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 May, 2006

Bill Gates Sends Me an Email That Pulls Together Some Ideas I’ve Been Thinking About Recently

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

I received an email from Bill Gates today. Well, so did thousands of others, I’m sure, but I’ve always wanted to start a blog post off like that. Unlike many who received it, I would bet, I read it from beginning to end. I encourage you to do the same.
The email is called “Beyond Business Intelligence: Delivering a Comprehensive Approach to Enterprise Information Management” (note: URL for this email will likely change in the future, so check the archive of emails at that link) and, in it, Gates offers some thoughts about the next ten years.
I like the email because I noticed that Bill and I are thinking along the same lines. For example, he ends the piece with:

“As we look ahead to the next 10 years and the promise of the New World of Work, I believe we are on the verge of an idea that is even more powerful: the age of friction-free innovation.”

Friction-free innovation. Matt Homann and I have been talking about and working on improving innovation in professional services for the last year-and-a-half through LexThink. It’s nice to be on the same page with the richest guy in the world.
That aside, however, I recommend that you read this email. It’s not too long, and I’m intrigued by the vision of the future of technology sketched out there.
There are a number of ideas that caught my attention.
1. The yin/yang notion of information overload (which we all know) and information underload, a way of looking at the other half of the equation of how technology seems to leave us so unsettled these days. He says: “The other problem is something I call information underload. We’re flooded with information, but that doesn’t mean we have tools that let us use the information effectively.”
He goes on to sketch out those tools and the business priorities they must address: Productivity; Collaboration; Business intelligence; Workflow optimization.
People who talk to me these days about where legal software needs to go have certainly heard these four topics from me a lot lately, especially the fourth one.
2. Gates, in some comments that I’m not necessarily sure are directed at Google (although I’m sure that’s the way some will take them), mentions “enterprise-enabled search” as one direction we must go. If you’ve talked to people facing the gargantuan issues involved in records management, compliance, information governance and electronic discovery, you will know that “enterprise-enabled search” is not a buzzword du jour. It focuses on some real issues that must be addressed sooner rather than later.
3. Gates also mentions, almost in passing, knowledge management in the context of “enterprise-enabled search.” This goes back to business priorities. Are we managing information just for litigation purposes (e-discovery) or just for regulatory purposes (compliance) or should we take the opportunity to extend and close the circle and use that information in creative, positive and broader ways? Again, this is a theme that has been filtering into my presentations on electronic discovery and information lifecycle management.
4. Sharepoint Server as a platform. I’ve given two presentations in recent weeks on legal technology trends in which I highlight ten trends. One of them is the growing interest and likely uses of Sharepoint Server in law firms. Gates, in his email, sketches out the role Sharepoint Services may play and points to something new called Knowledge Network for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. He says, “Another new technology aimed at streamlining information access that should be available in the near future is an enhanced search tool called Knowledge Network for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. This add-on will track expertise and relationships in an organization so information workers can quickly connect to people with the right skills and knowledge.”
5. At TECHSHOW 2005, Marc Lauritsen was reviewing the histroy of legal technology and made a comment about tasks that it made sense for computers to do and tasks that it made sense for humans to do. It struck me then, and does even more so today, that part of the reason we see dissatisfaction and burnout in the legal profession is that, arguably in many cases, lawyers are still doing work as humans that should at this point be done by computers, freeing them up to do more of the creative things that play such a big part in being a lawyer. Properly understood, we should be trying to use technology to enable us to move in that direction.
In his email, Gates says: “In this New World of Work, repetitive, uninteresting tasks like moving data from one system to another will be automated and employees will focus much more of their time and creative energy on work that generates real value and growth.”
And that should be the money quote for this email.
My point here is not to say, “hey, Bill Gates and I are thinking a lot alike these days,” but to say that there are some trends, forces, needs and tools that are starting to come together. Some of these I had noticed; some I hadn’t. But the email frm Bill Gates helped pull together a lot of different pieces in a very helpful way for me. Some may say that nothing in here is all that original, but it is the synthesis of these ideas and the vision and direction that is revealed in the email that is original and. to me, quite exciting, even if it might be ten years away.
I invite you to read the email and see what impact it has on you.You can subscribe to these emails from Gates from the page you will find the email.
[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.
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Reminder: Technology Primer for Solo and Small Firms Teleseminar on Thursday

