Dennis Kennedy

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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

The Verizon Follies: My Continuing Cellular Comedy

Monday, June 6th, 2005

My friends get the biggest laughs from my experiences with cell phones. I don’t have good luck with cell phones. In fact, I once had to reboot a cell phone because I locked up the cell phone OS trying to see how the IR interface worked.
Ironically, the only thing I really care about with a cell phone is its reception. A few years ago, after unhappy experiences with reception from other carriers, I switched to Verizon. How’s it working? You know those “can you hear me know?” commercials for Verizon – I want them to send that guy out to my house.
I once had to call Verizon customer service and, for fun, made the call from my basement. They actually asked me if they could call me back on a land line. I mentioned that, although I was calling for other reasons, my reception at my house and in the areas I would most like to use the phone was terrible. They immediately said that they made no promises about reception.
When I ride my bike, I always take my cell phone in case of an accident or emergency. Today, I was driving along a stretch I ride on a regular basis and noticed no bars on the cell phone. I hope that I don’t fall or have the bike break down there.
On the other hand, my reception when I am out of town is usually awesome. I once recorded my message on my voice mail while I was out of town because the reception was so much better.
However, my favorite story comes from a trip we made through Indiana last year on the return home from visiting my parents, brothers and relatives. We wanted to stop at the Indianapolis Speedway and wanted to check as we approached Indianapolis on the availability and times of a track tour. By the way, calling from the road is one of the main reasons I wanted to have a cell phone. I could not complete any calls. I wanted to call customer service, but simply could not find the number under any of the menus. Undeterred, I tried a few tricks to generate an error message and one popped up that gave me a number to call.
After about 20 minutes on the phone, we got the advice to “try the call from a pay phone.” I love that.
On Friday, I was going on a family camping trip with my wife’s family at Meramec State Park, one of the most popular state parks in Missouri. The park is a few miles from the town of Sullivan, which is right on I-44. In other words, it is not in the wilderness.
I had a conference call scheduled that I planned to make from the campsite and planned to return some other calls. At the time to be on the conference call, I noticed that there was no service available. It’s fair to say that this was not something I expected – but, hey, a little professional embarrassment builds character.
As it turned out, this was not just a Verizon problem. No one else there could get a signal on their carriers either. Later, my brother-in-law determined that if you stood at a certain spot near a certain tree using a Sprint phone, you could get a signal to make a call, but you couldn’t tell if the person on the other end could hear you.
I recently went through a 24-hour period where I had phone calls with five of the most tech-savvy lawyers in the country and, in each case where someone was on a cell phone, the sound quality of the call was atrocious.
If I hear people talking on cell phones these days (and I will invariably hear them because they are talking so loud), the side of the conversation I overhear goes something like this: “What! Say that again! You’re cutting out! I didn’t catch the last part of that! What!”
I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to have some doubts about this whole cellular system. It seems like we are moving backward, rather than forward. It’s not great for making calls, at least for me, but it’s given me some great stories.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Courage as a Cultural Trait of Successful Firms?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

I’ve been working on the notes from the LexThink 1.0 sessions in order to start releasing them in a public form on the LexThink website. The first installment will appear tomorrow.
This morning, I found the line, “a successful firm must have courage,” in the notes about “creating a culture” from a session on what successful professional services firms have in common.
A successful firm must have courage.
This idea fascinates me, and brought me back to the energy and sense of purpose I found at LexThink 1.0. It also emphasized for me how essential it is to return to simple, fundamental questions.
What does it mean for a firm to have courage? How do you create a firm that has courage as a key cultural trait? Would you want to work at a firm that values courage? Or, perhaps a better question, why wouldn’t you always want to work at a firm that values courage? Then, what are the implications of working at a firm that either has courage or does not have courage? Is courage part of innovation?
We don’t have this on the LexThink conference schedule (yet), but wouldn’t it be cool to spend a day or two working on the question “How do you create a firm that has courage?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

