Technology-Lawyer

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 December, 2005

A Reflection on Blogging at the End of 2005

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

This quote from Rich Karlgaard via Doc Searls captures something essential about blogging at the end of 2005:

Blogging is not overhyped. You may be forgiven for thinking so, as no day goes by without a story on blogs. But blogs are no fad. They are cheap and easy to do. And blogs fulfill that deepest of human needs as defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow: self-actualization. People write blogs because they want to know themselves and want to be known by others and because they want their lives to count. When a communications medium is both riding the Moore’s Law cost-capability curve and tapping into a deep need, it’s no fad.

All best wishes for 2006!
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

X1 Licenses Are Almost – Get Yours Now

Friday, December 30th, 2005

As I mentioned here, the nice people at X1 are providing fifty licenses for the X1 Desktop Search tool for readers of this blog who email me with a request for the URL for the download. My rough estimate is that there are around fifteen of them left, so if you would like one be sure to email me (denniskennedyblog @ gmail.com) with your request for the down load URl soon. I appreciate it when you include comments about this blog with your request. As any blogger will tell you, it’s fascinating to see who reads your blog.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www/denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s legal technology consulting services, featuring RSS and blogging consulting, technology audit, strategic planning and technology committee coaching packages especially for medium-sized law firms (15 – 100 lawyers) and corporate legal departments.

Disaster Remembrance Week

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

Blogs got a lot of attention in 2005 – for a lot of reasons, good and bad. However, there probably has not been enough attention paid to the practical impact blogs have had in times of disaster to assist others in need.
The WorldWideHelp Group is promoting this week as Disaster Remembrance Week.
From the announcement:
Last December and this January, the online community came together as never before to help in the aid efforts in South-East Asia. The lessons learned there were put to use, and improved upon, when the other tragic events of the year unfolded.
Can we harness that goodwill, that togetherness, that willingness to help once more?

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Looking for a Little Help Researching “Of Counsel” Arrangements

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

I’m working on a little research project, maybe it will turn into an article, on the practical aspects of “of counsel” arrangements between lawyers and law firms.
In part, my working hypothesis is that “virtual law firms” (I know that some of you don’t like that term, but bear with me) will be founded on the evolution of “tried and true” legal relationships between lawyers rather than on some kind of new form of “affiliation” or other relationship model.
It seemed like a straightforward topic, until I started doing a little research and couldn’t find much of anything.
Here’s what I’m looking for some help on:
1. Collections of resources, outlines and articles on this topic (non-premium resources, to the extent possible). Send me the URLs.
2. If you are willing, sanitized copies of “of counsel” agreements so I can see what the standard approaches are.
3. Information, including anecdotal info, about financial and other arrangements and the successes and failures of this approach.
4. Discussion of ethical and practical issues.
I’ll create a page of links to the best of the resources I find and post it here and/or on my website.
Thanks for your help.
[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. Ask us about private LexThink retreats and conferences for your firm, business or organization.

Free X1 Desktop Search Licenses as Gift to Readers of this Blog (Limit of 50)

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

The nice people at X1 have graciously agreed to provide up to 50 of the readers of my blog with a free license to the X1 Desktop Search tool ($75 regular price). I wanted to used this offer as a way to say thank you to readers of my blog.
There’s been no category of software hotter in 2005 than the desktop search category. X1 is one of the leaders in the category. The tool will let you swiftly search files and email as if you have a search engine for your hard drive. I can tell you that Microsoft Outlook seems like a completely different program once you use a desktop search tool for searching your email.
All you need to do is to be one of the first 50 people to email me (preferably at denniskennedyblog @ gmail.com) with a request for the URL you’ll need for the download and I’ll get you the info you need. The URL has a built-in counter that will cut things off at 50 or at an expiration date in January, so I’ll simply ask you to download one copy only. Once the 50 downloads happen, the offer will end. If you’d like to pass along some comments or suggestions about my blog, I encourage you to do so.
By the way, although I am, of course, interested in sponsor inquiries, I’m also happy to talk to vendors about doing promotions like this one that provide benefits to readers of this blog (without requiring any more effort from me than this one does) or other discount / affiliate marketing arrangements.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s legal technology consulting services, featuring RSS and blogging consulting, technology audit, strategic planning and technology committee coaching packages especially for medium-sized law firms (15 – 100 lawyers) and corporate legal departments. More information on the “Second Pair of Eyes” packages for legal technology audits and strategic planning may be found here (PDF).