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

On Thursday, May 18, the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section, ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education are presenting a teleseminar called “Technology Primer for Solo and Small Firms.” The program features the lead editor (Bill Gibson) and three contributing authors (Natalie Kelly, Dan Pinnington and me) of the latest edition of the excellent “Flying Solo” book.
From the program description:

This teleconference and live audio webcast will show you how to make better use of legal technologies to improve your practice. Join our expert faculty to learn how you can use technology to be more effective and efficient.
Attend this program to learn how to:
+ Protect the security and privacy of client and firm data from viruses, worms, hackers and your own staff
+ mprove client service and communications through the amazing power of practice management software
+ Avoid malpractice claims and ethics complaints that can result from the improper use of technology
+ Manage email communications to ensure that the flood of business-related messages and SPAM does not affect your client relationships or your ability to practice
+ Find and use the best online legal resources and marketing tools to improve and build your practice
+Train yourself and your staff to maximize your practice and technology investment
Our seasoned presenters will give you their favorite practical tips and tricks for doing more with and getting more from legal technology.

The teleseminar, on May 18 from 1:00 to 2:30 Eastern, is a full 90 minutes, and will be loaded with practical tips and recommendations. Natalie and Dan are two of my favorite presenters to listen to and to work with.
More details and online regisration is at http://www.abanet.org/cle/programs/t06tps1.html.
This will be a valuable program for current solo and small firm lawyers and those thinking about becoming solo and small firm lawyers. One great thing about this teleseminar for big firm lawyers – you don’t have to worry about running into one of your colleagues as you might at a traditional seminar.
I hope you can join us.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Cautionary Tales from Government IT Efforts

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Allan Holmes’ article, “Federal IT Flunks Out” on CIO.com tells the sobering and ultimately frustrating story of where tons of money and effort have been squandered in federal government IT projects over the past ten years. The focus is on the role of CIOs in government agencies.
The article also discusses the law that was passed to avoid this very result.

The Clinger-Cohen Act, passed in a rare act of bipartisanship 10 years ago, outlined steps that were designed to cast federal CIOs in the role of strategists who could help agencies formulate new business processes to streamline operations, improve the delivery of public services and reduce the risk of system disasters that test citizens’ faith in government—and, from time to time, put their lives in danger. Officially known as the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 (and later renamed the Clinger-Cohen Act after Rep. William Clinger and Sen. William Cohen, who pushed the legislation through), the law demanded that federal agencies follow corporate America’s best practices for managing IT. Agencies were required to hire a CIO, institute investment controls and establish performance goals and metrics to measure progress. The law was hailed as the tool that would finally fix federal IT.

As the article points out, the Act is another example of how legislation on technology issues never quite seems to get the job done (CAN-SPAM anyone?) even with the best of intentions. Paul Brubaker, one of the lead authors of the law when he worked as a Republican staff director for Cohen, has said, “We really thought we had it nailed. . . . We were going to change the way government managed IT and in doing so, possibly change government. . . . The Clinger-Cohen Act was totally bastardized to fit political agendas in both [the Clinton and first Bush] administrations, missing the point of making the CIO a strategic player in an agency rather than just the technology go-to guy. . . . We have the same basic problems we did 10 years ago.”"
I highlight and recommend this article not just as another infuriating example of “your tax dollars at work” (or the frightening security threats we continue to face because of these practices), but as a cautionary tale that you will want to consider as you look at your own IT projects and the role that your CIO (or you as a CIO) plays in yor organization’s success.
Holmes, through a series of many interviews notes four key factors that have led to the problems:
1. The CIO’s lack of authority, specifically over budgets.
2. Cultural and political resistance that derails sound IT practices.
3. Poor project management discipline.
4. Paperwork exercises that require CIOs and their staffs to spend huge amounts of time proving that they are adhering to administration directives.

