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 June, 2007

FRCP And MetaData – Avoid The Lurking E-Discovery Disaster

Friday, June 29th, 2007

An excerpt of a recent white paper I wrote for e-discovery vendor Workshare has been published as an article in Metropolitan Corporate Counsel magazine and is available online here.
The article, “FRCP And MetaData – Avoid The Lurking E-Discovery Disaster,” takes a look at how document metadata is addressed by the recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure relating to electronic discovery.
The money quote:

The new rules do not set up requirements, regulations or specific guidelines for the handling of metadata and specific metadata issues. However, they clearly leave no place for organizations and their legal teams to hide when it comes to metadata. The rules clearly bring the consideration, discussion and handling of metadata to the surface in every case, and eliminate any argument that metadata is not a part of modern discovery practice.

I suspect that most, if not all, readers of this blog already knew that, but I’m always surprised by how slowly lawyers in general are reacting to this changing reality.
And, yes, I will write white papers on a selective basis for legal technology (and other) vendors.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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Pollard’s Laws of Communication, Collection and Collaboration

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Dave Pollard’s post “Knowledge in the Workplace: Have It Your Way” is one that I expect to be revisiting time after time. He’s captured so much of what I’ve been thinking about collaboration tools and pushed my thinking in some new directions. I can’t recommend this post enough.
Money quote #1:

Recently I devised what I called Pollard’s Law for communication and collaboration tools (“they have to be simple and ubiquitous and meet an urgent need, or they won’t be used”).

Money quote #2:

Humans, at least modern ones, have a predilection for wanting to own, rather than share, such bodily extensions, so they are available precisely when, where and how we choose to use them. In the workplace, too, people want their own stuff — their own phones, offices, PCs etc., even when they may be unnecessary to the effective performance of their jobs. So perhaps it is not surprising that we want the information that we get in the workplace, our way, in our own space, organized in the way it makes sense to us.

Money quote #3:

So, just as the most valuable communication and collaboration tools/media will be those that are simple and ubiquitous, the most valuable content-and-collection tools will be those that transfer and deliver information content the way the user wants it, direct to the user’s ‘home space’. Give it to ‘em their way, and they’ll value it, use it, and make it their own.

You’ll also find a thought-provoking table and chart that are essential for anyone working into the world of social networking apps and collaboration tools.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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By Request: Will You Be Reviewing the iPhone?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

I’ve been surprised by how many people asked me this question (i.e., more than one).
No, I have no plans to review the iPhone. There are three main reasons:
1. I very rarely do reviews any more – not that I’ve ever written many reviews. I’d much prefer to write a white paper for a vendor than to write a product review. The TechnoLawyer Newswire newsletter I write is series of articles about products, not reviews.
2. My own sad struggles with telephones and cell phones (1) often undercut my credibility as someone who might be considered tech-savvy and (2) are a constant source of comic relief to my friends and family.
3. I want only the simplest things from a telephone, like not changing its settings in my pocket, taking pictures of the inside of my pocket, and not making calls without my knowledge (a phenomenon so common that I recently saw that it has earned the slang name of “butt dialing“). I keep my current phone on the vibrate mode and wanted to take it off the vibrate mode and, after about ten tries, I found myself wondering aloud (somewhat loudly) how the damn thing had no trouble turning itself off of vibrate in my pocket, but that I could not get the vibrate setting changed without studious attention to detail and exquisite timing.
Perhaps I digress.
So, I’m not on tap to write an iPhone review and no one has sent me a review unit, although, in an odd sort of way, I might be the perfect iPhone reviewer. I can’t imagine anyone with a more detached, dispassionate approach to the iPhone than I have.
Interestingly, I’ve recently been reading some of the works of Jorge Luis Borges, one of my long-time favorite authors. Some of my favorite of his writings are the wonderful reviews he wrote of books that don’t exist or imaginary works. I love that idea and the genre.
As I was thinking about the iPhone and product reviews, it struck me that it might be fun to write reviews of imaginary technology products. In a way, articles about the latest technologies have a bit of the imaginary to them, and, frankly, the stories about the iPhone I’ve read over the last few months have a Borgesian feel to them. It will be interesting to see what happens when iPhones finally join the real world and people write about what they are and not what they imagine them to be.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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By Request: Will You Be at the ILTA Conference This Year?

