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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 November, 2005

Ten Tips to Improve Your Presentations with PowerPoint

Monday, November 7th, 2005

[Note: this is another in the series of my previously-published articles that I'm reposting on my blog. Although my own thinking on PowerPoint use has evolved to be largely in line with Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points approach, I still like this article a lot. So have many others and it has long been my most popular article. It's been reprinted many times and used in classes from elementary schools to colleges. I seem to have struck a chord with this one, originally written in 1999.]
Ten Tips to Improve Your Presentations with PowerPoint
PowerPoint has dramatically changed the way people make presentations. Some accountants, engineers and other professionals consider PowerPoint a more essential tool than a word processing program. We are beginning to see lawyers use it in the courtroom, seminars and other legal settings. Lawyers use PowerPoint for opening and closing arguments to summarize witness testimony, outline the basic points of the case, and explain complex concepts.
PowerPoint takes advantage of the fact that most of us learn best visually. We are members of the TV generation and like variety, visuals and variation in the ways we learn new things. The term "edutainment" accurately describes how most of us like to get our information.
PowerPoint adds visual interest to our presentations, organizes our points, de-emphasizes the need for high levels of personal charisma and "speaking skills," and allows us to present to people in ways that enhance our ability to connect with and persuade audiences.
Best of all, PowerPoint is easy to learn and use. Because it is so easy to use, however, it can also be easy to misuse or not use effectively. Here are ten tips for making good use of PowerPoint in your presentations:
1. Make Use of Other Presentation Elements That Work Well. If you find slides that you like (and get permission), import those slides into your presentations or use them as models. If you like the colors or textures you see at a presentation, find out what they are and use them in your next presentation. Many speakers will give you copies of their slides or tell you how they prepared them. It never hurts to ask. Better yet, make use of the pre-fabricated templates and presentations that come with PowerPoint or that can be downloaded from the Microsoft PowerPoint website or other sites on the Internet. PowerPoint also has "wizards" that walk you through a set of choices and automatically generate the format of your slides. Most of us are not graphics artists, but the people who put the templates and wizards together are. The point is to communicate – if someone has a good way of doing things, learn from it and use it.
 2. Don’t Overuse Effects or Overcrowd Slides. Don’t let people focus on the "gee whiz" aspects of your program. You want them to focus on the content of your presentation and on you as the deliverer of that content. Crowded slides turn off audiences and obscure your main points. Your slides should be designed to illustrate your speech, not to replace your handouts. Don’t cram them with information that belongs in a handout. Limit your points on a slide to 3 to 6 points. Avoid sub-headings. Instead, break major points into separate slides. Stick with the same backgrounds, styles and transition effects throughout your presentation. Think carefully before using animations, sound and video. It’s best to use those effects sparingly – they’ll have more impact.
3. Use Headlines Rather Than Outline Headings. The typical slide will have 3 to 6 bullet points. Compare the headings I have used for the first three points in this article with ones I could have used: "1. Resources; 2. Effects; 3. Bullet Points." Each bullet point on a slide gives you a chance to introduce, set expectations for and sell your argument on that point. Writing the points as headlines gives your presentation energy and power.
4. Find Your Own Style. On each slide, I like to use 3 to 6 bullet points and a single, simple graphic that illustrates the slide title. I prefer to bring my points onto the slide one at a time with no special effects and I like to "gray out" points after I finish with them. This approach gives better control and pace. I typically don’t use sounds or movie clips. I’m just not comfortable with them and think that they tend to make cliched points (e.g., you say: "we hit our target" and then play an animation of, what else, an arrow hitting a target). Other people may find that sound and video work perfectly for what they are trying to do. I’ve seen people incorporate music clips, for example, very effectively. However, they are comfortable in using music. PowerPoint gives you plenty of tools to fit your style.
5. Prepare for the Unexpected. Any experienced speaker can tell you hair-raising tales about air conditioning, microphones, seating and a variety of other elements of speaking that can go wrong. My favorite of these, by the way, is leaving the wireless mike on after you leave the room. Using presentation programs, laptop computers and projectors brings in a whole new dimension of things that can go wrong. Projectors are especially tricky – I wish manufacturers would standardize where to put the on/off switches – and sometimes will not work with your laptop computer. Some speakers carry whole tool kits: extra bulbs, extra hard drives, copies of the presentation on floppy disks, cords, cables and adapters. Most of the time, things work quite well, but your failures are quite visible. The best advice: get to the room early and get everything set up and tested. Find out if the meeting place has a technical person assigned to your presentation. If so, befriend that person. If you make a lot of presentations, give serious thought to buying your own projector.
6. Think Like Someone in Your Audience. Picture what your audience will be seeing and hearing. Spend more time on content than on design issues. You can be creative but don’t be silly. A very important point: readability. Use large fonts. If you can’t fit all your points on a slide without moving to a smaller font, break the points up onto separate slides. Colors matter because they have connotations. For example, you want to avoid reds because they can agitate people negatively. Font styles and graphics choices set your professional image, so be smart in your choices.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice. Your success with the PowerPoint presentations will depend on how comfortable you are using the program. It is vital to practice your speech and running the laptop computer at the same time because you have to do both at the same time in your presentation. If you can’t do both at once, it makes excellent sense to have someone else run the laptop computer. You don’t have to do everything, especially if it inhibits your performance. You will want to practice your talk with the person who is running the computer. I have noticed that it is easier to do full rehearsals of talks with slides than it is when using only notes. The slides make the rehearsal more fun.
8. Storyboard Your Presentation. PowerPoint helps you think structurally about your presentation. You know you need an introduction, a conclusion and main points, all supported with arguments, stories and examples. Some people work best with outlines. PowerPoint will automatically turn an outline into a set of slides. I like to sketch out my presentations as a series of slides. This process is called "storyboarding" and is done in moviemaking. I can then conceive my presentation as a set of slides and sketch what kind of graphic I want, how many bullet points, and where anecdotes and examples will fit into the talk. I makes it easier for me to imagine the presentation in its entirety and to visualize my performance.
9. Never Forget Your Conclusion Slide. One way PowerPoint will make you a better speaker is by reminding you that every presentation needs a conclusion. Too many speakers simply end a presentation by saying "that’s all I have." If you have a concluding slide with 3 – 5 summary points or action steps, you’ll leave the audience with a much stronger impression and you can never emphasize and restate your main points too often.
10. Own Your Presentation. It’s very easy to tell when someone is delivering a speech that they haven’t written. It’s just as easy to tell when someone is using a PowerPoint presentation that someone else has put together. You may see expressions of surprise or puzzlement or even comments that a graphic is especially good. You can have someone else prepare the slides and even have someone else running the computer, but you have to own the presentation as if you created it yourself. When you know the presentation and are comfortable working with the slides, you become free to connect with your audience and shine as a presenter.
While PowerPoint will not take the place of communication skills, it can be a great tool for enhancing and improving your skills. You can learn to be a great presenter through practice, repetition, hard work, study and the right tools. Keep in mind, though, that the best speakers are the ones who are able to speak in a way that is most congruent with their own personality. The more authentic you are the more effective the communicator you are. The power of PowerPoint is that it gives you the flexibility to use your own style and get your message across to your audience. These ten tips for using PowerPoint will help make you a top-notch communicator.

