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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 January, 2005

January Issue of Law Practice Today Now Available

Friday, January 28th, 2005

I might be biased because I am an editor, but the January issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine is a good one.
A few highlights include Tom Mighell’s column on ABA TECHSHOW 2005 speakers who are also bloggers, Andy Adkins (Andy, when are we going to see a blog from you?)on case management software, Fred Faulkner on RSS, Desktop Search, and Collaboration Tools and the usual great collection of columns and articles on finance, management, marketing and technology.
My contributions are a reprint of my 2005 legal tech predictions article (thank you Law Practice magazine) and an article on avoiding disaster in your disaster recovery planning – a preview of my upcoming presentation on disaster recovery at ABA TECHSHOW 2005.
Law Practice Today is a great outlet for writers covering law practice management topics. If you have good articles, let us know about them and submit them for potential publication.

The Most Important Post I Read Today – January 27

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

From my friend Fred Faulkner:
It’s easy to forget that your friends might have brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in the military at risk around the world. It’s way too easy to forget that our armchair quarterbacking and political debating points may not seem quite so important to people who worry every single day about the safety of people they care deeply about. In part, I single out this post today because the first sentence, just a simple sentence, quoted below, hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it this morning.
Fred’s post reminded me of that and he also points to a fascinating way people are using technology to communicate and motivate our people in the military.
Fred says:
“As I have written before, my brother is over in Iraq fighting for this country. Rob told me about this Web site called Grouchy Media. It is run by a guy who couldn’t go and fight so he did the next best thing, publish motivational videos for the troops to download and watch.” Read the rest here.

Must-See Legal Technology – Recommind’s New MindServer Legal Matters & Expertise

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

One of the fun things about being me these days is that people keep calling me to show me their cool new products.
Yesterday, I was on the phone with Bob Tennant and Kathryn Rakow at Recommind getting a preview tour of their new MindServer Legal Matters & Expertise, an addition to the MindServer Legal product suite that also includes Enterprise Search. Matters & Expertise extends document search to include a firm’s attorneys, matters, deals, cases and documents associated with any topic.
Anyone who tells you that document and file management in many law firms are not disasters waiting to happen are just whistling in the dark. I’ve commented on this issue as I’ve wondered whether large firm document management systems are broken. I’ve also talked with corporate counsel and corporate execs who have told me that they are afraid to ask their law firms about the state of the electronic records. They really doubt that their law firms can produce anything like a “complete” file with all of their documents.
I’ve been impressed with what Recommind has been doing for a while. After they showed me a great demo a year or so ago, I was begging them for a “personal” version of the search tools. They’ve, probably wisely, decided that they had other business to do than create tools for me.
Here’s my reaction to MindServer Legal Matters & Expertise. It rocks. It took me only a few moments to see the power and simplicity of this tool. I realy like the way that the search tools focus on what is most important to practicing lawyers in their work. Recommind has clearly listened to lawyers’ needs.
I like the way they’ve expanded the search universe to include not just documents, but “back office” systems and even designated information repositories.
However, the breakthrough, at least for me, is the way the tool focuses on matters and expertise. It makes it easy to find out who in the firm has worked on certain types of cases or matters, who has experience with certain clients or types of clients and other information that it always frustrated me that I couldn’t get in my years in large firms.
Is it enough to get me back to a large firm? If I learned a firm was using the Recommind system, they’d get my attention.
Here’s what I liked best – you can see the benefits in just a few minutes of demo.
Recommind is exhibiting at LegalTech in New York next week, so you’ll get the chance to see MindServer Legal Matters & Expertise there. Even if you are not there, I suggest that you put this product on your must-review list for this year.
I don’t have any financial relationship with Recommind – I just like the people there and what they are doing.

See You at LegalTech New York?

