Kevin Buckley Named One of St. Louis’s 40 Under 40

My friend, biotech guru, occasional bicycling buddy, rock climbing teacher and patent lawyer, Kevin Buckley made the St. Louis Business Journal’s list of 40 under 40 announced last week. He certainly deserves the recognition and it’s an honor to be one of the people quoted in the article about Kevin.
As I told Kevin when he told me about this a few weeks ago, I know I’m more excited about this than Kevin is – I really like to see my friends do well and get some attention.
Kevin cares about people and he cares about biotech. It’s rare to see a lawyer with Kevin’s enthusiasm and passion about both the subject matter of the area of the law and the people involved in it.
If, in fifty years, someone writes a book on the history of the biotech industry in St. Louis, there will definitely be a chapter on Kevin. In it, Kevin will (1) consistently point to everyone other than himself for their efforts and (2) keep emphasizing that the best is yet to come. In it, other people will point to all the things Kevin has done, most of it behind the scenes, to put together people and make the industry happen.
Once Kevin has a little time to celebrate, I’ll go back to twisting his arm to start a blog.
As an aside, I’ve always said that a key question to ask any lawyer is, “What do you like about practicing law?” The best lawyers I’ve known invariably say something about liking to help people. Note Kevin’s quote in the article:
“There’s this huge disconnect between research and providing a final product to sell,” he said. “That’s really where I want to target my practice, and really where I want to help entrepreneurs.”

Snow Fooling, Blog Walk Chicago was Amazing!

In our last installment, I was about to drive to Chicago with Matt Homann for our combined law firm retreat (more on that in a later post), do some prep work for LexThink! Chicago (more on that later, but invitations are out and the Catalyst Ranch space we have could not be more perfect for what we want to do), and attend Blog Walk Chicago.
We got into Chicago a short time before the biggest snowstorm in three years hit. We met up with the multi-talented and multi-blogual Fred Faulkner for a drink after work and then walked over to Bandera’s for a fabulous dinner.
We woke to a snowy Chicago morning and went to visit the Catalyst Ranch before cabbing it up to Blog Walk. The Catalyst Ranch dazzled me, and I put a hold on a room there for the March 30 ABA TECHSHOW 2005 Blogger Dinner. Now, I just have to convince the rest of the ABA TECHSHOW 2005 Board to confirm the reservation. If we can do the Blogger Dinner at the Catalyst Ranch, it will become even more of a must-be-there event than it already is. (By the way, there will be opportunities to sponsor this event, provide giveaways to attendees, et al., as part of the ABA TECHSHOW 2005 sponsor/exhibitor options. You can contact me for more details.)
We were a bit concerned about being able to get up to Northwestern University for the Blog Walk, but the roads were reasonably clear, at least until we hit Evanston. Then it got to be more interesting. We rewarded our cabbie’s performance, both driving and trying to persuade us how difficult it was, with a big tip and waded through the snow to Blog Walk.
We were late and walked into the middle of the event, but found, to our delight, that Blog Walk agenda was organized using the “Open Space” method we want to use at LexThink! Chicago. We got to see it in action and we were very pleased with the method.
You can find other reactions to Blog Walk from other attendees (pictures here and Lilia’s post points to other commentary and resources) and on the Wiki, but here are a few of my observations.
1. I feel like the world’s biggest blogging fan. It was a thrill to meet the other bloggers, some of whom I’ve read for several years, and get to say, “I subscribe to your feed and I want to say thank you for all that you’ve done.” I resisted the urge, but there was a part of me that wanted to go around and collect autographs. (I’d still like to get this picture of Lilia, Jack, Steve and me autographed).
2. What a rush it is to be a room with a group of people with that level of talent, intellectual firepower AND generosity. You felt welcome. The discussions never lagged, the ideas flew and I noticed that people were always sharing suggestions, tools and ways other bloggers could do things better and easier. Matt said something about there easily being 500+ great ideas that floated around the room. I agree with that. I have a lot of notes. I was greatly energized.
3. What about the walk part of Blog Walk? There was an amazing snowstorm going on, but there was a memorable walk that was part of my Blog Walk experience. Matt, telcom guru, Martin “Telepocalypse” Geddes and I walked five blocks to the train to get back downtown. I’d guess the temperature was in the low teens (that’s Fahrenheit), with a steady wind driving the snow and gusts that were in the 20 to 30 miles per hour range (you can do your own wind chill calculations – I’m afraid to find out). We just missed a train and then had to huddle in a small shelter for about 30 minutes for another train. After a long ride, with many delays, Matt, Martin and I warmed up with another great Chicago dinner and a long conversation.
4. At the end of the day, Jack announced that the shares of the costs came to $20 each. What an incredible bargain! Matt and I were talking on the way home that any organization who paid $250,000 to get this group of people for a day or two to discuss their problems and issues, strategies and future directions, would be getting the bargain of the century. All of us there (see the list at the end of this post) got an incredible level of insight and help for the cost of splitting the food (great pizza) we shared.
5. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to have significant conversations (some short, some long) with everyone there. If you are fans of these bloggers, I can tell you that they are all cooler and even more brilliant in person than even what you see on their blogs.
6. At the end of the day, Mark Bernstein (Tinderbox!!!) said something to the effect that blogs should be changing the world. What I noticed in every conversation was that no matter what area you might start with in discussing the impact of blogging, you shortly found yourself asking fundamental questions about what we are now doing. For example, I was talking with the amazing Steve Dembo (a teacher/blogger to whom I give my greatest compliment – he made me wish that he was one of my daughter’s teachers) about how blogs might be used in elementary schools. Before long we (and others) were talking about what skills should be taught, how we should them, what education means, and whether the current system works or will work for our children. I summed up my thoughts with the three questions that were running through my mind – Are blogs revolutionary? Is blogging revolutionary? Or, are blogs simply another tool? I’ve recast those questions as I’ve thought more about them. Where I’m at now is: Are bloggers revolutionary / world-changing? If so, what should we be doing together? If not, why not?
An interesting synchronicity: for me, the most important, thought-provoking post that I read at the end of 2004 – one that I knew would have a big influence on me in 2005 – was called “Giving Up Traditional Blogging?” The author was Stuart Henshall. On Saturday, I got the chance to talk at length with Stuart. What value has blogging brought to me? Amazing value, in many unexpected ways.
Read these blogs and subscribe to their feeds. Read the people they read. Think about where you want to go next and what happens as blogging becomes less of a solitary effort. May you one day be as amazed as I am, perhaps as early as LexThink! Chicago.