[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. November 11 & 12 – BlawgThink 2005 – the legal blogger unconference.

Beware of Your Digital Tracks

Monday, November 7th, 2005

I had a great time talking with Tim Zeller of the New York Times last week about metadata in Word and other documents and other ways you can find hidden data in electronic documents.
Tim was kind enough to quote me in today’s article in the NY Times called “Beware of Your Trail of Digital Fingerprints.”
It’s a good, and timely, article. There have been a number of public disclosures of revisions and hidden data recently, as the article describes.
It’s been fun getting emails today from friends who saw the article. It’s also fun to read the NYT convention of referring me to as “Mr. Kennedy.”
I recommend that you read this article and start doing some thinking about the metadata issue. I’ve written about it on this blog and on the Between Lawyers blog as well.
Other legal bloggers have been in the newspapers lately , too, as Steve Nipper mentioned today. I’m sure we’ll be comaring notes on being in the papers at BlawgThink.
[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.

Passwords: The Weakest Link in Your Security Chain? – Article

Sunday, November 6th, 2005

[Note: This is another in the series of posts of my previously-published articles. This article on passwords was written in 1999. Most of the principles still apply. Most of the poor password practices still exist. The one technology the article didn't mention that has become more prominent is the use of key chain devices that generate new passwords on a minute-by-minute basis. Biometrics have not yet made the inroads into the world of "passwords" as many have predicted. How are your passwords? As the article concludes, today might be a great day to change passwords. ]
Passwords: The Weakest Link in Your Security Chain?
We find ourselves awash in the sea of passwords and pin numbers for ATM and credit cards, voice mail, network logins, Internet access and even some Web sites. What are the best ways to stay afloat?
An unwise selection of a password can compromises security of your computer system, your business and your personal life. A poor job of keeping a password secret can compromise the security provided by a well-chosen password.
Even worse, if you make an excellent selection of a password and do an excellent job of keeping it secret but then forget your password, you may find yourself in a hopeless situation.
Passwords pose two key issues: How do you select a good password and how do you manage passwords once you have chosen them?
Selecting a Password
Many of the first computer hackers broke into computer systems by logging on with the user name of "guest" and then trying the password "guest". In many cases, believe it or not, "guest" was the actual password.
These days computer hackers take advantage of readily-available, highly-sophisticated "cracking" programs that try, in rapid succession, most of the common password strategies and variations thereon. These programs use every word in the dictionary and many foreign dictionaries, numerical combinations, and many variations on common password techniques. As computers become more powerful, a hacker can use increasingly sophisticated techniques to become even more successful at cracking your password.
Studies indicate that most passwords fall into several basic categories:
1. Common words like "password", "secret", and other similar words. In fact, one report indicated that at one time the word "password" was the most commonly used password in Germany.
2. Your first name, last name, initials, or a variation on your name or initials.
3. Your spouse’s name, the name of a child, the name of a pet or variations thereon.
4. Common numbers based on birth dates, social security numbers, phone number, license plate number and the like.
5. Obscure words.
6. Mythological names, geographical names, common names, characters from TV shows or movies or sports figures.
7. Names of sports teams.
8. Names or words related to your profession or hobby.
9. Simple two word combinations.
Each of these techniques for selecting a password will result in a password that can be broken fairly easily by a cracking program or a sophisticated and persistent person who wants to break into your account and has some knowledge of you and your interests.
A true story: Several years ago, I needed to log on to my old firm’s network and found that I was already logged in on my own computer. At the time, I was not allowed multiple logins for my user name and could not use another computer unless I went back to my office and logged myself off of my computer. Not wanting to do this, I went to the nearby office of an attorney who was on vacation and typed in that attorney’s initials and spouse’s name as a password. I logged right in as that user on my first try. It was that easy.
How do you choose a good password? Here are a few tips:
Avoid the common categories of passwords. In particular avoid any use of your name or any variation of your name, your user name, your spouse’s name or your children’s names.
Avoid the use of any word or words that can be found in a dictionary.
If you must use words, use nonsense words or intentionally misspelled words.
Avoid purely numerical passwords, especially ones based on easily obtainable personal information about yourself such as the license plate number.
If you use letters, make some uppercase and some lowercase.
A combination of words might be a good choice, but only if you separate them or divide them by using punctuation marks or symbols like "#" or "&".
A good password might be based on the first or last letters of the first eight words of a favorite poem, a favorite quote or a favorite provision of the Internal Revenue Code.
In many ways the ideal password is a random combination of letters, numbers and punctuation symbols with some uppercase letters and lowercase letters.
Based on the advice from experts, your ideal password would look something like "e#2!B5$c". And, ideally, you would have a similar password for each of your account which requires a password. In addition, you would change this password once a month or so.
You should be beginning to see the problem. Creating excellent passwords is not nearly as difficult as remembering them.
Managing your Passwords.
Password management takes two forms. First, you must be concerned about keeping your passwords secure. Second, you must have a way to maintain the passwords in a way that you can remember them. These two concerns are often in conflict.
For example, it is common advice that you should never write down a password. If you don’t write down a password and you use an "ideal" password of eight randomly selected characters, you will have done an excellent job on security while all but guaranteeing that you will do a poor job of remembering the password.
Your approach to password management will involve your level of comfort and your compromise between security and ease of recall.
Security.
Here are a few basic tips on password security.
Avoid writing down passwords and keeping them in a place where they can be readily found. Taping your passwords to the side of your computer monitor is not a smart idea no matter how convenient it may be. Neither is writing a password on a piece of paper kept in your desk drawer, your laptop computer’s carrying case or a file folder marked "my passwords."
Don’t tell anyone your password. If you must do so, change your password after that person is done using it.
Be careful when entering your password so that someone can’t observe it easily. Avoid passwords based on easily-observable keyboard patterns such as "aaaaaaaa" or "12345678".
Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. If someone figures out that password, they have the keys to your kingdom.
Don’t give your password to anyone who asks for it, no matter how official sounding they may seem. A common scam is for someone to send you an official looking e-mail asking you to give them your password for security or maintenance reasons. Don’t do it.
Change your passwords on a regular basis. Some organizations now require users to change passwords on a monthly basis.
If you have any concern whatsoever that your password security has been compromised, change your password. Often the simple act of changing your password will deny the unauthorized user further access to your account or system.
Enforce these rules for every user on your network.
Remembering Passwords.
Let’s assume that you have created an ideal password, taken every security precaution, and then one day the password simply disappears from your mind. What do you do? Unfortunately, in some cases you are out of luck. In other cases, your network administrator or a computer consultant might be able to bail you out.
A better approach is to devise a system to help you remember passwords. You have a number of choices, but the two most common are mnemonic and software techniques.
If you use a mnemonic technique, you will use a password selected in a way that will help you remember it. A good example is a password chosen by using the first letters of a phrase that you will remember.
A second approach would be to create a phrase out of the password that you have chosen which will help you remember the password. For example, many people were taught the name "Roy G. Biv" to help them remember the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).
Software techniques would include a passworded or encrypted file or a password management program to store and protect your passwords. These types of programs allow you to store and manage your passwords and then to encrypt the file that contains them. As a result, all you will need to remember is the password to the password management program.
Looking to the Future.
Fortunately, new methods are being developed to help reduce the threat of your password being hacked. For example, some networks have intruder alerts if multiple unsuccessful attempts are made to access an account. Other systems allow a user to make only a limited number of incorrect attempts before prohibiting access to anyone using that user name.
The word to remember in computer security, however, is "biometrics." In the future, we can expect to see security based on seemingly science fiction techniques such as retinal scans, fingerprinting, voice recognition, face recognition and even DNA-based systems. The key is the massive increase in power and speed of computer chips which will make such options possible. Until then, today might be a great day to change your passwords.
[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.