Reinventing DennisKennedy.Blog for 2006

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about DennisKennedy.Blog and the directions I want to go with it. I’ve gotten some constructive criticism lately (or at least I think it’s meant to be constructive) and some good suggestions from a number of people.
The four comments that seem to arise most often are: (1) the posts are too long, (2) the blog should have more focus, (3) jokes or other attempts at humor should be labeled, and (4) the posts are way too long.
So, I had been thinking about “reinventing” the blog before I saw Hugh McLeod’s great drawing called “if you can’t re-invent yourself.” Now I’m working on at least a modest reinvention of this blog for 2006. Reinvention, from time to time, is a good thing, I think.
I’m also encouraging people to let me know your ideas and suggestions.
What’s in the works? Here’s what I’m considering:
1. Shorter posts. People have convinced me that “long posts” should actually be done as podcasts.
2. The biggest change I’m considering is to move completely to a question-and-answer format, much like the Ask Dave Taylor blog, of which I’m a big fan. There’s always been a good response to the “By Request Days” (other than by people who got confused the first time I did it). Someone told me that they really liked the Q-and-A format for my writing and, as I’ve read Dave Taylor’s blog, it seems attractive to me. Just to be clear, I’d be making up most of the questions are using the questions as titles of the posts, although I’m sure that the format would lead to more audience questions.
3. One thing that became very clear in 2005 is that blog advertising and blog advertising networks are now considered quite acceptable. I’ve had some reluctance to go very far in that direction, but now will move in that way. Your sponsor and advertiser inquiries are now welcome.
4. I also think that the blog’s focus will be more explicitly on technology – legal technology and the impact that technology has on the law and the practice of law.
But that’s just my current thinking – I’m not sure yet what I’ll finally decide – and I do have some other ideas as well. I invite your reactions and suggestions.
[Originally 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).

Survey Says Majority of Employees Have Sent or Received Potentially Damaging Email

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

I thought you might be interested in a recent press release on email usage issued by Fortiva that quotes me briefly. The press release summarizes the results of a study they did on employee email habits. The results are fascinating and might prompt you to do some follow-up at your firm, company or organization.

