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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 February, 2007

The Semi-Standard Sweet Spot of Document Assembly

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Things that make me go hmm.
Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had about document assembly have been with Jamie Wodetzki. Read The Sweet Spot of Document Assembly and I think you will see why I say that.
Money quote:

Advanced, web-based, document assembly systems now make it possible – and practical – to automate many more business contracts, as long as they follow predictable patterns of negotiation. Businesses are now seeking out these semi-standard sweet spots, so that deals can be closed quickly, without the costs and delays of manual drafting.

Hmm.
[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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Using Open Source Software in Law Firms

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

I’m looking for a little help on an article I’m writing about the use of Open Source software in law firms.
If you use Open Source software and would like to share your experience, prognostications, and favorite programs, and would consider being quoted in the article, please email me at denniskennedyblog @ gmail.com today or tomorrow.
I’m especially interested in lawyers who might be using OpenOffice and legal-specific Open Source programs, and what larger law firms might be doing with Open Source programs.
I’d also like to post a list on this blog of the programs lawyers seem to be using these days.
Thanks for your help.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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Law Department Technology 2007 – Survey Says . . .

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Anthony Paonita has a good article called “Legal Departments Tell Firms: Get on the Tech Train” about the role law departments are taking in driving technology in law firms. I’ve sometimes referred to this a “client-driven technology.” Definitely an area to watch and the article will give you something to think about. It’s a companion piece to the results from Corporate Counsel’s fourth annual survey of law department technology. There’s also a small quote from me in the article.
Highly recommended.
[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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Great List of the Best Free Software

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Some might suggest that the title of this post falls into the category of linkbaiting. However, one of the things I try to do during my blogiversary is to come up with free software and other gifts for my regular readers.
Fortunately, PC Magazine has helped me out this year with its recent mammoth list of best free software programs. Dive on in and see if you can find some helpful free programs for yourself. I suspect that you will find a few. Enjoy.
As a side note, I’m working on a new article discussing Open Source programs that would be helpful to lawyers. Leave a comment or send me an email (denniskennedyblog @ gmail . com) to let me know about your experiences using Open Source programs in the practice of law and/or your favorite Open Source programs.
[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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By Request: Desert Island Feed Reader

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Q: If you were stranded on an island with only one feed reader, which one would it be?
A: FeedDemon.
This question came as a comment on my recent somewhat pessimistic post speculating about whether lawyers would ever adopt RSS readers.
I’ve essentially used three feed readers over the years. I started with Amphetadesk, leaving it after no new version came out after late 2002. I moved to FeedDemon, in part because I like the three-paned Outlooky interface and the useful set of tools – flagging, saved searches, newsbins, browser integration, podcatching . . . the list goes on and on. I also like Nick Bradbury, the creator and lead programmer of FeedDemon, with whom I’ve exchanged an occasional email over the years. About a year or so ago, I experimented with simultaneously running FeedDemon and the Omea Reader. I liked the Omea Reader for some of the personal knowledge management tools it had, but Nick keeps adding features to FeedDemon and been been using exclusively FeedDemon since last summer. I don’t use my Mac to read my RSS subscriptions, but, if I did, I’d stay in the Newsgator/FeedDemon family and use NetNewsWire.
I greatly prefer the standalone readers to the online readers. Online readers require that you be, well, online and connected to the Internet. I’ve also found that they get clunky and cumbersome when you subscribe to a large number of feeds and try to manage and save individual items. Lots of people I know swear by online readers, so my sense is that we are talking about my personal preferences, but I like the standalone readers’ ability to let you grab feed items while connected and read and deal with them later. You also have great features, like those in FeedDemon, to store and work with the information you gather. I’ve tried a number of the online readers, including using NewsGator Online to sync subscriptions with FeedDemon on several computers. Unfortunately, that was not very successful for me and I kept finding that feeds I read regularly would occasionally disappear from my subscriptions.
On a desert island, clearly regular Internet access and even electrical power would be issues (sort of like St. Louis in the last year), so the standalone reader would be the preferred route.
I’d like to compliment Nick Bradbury for his continued personal involvement in supporting and improving FeedDemon. It makes it easy for me to be loyal to the product.
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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Dennis Kennedy’s Seven Legal Technology Trends for 2007 on LLRX.com