Using Computers to Keep a Judge and Jury Interested – Articles

Friday, November 4th, 2005

[Note: This is another in the series of my previously-published articles that I am reposting on my blog. This article is an oldie - earlier versions appeared in the March 23, 1998  issue of Lawyers Weekly USA and the July 1999 issue of Res Gestae. It's a somewhat unusual article for me because I usually do not interview people and use their quotes in my articles (or on my blog) much these days. I wrote this one as one of my monthly columns for Lawyers Weekly USA, where I got the chance to work with my favorite editor, Elaine McArdle, and started to build my reputation as a writer on legal technology. I really like this article for a couple of reasons: (1) I get to quote and feature my good friends Alan Steinberg and Art Smith, two of the legal tech pioneers in St. Louis, (2) it shows how you can write about technology in ways that will have longevity, and (3) it illustrates how slo-o-o-ow the pace of change in litigation technology really is for those of you who don't believe me when I make that statement. Most of the tips and techniques in this article from Art and Alan are still fresh and valuable today.]
Using Computers to Keep a Judge and Jury Interested
Computers continue to march from the law office into the courtroom. Currently available technology and techniques make it possible for any attorney in almost any courtroom to streamline case presentation and enhance the impact of a case on judges and jurors. Most important, these new tools are transparent enough to allow jurors to focus on the main points of your case and not on the "gee whiz" aspects of the technology.
Art Smith, of Husch & Eppenberger (over 150 attorneys), and Alan Steinberg, of Steinberg & Steinberg (two attorneys), both of St. Louis, recently completed cases in which they took advantage of technology in the courtroom. When their cases were over, they were so impressed with the technology that they wanted to share their experiences with other lawyers in the community. As Steinberg said, "this is technology that will make you money."
Smith has four important conclusions about using presentation technology in the courtroom:
1. Computer display makes it easier for jurors to see and study exhibits.
2. Presentation technology allows an attorney to focus the attention of the judge and jury on the relevant language of any exhibit.
3. Presentation software specifically designed for trials speeds the presentation of evidence.
4. You can greatly enhance the impact of your documentary evidence.
What is Trial Presentation Technology?
Trial presentation technology is simply the use of computer equipment to display presentation slides and scanned digital images of exhibits. For example, if your case involves a letter that contains incriminating evidence, you might use a scanner to create a graphic image of that letter that could then be identified, labeled and stored in a database. When it is introduced into evidence, the graphic image would be retrieved and displayed to the jury. Each juror can view it simultaneously without the need for you to pass the letter to each juror.
Hardware.
Presentation hardware can be as simple as a notebook computer running into a switch-box which displays information on separate monitors for the jury, the judge, and the attorney. Other hardware items can include a VCR for playback of video depositions and an overhead digital camera (such as the Elmo) which will allow you to display documents and even three-dimensional objects on a monitor for the judge and jury. An overhead projector might also be appropriate. Other useful hardware might include a remote control or wireless mouse, if you like to move around, and a laser pointer.
Smith’s trial was a large and lengthy one and required a fairly elaborate hardware setup. It included two 35" monitors for the jury and separate monitors for the judge, witness box and counsel. He also used a VCR for video depositions, a sound system, an Elmo overhead digital camera for displaying exhibits that were not scanned as digital images, a connection box and an uninterrupted power source. The Elmo camera has become very popular among trial lawyers since you can show documents and three-dimensional exhibits using the camera.
This setup cost $1,500 to install and remove, $300 per trial day for hardware rental, and $500 per day for technician to monitor the hardware setup. Because you can use different aspects of presentation technology, you can pick and choose software or hardware that will give you the most advantage for your case at a price you can afford. In some cases, as Smith found, your opponent may be willing to share the costs of the courtroom setup because of the advantage to both sides.
Software.

