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 June, 2005

LexThink – The New Website and Blog

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

We’ll have some more news coming out soon about the future of LexThink (or, perhaps more accurately, future LexThinks), but, for now, I can tell you LexThink website is live, complete with a blog that will focus on innovation in the professional services.
Please make a visit and check out the new digs.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Congratulations to Jim Calloway and the Other TechnoLawyer Award Winners and Finalists

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

The annual announcement of the TechnoLawyer @ Awards is out. Neil Squillante at TechnoLawyer has created a great tradition to give some recognition and props to some of the best people and products in the legal technology field. Check out the list of this year’s winners.
I wanted to single out my friend Jim Calloway for winning in the “Favorite Law Practice Management Blog” category. I’ve done presentations with Jim on a number of occasions and had the pleasure of serving on the TECHSHOW Board with Jim for the last two years. We’ve worked hard, had more than a few laughs and I’m endebted to him for many things, not the least of which is taking us on a evening trip to the site of the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.
Jim and I spent some time together at the Missouri Solo and Small Firm Conference a few weeks ago, got the chance to speak together on stage for the first time in ages, and got to spend some time together without talking about TECHSHOW planning. We also talked a bit about this award and Jim’s chances for winning it. No one deserves it more than Jim. I know how delighted he is about winning this award, but I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’m even more delighted and happy than Jim is that he won. He’s done so much to help lawyers in their practices and it’s great that he gets this recognition and public pat on the back.
Unfortunately, there’s no cash prize for the award. Perhaps Jim’s employers might find room in their hearts for a little raise or bonus in recognition of the work Jim has done, the high regard in which he is held, and the good reputation he has generated for the Oklahoma Bar.
Congratulations, Jim. A job well done, my friend. Keep up the good work.
Check out the list of winners to see some new names, some familiar names and to get a good view of what products are attracting the most attention in the use of technology in the practice of law.
Another great job on the awards from Neil – although I still miss the online awards ceremonies that Neil used to do. TechnoLawyer continues its tradition of being a must-read for anyone interested in the use of technology in the practice of law.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Scott Brewer, Indianapolis Poetry Reading

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

It’s been one of those stretches lately where I keep hearing from my college friends.
My friend and Indiana poet Scott Brewer sent me a press release about his new book of poetry and a reading scheduled for next week in Indianapolis. I can guarantee that Scott will do a great reading – he was a great actor in college theater, with tremendous presence, and his performance in a theatrical version of Rashomon was as good as anything I’ve ever seen on stage. He was also known to slip into verse when hurling insults (and the occasional firecracker) at other friends across the courtyard at our fraternity house on otherwise quiet evenings in battles of words that became legendary, so perhaps this poetry thing is not so surprising.
In other words, Scott is a good friend and a great guy and I’m thrilled as can be about this new turn in his career and his return to the arts.
If you are in Indianapolis, take the time to check out Scott’s show, tell him I sent you, and ask him how he got the nickname “Buck.” I wish I could be there.
Here’s an excerpt from the press release:
The Big Car Gallery and the Poetry Alliance of Indy collaborate for local poets reading and book release event on the 26th of June.
A local poets reading and book release party for Indiana Instinct – Everyday Blues a book of poems by local author Scott Brewer, will be held on Sunday afternoon, June 26th from 4 pm to 7 pm at the Big Car Gallery <>. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Murphy Arts Building, 1043 Virginia Ave., Suite 215, in Indianapolis. Scott is a member of the Poetry Alliance of Indy <> and received a 2005 Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Project grant to publish his first book.
Brewer has been writing poetry for 10 years, and has taught poetry workshops for the Education Center of Tipton County. He is a member of the Writer’s Center of Indiana. The subjects of the poetry found in Indiana Instinct – Everyday Blues range from love, family, and friends to art, music, and other poets from an Indiana viewpoint.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

