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 March, 2005

By Request Tuesday – Why Didn’t You Post Something Yesterday?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

To prove that I can.
And I wasn’t feeling well for the last few days. I had to put what energy I had into other things yesterday.
I posted more items than usual today to prove that I’m back in form. And feeling much better.
My goal has always been to post 3 to 5 times a week.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Seeking Examples of Law Firm Technology Use Policies

Friday, March 11th, 2005

One of my sessions at ABA TECHSHOW 2005 is called “The Annotated Technology Use Policy,” in which I’ll be presenting with Blair Janis, of Ballard Spahr.
I want to use part of the session to walk through the provisions of a few model policies, highlighting strong points and weak points.
I thought it might be useful to use some real-life law firm technology use policies as the models, on an anonymous basis where we would in no way indicate where the policies came from.
So, I have the following offer. If you send me an electronic copy of your “sanitized” technology use policy with your firm’s permission to use it, without identification, in our session, I’ll give you some general and some specific comments about the policy and how you might improve it and I’ll send you a copy of my handout materials and slides for that session.
You can reach me either by using the contact info found on my website or by emailing me at denniskennedyblog @
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

ABA TECHSHOW Welcomes Law Student Attendees

Friday, March 11th, 2005

I had some feedback on my recent post, “Should I Go to ABA TECHSHOW?” and thought I’d follow-up on a couple of things over the next few days.
As the recent National Law Journal article on law firms that scrub their websites of any traces of their associates suggests, young lawyers really need to take an active role in learning about what to expect in their early careers and how to take steps to prepare to land on their feet if they start out in what turns out to be a bad situation.
There’s no time like the present to get started if you are currently in law school.
One of the areas that law schools will not prepare you for is legal technology and the role technology will play in your practice.
You can get a good look at what is available and learn from lawyers who actually use technology by coming to ABA TECHSHOW.
The concern, as always, is yeah, but won’t it cost me a lot of money?
It won’t, especially if you are already in the Chicago area.
I see two great options for law students.
1. Take advantage of the special $145 registration fee for law students. In addition to letting you attending the education sessions, tour the exhibit hall and general have the run of the show, you get a couple of lunches, and, with a strategic approach to locating continental breakfasts and receptions, you can probably cover your meal expenses as well.
2. Take advantage of the free exhibit hall pass. You won’t get to go to any education sessions, but you can spend some time on the exhibit floor and learn about the technologies now available to lawyers. Drop on by for a day or for an afternoon.
For more info and the online registration form, head on over to
I encourage law students to make ABA TECHSHOW part of your studies this semester and look forward to seeing more students than ever this year.
Some of the things I see and hear about law firms doing to new lawyers embarrass me. I’d like to do a little bit to help put things right with law students. I want to make it clear that law students are welcome to attend ABA TECHSHOW and I encourage you to attend. If you see me, please introduce yourself and I’ll try (I can’t make promises, but I’ll really try) to make some time to chat with you at least briefly about technology, blogging and the legal profession.
I also want to alert law students and new lawyers that the March issue of the Law Practice Today webzine is a theme issue focusing on issues facing young lawyers. It should be posted on the website in the very near future. Our approach is a welcoming one – not one in which we suggest that young lawyers should be hidden away from the public.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (].

Oh, Now I Understand Why Associates at Large Law Firms Blog Anonymously

Thursday, March 10th, 2005

There have already been a number of posts (Bruce MacEwen is especially good) reacting to Leigh Jones’ shocking article called “Want to Poach Associates? Good Luck” in the National Law Journal, which reports on the trend of law firms scrubbing their websites of any biographical or other information about their associates. However, I find the behaviors discussed in this article so disturbing that I’ll add my own thoughts.
I’m stunned by the lengths some law firms are going to make it impossible to contact associates or find out anything about them or what they do.
Hello, anyone ever think that your clients might want to call or email an associate working on a project for them and want to use your website to get the info?
I can’t even imagine a more short-sighted practice, with negative consequences at countless levels. And, of course, a practice that guarantees that their best associates will be leaving.
You treat people like anonymous cogs in a machine and theb you wonder why they aren’t “loyal” enough to the firm? Even better, will these firms deny associates promotion to partnership because they aren’t bringing in enough business?
The best part is that this “tactic” should have no impact whatsoever on keeping a good headhunter from getting to the associates.
No wonder the law firm associate bloggers I hear from go to great lengths to stay anonymous.
I just shake my head in disbelief at this kind of stuff. I’m wondering how cool it is to tell your parents and friends that you have a job at a leading law firm and they can’t even find any trace of you on the firm’s website?
The phrase running through my mind: “climate of fear.”
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