There are two types of software you might use in the courtroom: (1) Microsoft’s PowerPoint, or a similar presentation program, for your opening and closing arguments, and (2) trial display packages such as Trial Link or Trial Director, to display your exhibits and highlight or annotate important parts of those exhibits.
The trial display packages integrate well with litigation management programs like Summation or Concordance and can also be used in connection with real-time transcription software. A combination of all these packages can turn you into a techno-lawyer with your case completely digitized and at your fingertips.
Presentation Software.
You can use a presentation program, such as PowerPoint or Corel’s Presentation, for their opening and closing arguments. Presentation software allows you to prepare a set of slides which will display your main points. Graphics, sound, video clips and animation can be added to each slide. The slides can be sequenced as you wish and controlled manually or automatically by timer. The slides can be displayed from your notebook computer onto a screen or monitor or even printed out and used as handouts or transparencies.
These programs allow you to reinforce your main points by displaying them at the same time you are talking about them. You can organize, illustrate and focus your talks in a manner that is entertaining and keeps the attention of your audience. Your opening and closing can be much more effective than what you can do by reading from your notes scrawled on a legal pad. Steinberg commented that he would prefer never to do an opening or closing argument without PowerPoint again.
As an example of how you can use these slides, Smith created a slide that contained a picture of a witness along with a quote from his testimony during the trial that Smith wanted to emphasize. This slide could be used to remind the jury who the person was as well as to emphasize the remark itself.
Trial Display Software.
Trial display software allows you to display images of documents and other exhibits onto a screen or monitor. The programs have a simple, uncluttered interface and tools that allow you to highlight phrases or areas of the image. For example, you might electronically draw a red circle around an important part of a photographic image, use an electronic yellow "highlighter" to mark important phrases, annotate documents, add arrows or use other effects, such as enlarging key language, to emphasize your points. The electronic marking appears only on the display of the document not on the underlying document or file.
Two of the leading programs in this genre are Trial Link and Trial Director. Both are very impressive programs which can integrate well with other programs you might be using for trial management. You will want to look into the features of both to see which program will work best for you.
A large part of the effectiveness of this software is due to its apparent simplicity. Jurors simply see an image of an exhibit on a large monitor and then watch you emphasize phrases, enlarge key parts of exhibits or photos, and even use video and animation. This approach seems to be very effective for jurors used to getting a large portion of their information from television.
Practical pointers.
1. As Steinberg says, the most important advice is simply to "practice, practice, practice." You want to make your presentation more focused, more organized and more effective. You cannot do this if you cannot run the equipment properly or you struggle with the software. Practice until you are able to run the equipment and software smoothly. If you cannot become comfortable using equipment and software, have an assistant who runs the equipment while you do the talking.
2. Take advantage of advanced features of programs but take care not to let the features get in the way of your story. PowerPoint has a many impressive effects and graphics built into the program. Focus the jury on your case, not your visual effects and animations. Stick with fairly simple and straightforward backgrounds and effects until you are comfortable using the programs and are sure that the effects increase the impact of your presentation.
3. Backup your work. Trial presentation technology does not save paper. To prevent mishaps, you definitely will want to take a print out of all of your exhibits, presentation slides and other documents that you might use in the courtroom. You might even prepare transparencies. You will also want to have multiple backups of your data.
4. Have the same setup in your office, or "war room," as you have in the courtroom. If you set up a configuration identical to what you are using in the courtroom back in your office, you can practice under the same conditions. You will also be able to substitute an identical component from your office over a lunch break.
5. Prepare for the unexpected. When speaking, any additional element that you put into your presentation increases the opportunity for something to go wrong. If you write out your speech, you might lose the paper on which it is written. If you use transparencies, the overhead projector light bulb might burn out. If you use elaborate presentation technology, any aspect of the equipment may go wrong or you may experience one quirk or another which can throw off the pace and style of your presentation. Take extra projector bulbs, cords, batteries, transparencies and tools.
6. The client makes the call. Although you can fall in love with courtroom presentation technology, it probably makes the most sense in document-intensive cases or cases where charts and graphics will help reduce complexity. The technology probably makes more sense in longer trials than in shorter trials, although the use of PowerPoint or a similar program in openings and closings could be used in any trial. Your client, however, may be more willing to use this technology in a jury trial as opposed to a judge-tried case or may deem the cost to be prohibitive in any case. It will become a matter of educating your client and showing your client the benefits of this approach.
Conclusions.
More and more judges are become receptive to the use of technology in the courtroom and a good number of courthouses are planning to at least have one courtroom that is designed as a "courtroom of the future." Because this technology can benefit jurors in understanding cases, I expect to see more receptivity on the part of judges. There was no area hotter in legal technology than courtroom presentation technology.
Smith and Steinberg both agree that the main benefit of presentation technology is that it allows you to organize your case and control the flow of the case. By moving your case along in a steady, organized fashion, you keep the attention of the jury and present information to them in an educational and entertaining manner. Jurors seem to respond to this technology. Courtroom presentation technology can dramatically enhance the impact of your arguments, your exhibits and your case. As a result, it can give jurors a better experience with the legal system, something which will benefit all lawyers.
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[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.

BlawgThink 2005: Looking for a Few Chicago Area Law Student Bloggers

Friday, November 4th, 2005

We would like to find three or four Chicago area law student bloggers who would be willing to act as note-takers for BlawgThink sessions and otherwise help out with BlawgThink in exchange for the ability to attend BlawgThink for free.
If that describes you, please let me know as soon as you can (email me at dmk @ denniskennedy . com) and we can make the arrangements.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (htttp://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. November 11 & 12 – LexThink’s BlawgThink 2005.