Risky Business: New Survey Shows Almost 70 Per Cent of Email-Using Employees Have Sent or Received Email that May Pose a Threat to Businesses
Survey results indicate employee email habits may be exposing businesses to potential legal pitfalls; substantial discrepancy exists between actual and perceived risks
November 15, 2005 – Norwalk, CT – Before you hit send, you may want to think twice about the content of your email. Chances are if it is a joke, gossip, or even information about your company, you could be putting yourself – and your company – at risk. A new survey released today, conducted by Harris Interactive® for Fortiva, shows that 68 per cent of U.S. employees who use email at work have sent or received email via their work email account that could place their company at risk. Despite this, 92 per cent of these employees do not believe they have ever sent a risky email. Together these statistics indicate a substantial discrepancy between employees’ perceived and actual risks.
Fortiva commissioned Harris Interactive, best known for The Harris Poll®, to look at email usage among employees. The survey, which examined the email habits of over 1,000 individuals who use email at work, uncovered a number of issues that raise concerns for businesses – both in the way employees are using and storing their corporate email.
According to the results, a majority of employees who use email at work (61 per cent) admit they have used email at work for personal use. Results also show that nearly half (48 per cent) say they have sent or received joke emails, funny pictures/movies, funny stories of a questionable tone (e.g., racy/sexual content, politically incorrect), while one in five (22 per cent) say they have sent or received a password or log-in information via email. When shared through email, this type of content could pose significant risks to businesses, either from a possible security breach or employee-driven lawsuits. Respondents were given a list of nine email categories that could be considered medium to high risk; only 32 per cent said they had never sent or received email in any of those categories.
“As email is being used increasingly as evidence in lawsuits, it is very important for organizations to educate their staff on what is and isn’t acceptable in a workplace communication,” said Dennis Kennedy, an information technology lawyer and legal technology consultant based in St. Louis, Missouri. “Those organizations that don’t implement effective policies and procedures, train their people, and enforce policies for email are at serious risk of facing both future lawsuits and unhappy results in those lawsuits. These statistics reinforce the fact that businesses need to do a better job of reducing their risk by communicating their policies more effectively with employees and backing up that communication with training and well-designed technology solutions,” Kennedy added.
While a majority of employees (73%) who use email at work are aware of corporate email policies, less than half (46 per cent) say they “always” adhere to the policy. This statistic suggests a lack of understanding among employees of the importance of an email policy.
The way that employees are storing their email may be of even more cause for concern than the content of those messages. While 41 per cent of employees who use email would prefer to keep important emails indefinitely, most businesses place limits on the amount of email that can be stored.
- more -
Such storage limitations may be leading to practices that could jeopardize information security. The survey reports that half of employees who use email at work (51 per cent) have saved email outside the corporate network, putting valuable and sometimes confidential information at risk of falling into the wrong hands. For organizations that are not archiving their email, this practice of saving data outside the controls of the corporate network presents an even greater risk, particularly in a litigation situation.
“It’s a fact – employees are using your corporate network to send personal emails, from jokes to gossip to confidential information – and every business should be taking the necessary steps to protect that data from ending up in the wrong hands, or leading to a lawsuit,” said Paul Chen, CEO of Fortiva Inc. “If email from your organization is presented as evidence in a trial, and you don’t have a copy of that email, you may be unprepared to defend yourself. Worse still, email that could support your claim of innocence could also be unavailable, ultimately leading to a forced settlement or guilty finding. A reliable email archiving solution can help businesses avoid these situations and save millions of dollars in fines and settlements, not to mention salvaging their corporate credibility.”
An email archiving solution can enforce policies and ensure that evidentiary-quality copies of all corporate email are available in the event of legal or regulatory investigations. Fortiva’s managed email archiving solution was designed to help businesses automatically enforce email policies, meet regulatory compliance rules, and quickly and easily meet e-discovery requests. The Fortiva solution also allows employees to access their own email archives, including deleted email, from their corporate mailbox. This feature can help reduce the burden on email servers, while eliminating the need for employees to store copies of email outside the corporate network.
Additional findings from the survey include (among U.S. employed adults who use email at work):
* Those who earn over $75K a year are more likely to save work-related email outside of the company’s network (62 per cent vs. 41 per cent of employees who earn less than $50K a year)
* 73 per cent admit to knowing their company has an email policy; yet less than half (46 per cent) admit to always making sure they comply with policy before sending a note
* 9 per cent of U.S. adult employees who use email at work have used company email to submit their resume to another company
* One-fifth of employees (22 per cent) have sent personal details to HR including Social Security numbers, salary details, or medical information via email
Survey Methodology
Harris Interactive® fielded the study on behalf of Fortiva, Inc. from November 2-4, 2005, via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,400 U.S. adults aged 18 and over, among whom 1,042 are employed and send or receive email at work. Data were weighted to reflect the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and amount of time spent online each week. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points and the results of the employed adults who send or receive email at work is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Sampling error for the various sub-samples of employed adults who send or receive email at work is higher and varies. This online sample is not a probability sample.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), based in Rochester, New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll® and for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research with the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value.
Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V
To become a member of the Harris Poll OnlineSM and be invited to participate in future online surveys, go to www.harrispollonline.com
About Fortiva Inc.
Fortiva is a leading provider of managed email archiving solutions for regulatory compliance, legal discovery and email storage management needs. With its outsourced solution, Fortiva is helping businesses across North America to quickly and easily meet email archiving needs without risking data security. Using proprietary DoubleBlind Encryption™ technology, Fortiva stores all data offsite in encrypted form, so Fortiva staff can never access the content of archived data. The customer retains exclusive access to the encryption keys, allowing them to instantly search and retrieve archived data without worrying about managing the storage infrastructure. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada and with offices across the United States, Fortiva delivers its customer-driven solutions through a strong network of strategic partnerships as well as a direct sales force. Fortiva is a privately-owned company, with investment from Cargill Ventures, McLean Watson Capital and Ventures West. For more information, visit www.fortiva.com.
About Dennis Kennedy.
Dennis Kennedy is a well-known information technology lawyer and legal technology consultant based in St. Louis, Missouri. Kennedy speaks and writes frequently on legal and technology topics and has covered corporate policies on email and Internet usage on the Between Lawyers blog (www.corante.com/betweenlawyers/) as well as in his own blog and articles. He also co-writes a column called “Thinking E-Discovery” at DiscoveryResources.org. For more information, visit www.denniskennedy.com.
In organizations up to 2,000 employees, 57 per cent enforce a mailbox size quota; In organizations greater that 2,000 employees, 72 per cent enforce a mailbox quota – Messaging Archiving Market Trends, 2005-2008, An Osterman Research Multiclient Study.
###
Contact:
David Gollom
High Road Communications
416.368.8348 ext. 267
dgollom@highroad.com
Victoria Badgley
Fortiva
416.366.6666 ext. 383
Victoria.badgley@fortiva.com

