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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 August, 2006

Document Assembly as Disruptive Legal Technology

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Darryl Mountain pointed me to an online pdf version of his new article, “Disrupting conventional law firm models using document assembly,” in the International Journal of Law and Information Technology.
From the abstract:

Document assembly software is a technology that is fundamental to disrupting law firms. This article uses the framework set out by Clayton Christensen in The Innovator’s Dilemma and subsequent books to examine the range of business models that use document assembly software, from those that are sustaining in relation to law firms to those that are disruptive in relation to law firms. It looks at three barriers that slow down the pace of disruption: a shortage of the right people, rules against unauthorised practice, and inadequate capitalisation of law firms. These barriers will be overcome on a piecemeal basis as disruptive forces advance and undercut the billable hour.

Darryl is one of the truly innovative thinkers in the legal profession and I highly recommend this article. The article is based on a presentation Darryl gave last year (I wrote about it here) and the lively discussion that followed.
The article reminded me about that conversation and some follow-up thoughts I had on the insurance aspect of what Darryl is discussing, something I may write about in the near future.
Another great article from Darryl that I hope reaches a big audience. It will give you much to think about.
[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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Philips READUS e-reader

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Reading 2.0? I rarely write reviews anymore, but here’s something that tempts me to offer to write one for the chance to get my hands on a product early. Philips can add me to the potential reviewer list for the READUS E-Reader. This looks like it will be cool, and something that I’d find useful (as would my audience). I’ve been intrigued by the idea of a portable electronic book reader for a long time.
Here’s the intro from the post on the jkOntheRun blog that got my attention:

We’ve been hearing about ebook readers that will appear with e-ink screens that roll up into a very tiny form and then extend out to provide a nice decently sized screen for reading.

Check out the video of it here.
Combine this type of product with a wireless capability and the news river approach, and you have something that would be truly useful and not just a gadget for gadget’s sake.
[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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Remembering Katrina by Email

Monday, August 28th, 2006

I checked my old email and saw that a year ago today, we got an email on our Between Lawyers back-channel email lst from Ernie Svensen that said:
I’m on the road now. This storm will cause CATASTROPHIC damage!
It was chilling then – still is.
Then I see a flurry of frantic messages between us for a few days as we lost touch with Ernie and didn’t know what happened to him.
We finally heard from him, with his usual wry wit, a few days later in an email that said:
Hey thanks! I’ll be okay. Trying to set up moblogging. Gotta have the proper tech thing going. Right?
But the message that struck me the most came from Ernie later that day:
Thanks. I am safe and so are my friends and family. Now I sit back and watch how my city adjusts to radical change.
Except that we knew Ernie could not just sit back and watch.
Much of what I know about the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans comes from Ernie’s reporting, as is true for many other bloggers.
It is true that we are learning what radical change for a city means, and, unfortunately, in some ways what radical “stays the same” means. There are lessons to learn and lessons we should not forget.
Take a moment and remember.
“[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).
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Hey, It’s Ross Kodner’s Blog

Monday, August 28th, 2006

It’s official. Legal technology wizard Ross Kodner has debuted his new blog, Ross Ipsa Loquitur. I know that it will be a source of great info – already has some great posts. I’ve learned a lot from Ross over the years and had a lot of fun presenting with him on legal tech topics. Welcome to the blogosphere, Ross. I think that you’re really going to like it here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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Web 2.0 and the Web Office

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Lots of discussion today on announcements from Google and web-based alternatives to Microsoft Office, all of which bring us into the zone of Web 2.0.
I’ve written quite a bit about Web 2.0, but it remains a difficult concept to explain.
Two excellent blog posts I read today will help you develop a core understanding. Well, they certainly reflect my point of view and I found them especially insightful.
The first is from a blog I’ve spent a lot of time on in the last few days – Rod Boothy’s Innovation Creators blog. It’s called “Web Versions of MS Office is a Tiny Niche.” For further study, check out his post on Excel Services.
The money quote #1:

Web Office or Enterprise 2.0 applications should not about “solving problems” – as in providing end solutions. Instead, at their best, Web Office should provide productivity tools that knowledge workers can use to build their own ad-hoc solutions.

The money quote #2:

This is the real vision of Enterprise 2.0 / Web Office / Office 2.0. It is the radical shift from IT developing full solutions to a new era, where IT provides productivity tools and knowledge workers use those tools to build end solutions.

The second post is from Ed Yourdon. It’s called “Recurring themes from my Web 2.0 visits” and it’s a great, succinct summary of the current Web 2.0 landscape. It’s must-reading if you are interested at all in Web 2.0.
The money quote (excerpting the five common themes):

1. Email is broken;
2. Young adults use the Internet in a different way than do 30-something and 40-something professional workers;
3. People don’t like to “break context” to grab additional information to perform a work task;
4. Most vendors believe that mobile devices will play a large role in the evolution of their products and services, but they’re not sure what form it will take;
5. Web 2.0 may be over-hyped, and some of its vendors may not have a rational business model, but it’s nevertheless “real”.

Lots to think about in those posts.
[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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Arch 2.0

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Shelley Powers makes a great case for getting O’Reilly to put on a scripting, Ajax, and web development conference here in St. Louis. Randy Holloway has also picked up the theme. How do we reach critical mass?
As Shelley says, “I don’t know about anyone else, but I for one am getting tired of conferences held only along the coasts. Arch 2.0. It works.”
[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).
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What Technologies Are Law Firms Buying?