The Most Important Post I Read Today – From the Mouths of Flacks

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Blawg guru Denise Howell posts such consistently good material that you can start to take Bag and Baggage for granted. It’s time again to give her some props. She’s been in the zone lately with a long string of great posts.
Her recent post From the Mouths of Flacks is one of those not-to-be-missed gems that all lawyers will want to spend some time thinking about carefully.
Here’s my take on the post, but don’t rely on my interpretation – read Denise’s words.
The world of blogging (or Internet or other tech-affected areas) moves on at a rapid pace raising all kinds of legal and quasi-legal issues.
Lawyers, with a few exceptions, pretend that none of this is happening or that none of this really matters that much. Lawyers barely observe what is happening, let alone participate in blogging or the legal questions it raises.
In the meantime, some very smart people with great instincts and solid philosophical and practical approaches discuss and work together first to help others navigate this new world of legal issues and then to try to set some reasonable ground rules so bloggers (or others) can operate, evolve and advance this new world.
At some later point, lawyers take notice and, often disregarding the guidelines and standards developed by the culture, jump in to reassert their traditional role of setting legal guidelines and standards. Strains and difficulties ensue and the antipathies toward lawyerdom increase.
Denise’s post sounds a strong wake-up call for lawyers to participate in the discussion from the inception, especially because it affords lawyers the chance to work with the people who are making things happen.
She also notes that some bloggers in the field of PR and marketing, as one example, have had to move into the vacuum created by the absence of lawyer involvement and (I definitely agree with this assessment) are both offering solid, informed advice and taking the initiative on discussing these issues.
Here’s where Denise sets the pace for lawyers: She’s putting together an audio program (a/k/a podcast or “plawdcast”) for IT Converstations on the hot Google “AutoLink” issue that combines both leading bloggers, in this case, Cory Doctorow and Robert Scoble, and leading lawyer bloggers, in this case the brilliant Marty “The Trademark Blog” Schwimmer. This audio session will be a must-listen and offers a good example of the types of efforts lawyers should be making.
BTW, don’t neglect any of the great PR/Marketing blogs Denise links to in her post. Many, and now all, of them are regular reads for me and I highly recommend them too. In fact, I have a folder in FeedDemon just for Marketing and PR RSS feeds). There are a lot of great blogs in that category.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Announcing the Chicago Legal Blogging Dinner Thing Naming Contest

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

As many of you already know, superblogger Tom Mighell and I are organizing a “dinner” for legal bloggers and other interested bloggers in Chicago on March 30, the evening before the opening of ABA TECHSHOW 2005. This evening promises to be the largest gathering of legal bloggers ever brought together under one roof.
Let me give you a few details, make a much-anticipated announcement, and then tell you about our naming contest, before letting you know how you might be able to help us, if you are so inclined.
When: March 30, 2005 (sometimes referred to as TECHSHOW’s eve), probably starting in the 7:30 or 8:00 range.
Where: The Catalyst Ranch, 656 W. Randolph, Suite 3W, Chicago, IL 60661.
What: A dinner/reception/get-together/good time.
Who: Legal bloggers (lawyers, law professors, law students, law librarians, et al.) and other Chicago bloggers courageous enough to be willing to spend an evening in a room full of lawyers.
You suspected that legal blogging was a hot topic. Well, it is. We’re pleased to announce that the cost of your ticket to the event will be zero, nada, zip.
YES, WE HAVE SPONSORS! We are pleased to announce that we have sponsors who have graciously agreed to underwrite the cost of this event.
Our sponsors are:
Thomson West
LexThink, Inc.
We have one more sponsor slot open that we will give to the first sponsor to confirm with us. If you are a sponsor interested in this slot, email me at denniskennedyblog @ and we’ll get you signed up.
This will be a non-profit event, so if our sponsor fees exceed our costs, we will donate the excess to an appropriate charity, probably something related to a legal defense fund for bloggers.
Tom and I have most of the details under control, but we’ve struggled from the beginning with what to call this event.
Here’s why:
We did not want to have a sit-down dinner at a restaurant. We wanted to have a place where people could circulate and talk to as many people as possible, rather than spend the evening talking mainly to the people who sat beside them.
So, I have wanted to avoid the word “dinner.” Don’t worry, however, because we plan to feed you well. The term I hear used these days is “heavy hors d’ouevres.” In other words, you’ll get something pretty close to a buffet dinner, but it won’t be a sit-down, waiter-serving-you dinner.
That, of course, raises the question: what should we call this thing? “Legal Blogger Dinner / Reception” won’t work – and it sounds like a named arrived at by a committee of lawyers.
In a moment of desperation or brilliance this morning, I came up with the name “BlawgEvent 1.0” and emailed it to Tom. Tom was initially unimpressed, but his efforts to come up with a better name only made him realize (1) how difficult it is to come up with a clever name and (2) how subtly clever the name I thought up really is.
Fortunately, we both realize the folly of actually relying on a name I came up with (look at the name of my blog, for crying out loud).
So, we’ve decided to have a naming contest for this event. We invite you to submit to us your suggestions for the name of this event on or before March 14. We’ll cook up some way to choose a winner and then we’ll start referring to the event “[Yourcoolnamegoeshere], sponsored by CaseSoft, Thomson West, LexThink, Inc. and [yoursponsornamegoeshere].”
Prizes for the contest winner, you ask? We’re working on that. So far, the winner’s prize package will include (1) a CD with my eBooks and (2) Tom and I’s comments, suggestions and tips to improve your blog and your blog’s traffic. We’ll see what else we can come up with.
The contest rules: Use good judgment and decorum in the names you suggest. Give us your real name and contact info so we can announce you as the winner and send you the prizes. Meet the deadline. You also agree not to whine and complain if we pick a name that isn’t as good as the ones that you suggest.
Send your entries by email to denniskennedyblog @ and tmighell @
You thought we’d never ask. Tom and I have things under control, but it never hurts to have a little help.
You can definitely help us by getting the word out to legal bloggers and other likely attendees.
If you’d like to help us pick the winning name, handle administrative details, or just help with things in general either before the event or when we get things set up that evening, let us know.
We’ve already gotten this event about as complicated as I can stand (I just want to have fun and meet people), so, while we always want to hear great ideas, keep in mind that simple is best.
Hope to see you there. Put on your thinking caps and let’s start hearing those names.
The Fine Print Legal Disclaimer: You must register in advance. If we run out of room before you register, we’ll put you on a waiting list, but cannot promise you that a spot will open up. It’s all on an “AS IS” basis and we make no warranties whatsoever. And, of course, our total liability is limited to the amount that you pay for your ticket to the event.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