[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.

Mining and Minding Your Metadata – New Electronic Discovery Column

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

The January Thinking E-Discovery column titled “Mining the Value of Metadata” is now available on the DiscoveryResources.org website. In this column, Tom Mighell, Evan Schaeffer and I take on the timely topic of metadata (in the legal world, “metadata” refers to hidden or revealable data contained in Microsoft Word and other documents).
The column is a wide-ranging discussion of the topic, complete with some practical pointers. There’s been a lot of attention on this topic recently and I don’t think it’s all that difficult to become reasonably knowledgable about the issues. This column will help you get off to a good start.
The money quote is from Evan Schaeffer:

It just so happens that I have a Word document open on my desktop right now. When I look at the file’s properties, I see that the “author” is listed as my law partner. She’s never worked on the document but I’m using her computer. That’s an interesting example of how metadata can be wrong.

[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.

Dan Donovan’s Limited Edition, Fine Art Photographic Prints of Busch Stadium

Monday, December 26th, 2005

Dan Donovan – professional photographer extraordinaire and my brother-in-law – has partnered with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team (a long-time client of his) to produce a series of limited edition, fine art photographic prints of Busch Stadium, which you can see and purchase at http://www.dandonovanfineart.com.
As Dan notes, “The last game at the original Busch Stadium was played on October 19, 2005, with the team moving to the new Busch Stadium in 2006. To commemorate both stadiums, this series of prints has been created. There are currently 5 prints in the series, with more in development.”
My personal favorite is the one Dan calls “Clouds,” but I encourage you to check out the collection and how talented Dan is. Even if you are not a baseball fan or a baseball stadium buff, you’ll enjoy these photos. If you are, you’ll want to add one of these to your collection.
Dan also does great, creative portrait photography.
The details on the photo series and purchase info can all be found at http://www.dandonovanfineart.com. Be sure to tell Dan that you learned about the photos on this blog.
[Originally 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).

