendor event I ever attended and I appreciated the fact that Renee was willing to participate in the fiction that I was a serious journalist rather than the proto-blogger I probably was. Even better, she got me an extra dragon Beanie Baby so I could take two home for my daughter.

Resolutions for Law Firm CIOs in 2005

Friday, December 17th, 2004

Phil Windley writes one of my favorite blogs. Today he has some excellent comments on the Gartner Group’s list of top 10 CIO resolutions for 2005.
As he notes, “most of this seems like the same old stuff,” but he singles out a few of the resolutions for special attention. I agree with his choices. The list applies to law firms as well as businesses in general.
First, there is the suggestion that CIOs use regulatory requirements to enable investment in related areas. Windley says, “This is great way to accomplish long term objectives from short term requirements.”
Second, there is the suggestion that CIOs spend more time getting familiar in a hands on way with some new technologies. Time, of course, can be hard to find. Windley recommends an idea I have been thinking about over the last month or two – advisory committees.
Windley says, “create an informal advisory board of a few people who are keeping up with the trends and take them to lunch once a month or so. . . . Another approach is to do something more formal such as hiring a consultant or two and make them your private tutors. Meet with them once a month for a few hours and have them come prepared to teach you about something you need to know but haven’t had the time to keep up with.”
In a way, Windley is suggesting that the notion of coaching has a place for CIOs. I’ve noticed that many law firm CIOs are very strong on information technology, but are not as up to speed on legal technology as they might want to be. In some cases, individual coaching might make sense. In others, the advisory committee notion might make sense.
For firms that have technology committees, I often see some similar knowledge gaps that could be greatly alleviated with a little effort, education and direction. I’ve always felt that many firms could benefit from some “coaching” for their technology committees or, perhaps even better, working with an “advisory committee” of legal tech consultants.
However, when this idea gets pitched to law firms, by others or by me, firms insist on going it alone even though they are well aware of the deficiencies in their knowledge and awareness of options. Perhaps that will change in 2005.