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 March, 2007

The Vital Role of Depositions in Electronic Discovery

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Check out the new Thinking E-Discovery column, “Incorporating EDD into Your Depositions – the 5Ws of EDD Depositions” from Evan Schaeffer, Tom Mighell and me, on the great site (a sponsor of this blog).
It’s partly a little celebration of the publication of Evan’s book, Deposition Strategies & Checklists, but it’s primarily a unique, simple and practical exploration of the idea of how to use non-electronic techniques – deposition questions – to be successful in electronic discovery. I mainly ask the questions and Tom and Evan offer up a ton of useful advice and tips. Good stuff.
The more that you can treat EDD as evolution rather the revolution, the better off you will be. For now.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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Robust Decision-making

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

A fun aspect of blogging for me is that occasionally authors send me copies of their books because they like a post of mine on the topic of their book. Recently, I’ve enjoyed reading and recommend Ross Dawson’s Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships (Second Edition) and Rajesh Setty’s Beyond Code which the authors sent to me.
The book that I want highlight and recommend to you is David Ullman’s Making Robust Decisions. I’ve done some research into decision-making over the years. I’ve even had some general discussions about the potential for decision-making software in the legal context.
Making Robust Decisions takes a deep dive into decision-making, especially for teams, and is one of those rare books that I immediately put on my “to re-read” list.
1. As thorough an analysis of the science of decision-making as I’ve seen in a popular text. There’s even mathematics. Fascinating stuff.
2. Thoughtful discussion of the human dynamics at play in group decision-making.
3. Excellent description and analysis of a variety of tools and techniques, with templates and practical illustrations.
4. Most important, a focus on how to turn process into ACTION. Very worthwhile. I seem to be making a lot of tough decisions lately and this book has been very valuable. This emphasis on action will change the way you look at decision-making.
There’s also a lot of coverage of topics that have captured my attention over the past few years, including John Boyd’s OODA Loop and a good critique of the over-worked notion of consensus decision-making, quoting Margaret Thatcher, “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.”
Ullman’s combination of “robustness” in decision-making and practical action is a powerful approach.
Highly recommended and a big public thank you to David Ullman for sending me a copy and realizing that it would fit so well with my thinking and perspective.
Making Robust Decisions
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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No Malpractice Insurance for Law Firm Blogs?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

As I often say, if telephones were introduced today, there’s no way that the use of telephones by lawyers would be approved under today’s ethical and regulatory environment for lawyers. Just think of all the horrible things that can happen when lawyers use telephones.
Like faxes, emails, and websites before them, the “new technology” of blogging has seemed to flummox bar regulators who are unfamiliar with what blogs actually are.
The (over)reaction to blogs continues to surprise me. Let me say this as simply as I can. Blogs are simply one kind of website. The rules on lawyers’ use of websites have actually reasonably clear and well-settled since about 1997. At least until the publicity blogs have received in the last two years. Since then, as I have said before, it has really become impossible to determine how blogs will be treated or to predict how regulators will deal with blogs, as the recent New York rules illustrate.
That said, there’s been a modest movement toward more reasonable thinking about blog regulation since the New York regulators listened to comments to their proposed rules and made a few changes, even though there’s no consensus how even those changes apply to blogs.
Last night, I saw Carolyn Elefant’s post about a New Jersey law firm dropped its plans to start a blog because its malpractice carrier, the Chubb Corp., indicated that it might not insure the blogging activity.
I must admit that this came as a surprise to me. I almost posted about the story last night.
This morning, I got a call from Heather Havenstein, from ComputerWorld, asking me for some comments on the story. Her story, “Insurance company refuses to cover law firm’s blog,” has appeared already on the online edition of MacWorld.
The quote she used from captures the heart of my perspective on this story:

However, [Kennedy] said these types of attempts to impose new types of restrictions on blogs likely occur ‘when people aren’t that familiar with the technology and think it is somehow completely new and different. Really blogs are just a form of Web pages. What you’re doing is not different than if you are speaking in public or writing an op-ed piece.’