Creating an Environment in Law Firms Where Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge Management Will Work – Article

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

[Note: This is another in the series of my previously-published articles I'm reposting on my blog. I prepared the original version of this paper was prepared for the Workshop entitled "Legal Knowledge Systems in Action: Practical AI in Today’s Law Office" at the 2001 ICAIL (International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the Law). You'll notice some of my common themes and a focus on how we can use technology to help us rather than fitting what we have to do into what technology (or programmers or IT departments) permit us to do.]
Creating an Environment in Law Firms Where Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge Management Will Work
The adoption of artificial intelligence applications and knowledge management technologies by the legal profession has proceeded far less rapidly than many people would have expected or hoped. While vendors of data mining, knowledge management and other information technologies consistently see the legal profession as a fertile market for their products and initiatives, they are often disappointed by the resistance they find by lawyers and law firms. Why have advanced and sophisticated information techniques made so little impact on the information-intensive legal profession? What can be done to open up the legal market? In spite of the general climate of resistance, what projects are good candidates for these techniques?
There is a certain inevitability to the entry of knowledge management and artificial intelligence approaches in the legal profession, whether the push comes from within the profession or from external pressures from clients and competitors. This paper will discuss some of the needs that law firms want to address with artificial intelligence and knowledge management projects, the resistance barriers in law firms, and then move on to list some attractive target areas for these approaches and factors that will contribute to success of these types of projects.
1. Needs Law Firms Seek to Address.
As part of an information intensive profession, lawyers and law firms create, use and store vast amounts of information in connection with their work. This information has a recognized value because it holds experience and expertise learned and maintained by legal organizations. Too often, however, the transfer of this knowledge inside or outside the firm occurs by happenstance or through one-on-one conversations without a sharing of information by all who need the information. Law firms want to tap into the value of their information in systematic and effective ways.
A. Not Reinventing the Wheel. To a surprising extent, in many law firms research is often duplicated, and agreements and other documents are created from scratch when models for such agreements already exist. The concern is not just inefficiency but also the inability to take advantage of best practices and current information and to make proper assignments to people with appropriate experience. With varying degrees of success, all firms have made efforts to implement techniques such as brief banks, standardized forms, training manual and documentation of procedures. Document assembly is one example of a technology used to capture prior efforts and to standardize best practices.
B. Knowledge Transfer and Mentoring. It is highly desirable to transfer the knowledge and even wisdom of older attorneys down to younger attorneys. In many cases, older attorneys may leave a firm or even die without the knowledge and other benefits of their experience being captured in a usable fashion. Not only is there a loss of substantive practice knowledge, but far too often there is the loss of the history and stories of a firm culture. There is a growing recognition of how much information is carried by way of story-telling. Core knowledge about a firm and its practices are encoded in its "myths and legends." Where transfer of this experience and expertise is not encouraged and facilitated, the knowledge of important historical details, such as how difficult management, ethical and other situations were handled, is no longer available for later generations of the firm. The transmission of core values and wisdom is either hindered or does not occur. Increasingly, law firms are recognizing the value of this loss and emphasizing the role of senior attorneys must play in mentoring other attorneys.
C. Efficient Delivery of Legal Services. Attorneys arguably work many more hours than other "knowledge workers." There is often a question of whether attorneys are simply working harder rather than working smarter. Both attorneys and clients see the benefits of more efficient delivery of legal services. Attorneys are increasingly aware of productivity gains achieved in other businesses by use of technology and find that their clients who have achieved such gains through the use of technology are pressuring law firms to adopt the same approaches. In other cases, business clients expect law firms to have certain technologies in place and are not willing to pay lawyers to deliver work in what is seen as inefficient and expensive ways.
D. Information Overload. Attorneys are inundated with paper, e-mail, advance sheets, journals, newsletters, web pages and a rising tide of information falling over them. Keeping up with developments in a practice area can take a substantial amount of time. As attorneys take advantage of e-mail newsletters, e-mail discussion lists, and other Internet resources, the symptoms of information overload can become very apparent. The need to organize, process and store in a retrievable fashion relevant information has become increasingly important.
E. Employee Retention. The new generation of lawyers leaving law school has been raised in an era of computers. Soon we will have a generation of law students who have never known a time when the Internet was not available. The level of expectations and reliance of sophisticated approaches to information and technology of these lawyers is very high. Law firms have found and will continue to find an unwillingness by these lawyers to stay at firms that do not have state-of-the-art approaches to information. Law firms realize that addressing technology concerns is an essential part of attracting and retaining the best talent.
2. Resistance Barriers to Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge Management Projects.
A. Culture of Individual Practices. Nearly every successful knowledge management project has at its roots an organization in which there is a culture of sharing of information. More important, success grows from a culture of willingly sharing information. While financial incentives can help create a spirit of willingness, the trick is to create a culture where the benefits of sharing information are seen as real and sharing knowledge becomes second nature. Many firms are often described as a collection of individual practices. Even within specific practice areas, lawyers may work in a very autonomous manner. In addition, lawyers in one practice area may see little or no commonality with lawyers in other practice areas. At a more basic level, there is often a divide between litigation attorneys and transactional attorneys that is difficult to bridge.
B. Resistance to Technology. Far too often, the attorneys, especially older attorneys, who must be involved in the transfer of knowledge down to other attorneys have a reluctance to use technology. Ironically, attorneys whose whole careers show a demonstrated ability to learn completely new areas of knowledge during the preparation of cases or through their representation of clients in a particular industry will balk at the notion of using computers. This reluctance to learn hardware and specific software can result in an unwillingness to be involved in "technology" at any level, even including the unwillingness to be assisted in knowledge transfer techniques that would involve the use of technology.
C. Lack of Time. The increasing emphasis on massive billable hour requirements tends to leave lawyers with little time and opportunity to create expert systems, highly organized data structures, or other artificial intelligence and knowledge management techniques. All of these efforts require the investment of substantial amounts of upfront time. Systems that require large amounts of upfront organization have little chance of succeeding in most law firms. Techniques that may involve the ability to process existing information "as it lies" will have the greatest opportunity for success.