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Regular readers will remember my experiment last week of publishing a long version (really somewhat more than a first draft) of my annual legal technology trends article as a series of blog posts on this blog. I ended the series by posting a final, short version that I cut to roughly 1,000 words.
In the editing process, my first attempt at reducing the size of the article left me a version that was roughly 2,500 words. In the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fashion, I ended up liking this middle-sized version best of all.
I also mentioned in those posts that my favorite place to publish new articles is Sabrina Pacifici‘s excellent LLRX.com site. Fortunately, Sabrina also liked this article and it now appears as part of this month’s issue of LLRX.com: “Seven Legal Technology Trends for 2007: Widening the Digital Divide in Law Practices.” It’s a small part of another powerhouse issue of LLRX and I encourage you to check out the other articles.
Completists are more than welcome to read all three versions, but the one on LLRX.com is my favorite. Your feedback is always appreciated.
[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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By Request:: Will Lawyers Adopt Newsreaders?

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Q: Do you see feed readers being adopted by many lawyers?
A: No, but I’m not really objective about this. It’s quite strange to be talking about lawyers “adopting” something that I’ve been using on a daily basis for maybe five years. (For an introduction to feed/news/RSS readers, start here.)
Look, it’s 2007 and people are talking about the end of the standalone RSS reader as feed reading gets built into Windows Visa, browsers and web pages. I’ve been writing about using RSS/news/feed readers regularly since 2003 (see here and here, for example).
However, it’s still a rare thing for me to find a lawyer who is using a news reader. Ironically, the reservation I hear most is: “I already get too much information.” As Bill Gates has said, we suffer simultaneously from both information overload (too much information) and information underload (not enough of the information we want). News readers help with both problems, but especially the information underload problem.
I’ve also long been interested in the potential value for lawyers of using news readers as a vehicle or channel to deliver information. My epiphany in that regard came when I first learned about and experimented with the John Kerry Reader. There’s still a lot of potential there and I’ve had some interesting conversations in that area over the years. In many ways, the ill-fated Blawg Channel experiment (that turned into the Between Lawyers blog) was really an early experiment in the creation and delivery of legal material via RSS and news readers (we used the word “channel” for a reason). My buddies over at Rethink IP have probably taken the vision of RSS in the legal space further than anyone else has at this point.
So, at this point, I’m quite pessimistic about adoption by RSS in the legal profession and use of RSS readers by lawyers, even though RSS/XML has been my favorite technology for quite a few years. For the foreseeable future, I expect this to be the domain of a small group of tech-savvy lawyers, whose clients will definitely benefit. On the other hand, as RSS gets integrated into websites, many lawyers will be consuming feeds without realizing it. Ultimately that’s a good thing, but it’s ironic that as far into the RSS era as we are, that lawyers using RSS readers can still be seen as early adopters.
I also recommend Kevin O’Keeffe’s recent post on RSS readers for his assessment of lawyers using news readers. (I chuckle a bit as I write this because when Kevin and I first were talking about blogs and blogging several years ago, I kept haranguing him about RSS and how RSS was way more interesting than blogs.) If you are looking for a good entry point to learning about RSS, I suggest that you start with the recent Strongest Links column Tom Mighell and I wrote (re)introducing RSS to lawyers.
However, the answer to your question is “no.” For what it’s worth, I’d like to be wrong, but I think the odds are greater that I’m right.
[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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By Request Week at DennisKennedy.Blog