Or using a website as lawyers have done for at least the last 12 years. Or talking to someone on a telephone.
While I am convinced that blogs can be a vehicle to greatly enhance communications with clients and the public, I am not convinced that, at root, blogs present any new issues that require different treatment under ethical and regulatory rules than any other prior communication technology.
I also suspect that a 5 or 10 minute conversation with a malpractice insurance carrier would alleviate any reticence or concern about covering blogs. It might, however, raise some concerns about whether malpractice carriers want to cover the use of telephones by lawyers. Heh.
My rule of thumb on these issues is to simply substitute the word “telephone” for “blog” and then see if there is any new issue raised by blogs that aren’t raised by telephones. I haven’t found any yet – in twelve years off thinking about these issues since I first started my website.
Kevin O’Keefe also has his usual great perspective and analysis on this issue here. Careful readers might guess that Kevin and I have had conversations about this issue over the years where we’ve both used the telephone analogy.
[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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Impromptu Consultation and the Post-Email Era

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Dave Pollard’s post called “Re-learning the Art of Impromptu Consultation” struck me as being an important one as we move into the post-email world and consider how collaboration tools should work.
How do we duplicate the best aspects of face-to-face communication (and here Pollard’s emphasis on consultation seems especially important) when we increasingly work, collaborate and communicate electronically?
There’s much to chew on in Pollard’s post. The money quote:

What we could do is to add to IM an ability to:
a. virtually ‘knock’, just-in-time, with an indication of how many minutes of the consultee’s time we need,
b. simply conference others into the conversation, and
c. simply add voice, video and desktop-sharing capability to the IM conversation.
Then IM, instead of having to carry the conversation, would be used mostly to set up the conversation, in a way analogous to the ‘knock on the door’ that is used to set up a face-to-face just-in-time conversation (“do you have 5 minutes to resolve a problem we’re having with…?”). Once the IM ‘knock’ was accepted, the participants would then ‘one-click’ into a VoIP conversation with video and desktop-sharing ‘attached’ to the resizeable IM pop-up window. . . . The advantages over e-mail are increased effectiveness (because the conversation is real-time interactive and spoken, not written and asynchronous), and improved context (because of the addition of aural, visual and body-language ‘clues’).

His conclusion is something that we all should spend some time thinking about:

Ubiquitous e-mail and Internet access in organizations have created more problems than they’ve solved, and it’s time to rein them in to situations where their use is appropriate and effective. To do so, we’ll have to relearn some old tricks, like how to consult, converse, communicate and research, professionally. It can’t happen soon enough.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

I decided to take a break from ABA TECHSHOW this year. However, it starts Thursday and, as I knew I would, I’m having pangs of regret. On the other hand, I’ve got so many things going on here that I know I made the best decision.
TECHSHOW has long been the best lawyer-focused, education-oriented legal technology show of the year – at least in my opinionated opinion, and given my bias of having spent a couple of years on the TECHSHOW Board.
This year, my good friend and honorary cousin, Dan Pinnington, is chairing the show and I’ll miss being with him to see how much he enjoys having his vision of TECHSHOW come to life. I know the people on this year’s board well, and know that they’ll put on a stellar show. I really like to see how they enjoy pulling the whole show together and the big smiles on their faces during and after the show.
There’s still some time to make plans to attend the show, and, if you are in Chicago, there’s no excuse for not snagging a free exhibit hall pass and spending a few hours or a day hanging around the exhibit hall and learning about what’s happening in legal technology. There are also a number of dinners and informal events where you can get the chance to meet and chat with some of the notables in legal technology and a big, friendly group of lawyers interested in technology.
My best TECHSHOW tip: grab a chair in the lobby of the Sheraton and join in the spontaneous conversations that arise. Some of my favorite times at TECHSHOW have been sitting in the lobby until the wee hours talking with Jerry Lawson, Alan Pearlman, Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson, Dan Pinnington, Jim Calloway, Jeff Beard, Adriana Linares, the Rethink IP guys, and many, many others, but especially my longtime pals from CaseSoft, Bob Wiss and Greg Krehel – I’ll definitely miss our annual get-togethers this year. By the way, it was largely my experience in these conversations in the Sheraton lobby that shaped my understanding of “unconferences” and led to LexThink.
I looked over the program schedule and, as usual, there are great sessions and speakers. Especially if you are in Chicago, it’s worth taking advantage of this opportunity. You won’t find a more open, generous and helpful group of people.
Yes, I’ll definitely enjoy the break from speaking at TECHSHOW this year (it’s nice not to be preparing two new presentations at this time of year), but I’ll definitely miss the camaraderie and fun. No doubt.
I’ve been brainstorming with Tom Mighell tonight to see if there’s a way to use Twitter to let me hang out with the people at TECHSHOW vicariously. It’ll be interesting to see what will happen on that.
Which reminds me. . . I had a great time at Matt Homann’s latest idea market last night. I met some great new people and got to catch up with a few friends. And I got the chance to talk about blogging, including a conversation with two other St. Louis bloggers who have been blogging for more than four years. We shared notes, and quite similar observations, about the clear “generations” of bloggers. I might revisit that topic in a future post.
Matt previewed some of his TECHSHOW presentation on Web 2.0, and, if you are at TECHSHOW, I can tell you that that presentation will be very, very good. When you see Matt, be sure to ask him about the next LexThink event.
[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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Collaboration Tools for Lawyers: The Book

