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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 September, 2005

Electronic Signatures Approved for Wills

Monday, September 26th, 2005

The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog has a post discussing a recent Tennessee case holding that a computer-generated signature was vaild on a will. The post quotes from Chad Ross’s case comment in the University of Memphis Law Review.
The money quote comes from Chad’s article:
With its holding in Taylor, the Tennessee Court of Appeals becomes the first in the nation to rule on the validity of a testator’s computer-generated signature. . . . In so doing, the court has issued a well-founded opinion that proves that the statute of wills can accommodate the advances of technology without sacrificing the goals that underlie the statute.
People often ask me why we can’t use electronic signatures for transactions these days. I always say, “You can.” See this article Chip Fendell and I wrote on electronic signatures a few years ago here.
I applaud the Tennessee opinion for its very reasonable approach to dealing with the intersection of traditional legal principles and technology.
I also hope that it helps get the word out on the validity of electronic signatures. I still can’t get over the number of companies that send me forms they want me to sign and fax back to them. Think about the absurdity of that for a minute.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s eBooks – Preparing Your Law Firm for the Internet Era: 150 Steps Toward a 21st Century Practice of Law, Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Primer and Unlocking the Secrets of Legal Technology and Technology Law: Finding Your Way in the First Internet Era.

New Missouri Ethics Rules Require Disclaimer Language, I Think

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

The Missouri Supreme Court has recently approved changes to the advertising and marketing rules for Missouri lawyers.
Unfortunately, despite efforts made to clarify the rules, I find the rules impossible to interpret or to understand how they are intended to apply to my website and blog.
Although I maintain that my blogs and website are not intended to be and are not an “advertisement” or “solicitation” for legal services, I have determined that my only option is to load up my website and this blog with the disclaimer language that seems to be required under this new rule.
Until I get further guidance on how to comply with the new rules, my best guess is that I must include the following language on my website.
REQUIRED STATEMENTS UNDER MISSOURI SUPREME COURT RULES IF THIS WEBSITE OR ANY PORTION OF IT IS DEEMED TO BE AN ADVERTISEMENT OR SOLICITATION. This website is not intended to be an advertisement or solicitation for my legal services. However, under recent changes in Missouri Rules, it may be deemed to be so, despite my intention. Therefore, the following statements may be required on this website and I have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation. You may wish to consult your lawyer or another lawyer instead of me (us). The exact nature of your legal situation will depend on many facts not known to me (us) at this time. You should understand that the advice and information in this solicitation is general and that your own situation may vary. This statement is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri.
For a story about this new rule, please read .
The money quote from that article:
Levison said it was unclear how this rule will be carried out.
That is quite an understatement. I simply do not understand changing rules in ways that make it clear how you should comply with them. I’m trying to do my best and I hope that will be taken into account.
I believe that these rule changes will become textbook cases for the law of unintended consequences and I fervently hope that, as advertised, they are intended to address specific concerns related to television commercials and litigation practices and not as traps for the unwary.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s consulting services, featuring RSS and advanced blogging consulting and technology committee coaching packages for law firms, corporate legal departments and other professional services providers.

Fourth Generation Legal Technology

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

A quick check of Google and Yahoo today showed me that no one has used the term “Fourth Generation Legal Technology” or “4G Legal Technology.” I want to lay claim to the phrase to describe a collections of ideas I have.
Here’s what I’m thinking.
I’ve been speaking and writing for a while about the third age of legal technology (the allusion to Babylon 5 is intentional). The first age is secretary or staff focused. The second age is IT department focused. The third age is lawyer focused – when the goal is to get the tools lawyers need into the hands of lawyers.
I was stopping there. When I recently spoke about this in a presentation I gave, I noticed that I was trying to crowbar the idea of “client-driven” or “client-focused” technologies into my description of the third age and it really didn’t quite fit.
It struck me today (it takes time for ideas to percolate for me these days) that the age when legal technology has as it primary focus clients, clients’ wishes and clients’ needs was in fact a fourth age, at least in my way of thinking.
For the last few months, I’ve been reading John Robb, William Lind and their work on Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). It’s given me a lot to think about.
It strikes me that “generation” is a better word to describe what I see happening in legal technology than “age” or “stage.”
It also strikes me that some of the ideas of 4GW analysis – Open Source principles, decentralization, fast innovation, non-traditional fluid forms of organization – also apply in my ideas of client-driven technology (see the other posts in the Client Driven Technologies category of this blog).
This subject, this phrase and this combination of ideas really intrigues me and gives me, I believe, a framework to pull together some ideas and concepts that I’ve been working with for a number of years. Expect to hear/see much more from me about this (Fourth Generation Legal Technology, 4G Legal Technology, 4GLT) in the coming months.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s consulting services, featuring RSS and advanced blogging consulting and technology committee coaching packages for law firms, corporate legal departments and other professional services providers.

LexThink BlawgThink Invitations

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Here’s an update on LexThink BlawgThink, the legal blogging conference Matt Homann and I are are putting together on November 11 – 12 at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago.
As with the first LexThink conference, BlawgThink is an invitation-only event. The first round of invitations went out today. We recognize that it is inevitable that we will, much to our embarrassment, overlook some people we want to have on the list, so we’ve held some invitations in reserve. So, if you want to attend BlawgThink, please let us know as soon as you can, so we can get you on the invitation list. We do have a limit on the number of attendees because of the space we have selected, but we want to have as many people who woould like to attend be able to attend.
We’re also working on finalizing speakers and sessions. My preference is to select the speakers we want and give them a fair amount of freedomm to present what they want on their topics.
We’ll gradually announce the speakers and agenda. For now, we’re very excited to have Ben Cowgill as a speaker on legal ethics and blogging (and tell the story of his work on Kentucky ethics regulation of blogs), Kevin O’Keefe on marketing through blogs, and the RethinkIP guys on either practice-specific blogs or group blogs. BlawgThink will also feature the first appearance by Matt and I on the same stage for a presentation.
I also encourage you to check out the LexThink blog (feed), which will keep you updated on BlawgThink and is the home of a good number of posts Matt and I have done on innovation in the professional services industry.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(TM) – The Conference, Re-imagined. LexThink! – Think big thoughts, do cool things, change the world. Coming soon – LexThink BlawgThink – the legal blogger unconference.