“By Request Tuesday” – Should I Go to the ABA TECHSHOW?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Here’s a good question that illustrates why, even when blogging, you need to use active listening skills to determine what people are really asking rather than simply answering the literal question.
Consider the literal question. OK, I’m on the TECHSHOW Board, so would you truly expect me to give an answer other than “YES!”?
But, that’s not what people are really asking me with this question. It’s more in the nature of “Why should I go to the ABA TECHSHOW?”
However, consider the many nuances of even that form of the question. “What reasons can you give me to help me convince a decision-maker to pay for me to go to the ABA TECHSHOW?” “Will I miss anything important if I don’t go to the ABA TECHSHOW?” “Is a trip to the ABA TECHSHOW this year worth the investment in money and time I will need to make?”
The question also takes on certain nuances whether I really want to go or whether I am trying to justify my reason for not going.
Sometimes people ask me this question because they want me to convince them to go.
I learned long ago that I really cannot convince you – you can only convince yourself. I can’t argue you into doing much of anything. On rare occasions, I might be able to steer information your way so that you reach your own conclusion that happens to be the one that I’d like to see, but I’m never going to convince you to do anything that you can’t convince yourself to do.
What could I say that will convince anyway? Suppose I say that you need to go to the ABA TECHSHOW this year because your cushy, stable big law firm job might disappear when your firm becomes a target in the recent big law firm merger mania and you need to know enough about technology to land on your feet and start something new. Suppose I say that you need to learn about what technologies your clients will be wanting from you or else they will leave you. Suppose I say that you need to prove that you work at a firm that will support your efforts to improve your skills and keep pace with technological change. Suppose that I say that you go to all kinds of boring continuing legal education seminars every year and you deserve to go to one that you know will be fun.
I don’t think any of those reasons will convince you. Why? Because they come from me, not you.
The answer to the question, as with so many other things, comes directly from your honest answer to two key questions well-known to Babylon 5 fans. They are: Who are you? and What do you want?
The better your answer to those questions, the more easily you can answer questions like “should I go to the ABA TECHSHOW this year?”
You know that I am right, but I know that you still expect me to give a few reasons to help you convince yourself and the relevant decision-maker that you should be going to the ABA TECHSHOW. I won’t disappoint you, but I don’t expect to convince you either. Here you go:
1. You might actually have fun, learn cool stuff and meet great people interested in the things that you are interested in – for a change. Take the chance!
2. TECHSHOW has great education sessions that are geared to practicing lawyers. You can learn stuff that actually helps you and applies to you and your practice.
3. TECHSHOW speakers are extraordinarily accessible and generous. The new roundtable sessions we are trying this year will make it even easier to talk to some of the leading legal technology experts.
4. You can show people that you are willing to make the effort to prepare for your own future and not just wait around for other people to tell you what you can and can’t do.
5. You can learn in one place in a few days the technology options that are available to you. Most lawyers and law firms are concerned about making mistakes in selecting new technologies. The biggest concern: they do not know what their options are and worry that they may miss a better or cheaper alternative because they don’t know about it. Spend some time on the exhibit floor and I guarantee that you become aware of options you didn’t know existed.
6. Learn that you are not alone in your interests in and concerns about technology and the practice of law as it exists today.
7. Meet more legal bloggers in one place than have ever gathered together before.
But, as I said, I can’t convince you. That’s your job. Oh, yeah, the online registration form is here. I hope to see you there, but that’s your decision to make.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

