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 January, 2007

Legal Technology Trends 2007 – My Podcast

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Although I wasn’t able to go to the Legal Tech New York show this year, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the big-picture trends in legal technology.
I’m planning to publish my annual legal tech trends article as a multi-part blog series in the next few days. You can get a preview and an overview of a few of the main issues, and my overall theme for this year, in a new podcast interview I did with Leonard Lee for Thomson West. You can find the details (and links to other legal tech interviews from Monica Bay, Denis Hauptly, Will Robberts, Steve Buege, and Jeff Willhite) here and the direct download for my interview is here (you can right click on the link and “save as” to download it to listen later).
Thank you to Thomson West for creating and publishing this kind of information and for letting me be a part of it.
I’ve gotten a ton of press releases and emails from vendors about new product releases in connection with Legal Tech NY. So far, the one that really got my attention is this one from Thomson about incorporating document assembly into the WestKM knowledge management tools. I’ve long been interested in the overlap of document assembly and KM – think of document assembly as a practical KM application that makes your collected knowledge actionable.
I’m also intrigued by discussion by The Wired GC and others about Cisco’s Mark Chandler’s recent speech “State of Technology in the Law.” It’s a must-read for all business lawyers.
One of many money quotes:

In contract processing, we have an online contract builder that allows our employees globally to build their own NDAs and other contracts. With electronic approval and digital signature, they can go from creation to execution to archiving. Five years ago, Cisco had to build its own system. Today we’re buying off the shelf. Within the next five years, a substantial proportion of the Fortune 500 will be doing the same.

I’ve written on this topic before. I’m sure I’ll talk about it in the future.
Download my interview podcast.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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The Biggest Unanswered Questions in Electronic Discovery

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Ron Friedman does a great job of highlighting the biggest unanswered questions in electronic discovery today in a post called “Future (Pending??) E-Discovery Landmines?
Here’s the way I’ve phrased the issue: What will “documents” mean in a world where almost all information is held in gigantic databases? That might mean huge enterprise databases and database applications (e.g., SAP) or the world of Web 2.0 (the web as a set of database apps on the biggest database there is).
Interestingly, Ron, Tom Mighell and I recorded a webcast on electronic discovery last fall that hasn’t yet been released (for reasons outside our control) where we touched on this topic for a few minutes. Ron, in his post, has done a great job of introducing and exploring the topic.
If you thought the move from paper discovery to electronic discovery was difficult, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Read Ron’s post.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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New to the Mac and Connecting With Windows: Online Seminars

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

There’s a lot of interest these days in Macs. While it might be tempting for some to rely on the Mac vs. PC commercials for information, I recommend that you get a solid understanding of the basic issues before jumping from the PC to the Mac world, especially in a business setting.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been using a MacBook Pro as part of a program Apple is doing in connection with the legal profession. It’s been a great experience and a return to the Mac for me. I used a Mac SE in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Our Apple contact has been great and is very receptive to the feedback we give him.
In part in response to some of our questions and suggestions, Apple has produced two great online video seminars that do an excellent job of highlighting some of the most important transition elements when moving from PC to Mac. They also have some great tips for experienced users.
In about 27 minutes of video, you’ll save a great amount of time and trouble, especially with the Connecting to Windows video that highlights ways to network Macs and PCs and print from Macs to PC printers and PCs to Mac printers. The “New to the Mac” video has some of the best tips for new users all in one handy place. You’ll get off to a great start if you watch this video. If you are just thinking about a Mac, you’ll get a clear, realistic picture of the similarities and differences, and be able to make a solid decision. My sense is that if you are leaning toward a Mac, you will be leaning even further toward the Mac after watching these videos.
Highly recommended.
[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. Coming soon – a new LexThink public event in May, 2007.
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By Request: What Are Your Legal Tech New Year’s Resolutions?