D. Inability to Measure Returns. Metrics are not readily available that would help law firms measure the financial return of knowledge management applications. Where billing structures are not changed, the efficiencies obtained through these types of applications may not benefit a firm financially. For example, while the idea of document assembly has long been attractive to lawyers, the reality of reducing a several hour drafting job to ten minutes is not financially advantageous if billing continues to be based on a pure billable hours basis.
E. Incentive Structures. While there are a few firms that have created positions such as "chief knowledge officers," in many cases attorneys interested in knowledge management projects do them on a voluntary basis or may even be penalized for their efforts if these efforts diminish their amount of billable hours. In a traditional law firm, there is often a lack of incentive structures to motivate lawyers to be involved in a knowledge management project. In firms where knowledge management efforts, such as brief banks, or collections of memoranda have been tried, with unsuccessful results, there is often a reluctance to try again and a tendency to dismiss the whole notion of knowledge management rather than to analyze carefully where the prior projects failed and develop more effective new projects.
3. Attractive Areas for Knowledge Management and Artificial Intelligence Projects.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that large-scale, firm-wide knowledge management techniques have little chance of success in law firms, especially if they are the first project undertaken. Discrete, well-considered pilot projects that can be scaled up and rolled out throughout the firm have a much greater opportunity of success. Similarly, targeted, incremental approaches that work within the existing knowledge flow of the firm are preferable to attempts to reorganize how people work. Examples of projects that should be given careful consideration are:
A. Litigation Strategy. A good starting project for many law firms would be an application in the area of litigation strategy. Excellent tools are available and the return on investment in this area can readily be perceived.
Perhaps the most interesting development in knowledge management in law firms has been the success of a software program, CaseMap (www.casesoft.com), over the past few years. CaseMap allows lawyers to pull information that otherwise might be hidden in legal pads, bankers’ boxes, or in the memories of individual lawyers into a format that allows lawyers to gather and analyze facts in a helpful manner. Through a simple method of tagging information, lawyers can use CaseMap to find answers to questions previously difficult to obtain. For example, a lawyer preparing a summary judgment motion can, in a matter of seconds, retrieve a list of all undisputed facts in the case relating to the issue about which they are writing. A lawyer can assess the strength of a case by seeing a list of all undisputed facts that have been judged by that lawyer or other members of the team as highly unfavorable.
CaseMap creates a method for looking at the information involved in the case in a variety of ways and preparing and testing strategies as well as determining where additional work may be required on a case. In addition, a lawyer can determine the strengths and weaknesses of a case and the role that individual witnesses will play in developing a case.
In part the key to the success of CaseMap is its reasonable price, but, more so, its success lies in its use of a relatively simple interface to accomplish a limited number of highly useful things. The program recognizes that there is a great utility in identifying key information and associating it with other information and that a broad-based approach can be much more useful than a method that attempts to implement hundreds or even thousands of rules to create a trial strategy.
B. Client Relationship Management. A highly important area in knowledge management is customer relationship management ("CRM"). CRM is simply a method of gathering, associating and using in an efficient manner information that you have about customers. In many law firms, there are countless examples of lawyers trying to cultivate a potential client only to find later that that potential client was a college roommate of someone else at the firm. Where information about clients is not readily available, lawyers working for a long-term firm client for the first time can easily make mistakes, such as e-mailing clients who have demanded that information only be faxed to them or Fedexing copies to clients who only want e-mail copies. The holy grail of CRM in law firms is to promote the cross-selling of business to existing clients. This area is an especially fertile one for potential knowledge management and artificial intelligence projects.
C. Conflict Checking. Conflict checking is an area of difficulty for many law firms, especially as the number of clients increases and as companies enter into more joint ventures and combinations. While traditional databases can be of great assistance, often potential conflicts can only be seen by lawyers who are personally familiar with the relationships between a variety of companies and people. While CRM efforts will have a spillover effect in the area of conflict checking, the application of artificial intelligence specifically to conflict checking holds a great deal of promise.
A product in development from DolphinSearch (www.dolphinsearch.com) is an example of an artificial intelligence tool that may have application in the area of conflict checking as well as other knowledge management projects. DolphinSearch is based on research that was done on communications between dolphins and then applied to the assessment of data and information. DolphinSearch can be described as a "fuzzy" method of searching because it is based on pattern recognition rather than a top-down, rules-based artificial intelligence approach. As a result, DolphinSearch can recognize connections between documents, clients and other information and retrieve relevant information with striking results. This ability to use the program is a way to identify connections between information has significant promise in the area of conflict checking.
D. Delivery of Client Services. The most exciting area of potential development for artificial intelligence and knowledge management systems is in the area of actual delivery of legal services to clients. This delivery of services might occur through traditional means or over the Internet. A number of examples of this trend are appearing and a good resource for keeping track of this phenomena is the elawyering site developed by Jerry Lawson at www.elawyering.org. The application of technology to the delivery of legal services is especially attractive in the area of what is sometimes referred to as the "latent market for legal services" or the segment of the market where people cannot afford traditional legal services. From document preparation to delivery of relevant legal information to decision tree approaches to transactions, there is a world of opportunity and law firms are only beginning to tap the potential.
E. Managing Information Overload. Lawyers, like many others, are fighting to gain some degree of control over the overwhelming amount of information they receive on a daily basis. Through the use of intelligent agents and other knowledge management and artificial techniques, it is gradually becoming possible to manage that flow of information. Techniques, such as creating daily electronic newspapers, personalized resources, and "push" technologies to deliver specific information, updates and other information of interest can all be highly effective with very tangible benefits. Microsoft’s Digital Dashboard initiative for use of Outlook as a front end for information retrieval and management is a good example of this type of effort. "Personal knowledge management" tools such as Clickgarden [Note: no longer exists, but a program I really liked and where I first learned to love tabbed browsing.] give the ability to harvest and organize information on the web. This area suggests a number of useful, discrete pilot projects that can have a high impact on individual attorneys and develop momentum for other projects.
4. Strategies for Improving the Likelihood of Success of your Projects.