A Major Change in My Approach: Enabling Comments on DennisKennedy.Blog

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

I’ve never enabled comments on my blog before today. I’ve had a number of reasons for not doing so – most of them familiar to anyone who maintains a blog and struggled with the issue of comments.
At Between Lawyers, we allow comments and, even though the results have been mixed – comment spam is a real issue, I’ve been rethinking my stance on comments on this blog.
My approach has always been that this blog is a publishing vehicle for me, not a discussion area. People routinely send me emails and comment on my posts on their own blogs, so I’ve never had the sense that I don’t have an exchange of ideas because I don’t allow comments.
However, I learned recently that even though I thought I had been blogging for a couple of years, I have not, in fact, had a blog because I did not have comments enabled for this “blog.” It seems that a “true blog” has comments enabled. Imagine my embarrassment. Perish the thought that blogs might actually be a vehicle for individual expression when some see the opportunity to proclaim what the on true blog must be so close to their grasp.
While I will admit to ignoring these types of pronouncements about what a blog is or isn’t and what a blogger should and shouldn’t do (hey, why should government be concerned with regulation of blogs when there are scores of bloggers who are perfectly happy to slap all kinds of guidelines and requirements on bloggers?), the timing and heavy-handedness of this recent post got my attention at a time when I was thinking about enabling comments. So, I thought it was best to bring my “blog” into lock-step conformity with this type of pronouncement of what a “true blog” really is.
Well, maybe not.
Actually, I feel like experimenting with comments. I have some ideas for posts for which enabling comments will make sense. I’ve been generally pleased with my comments experience at Between Lawyers. I’m curious whether enabling comments will bring new energy or ideas to this blog and/or to me. And, it’s just fun to change my mind on something every now and then, especially after becoming known for taking the opposite approach.
I have a few concerns relating to spammers and a**holes, but I’m pretty confident that I have neither in my audience.
I will have a comment policy. The basic principle is this: it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.
The brilliant Lisa Williams at the Learning the Lessons of Nixon blog, recently posted about the various approaches to comment policies in this aptly-titled post, which I recommend that you read before reading the rest of this post. It should come as no surprise that I fall into the “living room” policy she describes in the post.
I’ve roughed out the following comments policy for this and welcome your comments about it and ways to improve it. I don’t mind throwing it out to the public as a starting point toward evolving some standard comments policies that bloggers might use. I would be shocked if people didn’t have some criticism of this policy.
1. I don’t want your anonymous comments – stand behind what you are saying. If I can’t figure out who you are, I reserve the right to delete your comments. If you want to be anonymous to the public or use a pseudonym on your comments, I’m OK with that if you first email me and tell me who you are and how to contact you.
2. When you post a comment, ask yourself whether you would say the same thing to my face while sitting in the living room of my house after I invited you over for dinner. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have no problem whatsoever asking you about a comment you post when I meet you in person to see if you will say it in person, just to see whether you are a person of honor or someone who will squirm.
3. It’d be bad enough for you insult me by posting a comment on my blog, but I will not tolerate your posting a comment on my blog to personally insult someone else. I’ll enjoy either deleting your comment or posting about it separately to publicize what a jerk you are. Use common sense and good manners.
4. While I may monitor comments and manage/delete them, let’s face it, I probably can’t and won’t do that on a regular basis. But I might. I reserve the right not to respond quickly to your comments, not to respond at all, to open, close and delete comments, and to generally act like I, rather than you as a commenter, am the owner of my blog. In general, I’ll have good intentions and really mean well about responding to your comment, but sometimes I might in fact be studiously ignoring you.
5. Now, the legal stuff. By posting a comment, you agree that (1) you represent and warrant that your comment does not defame or libel anyone, does not infringe anyone’s intellectual property, trade secret, confidentiality or other rights, and does not violate any applicable law or regulation, (2) you grant me a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, publicly display and/or perform, sublicense and make derivative works from your comment in connection with the normal maintenance and operation of this blog and my website, including archives and collections, and for my personal and internal business purposes, and (3) you will indemnify and hold me harmless with respect to any claim and related expenses (including legal fees) from a third party in connection with your comment. I reserve the right to take down so fast that your head will spin any comment that gives me any concern and may change these rules at any time by posting the changes on my blog and/or website.
I’m enabling comments as experiment in the technology and, more importantly, as an experiment in trusting my audience. I have every confidence in you, but there are some other people out there who have forced me to have a set of rules.
Comments are now open.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Announcing My Endorsements for 2005 TECHNOLAWYER @Awards – Part 1 – Blogs

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005

It’s time for the annual voting for the TechnoLawyer @ Awards, which honor favorites in a variety of legal technology categories as voted on by the members of the TechnoLawyer Community. is a must-join resource for those interested in the application of technology to the practice of law.
The @ Awards are a great way to recognize some of the best products, services and people working in the field of legal technology. I’m proud to be a past winner of some @ Awards.
This year, I thought I’d make my voting more transparent than it has been in the past and post from time to time my votes and endorsements for some of the categories.
I’ll start with my endorsements in the two blogging categories: Favorite Law Practice Blog and Favorites Practice Area Blog.
Favorite Law Practice Blog: While there are many worthy candidates, I’ll be voting for Between Lawyers (, the group blog Denise Howell, Tom Mighell, Marty Schwimmer, Ernst Svenson and I created as part of the Corante family of blogs. Perhaps I’m not being objective on this one, but I’m impressed by the quality of the blog and the blog’s goal of opening up some of the doors the legal profession has traditionally kept closed. I also like the Between Lawyers blog’s track record of providing fresh insights into the practice of law in addition to providing tips about practice issues.
Favorite Practice Area Blog: This category title perfectly describes my feelings about leading legal blogger Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog ( Now entering its fourth year of existence, The Trademark Blog is both a textbook example of how a practice area blog should be done and a genuinely enjoyable regular read, even if you are not working in the area of trademark law. It’s difficult for a blog focused on a specific practice area to cross-over into other audiences, but The Trademark Blog, with its insight and wit, has definitely developed an audience that extends well beyond its trademark lawyer base.
Those are my endorsements. To vote, go ahead and join the TechnoLawyer Community (free registration required) and obtain your ballot and vote.
For a handy list of some of my other favorite legal blogs, be sure to check out my now-famous Blawggies post.
As always, I’d much prefer that you exercise your best independent judgment rather than be swayed by endorsements from me. I mainly want to get you to think about the categories and to give consideration to some of the blogs I like best these days.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]