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Several people have asked me recently about my new year’s legal technology resolutions. I plan to publish soon my annual article on legal technology trends, but these questions were directed at my personal resolutions for using technology in my own practice.
I put the question on the back burner, but have been thinking about it. When I saw this recent post on speech recognition from St. Louis blawgger George Lenard, I decided to make and memorialize some legal technology resolutions for 2007.
These are my resolutions. Your mileage may vary. Readers may find it interesting to see where my own focus is at these days.
1. Make Speech Recognition the Primary Way I Write New Material. I’ve probably dabbled in speech recognition off and on for maybe the last ten years. The experiments have had their ebbs and flows. Like many other technologies, speech recognition requires a continuing effort to engrain it as a habit. I’ve always gotten distracted from the experiment. So far in 2007, I’ve decided to use my Tablet PC as a dedicated speech recognition machine and added RAM to it. In my experience, the crucial link in the speech recognition process is microphone placement. I’ve gotten a new headset that will keep the mike in a relatively fixed position. Next up, starting to make a habit of creating first drafts by voice. A reasonable goal: creating all first drafts of blog posts by dictation by the end of March.
2. Use OneNote and MindManager for Notes and Mind Maps. I really like OneNote. Unfortunately, I’m almost the only one who I know who uses it, and I’m always in a Word world. I’ve used mind maps for many years, and still reach for a piece of paper to create first drafts of mind maps – that’s a habit that I’ve engrained. I realized a while ago that taking notes and drawing sketches in OneNote was much better than putting them on paper and scanning them as PDFs later to eliminate the paper. Similarly, I’ve really underutilized MindManager – I think it can take my mind mapping to a completely new level. Here, some of the projects and efforts I’m involved in will put some constraints on this resolution. However, I think that the simple process of re-creating some mind maps in MindManager and rewriting some notes in OneNote rather than scanning the paper will help me get the hang of this.
3. Explore the Convergence of Macs and Windows. As many of you know, I’m using a MacBook Pro as part of a special program for lawyers that Apple is doing. The first two of my resolutions really focus on using my Tablet PC as a Tablet. For other computing, I want to experiment more with the Mac. I’ve had a great experience with the Mac so far (I also used a Mac in the late ’80s and early ’90s), but I plan to did much further into that. As I’ll blog about soon, I’m pleased that some of the feedback from the Mac program (including, specifically some of my feedback) has been turned into some excellent educational material for those converting from Mac to Windows. I like writing on the Mac these days – at least when I can get it away from our daughter, who really likes it.
4. Education, Education, Education. You can’t stand still – there’s so much for me to learn out there. I always pick a few new things to learn every year. In 2007, I want to delve deeper into a few areas: Microsoft Sharepoint, collaboration tools, digital recording tools, and probably Office 2007. Oh, yeah, and working on the notions of Law 2.0 (including Litigation 2.0 (look for Matt Homann to be making some announcements on that soon)).
5. Updating and Sprucing Up My Blog and Website. I don’t think I’m up for a new redesign, but I want to update a lot of the content and resource pages. It’s always easier to focus on writing new blog posts than doing basic blocking and tackling on your website. After a while, you realize that you need to pay some attention to the rest of the website.
So, what are your legal tech resolutions for 2007?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Ernie’s e-Filing Primer

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

PDF files and Adobe Acrobat have become essential tools in every lawyer’s practice, especially for litigators. PDF has gradually become a standard in both electronic filing and electronic discovery.
One of the best uses of training time and dollars for lawyers would be classes on using Acrobat. (There are other PDF creation tools, of course, but, as I like to say, do you want to take a risk that you’ll be in front of a judge trying to explain why a court couldn’t open your PDF file created with a free or cheap tool?)
One good example of what to learn is how to optimize file sizes. I’ve long been surprised when people create gigantic PDF file. I like to slim down PDF files whenever I can – people with dial-up connections and not much room on their hard drives appreciate it.
My friend, Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson has a great side blog that every lawyer who deals with PDFs should be reading. The blog is called PDF for Lawyers, and I especially recommend his recent post “With E-filing the file-size matters,” which, among other things, delves into the problems that large PDF file sizes can cause.
It’s an eye-opener in many ways, not the least of which in that it discusses a standard practice that actually surprised me because it goes so much against the grain of the move from analog to digital. Let me quote Ernie’s description of this practice:

[W]hen they create a pleading to be filed electronically they follow this process:
Print out word processing document
Physically sign the last page where the signature line is
Scan the document back in to create a PDF
Upload the resulting PDF into the e-filing system

Well, I learn something new about the ways lawyers use technology every day.
The good news is that Ernie has some useful ideas for much better ways to use PDFs. He also explains the practical dangers of not knowing how to use this essential tool for lawyers.
I highly recommend Ernie’s post.
Then take a look at the other posts on the PDF for Lawyers blog, move on to Rick Borstein’s Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog. Jim Calloway lists some great Acrobat resources here. The serious student can move on to and subscribe to the PDF World email newsletter. And don’t forget about David Masters’ classic, The Lawyer’s Guide to Adobe Acrobat, Second Edition (ABA Publishing link; Amazon link
And, please, please, please, don’t do that print out and scan back to PDF thing ever again.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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MLK Day 2007: Holiday Musings

Monday, January 15th, 2007

As I’ve written before (here, here and here), Martin Luther King Day is one of my favorite holidays.
In part, that’s because there always seems to be pressure in the work environment not to take the holiday, and instead work right through it. In a certain sense, you must make an affirmative statement to take the holiday. In a way, celebrating the holiday requires that you think about and act on the principles being honored by the holiday. There’s still much work to do, as this unsettling article suggests.
I’ve said:

Over the years, I’ve noticed that law firms and lawyers are reluctant to celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a holiday. It often seems that they grudgingly allow lawyers and staff to take the day off, if they must, but firms do not encourage anyone to do so.