Dennis Kennedy’s 2005 Best of Legal Blogging Awards (the Blawggies)

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Welcome to the 2005 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Legal Blogging Awards, celebrating a tradition that began nearly one full year ago. These awards, which have become affectionately known as the “Blawggies,” celebrate the best of law-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective.
When Neil Squillante first started the @ awards at TechnoLawyer.com, he had an online awards ceremony. As I recall, I was one of a small number of people who really enjoyed the awards ceremony pseudo-atmosphere he was able to create through an email list. I thought I’d pay a little tribute to Neil and bring back the tradition of an online awards ceremony. I’ve held the Blawggie awards ceremony at the beautiful DennisKennedy.Blog Conference and Convention Center. As it turned out, all of the winners were too busy doing their real work to attend, but fortunately I was there to accept on their behalf.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that, like most of these ceremonies, the Blawggies awards show ran a little long. I know that many people do not like long posts, so I’ll start this post with an “executive summary” that lists the award winners and then follow it with a transcript of the awards ceremony that will tell you more about each of the winners, the awards and a few of my observations about legal blogging as we enter 2006. I do encourage you to read the whole post.
I. List of 2005 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia
2. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs
3. Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog
4. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Blog
5. Best Blog About Legal Blogging – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs
6. Best Legal Podcast – Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground Podcast
7. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Ernest Svenson’s Ernie the Attorney Blog
8. Best Law Professor Blog – James Maule’s Mauled Again
9. Best New Legal Blog – (Tie) Between Lawyers; Rethink(IP)
10. Best Legal Technology Blog – DennisKennedy.Blog
11. Best Legal Blogging Trend – Bloggers Making Money from Blogging

I encourage you to read more about the winning blogs (and why they were winners) in the transcript of the awards ceremony below.
II. “Transcript” of 2005 Blawggie Awards Ceremony.”
“Hello and welcome to the 2005 Blawggie Awards – the second annual edition of Dennis Kennedy’s Best of Legal Blogging Awards. (Theme music, based loosely on the intro music to Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground Podcast, plays.)
Your host for the show is Dennis Kennedy of DennisKennedy.Blog. (Warm applause.)
Good evening, ladies and germs, er, gentlemen! (Polite laughter.) I just flew in from St. Louis, also known as “Blawg City USA” . . . and boy are my arms tired! (Scattered chuckles, rolled eyes.) Is this thing on? (Silence.)
Well, let’s jump right into the show. 2005 saw a tremendous growth in the number of legal blogs, also known as “blawgs,” thanks to the word-coining abilities of Denise Howell. What do they call it when you get thousands of lawyers, law professors, law librarians, law students, legal consultants and others writing blogs that focus on law-related content? A good start. (Applause.)
My attitude towards law-related blogs is “let a thousand flowers bloom.” I’m enjoying the wide variety of law-related blogs and the many different approaches legal bloggers are taking today. It’s been a great year. (Applause.)
Let me note two interesting trends I’ve noticed this past year. First, long-time legal bloggers seem to be expanding the scope of their blogs and writing about more general topics while newer bloggers are creating highly-focused blogs about a specific topic. In part, this trend illustrates the movement into a second generation of legal blogging and I’m fascinated by the evolution of legal blogging. I’ve learned much from new bloggers this year and expect to learn much more in the future.
The second interesting trend is how often I notice that some of the best writing on legal topics can be found on blogs that would not be categorized as legal blogs. It’s an indication of how blogs are often a conversation in which all can participate.
A few words about the first Blawggie awards and then we’ll get to the envelopes with the 2005 awards.
Some of the reaction to the 2004 Blawggies surprised me.
I said in the 2004 awards post:

The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or scientific measures. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes.

In general, I like to see blogs (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment and talent. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis. I read almost all blog posts in a newsreader these days, so the awards will reflect a bias toward blogs with full-text RSS feeds as well as all of my other biases and personal preferences.