Grace Kennedy’s Book Review Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

My daughter wrote a short book review for a class assignment that was published (along with one of another of her classmates) in last Sunday’s issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch – her first print publication. It was part of a cool thing the newspaper is doing to get middle school students to write about what books mean to them.
Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve posted two of Grace’s essays on this blog here and here.
Grace was very excited about this. I was way more excited than I get when my own articles are published. As I’ve mentioned before, I really like the way her school, The College School, teaches writing and the way they help their students get recognition for their writing.
Because I don’t know whether the link to the newspaper site will be permanent, here’s the text of the review:
What this book means to me
09/18/2005
I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a descriptive book so close to real life as “Nobody Was Here” by Alison Pollet). It made me really see the cruelness, hard and painful lives middle schoolers can have. I not only recommend it, I love it!
Grace Kennedy, 7th grade
The College School

[Originally published on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Like what you are reading? Check out the other blogs where I post – Between Lawyers (feed) and the LexThink Blog (feed).

The ACME Products Catalog

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

From the the Drawn blog comes a link to an an illustrated catalog listing all of the ACME products that appeared in the classic Warner Bros. cartoons.
From the ACME Atom Re-arranger to the ACME Wild-cat, you’ll find it in this great trip down memory lane.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s eBooks – Preparing Your Law Firm for the Internet Era: 150 Steps Toward a 21st Century Practice of Law, Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Primer and Unlocking the Secrets of Legal Technology and Technology Law: Finding Your Way in the First Internet Era.

Getting a Glimpse at What’s Coming in OneNote

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

I really like Microsoft OneNote and see it as a great tool for many lawyers. Unfortunately, not many lawyers are using OneNote. Many lawyers find it difficult to convince their IT departments that OneNote should be on the “approved” software list.
For those lawyers who have gotten permission to use OneNote, I recommend Chris Pratley’s recent post “Unifying the analog and the digital with OneNote,” which sketches out the vision for the upcoming version of OneNote. Put me on that beta list!
The money quote:
Screen clippings: When you use the screen clippings feature in OneNote (Windows-S shortcut), you can insert a screenshot of an area of the screen you choose. This image is then OCR’d just like those other images. In fact, we’re including about four different OCR engines in OneNote, each one optimized for different types of images that contain text. We sniff the type of image and use the appropriate one automatically.
Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(TM) – The Conference, Re-imagined. LexThink! – Think big thoughts, do cool things, change the world. Coming soon – LexThink BlawgThink – the legal blogger unconference.

New Issue of Law Practice Today Webzine

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Be sure to check out the recently-released issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Today Webzine.
You’ll find the customary generous assortment of great articles on finance, management, marketing and technology topics. Let me mention just one: Wendy Werner’s article on great books to read on the subject of career development.
However, I do want to highlight the “Strongest Links” column Tom Mighell and I wrote. In the column, we give you a list of good Internet resources on instant messaging. The best part (and the most fun part) was that Tom and I structured the column as an instant messaging session we did on Skype. It’s fun and informative at the same time. And it’s an effort to show that lawyers can use non-traditional tools and write in non-traditional ways.
Check it out. And give some thought to joining the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section.
Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s consulting services, featuring RSS and advanced blogging consulting and technology committee coaching packages for law firms, corporate legal departments and other professional services providers.

New “Thinking E-Discovery” Column Posted

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Tom, Mighell, Evan Schaefffer and I write the “Thinking E-Discovery” column on the DiscoveryResources.org site.
Our latest column, called “Rethinking Electronic Discovery and Paper Discovery in the Post-Katrina Era” has just been published.
This column finds us in a contemplative mood as we consider the ramifications of Hurricane Katrina. We consider the differences between paper and digital in a time of disaster and speculate whether events like Katrina will change thinking about electronic discovery and electronic filing.
The money quote (from Tom Mighell):
As far as the courts are concerned, disasters like this underscore the inevitable move to electronic filing of case documents.
We really enjoy writing this column and hope that many of you will find the columns useful and helpful.
Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s half-day electronic discovery seminar – “Preparing for the New World of Electronic Discovery: Easing Your Transition from Paper to Electronic Discovery.” Contact Dennis today for more information and to schedule a seminar for your firm or legal department.

Client-Driven Technology and the Cisco Model

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Jason Krause’s new article “The Cisco Way” in the September ABA Journal is an absolute must-read for any regular reader of this blog. I’ve written on a number of occasions about to what I like to call “client-driven technology.”
This article will help you understand how clients to a far greater degree than lawyers wiill change the legal profession, in technology and in more fundamental and structural ways. I’m very confident in that assessment and prediction.
However, I don’t want to delay you in reading the article (it might be only available for about a month to non-subscribers).
Here’s one of many possible money quotes from Mark Chandler, Laura Owen and others at Cisco quoted in the article:
“In the past you would say, ‘I hope there’s one firm big enough to do it all for me,’” Chandler says. “Not anymore. Now technology lets you pick and choose and bring together the best in each area.”
Give that quote some serious thought.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s consulting services, featuring RSS and advanced blogging consulting and technology committee coaching packages for law firms, corporate legal departments and other professional services providers.