On the March with General Sherman

Monday, June 20th, 2005

I’ve been spending most of my spare time in recent days immersed in reading the two volumes of General W. T. Sherman’s highly-regarded memoirs. I read the presumably definitive Library of America edition, which has much to recommend it, except that I wish they would have bumped up the font size a notch or two.
I found the memoirs absolutely compelling and recommend them to anyone wishing to take on a big reading project (over 1,000 pages) that will greatly reward you for the effort.
I have not written yet about the recently-concluded season of “24,” but there was a fascinating parallel in the way that Sherman barely had a chance to rest after ending the war before he was under heavy attack from politicians with their own agendas.
A few other observations:
1. Over and over, I was struck with the notion that here is the portrait of the truly competent man, one who gets things done.
2. I was fascinated by the Sun Tzu-ian way that Sherman’s genius at strategy was revealed in the battles he did not fight. Time after time, you see him approach entrenched, well-positioned and fortified forces, and then maneuver in ways that the opposing forces retreat from those seemingly superior positions.
3. Although Sherman’s reputation for “telling it like it is” is well-deserved, I was also struck by his generosity. How many famous people would prepare a second edition of their memoirs with the goal of correcting mistakes and allowing people who disagreed with his interpretation of events to submit their stories and printing them in that second edition? In an odd sense, the appendix to the memoirs almost feels like a comments section of a blog.
4. Sherman also seemed to be one of those people who was everywhere and knew everyone in the 19th century and the memoirs abound with fascinating stories of the California Gold Rush and a variety of other events and figures in addition to the compelling story of his war years.
The money quote (for me):
“Some men think that modern armies may be so regulated that a general can sit in an office and play on several columns as on the keys of a piano; this is a fearful mistake. The directing mind must be at the very head of the army – must be seen there, and the effect of his mind and personal energy must be felt by every officer and man present with it, to secure the best results. Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.”
Sherman’s work has application in many areas, but I hope that people at the Pentagon are still reading this one, along with John Robb’s Global Guerillas. I didn’t plan this, but so far this year I’ve been reading a lot on military strategy – Alexander the Great, Patton, John Boyd and now Sherman.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Springsteen – On the Floor

Monday, June 20th, 2005

My pal Doctor Jeff saw the Chicago stop on the current Bruce Springsteen tour and raved about it. He got in touch with me when the new US tour dates were announced and said that we had to try to see the shows in St. Louis and Milwaukee.
A quick look at the recent set lists shows why. That, and a 27 year tradition since the first Springsteen concert I attended – a magical show at Notre Dame in 1978.
So, Jeff and I, more like a couple of college kids than the seasoned professional services providers that we are, were on the Ticketmaster website ready to go on Saturday morning and talking on the cell phone so we could make a snap judgment about the quality of the seats we might get and whether to forego poor seats at Milwaukee to roll the dice on concentrating on St. Louis tickets next Saturday.
After a few failed attempts, Jeff says, “I got floor seats.” We decided to take them. 19th row on the floor – some of the best seats I’ve had for a concert in quite a while.
However, there’s always room to improve, and we’ll see what we can do for the St. Louis show when tickets go on sale next Saturday.
I’m starting to get the bug for this tour. Here’s my new discount. If you book my half-day electronic discovery seminar and provide me with a good seat for a Springsteen show in your city on the evening before the seminar, I’ll waive my travel expenses. The tour calendar is here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Great Article on Improving Diversity in Law Firms

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Virginia Grant at Altman Weil has written an article called “For Law Departments: Five Strategies to Help Your Outside Firms Increase Diversity (PDF file)” that will reward you greatly for the time you spend reading and thinking about it, and then acting upon its recommendations.
Diversity, like technology, is an area where clients definitely will begin to drive the actions of law firms, with increasingly less patience. Are you going to keep talking about these issues or are you going to do something about it?
The money quote:
“Law firms tend to give the same reason for why their diversity demographics are not at the level they would like: not enough qualified candidates, or an inability to attract minority candidates.
Corporate law departments should not continue to accept such excuses. Law departments must remind law firms that they are in the business of providing solutions and resolving difficult situations.” (emphasis added)
Highly recommended, as is a subscription to Altman Weil’s email newsletter called Altman Weil Direct.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

By Request Tuesday – What Do You Think About The Recent Discussion And Interpretations Of The Legal Marketing And Advertising Rules As They Apply To Blogs?