Sound familar?
As Holmes notes, the solution lies in leadership.
The money quote:

John Flaherty, chief of staff for Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, stood up to say a few words about [retiring Department of Transportation CIO] Matthews’ accomplishments, pointing out that Matthews was always quick to help Mineta when his BlackBerry wasn’t working.
Flaherty wasn’t kidding.
A number of people present saw Flaherty’s comment as a perfect illustration of why IT at the federal level is so troubled. Government CIOs are still seen as guys who fix BlackBerrys.

Important topic – great article – highly recommended.
[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.
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DIY Electronic Discovery

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Feeling brave? Maybe it’s not quite like DIY brain surgery or DIY rocket science, but maybe a lawyer might try his or her hand at do-it-yourself electronic discovery.
A great new article from computerforensics and electronic discovery expert Craig Ball called Do-It-Yourself E-Discovery raises the important question of when and how you might want to deal with certain parts of electronic discovery matters yourself.
In Craig’s article, the example is email and .pst files. Craig looks at a number of software tools before deciding on dtSearch. He invites others to suggest other options, with all due warnings about understanding the “chain of custody,” spoliation and other evidentiary issues inherent in any DIY approach. Do not underestimate these issues. You must understand the risks (see the quote from Craig below).
Note that you might also obtain the forensically-sound copy you need and then have a second copy prepared that you will use these DIY tools on to screen the copy without compromising the evidence of the other copy.
I suggest taking a look at some free and inexpensive tools and some tools you may already own – the X1 search tool, Adobe Acrobat 7 (import the PST files into Outlook and then use Acrobat to save the folders as PDF files to work with) or the free Copernic Desktop search tool,. You might even try to import the PST file and then export it out of Outlook into an Access file. There may be other creative options. I’m looking forward to hearing about them.
Remember that (1) you might get the opposing party to agree to using these simple and cheap tools and get a judge’s approval as an alternative to full-blown approaches in appropriate cases, (2) these tools might help you see whether use of more expensive and more elaborate tools will be needed, or (3) you might use these tools for other screening purposes.
As Craig says:

As a computer forensic examiner, I blanch at the thought of lawyers harvesting data and processing e-mail in native formats.
“Guard the chain of custody,” I want to warn. “Don’t mess up the metadata! Leave this stuff to the experts!”
But the trial lawyer in me wonders how a solo/small firm practitioner in a run-of-the-mill case is supposed to tell a client, “Sorry, the courts are closed to you because you can’t afford e-discovery experts.”

This is an intriguing, potentially quite important, topic that deserves some serious thought and attention. I congratulate Craig for raising the topic and look forward to the discussion it raises. For example, see Evan Schaeffer’s post here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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Are Tech Costs Spinning Out of Control?

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Good question. I participated in a roundtable article in the latest issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine called “Tech costs spinning out of control? What you should and shouldn’t do: Pointers and predictions for solos and small firms.” The article has a stellar list of legal technologists as participants: Sharon Nelson, Craig Ball, Jim Calloway, Dennis Kennedy, Ross Kodner and John Simek. Lots of great ideas and useful information for law firms considering technology options. The issue also has a great article on blogging from Tom Mighell, my partner in the new podcast, The Kennedy-Mighell Report.
In related news, Helen Gunnarsson’s great article on legal blogging, “Do We Blawg and How?” (formerly available only in print) is now available online.
And, the May issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine has also just been published.
Finally, I noticed that I’m quoted in a third article this week on Law.com. This time it’s in a very good article by Ann Sherman called “Firms See Waves of Problems from Employee Web Surfing,” which covers some of the important issues raised in technology use policies, or the lack thereof.
Lots of good reading.
[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).
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Extranets and Disaster Recovery on Law.com

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Law.com has posted good articles in the last two days on extranets and disaster recovery, two topics law firms should have high on their priority lists for this year. I’m quoted in both articles and enjoyed speaking with Ari Kaplan and Leigh Jones as they prepared the articles.
The money quote from the disaster recovery article:

Kennedy also warns that firm management should maintain a working knowledge of their disaster plans. Frequently, he said, they delegate the responsibility to the firm’s technology professionals without understanding it themselves. That approach can create problems if employees leave. It can also backfire in an emergency, if management and technology staffers haven’t developed the plan together.