  • Choose discrete rather than global projects.


  • Use methods that process existing pools of data rather than require large amounts of upfront coding, organization or tagging.


  • Identify appropriate tools and get those tools into the hands of the people who will actually use them.


  • Choose committed, enthusiastic volunteers for pilot projects.


  • Stay up-to-date about new tools and improvements to existing tools.


  • Achieve buy-in from top levels of management.


  • Develop appropriate incentive structures for attorneys participating in projects.


  • Set goals, supply necessary resources and determine from the beginning a method of measuring success or failure of a project. In part, this involves the ability to answer the two following questions: How will you determine whether a project is successful and who will determine whether it is a successful?


  • Determine whether a chief knowledge officer level position is required. It is difficult to have success for large projects without such a person.


  • Stay aware of developments, talk to others involved in successful projects and keep current with initiatives at other firms.


  • Listen to your clients and try to anticipate their needs as a driving force in your projects.


  • Maintain a high degree of flexibility and willingness to change direction.


  • Try to get as thorough an understanding of the information flows and the information cultures within your firm.


  • Attempt several pilot projects at a time. Diversify your risk.

  • Be innovative and courageous.


5. Conclusion.
While the past history of knowledge management and artificial intelligence in the legal profession does not show a lot of successes or adoption of these projects, a number of factors, economic and otherwise, are coming into play and suggest that there is light at the end of the tunnel. By being aware of the available tools, the fundamental promise and potential that law firms see in these techniques and being able to deal with the resistance barriers, you improve your likelihood of success. Discrete, high impact pilot projects are a good way to start and build momentum for an evolutionary development of these projects. There are also practical strategies that can further enhance your efforts and open up the promise of knowledge management and artificial intelligence that many people see in the legal profession. Most important, there are others working on similar projects who are willing to share information and provide assistance. The future looks promising.
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Maybe I was a bit too optimistic on how quickly some of these things would happen. From where I stand right now, however, the future looks even more promising in these areas.
[Orignally posted 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).

Speaking at and about BlawgThink

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

I’m so pleased to be speaking with Jeff “Law Tech Guru” Beard at BlawgThink. Jeff and I first met when we co-presented at a session at the 1998 ABA TECHSHOW and immediately became good friends. Anyone who’s ever attended a presentation by Jeff knows what a great presenter he is. I’m looking forward to working with him again.
The session we are doing is called “Tag, you’re it. Using Flickr, OPML, De.licio.us, Rojo, and other cutting-edge tools to supercharge your blog.” Matt and I conceived of this session as the “advanced blogging tools” session.
If you’ve seen me present, you know that the more technical and advanced the topic is, the more I try to focus on fundamental principles and how you can use the technology, rather than delving into the technical details.
So, although Jeff and I will be doing a survey of some advanced blogging tools, I want to focus on three fundamental concepts about these tools and why you might want to use them.
I see three categories of these tools:
1. Tools that allow you to improve your audience’s experience through benefits or features that require little additional effort on the part of the blogger. An example would be Flickr, which lets you add pictures to your blog experience by means of a simple to use service rather than by learning coding, programming or FTP-ing.
2. Tools that make your blog and your posts more findable and accessible with little additional effort on the part of the blogger. Examples would be Del.icio.us and Technorati tagging.
3. Tools that allow you to collaborate and help create a useful collection of valuable resources with little additional effort on the part of the blogger. Using OPML to share your RSS feed subscriptions, Rojo (and other RSS sharing services) and Rollyo custom search engines are examples in this category.
I think that this set of three categories is a helpful way to think about the various tools out there. I welcome any comments on this approach and suggestions of your favorite tools in each categories and/or useful tips for these tools.
Matt and I were talking, as we do every day, about BlawgThink and we are happy with where things stand. We’re ready to focus on making the event experience as good as we can make it and ready to bring the invitation, registration and sponsor solicitation process to a close. It does look like we’ ll able to accommodate some more attendees and we’ll do everything we can to include others who want to attend – just let us know – but our focus is turning to the event, the sessions, and what I’m sure will be an amazing and unforgettable Day 2 of BlawgThink. I can’t wait to see everyone there.
[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. November 11 & 12 – LexThink BlawgThink – the legal blogger unconference.

