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 February, 2006

Legal Knowledge Management: “Why Can’t it Work Like Google?”

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

KM guru Jack Vinson has posted two sets of excellent notes from the recent knowledge management conference put on by the Ark Group. I thoroughly recommend Jack’s posts (and Ron Friedmann’s thoughts from the same conference) to you.
I wanted to discuss one common comment that Jack highlighted. He wrote: “‘Why can’t it work like Google?’ in response to focus groups. This is a familiar refrain everywhere.”
There are a couple of areas of legal technology where I feel like a real contrarian. For example, I not only do not think that WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS was the pinnacle of word processing, but, coming from a Mac environment to WP 5.1, I never did like it. Them’s fightin’ words to some lawyers, but I believe that it’s best for everyone to use the tools that work best for them.
Another area where I am a contrarian is that, unlike most lawyers today, I’m not a huge Google fan. There, I’ve said it.
Over the last weekend, I was using Google to try to find quickly some articles on the ways law firms are using outsourcing. To put it mildly, I did not have a lot of success.
Since I’ve been using search engines since almost before search engine existed, I’m usually reluctant to blame my research skills for the problem. In fact, I knew that Google would have problems finding what I wanted, as it did a while back when I was searching for information on of counsel agreements.
It was shortly after I had my Google troubles that I read Jack’s post.
It’s easy to get all wrapped up in Google and treat it as the only tool in your toolbox. However, there are other tools that make much more sense, at least to me, in the KM context. Lawyers should remember the maxim about every problem looking like a nail when the only tool that you have is a hammer.
There are concept search tools like those from Recommind, pattern search tools like those from DolphinSearch, and visual search tools like those from Attenex that, to me, are infinitely more interesting in the KM context than something that works like Google. In fact, I’m intrigued these days by what you might be able to accomplish by turning some of the state-of-the-art electronic discovery tools to KM work.
If you are in the “why can’t it work like Google?” group, I invite you to extend your search to some of these other search tools and see if you might change your mind.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
Technorati tags:

Second Thoughts For Law Firms with One-Person IT Departments

Monday, February 27th, 2006

I’ll occasionally tell the story of the day the one-person IT department at one of my old law firms quit, leaving us with a manila envelope with his pager, keys and a memo with a few key notes for us.
I’ve talked with quite a few lawyers over the years who work at a firm with either a one-person IT department or an IT department that they feel is woefully understaffed.
That’s why Mike McBride’s great post “Some thoughts about one-man shops” struck a chord with me today. Mike writes the Out of the Frying Pan, and into the Cube blog, and works at a mid-sized law firm. He formerly wrote the Life of a One-Man IT Department Blog, which I read for several years.
The money quote:

Despite my best efforts to work on preventing break downs, to proactively deal with training issues and database maintenance, and to try and suggest ways to improve the state of the technology (which were mostly ignored anyway), most of the people I worked with saw my role as little more than sitting around waiting for something to break. A view that was obviously shared by my supervisor and other senior management, given their refusal, six months later, to actually hire another IT person because “we really wouldn’t have enough for them to do”.
Which would be fine, had they not allowed me to simply walk out the door and take most of my knowledge with me. They’ve gotten away with that, because in the interest of parting on good terms and not wanting to leave the handful of very good friends I made while working there left hanging, I agreed to be “on-call” for them in case of emergencies or to do some things that they would have had trouble doing on their own, for 6 months or until they found a replacement. One week from today, the 6 months will be over.

A highly recommended read for anyone in a small or mid-sized law firm. Does your disaster recovery plan take into account the possibility of essential people not being available?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
echnorati tag:

Curl up with a Good Book this Weekend

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Rosa Say has done a cool thing on her blog by getting a bunch of bloggers to let her know of posts where they reviewed books they liked. She’s then posted a list of of those books and excerpts of the review posts. She calls this the 2nd Annual Love Affair with Books.
The result is a great reading list. Take a look at the post and make a list for your next trip to your favorite library or bookstore (or Amazon). You’ll also find some new blogs that you will want to check out.
My contribution was my review of Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points.
I’d like to thank Rosa for inviting me to join in and for creating a cool way to use blogs in a helpful way that benefits her readership greatly. Happy reading.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(R) – The Legal Unconference. Ask us about private LexThink retreats and conferences for your firm, business or organization. Coming soon – LexThink Lounge – April 19, 2006.