The money quote from the extranet article (a big thank you to Ari for distilling our conversation into one paragraph that captures the essence of what I was trying to say):

“There are some people who have done some pretty great things with extranets, but there is room to do more,” he says, adding that the real potential for extranet is through incorporating decision trees, artificial intelligence, instant messaging and document assembly. “Extranets are like Web sites; their potential is limited only by our imaginations.”

These two articles should be on your reading list for today.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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Episode 3 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast Now Available

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

The latest episode (#3) of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast is now available. Tom and I like to describe the podcast as being about legal technology, with an Internet focus.
In the new episode, we sat down to talk about our “take-aways” from our recent trip to the ABA TECHSHOW. We touch on some of the highlights of what we saw there, both in terms of products and what we learned in sessions, and then spend some time talking about the current state of technology in law firms and where it all might be leading us.
Please take a listen and let us know what you think about this podcast and any topics that you’d like us to cover.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Two Good Causes: Asking for a Little Help from Legal Tech Vendors

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

I’ve been asked by the organizers of two upcoming conferences to see if I can lend a hand in asking vendors to become exhibitors and sponsors and to donate door prizes. I have the highest opinion of both conferences and believe that they represent an excellent forum and value for legal tech vendors.
1. The first is New Orleans, New Law conference on May 22 and 23. The sponsor information page is here.
I have many friends who are actively participating in this conference and this good cause. Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and other disasters may be receding in our memories but the problems faced in their aftermath remain very real.
From the press release:

The two-day session titled New Orleans, New Law: Community Revival with Technology is critical to jump start the areas’ legal revitalization and teach attorneys about the technology tools and resources they can access and utilize to get them back on their feet. The newly established resource center will be critical to help them maintain their practices, have a place to meet clients, and have access to resources not available at their homes and temporary office spaces.

2. There is a consensus that the Missouri Solo and Small Firm Conference is the best conference of its kind in the country. I thoroughly enjoy presenting at and attending this conference, as I will be be doing again this year. Linda Oligschlaeger of the Missouri Bar does an amazing and greatly-appreciated job of organizing and putting on this conference every year.
She is once again expecting over 700 solo and small firm lawyers to attend this event. She mentioned to me that she’d always appreciate a few more items from legal tech vendors for door prize drawings.
I’ll go a bit further. Vendors in the solo and small firm space will not find a better venue than the Missouri Solo and Small Firm Conference. It needs to be on your marketing radar screen. I encourage you to get in touch with Linda about not only prizes for drawings, but sponsor and exhibitor opportunities. Sponsor information is here or contact Linda directly.
If you can help out with either event, I (and many others) would be grateful.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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Upcoming Teleseminar: Technology Primer for Solos and Small Firms

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

2006 has certainly been my biggest year ever for webinars and teleseminars. And I have the details on an upcoming seminar that should be an excellent program for solo and small firm lawyers interested in technology.
The program, on May 18, is called “Technology Primer for Solo and Small Firms” and will be produced by the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section, ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education. The program features the lead editor (Bill Gibson) and three contributing authors (Natalie Kelly, Dan Pinnington and me) of the latest edition of the excellent “Flying Solo” book.
Great news for attendees: Register for the teleseminar through Friday, May 12 and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a complimentary copy of the Fourth Edition of Flying Solo: A Survival Guide for the Solo and Small Firm Lawyer. The winner will be announced during the live program.
From the program description:

This teleconference and live audio webcast will show you how to make better use of legal technologies to improve your practice. Join our expert faculty to learn how you can use technology to be more effective and efficient.
Attend this program to learn how to:
+ Protect the security and privacy of client and firm data from viruses, worms, hackers and your own staff
+ mprove client service and communications through the amazing power of practice management software
+ Avoid malpractice claims and ethics complaints that can result from the improper use of technology
+ Manage email communications to ensure that the flood of business-related messages and SPAM does not affect your client relationships or your ability to practice
+ Find and use the best online legal resources and marketing tools to improve and build your practice
+Train yourself and your staff to maximize your practice and technology investment
Our seasoned presenters will give you their favorite practical tips and tricks for doing more with and getting more from legal technology.