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell are pleased to announce that they will be writing a book on collaboration tools that will be published in early 2008 by the American Bar Association. The book is tentatively titled: “Collaboration Tools for Lawyers: Essential Ways to Work Together with Colleagues, Clients and Even Opposing Counsel.”
Nearly every lawyer finds that colleagues, co-counsel, clients and even opposing counsel use the Internet and technology to collaborate and work together on documents, projects and cases. In the simplest scenario, lawyers and clients use the “track changes” feature in Microsoft Word to work together on a document. Technology today lets lawyers take collaboration to the next level. Many legal technology tools now include collaborative elements.
At the same time, lawyers increasingly use the Internet in many ways to work together. From document sharing to videoconferencing, there are more tools than most lawyers can imagine for working together, online.
Two key trends are at play here. First, for years lawyers have understood the clear benefits of collaboration and working together as a routine matter. Second, the availability of simple, inexpensive (even free) collaboration technology has created an environment where working together makes sense to nearly every lawyer in nearly every firm. The push forward on both trends is likely to continue.
Two other important factors also come into play. First, business clients are routinely using technology to collaborate and will expect their lawyers to follow. Therefore, collaboration tools illustrate a classic example of a client-driven technology. Second, events in the world from increased travel costs to possible pandemics make it even more likely that these tools will be adopted by necessity.
To the extent lawyers have experimented with these tools, they may have the nagging feeling that they are simply touching the tip of the iceberg of what might be available to them and how they might use these tools to their benefit. We believe that they are right to feel that way, because it is undoubtedly true.
The book will provide intensely practical advice for lawyers and law firms wanting to take better advantage of these tools and the benefits they bring. It will take a look at how to use these tools wells, focus on both categories of tools and specific individual tools, and provide concrete action steps and techniques so that even the least tech-savvy lawyer can catch up with the early adopters and successful innovators.
Collaboration Tools for Lawyers: Essential New Ways to Work Together with Colleagues, Clients and Even Opposing Counsel, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell (expected publication date: early 2008)
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Idea Market: Meet Me in St. Louis to Talk About Blogging

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

I don’t get to speak about blogging nearly as much as I’d like to these days, but Matt Homann has given me the chance to lead a discussion about blogging at his Idea Market event on Monday evening, March 19. Matt wants you to reserve a spot (it’s free) by joining this site. The Idea Market starts at 6:00 pm at the Lucas School House in the Soulard area of St. Louis. Keep an eye on Matt’s blog for more details.
I understand that some of the other longtime St. Louis bloggers (like Randy Holloway) will also be there, so we might turn this into a St. Louis blogger meet-up.After all, St. Louis is Blawg City USA.
If you are a St. Louis blogger, a blogger who can get to St. Louis, or a blogger-to-be (i.e., some who is not already blogging), then it’d be great to meet you on Monday night and participate in what I’m sure will be an informative and knowledge-sharing conversation about many aspects of blogging. If you want to send me questions or topics that you want me to cover, that’d be cool.
And, as usual, there will be other fun stuff happening at the Idea Market too. Record “24″ and get out the house on a Monday evening for a change.
See you there.
[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 – LexThink Litigation 2.0.
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The Electronic Discovery Continuum – Accelerating Complexity