My real purpose, as it is with the 2005 awards, was to encourage a whole bunch of legal bloggers to do their own “awards.” I thought that this would be a great way for legal bloggers to highlight the blawgs they really liked and an even better way for me to learn about some great blogs I might have been unfamiliar with.
I was surprised that people seemed to take the notion of “awards” a bit more seriously than I expected and that “a thousand blawg awards did not bloom.” I also noticed a few criticisms of my awards. I thought I’d address some of those criticisms as a way to explain what my intention is with these awards.
1. Dennis Gave Awards Only to the Blawgs of his Friends. There is a sort of chicken-and-egg element to this comment. I now have a number of blogger friends who became my friends because we read each other’s blogs and respected each other’s work. We wouldn’t have known each other any other way. I really like and respect their blogs. However, as I said, “They are highly-opinionated choices made by me, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes.”
2. Dennis Focused on Old Blawgs. Well, Dennis is one of the older bloggers. I think I had a pretty good mix of old and new, but I do focus on the entire body of work of a blog and that probably does favor long-standing blogs.
3. Dennis Gave Himself an Award. Yes, I did. I’ve been writing and presenting lists of “best of the Web” lists and doing other lists of links for many years. I’ve learned that these lists get reused and repurposed in a number of ways and often people don’t notice (or don’t get the chance to notice) that I was the author of the list. As a result, I usually include my website or blog on any of these lists where they fit. Bob Ambrogi has been writing about legal websites and blogs since almost before the World Wide Web existed. Bob recently wrote an article calling 2005 the year of the podcast and listing his podcast on his list of best legal podcasts. Let’s face it, any list of legal podcasts that did not include Bob’s podcast would be ridiculous, whether or not Bob wrote the list. I usually try to find a way to list my site or blog in a non-controversial way and I’d recommend that other people do the same thing when creating a “best of” list, at least based on my experience. Generally, you can create a narrow enough award that you can fit onto the list. For example, “best blog focusing on legal technology and technology law with the author living in the 63119 zip code” would work well for me. Anyway, it’s not all an ego thing. I did give my blog an award again this year.
4. Who is Dennis Kennedy? A fair criticism. I expected this criticism and this was part of the fun of doing the Blawggies. I thought that people would say if this guy can give awards, why can’t I? At worst, they might check out my blog.
5. Dennis Didn’t Give the Same Awards I Would. I enjoyed the fact that the Law Dork blog (which I’ve read and enjoyed for a long time) won a recent vote as “best law blog.” I was surprised that some people seemed to get those noses out of joint because the Law Dork blog won the prize. Similarly, I was surprised by how the discussion of the TechnoLawyer BlawgWorld eBook focused more on what blogs other people would have included, rather than on the fact that the eBook is an excellent sampler to give people who have just recently heard about legal blogs to get started. I’m not very responsive to criticism that boils down to “he didn’t do it the way I would have.” What’s cool about blogging – you have your own printing press or your own channel to do the version you would have done. That’s a notion I’ve often referred to as “two turntables and a microphone.” In fact, my Blawggie awards are explicitly an invitation for you to announce your own awards. As an aside, I could not disagree more with recent commentary that blogs are a new form of a “vanity press.” Two turntables and a microphone.
Now, let’s move from the 2004 Blawggies to the 2005 Blawggies.
In the past few months, I’ve changed the way that I “read” blogs. As you may know, I rarely visit a blog. Instead, I subscribe to the RSS feeds in a newsreader and read the posts in my newsreader. Recently, I created a number of “saved searches” or “watches” and, rather than attempt to read all of the posts in all of the feeds, I monitor certain topics and read a limited number of blogs on a daily basis these days. The award-winning blogs represent some of the law-related blogs I read on a daily basis.
As another clarification, I really do not read more than a few political blogs. I get my political news through emails from Marty Schwimmer. (A few chuckles and some muttered complaints about bloggers and their @#%*& inside jokes.)
As a transactional lawyer, I do not read many litigation blogs, except to the extent they deal with electronic discovery. As a result, some may feel that blogs in these categories are under-represented in these awards. My awards also focus on blogs of practicing lawyers.
I’ll also note that the narrowly-focused blogs will work well for marketing and related purposes, but will diminish your chances to win general legal blogging awards. They’ve chosen the correct priority.
For the curious, I’m subscribed to around 180 law-related blogs in my newsreader these days. (Gasps from audience.) As I mentioned, that does not mean that I read all of them on a regular basis, except as they touch on topics that I’m interested in. Also, because of BlawgThink, I got the chance to visit hundreds of law-related blogs and meet or at least exchange emails with many legal bloggers. I say this both as background about me and to give some credibility to my claim that I’m very impressed by the quality of what’s going on in the blawgosphere. Narrowing my selections for these awards was very difficult this year.
Finally, I prefer blogs that have maybe five or fewer posts a day and, big surprise, I tend to prefer blogs with longer essay-like posts.
And, now, the suspense-building is over, and we open the envelopes for this year’s awards. (Loud, relieved applause.)
1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – Tom Mighell’s Inter Alia