“By Request Tuesday” – What Are Some of the Questions You Get That You Don’t Answer on By Request Tuesday?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Fascinating question.
I did a little research and here are some of the actual questions I’ve found in emails I’ve received recently. Note that not all of them are candidates for “By Request Tuesday.
Does it make sense for me to fly into Chicago just for the Legal Blogger Dinner Event on March 30?
Can I see a list of the attendees for LexThink Chicago to help us make a decision about sponsoring the event?
Can you tell me what time the blogger dinner will start?
What are your thoughts?
An audio session?
Have I sold my soul?
Will we get standard A/V for these sessions?
What do we need to do to prepare for LexThink?
What is the future of the billable hour?
What are some of your favorite all time well-designed products?
Have you experienced a major degradation in performance from Firefox in the last two days, or have I caught something?
I’m back, what’d I miss?
When will you write the Shakeshop novel?
How do you define “blog”?
When and why did you start a blog?
What about the benefits for a small company to use? How has your blog helped your business?
What makes a good business blog, in your opinion? Why do you believe your blog works well? What makes a bad blog?
How do you get the word out about blogs?
How in the world are you?!
I had my surgery Friday. Did I tell you about it?
Do you recall what you received for your 11th birthday?
Have you considered the new TC 4200 that is supposed to be coming out this month?
Could I ask a BIG favor?
Would sometime Monday work?
Should we assume this is a Sybil split personality thing or that just one of you is coming?
Can you give me your thoughts on the practicality vs user friendliness?
Which IT vendors are most important and strategic to the success of your organization?
Conference call this week?
Would you be interested in providing “coaching” services to me?
Would you like to set up a call with our CEO and get a demo of the new product?
Could there be a trend here?
Can you handle?
What is the difference and why does it matter?
How does 2:30 Mountain time sound? Is that 3:30 your time?
Has it been almost a month since we tried to talk last time???
What’s the biggest mistake that small firms make when using litigation technology?
When should we talk?
Dennis, any more info on lunch?
Am I missing something?
Are you available for a quick chat on Thursday or Friday to discuss the LexThink program?
Two observations:
1. I’m starting to understand why I can never just buzz through email responses quickly.
2. I think this “By Request Tuesday” thing on my blog probably is a good feature for me to adopt. I seem to get a lot of questions.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Giant Cheap Whiteboard Alternatives!

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

As I’ve mentioned several times, Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools is such a great resource. Today, I found the answer to my question of how to find a really big whiteboard to use with dry erase pens without spending an arm and a leg.
You’ll find two great ideas from Kevin – a $13 solution and a $100 solution.
See you at Home Depot tomorrow.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Not Podcasts, But My Audio Seminars on Electronic Discovery Are Now Available

Monday, March 7th, 2005

I’m doing some audio-video on-demand webinars for Merrill Corporation over at Merrill’s Law Solutions Website. The webinars, which are free to view, are part of the “New Directions” portion of the web page.
The webinars run ten to fifteen minutes in length and cover specific areas of electronic discovery. In my sessions, I try to cover the topics in a straightforward manner that will help lawyers and non-lawyers to understand both the technical aspects of the topics and the implications of these technologies, all in the plain and direct manner that audiences have long told me that they like about my approach to these issues.
I really like this reasonably short format (audio synched to PowerPoint slides) and think that it will prove popular as Merrill creates this “knowledge base” on electronic discovery. Look for a number of other leading electronic discovery authorities, such as Tom O’Connor, to cover many of today’s most important EDD topics.
My first session is called “Computers and Copies – Is Every Step Traceable?
The second, newly available, session is called “The Mysterious World of Metadata.”
The upcoming schedule of my sessions includes:
April 2005 The Many Places to Discover Data
May 2005 Developing a Team Approach to Electronic Discovery
June 2005 Determining When to Use Electronic Discovery
A special thank you Toby Younis at Merrill for putting this great series together.
Expect to see more webinars and audio programs from me. I am talking with several people about podcasts and other audio efforts, and I’d be happy to talk with you about doing these types of sessions for your company or organization.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]