As I’ve been reading blog posts about the holiday and the man today, it strikes me that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s writings, including the letter from Birmingham city jail, would make for excellent blog posts (and it still does), and have brought the urgency and discussion that the best blog posts bring to an even wider audience. I don’t mean to trivialize the writings, but to point to the potential and power of the medium of blogging and how it might be used in the spirit of the tradition saluted by this holiday. Think about it.
One of the great things about today’s Internet is the way you can find audio and video of King’s speeches and sermons. I encourage you to set aside some time today to think about the principles celebrated by this holiday, and to take a few minutes to track down an audio or video and watch or listen to it. I guarantee it will be well worth the effort.
You can also follow and participate in the Blawg Review MLK Day post/celebration from the Public Defender Investigator Network here.
MLK quote for the day:

Let us. all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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Calling All St. Louis Bloggers

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

I had a great time talking about blogging at the meeting of the Computer Consultants of St. Louis on Tuesday evening.
One of the things I enjoyed most was getting to talk with long-time St. Louis blogger Jim Durbin, who runs the site. He was somewhat disappointed when I told him the real story behind my St. Louis is Blawg City USA post and the effect that it had, but we shared a laugh about it. It’s fascinating story about the unusual powers of blogs. Jim, we have to get together and continue our conversation.
Jim mentioned that he knows that are at least six groups of St. Louis bloggers in which people have gotten to know each other and socialize. However, he noted, none of the groups really know about or interact with the others. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
I thought it might be cool to try to cook up a way to bring those groups together. I’d be interested in some ideas people might have for doing that.
The first idea I had was to extend an invitation to all St. Louis bloggers to Matt Homann’s next Idea Market on Monday, January 15. Maybe we can spend a little time trying to find a way to do a St. Louis blogger event? Even if you are not a blogger, if you have a chance on Monday evening, consider dropping by the Idea Market.
[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. Coming soon – a new LexThink public event.
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Seven Resolutions for Your PC

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Adam Pash notes in his LifeHacker article, “Seven New Year’s Resolutions for Your PC” that he wants to make 2007 the year for hard drive perfection. I don’t know whether that’s possible, but his list of seven resolutions is a very helpful way to take more control over your hard drive. Lots of helpful hints and tips in that post.
I’m currently focusing on #3 – cleaning out your hard drive. It’s amazing what you’ll find and the WinDirStat program he mentions in the post is very useful. For example, what the heck were two 512 meg temp files doing on my hard drive?
My other computer resolution was to add RAM to computers around the house. More RAM rules! Installation of RA remains a bit of an adventure, though.
My favorite comment amidst all the Apple iPhone hubbub today was from Phil Greenspun: “What I want is a phone that won’t make calls from inside my pocket.” It was most apropos on another day when I took my cell phone out of my pocket and saw that the camera had served up yet another collection of photos of the inside of my pocket. I am not a fan of cell phones.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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I’m Impressed by the Micromemo Voice Recorder for the iPod

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

I’ve had the idea for a while that it would be great to have a handheld unit to recording the presentations I do. Like the one on blogging I did tonight. (A big thank you to the audience – I had a great time.)
I also like traveling with my iPod, so I didn’t realy want to carry a separate recording unit.
It seemed like a good idea to experiment with one of the recorders you can use with an iPod. After reading a bunch of reviews, I decided to try the XtremeMac Micromemo Voice Recorder for the iPod, primarily because it offered a line-in input for external microphones. It’s also inexpensive (there’s a nice discount on Amazon right now).
It fits right on the bottom of a video iPod and has a short flexible stem on which the included microphone is attached. It installs easily and pops up a small recorder screen for voice memos. Select “record” and you are recording directly to your iPod.
I tried it for the first time in a presentation setting this evening. I simply placed the iPod on the table in front of me, flexed the microphone stem up and toward me and hit record. I was seated and made no effort to get close to the microphone.
Wow! I am pleased with the results. The recording is very good and the Micromemo even did a good job of picking up the questions (everyone seated around a large conference table). The sound quality is very acceptable as is and should clean up (using Audacity) very nicely.
The Micromemo appears, at this point, to be a very interesting and affordable option for speakers who want to have a portable way to capture the audio of their presentations. Definitely worth a look.
I may have further comments on it when I try to move the audio file off the iPod to a computer and as I use it in other settings. At this point, some of the reviews I saw on Amazon seem unduly negative, but at this price point, it seems to work well for what I wanted.
Check it out. Let me know what you think.
[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). And listen to The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast.
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Two Excellent Podcast Intros to Windows Vista and Office 2007

Monday, January 8th, 2007

I’ve become a big fan of podcasts lately and and am trying to find a good way to cover podcasts in this blog.
For a great example of why I like podcasts, I’ll point you to Business Week’s series of podcasts featuring its Technology and You columnist Steve Wildstrom. It’s a great resource to learn about basic technology.
Two recent podcasts cover Office 2007 and Windows Vista. In about twenty minutes or so, you’ll hear an excellent overview of the new products, what the features that matter to you might be, and some tips on what you should be thinking about in preparing for and moving to the next generation of Microsoft products. (RSS feed for Wildstrom podcast here)
Want another great example?
I highly recommend Ed Poll’s podcast interview of Adobe’s Rick Borstein on the legal features of Acrobat 8 and how Acrobat 8 will benefit lawyers. Rick, an excellent presenter, is on top of his game, and there’s no better way for lawyers to learn about Adobe 8. A highly recommended 21 minute audio.
Just a sampling of the many great resource out in the world of podcasts.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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