St. Louis Blogger Lunch Today

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

By a string of coincidences and an exchange of emails, I ended up at an impromptu lunch with four St. Louis bloggers today. It was so much fun that we are talking about making it a regular event.
We also want to do a St. Louis blogger meet-up one of these days soon and get even more of the St. Louis bloggers together.
We had three BlawgThink alums (four, if you count me) – Michelle Golden, George Lenard and Marianne Richmond – and Microsoft’s Randy Holloway (who wanted to attend BlawgThink but had other commitments).
Meeting other bloggers is my favorite part of blogging.
I’m pushing Randy to see if he can get the keys to one of the meeting spaces at Microsoft’s offices here in St. Louis to host a blogger meet-up. Watch for more details. Maybe I’ll finally get my chance to meet my favorite St. Louis blogger, Shelley “Burningbird” Powers, in person if we can put this event together.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(R) – The Legal Unconference. Ask us about private LexThink retreats and conferences for your firm, business or organization. Coming soon – LexThink Lounge – April 19, 2006.
Technorati tags:

Smart Man Online Interview

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

I’ve long enjoyed Yvonne Divita’s Lipsticking blog, so it’s an honor to be interviewed by Yvonne for her “Smart Man Online” feature today.
I talked about a number of topics and talk quite a bit more about writing and blogging than I typically do on this blog.
If you don’t already read Yvonne’s blog, shame on you, but go ahead and check out the interview and sample some of the excellent material she has there on Internet marketing to women. I got to meet Yvonne at the first LexThink conference, but I was a fan of her blog long before that.
Thanks, Yvonne, for all your kind words and giving me the chance to be one of your “smart men online.” It’s a blogging honor that I truly appreciate.
[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).

Invitation to Participate in an Outsourcing Roundtable Article

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

They’ve turned over the editorial keys to the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine to me for April’s issue. The theme is outsourcing – technology, people, off-shoring, homesourcing, and any other aspects we can cover.
One thing that I know I want to do is to create a big roundtable article in which a bunch of experts discuss various aspects of outsourcing, probably with a legal technology focus. The model is this roundtable article on electric discovery I put together in July 2004.
If you’d like to participate in this article, let me know. We’ll use the Web 2.0 tool Writely to work on the roundtable article.
If you have an article or want to write an article on some aspect of outsourcing, let me know. Law Practice Today has a great audience for your articles.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
Technorati tags:

More Details on the LexThink! Lounge Event Released

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

Matt Homann posted some details on the upcoming LexThink! Lounge event today.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(R) – 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. Coming soon – LexThink! Lounge – April 19, 2006.
Technorati tags:

Pulling the Plug on the All Q & A Format for this Blog

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

I decided last night to put an end to the all question-and-answer format I have been experimenting with since the beginning of the year. For new readers, the idea was that I would write the title of each post as a question that the post would then answer.
My reasons for taking the approach were:
1. It was something different and might be a way to reinvent my blog a bit.
2. People have always enjoyed my “By Request” days where I answer questions.
3. Mainly, though, I thought it might be a way to help me write blog posts more quickly and easily.
After almost two months, I had drawn a few conclusions:
1. It wasn’t making it easier and quicker to writer blog posts. In fact, in some cases, I spent more time working on the question than the answer (I’m kidding), and some posts didn’t lend themselves to the Q & A format or resulted in awkward questions.
2. I did not get a lot of feedback on the new format and what I did was from people who questioned the approach I was taking or liked the old way better.
3. I noticed some interesting, slightly negative results in Google search rankings that might be attributed to the use of questions in the post titles.
In other words, I was beginning to shrug my shoulders whenever I thought about the approach. It wasn’t a negative experience, but it wasn’t a positive experience either.
Last night, some of the smartest bloggers I know told me it was time to abandon the approach. That confirmed my thinking.
I decided that since it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want, including changing my mind.
So, I’m dropping the all Q & A approach, although I still do the occasional “By Request” days and use a question as a post title from time to time.
Blogging is about experimenting. Some experiments work really well and some not so well. Those are the easy experiments to evaluate. It’s the ones that end up in the middle that are hardest to decide what to do with.
So, I’m thinking up a new experiment. Anonymous blogging has been done to death and probably won’t work for me (see the title of this blog). I’ve seen pictures of me appearing on various blogs lately and I’m intrigued by the idea of doing graphics and pictures on my blog.
By the way, of the recent pictures of me from BlawgThink, I greatly prefer the one here to the one here (from the fun-loving bloggers at RethinkIP).
[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).

Where’s the Rest of Blogiversary Week?

Monday, February 20th, 2006

Life intervened on my blogiversary plan. My father-in-law had chest pain and was hospitalized and had a few procedures last week. He’s now home and doing well. Our plans and schedules got turned around for a few days.
So, blogiversary week will just end without further fanfare. I have some “by request” posts that I’ll respond to later this week, but I think I’ll simply return to regular programming.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)

What Was The Most Important Blog Post You Read (or Re-read) Today?

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

It has to be John Robb’s post, “The Next Attacks.” Read it and see if you agree. Be sure to follow the link that explains his reference to a “black swan.”
Dave Pollard’s “Three Things to Teach Your Children” is another candidate for most important post.
On the professional side, Ron Baker’s “Attorneys Aren’t Knowledge Workers” is another must-read.
[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).