The teleseminar, on May 18 from 1:00 to 2:30 Eastern, is a full 90 minutes, and will be loaded with practical tips and recommendations. Natalie and Dan are two of my favorite presenters to listen to and to work with.
More details and online regisration is at http://www.abanet.org/cle/programs/t06tps1.html.
This will be a valuable program for current solo and small firm lawyers and those thinking about becoming solo and small firm lawyers. One great thing about this teleseminar for big firm lawyers – you don’t have to worry about running into one of your colleagues as you might at a traditional seminar.
I hope you can join us.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Legal Technology Trends from Montreal – A Report

Monday, May 8th, 2006

I’ve returned from a great trip to Montreal for the Association of Legal Administrator’s Conference. I had a great time at the conference and in Montreal.
When I went to check out the room in which I was to speak, I found that it was set up with more than 900 chairs. Given the late afternoon time slot that I had and the competing sessions, the room was not full, but there were several hundred people in the audience, by far one of the biggest audiences I’ve had for a legal tech presentation in quite a while.
A well-intentioned AV tech managed to make one last adjustment that ensured that I had no display on either the projection screen or my notebook, so I once again will remind you of the importance of bringing along a printout of your slides. It can be a lifesaver.
I received good feedback on the talk and got the chance to answer quite a few questions after the session. As I said, it was a great time and I noticed a lot of people taking notes when I made some of my key points.
I’ll probably post the materials and slides on this blog in the near future.
I spent a good deal of time at the conference on the exhibit floor, seeing old friends, making some new friends and getting an updated view on the current state of legal technology.
As I mentioned, I really liked Montreal. It’s funny how used to seeing signs and written materials in both French and English. I kind of miss that back in St. Louis.
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Je suis revenu d’un grand voyage à Montréal pour l’association de la conférence de l’administrateur juridique. J’ai eu un grand temps à la conférence et à Montréal. Quand je suis allé vérifier la salle dans laquelle je devais parler, j’ai constaté qu’elle a été installée avec plus de 900 chaises. Etant donné la fente de temps d’après-midi en retard que j’ai eue et les sessions de concurrence, la salle n’était pas pleine, mais il y avait plusieurs centaines de personnes dans les assistances, de loin une des plus grandes assistances que j’ai prises pour une présentation légale de technologie dans tout à fait un moment. A well-intentioned la technologie de poids du commerce parvenue pour faire un ajustement de bout qui s’est assuré que je n’ai eu aucun affichage sur l’écran de projection ou mon cahier, ainsi je de nouveau vous rappellerai d’importance d’apporter le long d’une liste imprimée de vos glissières. Ce peut être un sauveteur. J’ai reçu la bonne rétroaction sur l’entretien et ai obtenu la chance de répondre à quelques questions après la session. Comme I dit, c’était un grand temps et j’ai noté un bon nombre de gens prenant des notes quand j’en ai fait de mes points clés. Je signalerai probablement les matériaux et les glissières sur ce blog dans un proche avenir. J’ai dépensé beaucoup du temps à la conférence sur le plancher d’objet exposé, voyant de vieux amis, faisant quelques nouveaux amis et obtenant une vue mise à jour sur l’état actuel de la technologie légale. Comme j’ai mentionné, j’ai vraiment aimé Montréal. Il est drôle comment utilisé à voir des signes et des matériaux écrits dans le Français et l’anglais. Genre I de manque qui arrière à St Louis. [Courtesy of Altavista's Babel Fish translator]
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[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).
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