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Another great post from Tom Collins covers the results of the recent ILTA 2006 Technology Purchasing Survey. It gives an interesting perspective from the CIOs and IT Directors of large firms.
Tom does a great job of summarizing the results, which, among other things, support my belief that Microsoft SharePoint may be the hottest technology in the legal space these days.
It was also nice to see that this blog was one of the most-read blogs by this group, even though, as Tom wryly notes, the survey responders don’t seem to be big blog readers. It was also nice to see the Between Lawyers blog on the list.
[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).
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By Request Week: Are there any software tools specifically designed for commercial lawyers?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

From Australia, where many cool things are happening in legal technology, comes this question:
Are there any software tools specifically designed for commercial lawyers?
It does seem that most legal software is designed for litigators, with commercial (or transactional) lawyers having fewer choices.
In part, the non-litigation practices are quite diverse and it’s not as easy as it is in litigation to design tools that cut across the practice areas.
That said, there are a number of software tools for the transactional lawyer.Often there are specific tools for specific practice areas. When I did estate planning early in my career, for example, we used fiduciary accounting software, tax preparation and planning, actuarial software, and other estate planning software tools, often with several programs to choose from in each category.
However, it’s surprisingly difficult to find those practice-specific programs without a lot of searching on the Internet.
Let’s turn to some general software categories for commercial lawyers.
1. Document or case management software. Commercial lawyers often have to manage multiple documents for each deal, track workflow and do other administrative tasks. Using a general document or case management tool can make a big impact.
2. Document assembly. Commercial lawyers use a lot of forms and model documents. It’s a short step to move to document assembly (e.g., HotDocs, Ghostfill, Ixio, DealBuilder and Exari). To me, document assembly is THE software to consider in a commercial practice.
3. Litera’s IDS and ChangePro. I’m fascinated by these two suites of tools from Litera. Among other things, they give you ways to manage documents that are being negotiated and changed, to keep track of those changes and to do real-time collaboration. You can also handle metadata and other issues associated with exchanging documents.
4. Adobe Acrobat Professional 7. Exchanging Word documents is a tricky thing, with some metadata pitfalls. Acrobat 7 gives you ways to exchange, secure and electronic sign documents, and a ton of other useful features.
5. DealProof. Now part of the Thomson family, DealProof offers, among other things, an automated way to proofread your documents and make them consistent.
Those are some starting points. It’s a great question and legal software vendors in this category need to be aware of the difficulty commercial lawyers have in finding your products.
I welcome readers who have recommendations of good software tools for commercial lawyers to mention them in the comments to this post.
[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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By Request Week

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

I haven’t answered requests on my blog for a while and thought I might open things up for requests for the rest of the week.
I do the “by request” feature as a bit of an homage to one of the bloggers who had a large influence on my blogging style, Sherry Fowler at Stay of Execution. Sherry has done “by requests’ for a long time. For those who don’t know, Sherry was one of the earliest lawyer bloggers and helped pave the way for the use of a more personal style among some long-time legal bloggers.
Here’s the way my “by request” feature works. Send me your questions, preferably by email to denniskennedyblog @ gmail . com. You can also leave them as comments to this post. I’ll see how many I can answer this week.
Let me start by answering a question I’ve gotten a lot in the last few days – “are you at the ILTA conference?”
Nope, not this year. ILTA is one of the major legal technology conferences in the US each year. Even though I used to be on the board for the ABA TECHSHOW, I now have to say that ILTA is my favorite legal tech event. I’m disappointed I had to miss it this year and I’ve been following blog posts from those attending the show. I’m sure that everyone there is having a great time.
[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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Email. Security and the Philosophy of Small

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

On the weekends, I find that I delete as much as 80 – 90% of the email I get (most of it grabbed by spam filtering) before I focus on the ones I read. It’s astonishing how much of these involving phishing or have dubious atachments.
John Robb’s post, “Getting Small,” takes a thought-provoking perspective on email, security and related issues.
He points to another post that suggests that an entire generation of young people have abandoned email. Robb notes: “I hadn’t thought of it, but my kids don’t use e-mail. They are all on peer to peer chat/voice solutions in conjunction with blogs.”
How has your use of email changed in the last few years? Are you using RSS feeds and instant messaging as alternatives to email?
Robb points to ways that he has made himself a smaller target. Given my current experiment with a MacBook Pro, I noted with interest that one method Robb discusses in “getting small” is moving to the Mac platform.
The ideas of making yourself a smaller target and living in a more diverse environment are great foundations in a security environment. I’m intrigued by Robb’s philosophy on this.
The money quote:

The more commonly used (the more ubiquitous) the ecosystem, the less secure it is. These systems represent too big a target, and they are burdened by a complexity and connectivity that makes them impossible to defend. Getting small alleviates the problem.
How small should ecosystems get? Down to the minimal level of viability (viability being defined by the minimal level of activity necessary to provide it with robustness, innovation, diversity, etc.).
How many ecosystems? The greater the diversity of the ecosystems riding on the minimal rulesets of the global platform, the more secure all of us are.

Think about it. Read the whole post, and you’ll see why Robb is one of my very favorite bloggers.
[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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