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

I’ve been thinking about electronic discovery lately, in large part because we’ve been working on the LexThink “Litigation 2.0″ event. Expect more details soon and please contact me or Matt Homann and we’ll get you on the mailing list.
I’ve also just finished a new “Thinking E-Discovery” column with Evan Schaeffer and Tom Mighell that will appear on the excellent website (I’m so pleased that is a sponsor of this blog, because I am a big fan of the site and appreciate the high quality of information collected there). The column will interest many lawyers – I haven’t yet seen an article that covers the topic we’ve chosen. That’s called a teaser. That word might also apply to the previous paragraph.
But here are two things that caught my attention today that illustrate two points I make in my EDD presentations.
1. The concepts are easy, but the details can get complicated very quickly. Yes, we all know that digital information today can be stored in a variety of places, and that you need to extend your net to capture that information. However, it will often surprise people to find where that data is stored, often right under our noses, and how something once invisible becomes so obviously an issue once someone points it out to us.
Today’s example is copiers and the tip comes from David Ma’s techblawg in a post called “from the ‘another security headache’ department” that highlights a Wired article on the storage capabilities of copiers.
The basic point: many digital copiers contain hard drives. That shouldn’t be a surprise, but who really gives it much thought. Ma and Wired point out the security (and privacy) issues, but it’s apparent that copiers should be added to the list of data sources to be considered and explored in electronic discovery.
2. There are so many tools and vendors in EDD that even if you make it your business to keep up with the industry, it is extremely difficult and I wonder how EDD newbies even know where to start.
Today’s example comes from my favorite EDD blog, Rob Robinson’s Information Governance Engagement Area, in a post called “13 Tools for eDiscovery.”
Here’s a simple test to help you see where you fall on the EDD continuum. Read the list of 13 tools. See if you can determine the differences between each of the tools and when you might use one rather than another. Consider how you would determine what other tools compete with each of these and how you might evaluate how to choose one tool over another. Now decide if the phrase in my title, accelerating complexity, is apt. My guess is that it is.
It’s the practical implications of issues and questions such as these that I’d like to delve into at LexThink Litigation 2.0 with others who really want to understand where we are going and how best to get there. Let us know if you are interested in joining us and tell us about the topics that you are losing sleep over so we can be sure that they are on the agenda and the people you’d most like to hear speak about these topics
And on a related note, as a final thought for this post, check out JP Rangaswami of the Confused of Calcutta blog’s “more musings on the opensourcing of process” – the most thought-provoking post I’ve seen lately, with very interesting implications for the legal, litigation,and e-discovery processes.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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Keeping Track of Track Changes

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Redlining and use of Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature have become necessary tools in a lawyer’s technology toolbox today. Yet, all of us could use a little more knowledge and improvement in our skills in handling these tools.
In the latest “Strongest Links” column that Tom Mighell and I write for the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine, “Staying on Track with Track Changes,” we pull together a great list of useful places on the Internet where you can learn more about these essential tools. I can assure that, given the amount of time it took us to find these resources, this article will save you time and give you a running start on learning about “track changes” and redlining.
The money quote:

Track Changes has its own unique set of frustrations, but its usage is now so common that lawyers, especially those with transactional practices, should be familiar with using the feature as part of their everyday document creation routine. . . . We can’t promise that this article will eliminate all of your frustrations and difficulties with Track Changes, but it should definitely make your life with the feature a little bit easier.

As always, there are many other great articles in this month’s issue of Law Practice Today.
Keep your eyes open for the next few days for an announcement about a major new writing project that Tom and I will be announcing. Comments are open for your best guesses.
[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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Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Trends 2007 – the Download

Monday, March 12th, 2007

I posted the long version of my 2007 legal technology trends article as a series of blog posts. I’ve also cleaned it up a bit and turned it into a PDF file that you can download for free here. Enjoy. As I’ve mentioned before, a presentation based on this topic will be one of the seminars I’m available to deliver this year.
My friend Neil Squillante recently posted some thought-provoking comments on the TechnoLawyer Blog about the state of legal tech in 2007. While my trends article is largely my answer, I liked this comment Neil made:

[S]ometimes it seems like the same legal technology predictions make an appearance every year, but nothing really changes. In fact, you could probably whip out a predictions article from 2004, change the date to 2007, and republish it. Ha!

That reminded me that I did something similar in 2005, when I pulled out my predictions article for 2000 without updating and invited people to compare to see how much and how little had changed, in both the industry and my own perspective. It’s be instructive to read the 2000 article alongside the 2007 article and see if Neil’s riposte is on target. It’ll be fun, in any event.
As always, I invite your comments and questions about the 2007 article. I’d like it to be a discussion-starter.
Download PDF version of article.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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