Last year’s winner was Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific.com. I could have easily given this blog the award again this year. However, I wanted to select a different blog for this award in 2005. I’ve noticed in the last few months that Inter Alia is the first legal blog I read each day. There are three things I want to highlight about Inter Alia. (1) I learn highly useful, practical information on a regular basis. (2) Tom has a great, succinct style that I admire greatly. (3) Tom’s “Blawg of the Day” feature not only lets me know about new legal blogs, but is also an act of great generosity. Tom and I now write two columns together, have done presentations and webinars together and Tom is part of the Between Lawyers blog with me, so I get the chance to learn from Tom on a regular basis outside his blog. By the way, Tom has agreed to work with me to help me write shorter posts in 2006.

2. Best Legal Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

I stand in awe of the job that law librarian bloggers as a group are doing. Across the board, these blogs have developed into strong information resources, often with links to primary source information that I’m not sure how I would find otherwise. There are so many great blogs in this category. I’ll simply mention a few to get you started: BeSpacific.com, The Law Librarian Blog, Out of the Jungle, Law Dawg Blawg, WisBlawg, Vancouver Law Library Blog, Stark County Library Blog, Library Boy, LawLibTech, Connie Crosby, BarclayBlog, and Slaw.ca

3. Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog

The Trademark Blog won this award last year and, even though I wanted to move to a different winner, the fact is that The Trademark Blog remains the model of a practice-specific blawg. Marty covers trademark law with a great eye for compelling material, his trademark wit and lots of pictures. I said last year: “The Trademark Blog is a great example of a way lawyers can speak in a plain voice to both a legal and non-legal audience in an engaging way.” Two other practice-specific blogs I wanted to single out this year are Dennis Crouch’s widely-acclaimed Patently-O blog and Janell Grenier’s always interesting Benefitsblog. Both are great examples of ways to do practice-specific blogs.

4. Best Legal Blog Digest – Stark County Law Library Blog

This blog could also win my most under-appreciated blog award. A big trend in legal blogging in 2005 was the development of blogs that aggregate information from other legal blogs, digest posts from other legal blogs or highlight and point to posts on other legal blogs. These kinds of blogs can be quite useful as a way to monitor a number of blogs in one place. Nancy Stinson at the Stark County Law Library Blog has been highlighting and pointing to useful posts for a long time now. She does a great job of picking up interesting and useful posts from other blogs, usually a few each day. I like this approach because other approaches can overload me with the sheer number of posts they cover. My honorable mention in this category goes to Lisa Stone’s Legal Blog Watch. Lisa’s summaries of posts are so great that I rarely go to the underlying post. Even though I understand the purpose of the blog, I wish Lisa would cover blogs outside the Law.com blog network on a regular basis.

5. Best Blog About Legal Blogging – Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs

I like the way Kevin puts his opinions and his incisive comments and wise observations out there for discussion on a regular basis. He wants to get conversations started. He also has a long history of using the Internet, runs a blog design, hosting and consulting business, and has excellent insights and experience in the world of legal blogging. I always respect Kevin’s opinion on these matters, even on the occasional times we disagree. I always learn something. If you want to learn about developments in the world of blogging, the use of blogs for marketing and practical information about the use of legal blogs, you’ll find no better starting point than this blog.