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

One of the things I do every year for the blogiversary of this blog is to give readers the opportunity to submit questions that I’ll try to answer.
If you’ve always wanted to ask me a question about this blog, blogging, legal technology, or any other topic then either email me at denniskennedyblog @ gmail.com or leave the question as a comment to this post. Unless you indicate otherwise, I will not identify you as the author of the question. And, of course, I reserve the right to answer your question with an answer to a different question that I’d prefer to answer.
I’ll try to answer as many of the questions as I can as blog posts.
Request lines are now open.
Blogiversary gifts are always welcome.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

Four Years Ago Today – And So It Began

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

On February 15, 2003 at 05:20 PM, I posted:

And so it begins . . .
I realized the other day that I had first written about blogs well over a year ago. In fact, the rise of blogs was one of my 2002 predictions for legal technology in my annual legal tech predictions article. As I was working on updating my web site (http://www.denniskennedy.com), I finally decided that I had to have my own blog. Thanks to people like Jerry Lawson, Sabrina Pacifici, the Support Forum at MovableType.org, it’s finally here.

The pop culture mavens among you will note the Babylon 5 reference in that first post. For trivia buffs, does anyone know the only alternative name I ever seriously considered for this blog? As I reread the first post, I notice it was a highly appropriate name.
Two days later, on my birthday, I wrote more about the motivation for the blog:
“Today is my birthday. The blog is really my birthday present to myself. The start of a trend in gift giving?”
Wow, I really did write short posts back then.
What I didn’t write about was how, at the time of the start of my blog, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was way too late to the game and that blogging had completely passed me by. Perhaps I over-reacted . . . .
The other part of the story, which I don’t usually tell, is that starting my blog was never really about “blogging.” You see, I had been reading Dave Winer’s Scripting News for several years and had become enthusiastic about RSS feeds. In fact, I had produced an RSS feed for my website by hand before I did my blog. What I really wanted was an RSS feed, more so than a blog, and the blogging software (like Movable Type) provided the easiest way to generate an RSS feed. The trouble was that few people knew what blogs were in those days, and far fewer knew what RSS feeds were.
Over the years, I got the idea to turn the time of the anniversary of this blog into a bit of fun and a reader-appreciation week that I’ve referred to as either blogiversary or blawgiversary week, where I’ve done a number of different experiments, tried new things, and had some fun in ways that tend to earn me a little criticism from those who think that lawyer blogs should be oh so straight-laced and ever so much “on topic.” The subtitle of this blog is “legal technology, technology law and other musings,” so I like to do the “other musings” from time to time.
So,we begin the fourth birthday/blogiversary today with an important announcement. To honor DennisKennedy.Blog’s fourth blogiversary, I’m very pleased to announce that NASCAR has decided to launch its 2007 season with not one, but two, races tonight. Let’s go racing!
[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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Wikis for Lawyers, Email Vaults, and Legal Tech Trends in the UK

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

A few pointers to some of my new articles and a link to a fascinating response to my recent legal tech trends series from Tim Travers.
First, Tom Mighell and I have an article called “Wikis for the Legal Profession in the new issue of the ABA webzine Law Practice Today. It’s designed to be an introduction to the notion of wikis, with lots of links to great resources and some suggestions on how the legal profession is using and might better use these collaboration tools. As usual, there are plenty of great articles in this issue of Law Practice Today, but let me single out an article called “How to be More User-Friendly” by my friend and fellow St. Louisan Wendy Werner.
Second, I occasionally get asked why I don’t write about new products very often on this blog anymore. Well, it’s because I’m writing about new products in the TechnoLawyer Newswire. The latest issue covers Symantec’s Enterprise Vault (an interesting email archiving tool) and two other products that will interest lawyers. The NewsWire is free to registered subscribers. I encourage you to join up.
Third, I really enjoyed the point-by-point response UK blogger Tim Travers made to my recent legal technology trends for 2007 series, and the subsequent email exchange Tim and I had. I recommend Tim’s post, not because he agrees with much of what I said, but because he brings a new perspective and relates these issues to the UK legal technology world in a way that I cannot. Everything is global as I’m constantly reminded, and it’s great to have this kind of interplay on these issues. Tim is a relatively new blogger, and I encourage you to check out his blog.
[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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