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. 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

Your Innovation Style

Monday, August 21st, 2006

What is your innovation style? One theory suggests that there are four styles of innovators.
The Innovation Tools blog has a post called “New tool for innovation team design: Innovation Styles Online” that discusses and points to a great website, InnovationStyles, with some tests and other tools, that will help you determine your innovation style and learn more about innovation styles, how to recognize them and the role of stylles in teams.
Near the bottom of the post on Innovation Tools, you’ll find a link called “Discover your own innovation style (through October 31, 2006)” that will let you take an online test to determine your innovation style. Try it out.
Those who know me probably won’t be too surprised that I fell under the Exploring style.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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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Mickey Spillane, RIP; Mike Hammer in the 21st Century

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

I’m a fan of classic American film noir and the hard-boiled detective novel genre.
I decided to mark the recent passing of one of the masters of the genre, Mickey Spillane, by rereading two excellent collections of Mike Hammer novels: The Mike Hammer Collection, Volume 1 and The Mike Hammer Collection, Volume 2.
Each volume has three novels. Each novel grabs you and compels you to read it from start to finish.
I like the spare and lean writing style, the relentless narrative pace and the twists and turns. It’s tough and violent and a great read, although not for those with gentle sensibilities.
I’m intrigued at how the novels seem to bet set so concretely in and capture a specific era and place – New York City in the 1950s – and, yet, it in intriguing way, also capture something essential about our current times, if you suspend judgment and let the stories take you for the ride.
There are still a few more weeks left in summer and it’s hard to find a better set of summer reads.
There’s even a legal angle: the book “I, the Jury” may change how you think about juries.
Anyway, I found my re-reading of these collections a good and appropriate way to mark the passing of another American icon.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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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Innovation + Action = InnovAction

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Here’s a must-read PDF download for anyone interested in innovation in the legal profession:
The College of Law Practice Management has just released the Inaugural issue of its e-publication called InnovAction, which celebrates innovation in the legal profession.
I’m pleased to be part of a stellar cast of authors featured in this first issue.
In fact, I highly recommend that you read the wide-ranging Roundtable on innovation topics in which I participated with Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, Simon Chester, Matt Homann and Dan Pinnington. Some of the learning Matt and I have had over the past year or so in our LexThink venture made their way into this article.
You’ll also find great articles from Gerry Riskin, Patrick McKenna, David Maister, Silvia Coulter, and Bruce MacEwen, and other great stuff. Kudos to Jordan Furlong for bringing this project to a successful launch.
Download the article here.
While you are downloading great e-publications, be sure to check out Patrick McKenna’s highly-regarded new publication called First 100 Days: Transitioning a New Managing Partner.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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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Checking in with Elvis

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

I never met or talked with Elvis Presley, but I once had a late night conversation with an Elvis impersonator that probably was even better than the real thing.
I was thinking about that and my recent “Shuffle Me This” post (note: when Evan Schaeffer writes about one of my posts, I know I’ve done a good job) this morning as I was driving. I knew today was the anniversary of the day Elvis Presley died.
I had the iPod on shuffle and it played a live version of Joe Grushecky’s “Talking to the King,” a song about Elvis. This evening, it popped out a song called “Harbor Lights” from Elvis’s Sun Sessions.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
If you’re thinking about Elvis today, you might enjoy my late night conversation post.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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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Using PowerPoint Slides to Avoid or Enhance Communication

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

I really enjoy good PowerPoint presentations. Unfortunately, it’s kinda rare to see them, especially in the world of lawyerdom.
On the other hand, the only thing more boring than bad PowerPoint slides is another round of broadly dismissive general pronouncements that PowerPoint is evil. It always seems like blaming the tool for the way it is used. There are times that slides work really well and other times when you want to use a different approach.
The issue is always communication and reaching your audience with a message that works for them. If you are doing that, you’ll be surprised at how great people think your PowerPoint slides are.
With that in mind, I recommend that anyone who uses PowerPoint slides to present and anyone who spends time as part of an audience for a speaker who uses PowerPoint slides, read carefully a post on the Presentation Zen blog called “PowerPoint printouts used for communicating battle plans?”
This post, and the underlying post from that prompted the post from the Arms and Influence blog, will give you a great primer on the different ways PowerPoint slides can be used and the nuances you need to consider when you use slides in different ways.
The money quote:

In the end, I don’t think PPT is the cause but rather the symptom of a very large and very complex communication problem here.

By way of comparison, I recently found a set of PowerPoint slides from Chet Richards a great way to learn about first through fourth generation warfare and elements of military strategy. I’m not sure that I would have found a long single-spaced paper on the topic nearly as accessible and useful to me.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Old Computer Security Lessons from New Electronic Discovery Stories

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Bob Ambrogi does a nice job of summarizing the recent story about issues arising out of Microsoft Outlook, security patches, LexisNexis’s Applied Discovery tools, and the ability to see or not see certain data in certain instances. It’s an important story from a number of angles.
First of all, the response letter of Scott Nagel of Applied Discovery is required reading to provide a context for the story and deserves to be as publicized as the original article. There is a big difference between email that is erased and email that is unseen, but still exists and is easily recoverable. The devil is always in the details.
It’s important to get the full story and all the facts out. Too often, I hear stories about flaws in software programs and it turns out that the real issue is “operator error.” In other cases, there may be problems in the software. In other cases, problems arise because of odd configurations, outdated programs and computers infected with viruses and malware.
I have no basis to form any opinion on this story involving Appllied Discovery and will wait until the investigation concludes before making any judgments. My point in this post lies in a completely different direction than the substance of the Applied Discovery issue.
I do, however, want to make one very important point. As both Nagel and Craig Ball point out, Microsoft released patches for what seems to have caused the glitch or problem perhaps as long ago as in 2004.
With zero day exploits becoming more common, it is just plain crazy for law firms (or anyone else) to be running versions of Windows and Offices that are not current on security patches. As a quick example, read this article I found today called “Hackers hunting for unpatched Microsoft computers.”
In the last week alone, there have been a good number of critical security patches for both Windows and the Mac OS.
If you or your firm is not installing critical security updates, you are not only inviting and begging for attacks, you have also highly increased the odds that your computer has been compromised with malware. Having some apparently readily-resolvable e-discovery problems may be the least of your concerns.
The cavalier approach to security updates referred to in these stories causes me much more concern than the e-discovery angle of the story.
I wrote the concluding chapter to a book on information security from the ABA called “Information Security for Lawyers and Law Firms.” I closed the chapter and the book with this quote from computer expert Fred Langa:

Just as drivers who share the road must also share responsibility for safety, we all now share the same global network, and thus must regard computer security as a necessary social responsibility. To me, anyone unwilling to take simple security precautions is a major, active part of the problem.

I’m not sure how much longer we can tolerate having share the Internet with law firms who are years behind in installing security patches. I’m also finding it difficult to muster much sympathy for them when they run into problems that appear to stem from these lax practices.
Rather than over-focusing on the Applied Discovery story, you might better spend your time with a trip here, after a stop here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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Shuffle Me This

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

I’ve been wanting to post about the excellent Soulard Idea Market event the other night, but haven’t have the chance to write about it in a way that will do it justice.
Like other Open Space events I’ve been involved in, there were some great conversations, all happening at the idea layer, not the social chit-chat layer.
Matt Homann put up the traditional LexThink big post-it where people could write down stupid ideas. That’s always fun and gets you thinking. I didn’t get the chance to write anything then, but this morning I was reminded while driving behind yet another SUV where I can’t see anything, that the idea of tinted rear windows in cars, SUVs and vans is a stupid idea and probably a dangerous one. I still can’t figure out want problem it was designed to solve.
That aside, I’ve been thinking about another idea – the idea of shuffle.
Here I’m thinking about the “shuffle songs” feature of iTunes and the iPod. I originally thought that the coolest thing about an iPod was that you really could carry your whole music collection with you. I also liked that I could decided exactly what I wanted to here in the order I wanted to hear it.
However, planning and control of what you play has a price. It takes time and, at a certain point, you run out of imagination or want to stop making decisions.
On a plane trip, I simply put the iPod on shuffle and listened to what came to me, surrendering to the element of randomness and letting myself see if I could either simply relax and give up the need for control or whether the randomness would let me see / hear new patterns.
In truth, I still needed to be able to advance past a song if it didn’t fit my mood. That element of control is hard to give up.
But lately, though not all the time, I go with what the shuffle plays, without jumping forward. It’s a different mindset – kind of an interesting one. After all, it’s playing songs that I actually chose to put on my iPod.
And I’ve found that the unexpected patterns and connections are a treat, making it an enjoyable exercise.
It’s not exactly Open Space, but it’s a fascinating thinking and creativity exercise. And it reflects the rapidity and randomness of the events that come at us every day lately.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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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New Online Audio CLE Programs Available from Dennis Kennedy at DigiLearn

Monday, August 7th, 2006

I’m pleased to announce that DigiLearn is hosting two new audio continuing legal education courses that I’ve put together and making them available over the Internet.
First, there is my popular “Legal Technology Trends and Predictions” presentation. Here’s the description:

Legal technology can be a complicated and difficult topic. How do you learn about trends in legal technology and make good decisions about where you want to take your firm? In this session, legal technology expert Dennis Kennedy discusses ten of the most important trends in legal technology today and gives you some practical recommendations of how best to address technology issues in your law firm or legal practice.

Second, there is my presentation called “Disaster Recovery Planning for Lawyers.” Here’s the description:

Natural and man-made calamities in recent years have emphasized the vital importance of good disater recovery and business continuity planning. Don’t let your inadequate disaster plan make a bad situation worse. In this session, legal technology expert Dennis Kennedy discussess the key elements of preparation, technology and people involved in good disaster recovery planning and highlights many of the practial issues you must consider when putting together your firm’s disaster recovery plan.

I’m a big fan of the ways we can now use the Internet to deliver education and I’ve alway liked the work that DigiLearn has done in this area. I’m very pleased to be working with them on these new programs.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Updating My Disclaimers

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

DISCLAIMER: The posts and opinions expressed on this blog and this website are solely the personal opinions of Dennis Kennedy. They do not represent or reflect (nor are they intended to represent or reflect) the positions, opinions, viewpoints, policies and/or statements of any entity in which I have any ownership interest, with which I have any contractual or other legal relationship, or which is, was or might be my client or customer.
REQUIRED STATEMENTS UNDER MISSOURI SUPREME COURT RULES IF THIS WEBSITE OR ANY PORTION OF IT IS DEEMED TO BE AN ADVERTISEMENT OR SOLICITATION. This website is not intended to be an advertisement or solicitation for my legal services. However, under recent changes in Missouri Rules, it may be deemed to be so, despite my intention. Therefore, the following statements may be required on this website and I have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation. You may wish to consult your lawyer or another lawyer instead of me. The exact nature of your legal situation will depend on many facts not known to me at this time. You should understand that the advice and information in this solicitation is general and that your own situation may vary. This statement is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Soulard Idea Market Next Week

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Matt Homann reminds me that the first Soulard Idea Market will debut on August 8 in St. Louis. I hope to see you there.
If you would like an invitation, please contact Matt.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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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