6. Best Legal Podcast – Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground Podcast

I’m not prepared to go as far as Bob Ambrogi and say that 2005 was the year of the podcast, but podcasting was certainly an important development in 2005. My favorite podcast is Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground Podcast. Evan recently finished his 44th podcast. Evan’s set a high standard of professionalism for lawyer podcasts – he uses scripts, excellent recording techniques, music, sound effects and creates a professional, polished podcast. He also created podcasts that run about 10 to 15 minutes (or less), a time that many people believe is the “sweet spot” for podcasts. Better yet, the material is great, often humorous and always insightful.

7. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Legal Blog Award – Ernest Svenson’s Ernie the Attorney Blog

As I wrote about here, I’m a big fan of the writing ability of some of the best legal bloggers. There are some legal blogs I read because I like the writing. I think that the best writer among legal bloggers is Sherry “Scheherezade” Fowler. However, Sherry has stopped practicing law and was wondering the other day whether she’s still a legal blogger. That’s for her to decide, but I decided to honor her writing abilities by putting her name on this award. Since the end of August, Ernie’s writing, especially about the aftermath of Katrina, has been stellar. He’s become such a great writer and captures something essential about New Orleans on a regular basis. If publishers are looking for someone to write a great book about Katrina and its aftermath in New Orleans, I’d point them to Ernie.

8. Best Law Professor Blog – Jim Maule’s Mauled Again

As Professor Maule says, his blog features “more than occasional commentary on tax law, legal education, the First Amendment, religion, and law generally, with sporadic attempts to connect all of this to genealogy, theology, music, model trains, and chocolate chip cookies.” His blog also shows that you can write engaging and helpful commentary about the U.S. tax system. Mauled Again is a great read on any topic I really enjoy the writing. Two other law prof blogs earn an honorable mention from me because I enjoy reading them so much: Paul Caron’s TaxProf Blog and Tun Ying’s The Yin Blog (among other things, we like some of the same TV shows).

9. Best New Legal Blog – (Tie) Between Lawyers; Rethink(IP)

Oh, puh-leeze, like I’m not going to have Between Lawyers listed in this category? Both winners in this category represent the important new group blogging phenomenon and that’s part of the reason that I picked them in this category. I’ve enjoyed the evolution of the Between Lawyers experiment (although the jury is still out on the “Lawyer X” thing). Between Lawyers shows how highly individual and well-known bloggers can create a group blog with a different focus and voice that exists alongside their individual blogs. I know a number of people who will tell you that one of the coolest things about legal blogging and its potential was seeing the RethinkIP guys – Doug, Matt and Steve – hanging out together at the ABA TECHSHOW. We all thought that they were best friends from college. The fact was that they were meeting in person for the first time. I like the way they’ve used the Rethink(IP) blog as a way to create a group voice and a forum to discuss issues that do not fit into their practice-specific individual blogs. They also taught me how to do Skype instant messaging this year and helped me rethink my approach to blogging, collaboration and making gratuitous “rethink” references. As I mentioned before, there are a ton of great new law-related blogs this year – there are many worthy of winning this award.

10. Best Legal Technology Blog – DennisKennedy.Blog

Ha! I figured out a way to give my blog an award. My recent effort to republish many of my legal technology articles over the last few months probably locked up this award for my blog. There’s a lot of content there. My one criticism is that the posts tend to be a little long.

11. Best Legal Blogging Trend – Bloggers Making Money from Blogging

Need I say more, other than to say that we all hope that this is a much bigger trend in 2006.

And there you have it – the 2005 Blawggie Awards. (Applause.)
I’d like to take a moment to say a special “thank you” to my partner in LexThink!, Matt Homann, for hundreds of great ideas in Matt Homann’s Nonbillable Hour blog, for putting together the BlawgThink conference and for proving everyday that the most powerful technology in blogging is the telephone.
As I said, these awards reflect my perspective on the Blawgosphere today. I welcome your feedback, but really invite you to post your own awards as a way of saying “thank you” to the blogs and bloggers that matter most to you.(Applause and Blawggie theme music playing.)
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[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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