Ten Ways to Address Security Concerns in IT Contracts – Article

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

[Note: This is another in the series of my articles that I've been reposting. I thought I'd add a little variety by reposting an article on technology law rather than legal technology. This article from 2004 is a checklist (or "ten tips") article that covers some of the key points to consider when addressing computer security issues in an IT agreement. Computer security issues have become all too common. Businesses signing IT agreements don't always know that they have a number of approaches they can take to try to address their legitimate security concerns. In general, you will have to negotiate on these issues - don't expect a vendor agreement to give you what you need to cover your security issues. This article will give you some starting points and some ideas on strategies.]
Ten Ways to Address Security Concerns in IT Contracts
While security is rapidly becoming job #1 for IT departments, coverage of security issues has found its way into surprisingly few IT contracts. Many companies discover, far too late, that their contracts are largely silent when security issues arise during the life of an IT agreement.
The following checklist shows you 10 places in your IT contracts where you can address security concerns. You will have to be a good negotiator or have great leverage in the deal to get coverage in all 10 places, but the list will give you a number of strategies to cover security issues.
Warranties
The biggest weapon in your contract arsenal will be a warranty from your vendor. There are two types to consider:
1. Security Warranty. Ideally, you would like a vendor to represent and warrant that the software or services it will be providing will be secure and that your data, systems and networks will be secure from both third parties and the vendor’s employees. The language you get will largely depend on your bargaining power. While vendors will balk at warranting complete security, you might try to get a warranty providing security consistent with industry standards or obtain and maintain a recognized security certification. Failing that, you might try to get a warranty that provides reasonable security, keeps passwords safe or meets other specific requirements.
2. No Malicious Code. Another reasonable request is a warranty that software or services contain no viruses, Trojan horses, backdoors, malicious code or other programs that would allow anyone, including vendors, access to your computers or networks.
Procedures
3. SLA Requirements. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) customarily cover areas like uptime, backup, support procedures and other service requirements. A good way to cover security issues is to include specific security requirements, such as firewall specifications, certification, testing and notice of security breaches in the SLA.
4. Specifications. Software and IT services agreements commonly contain an exhibit that sets out a list of detailed specifications. Consider including security requirements in this list.
Action Requirements
You can also create affirmative obligations for the vendor.
5. Security Audits. Providing for annual or more frequent security audits or testing will place a burden on the vendor to provide adequate security and a standard for judging whether they are doing so. Remember to spell out the consequences for a failure to pass the audit.
6. Reporting Requirements. You will definitely want to know when there has been a security breach, especially a major one. A clause spelling out what events trigger a notice and how quickly will address these concerns directly.
Modifying Standard Contract Provisions
Making adjustments to standard contract provisions can provide great results.
7. Confidentiality. Your biggest security concerns will relate to your customer data (for which you may have obligations under your privacy policy or applicable law) and confidential information. Rather than rely on a general obligation of confidentiality, consider setting out additional, specific obligations to protect the information through appropriate security measures.
8. Exempt Security Damages from Liability Cap. Software and IT agreements routinely set limits on liability and caps on damages. It is common to clarify that limits and caps do not apply to indemnification obligations and damages for breach of confidentiality obligations. You can also argue that it is appropriate to exclude damages from a security breach from any limitation or cap because the potential damages are so high.
9. Security Indemnity. A vendor’s breach of security obligations could cause damages to a third party for which the third party would sue you. If you have strong bargaining power, you might ask for an indemnification from the vendor for any claims that a third party makes against you as a result of the vendor’s failure to maintain security.
10. Termination / Transition. As a practical matter, if a vendor fails to provide adequate security, you will want out of the deal. Consider spelling that out clearly and providing for a short and secure transition to another service provider.
Conclusion
In today’s IT contracts, it is important to address security issues during the negotiation process rather than trying to sort them out later in litigation. By consulting the 10-point checklist above, you will have a number of ways to negotiate security protections in your IT contracts by approaching the issues in a number of different directions. You may not get all you ask for, but you should be able to get some protection or get a good sense of how comfortable you will be with a vendor who is not willing to stand behind its security efforts.
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[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. November 11 & 12 – LexThink’s BlawgThink 2005.

A Vision of Virtual Law Firms – Article

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

[Note: Another in the series of posts republishing many of my articles on my blog. This article has probably generated a greater ratio of private discussion to public discussion than any other of my articles. I wrote this at the end of 2003, a period when I felt that what I was writing was not finding an audience, only to find later that several of the articles I wrote then have become quite influential. The article, by design, raises more questions than answers. I would note that blogging has brought the issues raised in the article into higher focus, but the changes in the legal ethics in the past few years have created a landscape that is more hostile to the idea of "virtual law firms." I've noticed lately that people are talking these days about approaches that are somewhat different than "virtual law firms." Will virtual law firms and other forms of collaboration be topics for discussion at BlawgThink 2005? Yes, they will. If that's the type of thing you want to be talking about, let me know and let's get you registered for BlawgThink.]
A Vision for Virtual Law Firms – Questions You Should Be Asking
I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations lately about where we are on “virtual law firms.” To me, virtual law firm simply means an affiliated group of lawyers connected by technology rather than co-existing in common physical locations.
What struck me as odd in these conversations was how applicable the arguments I set out in 1998 as part of a draft of an ill-fated book project (the publisher went out of business – I have thought about resurrecting the project from the existing draft).
Several years later, the environment is more conducive to virtual law firms, yet you tend to hear much less about the idea. New efforts and ideas, however, are still bubbling.
Consider the recent rebirth in interest in the DuPont Legal Model. One of the key reasons this ambitious plan for lawyer-client collaboration has now started to work is the increase in sheer horsepower. With broadband, today’s chips and storage and workable software platforms, the tools actually exist to accomplish things that were barely workable just a few years back.
Here are a few thought questions about virtual law firms:
1. What happens when you find that the mentors, experts and authorities you grow to rely on are not the people down the hall, in your offices, or even in your geographic area? With email lists [and blogs], this phenomenon is increasingly common.
2. Do you best serve your clients by referring work to your partners when you have professional contacts clearly able to do a better job for your clients?
3. One of my favorite businesses is The Teaching Company, which offers audio and video of great teachers on a variety of college-level subjects. If we are going to learn something new, why not learn it from the best teachers, no matter where they are located. Isn’t it a small jump to say why not use the Internet to find the best individual lawyers for your project rather than sticking with whatever lawyers get assigned by your law firm to your project?
4. Tom Peters talks about the “Hollywood model,” in which a variety of skilled contractors are pulled together on a project basis because they are the best choices for the project. Once the project is completed, some may work together on another project, or they may split up and then later work together in one combination or another. If you consider this Hollywood model to be a more appropriate model for the future of professionals than the industrial model of most law firms, doesn’t it make this approach desirable for lawyers? Again, how likely is it that we can find these teams in today’s law firms? Let’s face it, if we had a complex legal problem, we would want to assemble the best team and would not want to be limited to other choices in a single firm.
5. The great thing about a law firm is having great partners who you enjoying being around and practicing with. How often are you finding that your most interesting conversations are with people online?
6. Location, location, location is the mantra in real estate. Most of us hate commuting, especially going in to the office on weekends or in bad weather. Prime office locations are expensive. How often do our clients come to our offices? Is physical local or even proximity all that important anymore?
7. Talk to any lawyer who is truly enthused about the application of technology to the practice of law who is in any firm and I guarantee that it will not take you long to uncover a good amount of frustration with the firm’s technology tools, practices and procedures. After all these years, you have to wonder: is client-driven, cutting-edge, cool and attorney-centered technology ever going to happen in today’s law firms? Will it take a different model?
8. Do current rules on licensure and multijurisdictional practice that are overwhelmingly tied to physical location make much sense in today’s world?
9. To the software vendors and others in technology, why not help put together the showcases of your technology in the context of virtual firms and help facilitate them as an alternative to pounding on the same closed doors year after year?
10. If not you, then who? If not now, when?
Discussion of virtual law firms and related topics always interests me. Let me know what is going on out there and what ideas and approaches are working.
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[Originally published 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. November 11 & 12 – LexThink’s BlawgThink 2005.