Homann, Kennedy Law Firms to Pioneer Combined Annual Retreat Concept

I’m pleased to announce that Matt “the [non]billable hour” Homann and I have agreed to hold a combined annual retreat for both firms this year. It will take place this weekend when Matt and I drive to Chicago together to do some prep work for the LexThink! Chicago conference and attend the Chicago BlogWalk. The deal to combine our law firm annual retreats came together when we were able to land two of the best law firm retreat speakers currently available, Dennis Kennedy and Matt Homann.
Regular readers of this blog will recall that last summer I pioneered the annual retreat by blog format. As a follow-up, I can report that last summer with had a superb speaker, had lots of ideas and made some great plans, but, as is common, did not execute the plans after the retreat as well as we hoped. By combining the efforts of two firms, we hope to improve both our ideas and our execution. Plus, Matt and I were going to be riding together on the four-hour drive to Chicago and hanging out for the weekend anyway.
Although I prefer to keep the focus on retreat business, Matt may issue an open invitation for bloggers in the Chicago area to meet us in our hotel lobby.
I’m such a fan of blogging that I can’t wait to meet some of my blogging heroes at the Chicago BlogWalk, including the great Jack “Knowledge Jolt with Jack” Vinson, who convinced me to move to full-text feeds.
There have been some discussions of broadcasting the retreat sessions as a webinar or podcast, but we haven’t been able to guarantee broadband coverage all the way from Highland, Illinois to Chicago. We have not ruled out an audio program based on the retreat.
By the way, the response to LexThink! Chicago truly overwhelmed us and delayed us in getting invitations out, but we have vowed to get the invitations out before we get on the road to Chicago.

Dennis Kennedy’s Annual Legal Technology Predictions Article Published in Law Practice Magazine

The 2005 version of my annual legal technology predictions article appears in the January issue of the ABA’s excellent Law Practice magazine (the subscription to the magazine is reason enough to join the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section – and the discount on the registration price to ABA TECHSHOW 2005 is icing on the cake).
The article is called “Legal Technology Predictions for 2005: Color My World” and will be available on the LPM website for free viewing for a month or so before it disappears behind the members-only wall.
Note that I wrote this article specifically with the small firm and solo market in mind. My more comprehensive look into the crystal ball will only be available this year in the form of seminars or speaking appearances, although I considering publishing it as an eBooklet or audio program. Sorry, but some of my friends made me swear that in 2005 I would stop giving away so much of my content for free.
In any event, enjoy this article. I think it has a lot of useful ideas and I hope you find them helpful to you.