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

I finally put an end to the Hamlet-like approach to LegalTech New York I’ve had over the last month and have decided to attend LegalTech this year. I’ll also be attending a meeting for the Corporate Legal Standard’s newly-created Law Department Benchmarking Standards Panel and Committees, of which I am a member.
My plan is pretty simple – to meet as many people and learn as much as I can about what is happening in legal technology as is possible in three days.
Marty “The Trademark Blog” Schwimmer called me today so we could set up something so we could meet in person for the first time. He expects to be available around 5:30-ish on Monday evening and we’re thinking about getting a group of blawggers together for dinner. Although “social coordinator” was at the bottom of the list when I worked with my career counselor, you can let me know if you want ot join us and I’ll try to make info about where to meet available. There seems to be quite a contingent of blawggers who will be there.
I’m trying not to put a lot of things on my calendar for LegalTech (especially since this is a last-minute decision) so I can circulate as much as possible. By all means, if you see me, please say hello.

Time Running Out on “EDD Supplier Landscape” Discount

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

Just a reminder that January 31 will be the final day to take advantage of the special discount on EDDix’s “EDD Supplier Landscape” research report available for readers of DennisKennedy.Blog. It’s essential information for anyone who wants to be in the know about the electronic discovery industry. Get the discount here.

The Most Importtant Post I Read Today – January 26

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005

From Nick Bradbury:
CSS and RSS: Rivals or Partners?
When you consume/read blogs via RSS feeds, what is the role of blog design? What happens when your most important readers do not visit your blog? What does it mean to live in a feed-dominant world?
Nick’s take on this topic is, as usual, wise and fascinating, especially since he lives in both the CSS and RSS worlds.
As the developer of FeedDemon, the newsreader I am a huge fan of, Nick Bradbury is my clear choice as MVP of the Blogosphere for 2004.

A Conversation with Ernie the Attorney

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005

If you know me, you know that I have a bunch of nicknames for the lawyer bloggers. Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson has long been “the coolest blawgger.” The new interview of Ernest on JD Bliss will help you understand why I think this nickname is appropriate. I also like to say that Ernest is even cooler in person than he is on his blog – no small feat. After you read this interview, you’ll understand why I gave Ernest one of my “lifetime achivement” Blawggies for 2004.
Ernest is the legal blogger who most inspired my entry into blogging and gave me the model for the approach that I have taken. I’m such a pure fan of bloggers and blogging that I still remember how thrilled I was the first time I got an email from “Ernie the Attorney.” I told him that and he told me that he was thrilled the first time he got an email from “Dennis Kennedy.” It was a good laugh.
Reading the interview made me wish that we had more chances to talk. Ernest and I stayed up until 4:00 AM talking in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel at TECHSHOW last year – the first time we met. He then introduced me to one of his favorite haunts in New Orleans a few months later. We’ll get the chance to catch up at TECHSHOW and LexThink!, if not sooner.
I’m noticing that more and more of my phone calls and emails are to and from other bloggers. I also hear the term “community” used more often by bloggers. One of the reasons there is a sense of community is the generosity, creativity and good hearts of the early legal bloggers like “Ernie the Attorney.”
People often ask me what I’ve gotten from all the work I’ve put into my blog, usually in the sense of “what is the ROI?” I’ll always duck the financial aspect of that question, but the real reward is in the new friends I have made. I simply cannot put a value on friendships like the ones I now have with the Blawg Channel core group, Denise, Ernest, Marty and Tom, and the other bloggers I now have as friends – almost too many to list, especially without leaving out someone.
There’s a tendency for those who are new to blogging to look mainly at the marketing and other possibilities of blogging, which are very real, without appreciating the way that blogging allows you to connect and create communities of interest. I sometimes get criticized for not pursuing the commercial potential of my blog and my blogging as much as others think I should, but I’ve always placed a very high value on friendships and blogging is an amazing friendship-building tool.
So, read the interview with Ernest. Take some time to think about his wise thoughts and resolve to explore the ways that your blog can help you build friendships. To me, blawgspace is still a generous place, in no small part due to the efforts of people like Ernest.
I highly recommend the JD Bliss site. Josh Fruchter is doing great work with this project. For those of you who haven’t already gotten enough of my story, there’s an interview with me on JD Bliss that covers some of the important directions I’ve taken in my career.