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

To be honest, I find them impossibly confusing. I generally write about this issue on Between Lawyers, but since you asked, I’ll take a stab at it here.
By way of background, I think I first started speaking about legal ethics rules for web pages back in 1996 or 1997, so I have some history on these topics. I think that the web page rules evolved in a fairly straight-forward way, with a few standard requirements, usually being the placement of some disclaimer language.
What concerns me is that there appears to be a trend of not treating blogs under the web page rules, as would be logical, amd instead treating them as some new kind of animal.
Personally, I see the debate from the academic viewpoint. My blog is, as I say repeatedly, an experiment in writing. It has nothing to do with my legal practice – ask the legal marketing people if they recommend writing about Metallica documentaries and NASCAR to advertise a legal practice. To the extent I use my blog to promote anything, I promote my speaking and consulting businesses.
In fact, lately I have done all my law-related posts to Between Lawyers, which is an educational and, hopefully, an entertainment vehicle, not a law practice marketing or advertising vehicle.
Some people do not understand why I have taken this approach. Allow me to illustrate. At the recent Missouri Solo and Small Firm Conference, I had a discussion with the main education specialist for my legal malpractice carrier about whether a Missouri lawyer may do legal work for non-Missouri clients under the current or future multi-jurisdictional practice rules. Most lawyers will know what the answer was.
If I used my blog to “advertise” my legal practice, I’d simply get inquiries from clients whose work I couldn’t take. The current ethics rules make it all-but-impossible as a practical matter to refer work to another attorney and try to take a referral fee – the reasons are far to complex to get into while sitting in a drum store – so there’s no reason to try that approach.
As a result, I’ve decided not to mention my law practice on my blog. I market the law practice in non-Internet ways in Missouri, although I provide standard information on my website, as I have done for almost ten years.
The recent discussion and interpretation have given me concern that I still might not be doing enough and that the mere fact that I am a lawyer who writes a blog will make me subject to a regime of rules designed for lawyers who run yellow page ads, billboards and the like.
As I said, I find it all confusing and hope that, as was the case with web pages, there is a move toward clear and easy to follow rules.
As an interesting aside on this whole legal advertising rule, I’ll note that when I was in large firms, my friends in small firms complained all the time that there was one set of ethical rules (as they were enforced) for big firms and one set for small firms. I used to laugh at them and tell them to chill out. Now, I find that I’m talking like they were.
Here’s an example. I received a blow-in card with a publication that was an ad for the Orrick law firm.
The ad had a very large green “$O” and then made a reference to how they “win cases” in the first sentence.
As you probably know, the recent talk about blogs has focused on creating unreasonable expectations of results, mentioning past successes, and unsubstantiated factual comparisons.
I admire Orrick for being willing to prepare and use an ad that seems to go right in the teeth of the type of reasoning that has been used in connection with blogs. I simply don’t have the guts to do anything like that. I suppose that some cynical small firm lawyers will say this is another example of one rule for big firms and one rule for small firms, but I simply think of it as being “aggressive.”
To be crystal clear, I personally have no problem with the Orrick ad – I actually like it. I’m just confused by the interpretation of the advertising rules as they apply to lawyer blogs.
And that’s the end of another edition of By Request Tuesday. Thanks for your questions.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

By Request Tuesday – How Do We Know Which Questions Are Real Requests And Which Ones You Make Up?

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

Hmm, I’m not sure that I do either. I’ve noticed that I tend to ask me easier questions.
The important point is that the answers are all real and that’s what matters.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

By Request Tuesday – Are You Wasting Another Whole Day by Answering These Questions or Otherwise Neglecting Your Work?

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

I’m writing this post and many of the other posts I’ll put up this evening while sitting here in a drum store while my daughter has her drum lesson. I think that even the strongest critics of lawyer blogging will think that this is OK.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

By Request Tuesday – Did You Ever Decide What to Do about Ads in Your RSS Feed?

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

Yes and no. I decided to take a wait-and-see attitude until June 30. I decided that if there is not clear community consensus that ads in feeds and ads on blogs are a bad thing or will get me shunned, I’ll go in that direction if I find sponsors or advertisers who are interested in paying me to do so.
I just have never been convinced that the Amazon tip jar was a good way to go.
I still struggle with the issues of independence, objectivity and the like. And they are very difficult issues. One of the most interesting approaches someone suggested was to move away from sponsors and advertisers in the legal technology space (my most natural sponsors, but also the ones that raises the thorniest issues for me) and seek out advertisers outside my subject area. I think I was flattered that the two sponsors he mentioned first as examples were Jaguar and Mercedes, but his idea of looking at banks, credit card and financial organizations, rental car, airline and travel companies and others for whom my audience is a good match struck me as a good way to bring in revenue while avoiding the different types of conflict issues that can arise when you use sponsors who are in your field. Unfortunately, I have the contacts in the legal tech industry, but I don’t know how to get out to the decision-makers in the other types of companies. I’d appreciate any help on that. It seems like there would be a niche for a marketing person who could pair up blogging sponsors with bloggers. And I’m referring to sponsorships rather than traditional online advertising approaches.
The answer: We’ll see. June 30 arrives soon and I’ll look into some options. I welcome any inquiries.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]