The Most Important Post I Read Today – Jan 25, 2005

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Maybe a new feature of my blog.
Gravy,” from Gaping Void:
The money quote (at least for me):
“In other words, when do the early adaptors get to take their well-earned seats on the Gravy Train, while the late adapators desperately try to play catch-up?
The answer is, basically, as soon as the early adaptors figure out how to turn their early discoveries into ‘Deliverables’.”

Seven Ways to Avoid Disaster in Your Disaster Recovery Planning and Procedures

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

What’s worse than a disaster? How about doubling your disaster with a disastrous set of discovery plans, policies and procedures?
While no plan can account for every contingency or be totally bullet-proof, the following seven steps will help you avoid adding insult to injury from self-inflicted disasters.
1. Determine Your Core Business, Really. They call it business continuity for a reason. Everything flows from accurately determining what your core business is, including priorities, policies and procedures. Pay attention to what they focused on for both the short term and long term. A common theme is enabling fee-earners to return to generating fees for paying clients as quickly as possible. It’s easy to focus too intently on technology issues when the big concern is generating cash flow to keep paying employees and moving forward.
2. Use Scenario Planning. Wipe out the executive committee in a scenario and see how you plan works. Question your assumptions. Run your disaster plan under the Die Hard scenario and see what happens.
3. Write the Plan As If You Will Have to Read it Someday. Imagine you are not there and someone untrained has to pull out the plan and use it. Can they?
4. Negotiate Great Agreements. Firms are starting to look at outsourcing many aspects of disaster planning. What are you third party providers obligated to do under the contracts you have signed? Is it adequate or even helpful? If you do not raise and negotiate issues, I guarantee you that the terms of any contract you sign will be more favorable to the provider than they are to you.
5. Adopt a Portfolio Approach. The modern approach to financial investments emphasizes diversification and mixing low-risk, low-return (“safe”) investments and high-risk, high-return (“risky”) investments in a basket that reflects your risk tolerance. The same concepts have recently migrated into the world of IT planning. Diversify your risks, responses and procedures.
6. Focus on Failure and Redundancy. Failures will happen and it becomes important to know what happens after the failure. Look at various points in your processes and procedures. Consider what happens when a failure occurs at each of these points and the options that you may have. Can you set up some “elegant failures?”
7. Test Rigorously and Repeatedly. It’s important to test your plan, practice your procedures and do so on a regular basis. Lackadaisical practicing and testing guarantee poor results when something bad actually happens.
Conclusion. My best advice is to treat these matters as if they actually matter. Make time for disaster recovery, be a pest at getting answers to your questions, challenge assumptions, develop a thick skin for deal with the ribbing you are likely to take for being “too serious,” and keep in mind that we live in volatile and dangerous world.
[Note: This post is an shortened version of an article I wrote for the handout materials for my session on disaster recovery at the upcoming ABA TECHSHOW 2005.]

Special Offers and Discounts for DennisKennedy.Blog Readers

Monday, January 24th, 2005

I have two discount opportunities for readers of this blog – one runs out in a few days and the other is a brand new one .
1. Until January 31, readers of this blog may go to http://www.eddixllc.com/landing/dmk.asp to obtain a huge discount on EDDix’s EDD Supplier Landscape research report, which is essential reading for anyone who is really serious about wanting to learn about what is happening and what will happen in the electronic discovery industry. Reading this report will save any vendor in the industry hours and hours of research time.
2. Bruce Hause has put together a similar affiliate marketing arrangement in which my readers will receive significant discounts and I’ll receive some commissions in connection with Quickscribe digital dictation software and related products. Simply ask for the “Dennis Kennedy discount” when making your order.
Bruce says:
“Quikscribe has a number of unique digital dictation and transcription features that appeal to attorneys and law firms. Our “Intelligent Audio File” format allows the author to include attachments of text, images, or files embedded within the audio file. This means that you can reference a case citation from a legal database, highlight the text with your mouse, then press the “insert” button on the hand control to capture and copy the desired text. The attorney doesn’t have to dictate or print the citation, and the secretary doesn’t have to type it during transcription. We also have lots of info on our website for U.S. customers at www.digidictate.com.”