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Yes, I will, but not for the whole conference. In fact, I’ll be speaking at two of the sessions.
I really enjoy attending the annual ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) conference. This year’s conference – ILTA ’07 – is the 30th edition of this event. I really enjoy the event’s emphasis on tech (you find only a few lawyers there, and lots of law firm IT people) and the family feel to the event. I learn a ton of things at ILTA.
I’m speaking on panels on using blogs and wikis for KM and on “current awareness” – a fascinating way to describe what RSS, newsreaders and related tools bring us. It’s an honor for me to be part of a stellar group of speakers.
As I mentioned, I’ll only be there for a couple of days and will undoubtedly have a hectic schedule, but I would enjoy getting to visit with as many readers of this blog as possible. Maybe we can also figure out a way to do a little blogger meetup. If you’d like to get together at ILTA, go ahead and email me and we’ll see if we can set something up.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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Talking About GPL and Creative Commons for Bloggers

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Thanks to Charles Stricklin and Aaron Brazell at the WordPress Podcast, I got to join them and answer questions and talk about intellectual property and licensing issues facing bloggers, with a special focus on Open Source licenses, the GPL (GNU General Public LIcense), and the Creative Commons licenses. We also talked a bit about GPL 3.0. I had a great time talking with Aaron and Charles and recommend their podcast, especially for WordPress users and those thinking about moving their blogs to WordPress. It’s episode #26 for the WordPress Podcast and the episode is here.
The idea of the podcast was to give a general overview of these issues and give people a general framework for considering the licensing issues. There are a lot of misconceptions and questions about these licenses. I hope that the podcast contributes to the general discussion and shows people the nuances and difficulties of some of these issues. I might have raised more new questions than I provided answers.
I’ve written about the Open Source licenses before (see my article here) and our discussion on Between Lawyers about whether to apply a Creative Commons license to our blog is still a great, practical lesson about the issues involved with the Creative Commons licenses.
I also noticed today that Dave Winer has started a discussion about the Creative Commons licenses. I recommend following that discussion as well if you are interested in these licenses, especially if you’ve already applied one to your work.
Link to podcast. Thanks again Charles and Aaron.
[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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Seven Step Guide for Knowledge Management Initiatives in Corporate Legal Departments

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Thanks to Jack Vinson, one of my favorite KM gurus, for the pointing out this one.
Keith Ecker has written an excellent article on KM projects called “Knowledge Management: A Step-by-Step Guide to KM Initiatives (pdf)” in the June 2007 issue of Inside Counsel magazine. On the one hand, it’s a solid introduction to KM projects and the seven steps give a useful simple framework for considering the issues. More important, its examples and quotes are chock-full of practical advice and distilled wisdom about the current state of the art in KM and what you can do to enhance the likelihood of success in your KM projects. The article focuses on corporate legal departments, but the lessons can be applied in law firms and other organizations as well.
The seven steps listed in the article:

  1. Create an objective
  2. Sell it
  3. Appoint a leader
  4. Get buy-in
  5. Leverage existing technology
  6. Consider other stakeholders
  7. Maintain it

I had a very enjoyable conversation with Keith about this subject for the article and am quite pleased with the two quotes he used from me that he took from our extensive and wide-ranging conversation. I’m also pleased to see that my quotes made the cut to be included along with quotes from some of the people I most like to read and hear from on KM topics. It’s always been intriguing to me that even though I don’t get many opportunities to write or speak about KM, my KM articles and presentations have always been among by best-received and most popular works.
I definitely recommend the article to anyone involved in any way in a legal KM effort.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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By Request: Can You Suggest an RSS Reader for My Treo?

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

As a reminder, I’m doing some “by requests” posts for the next week or so. It’s a great time to ask me a question. Submit your question by email at denniskennedyblog @
Our first question: Can you suggest an RSS reader for my Treo?
Since I don’t personally use a Treo, I had to do a little research. My impression from doing some searches is that people stopped commenting about stand-alone mobile RSS readers for Treo or Palm OS sometime in 2005.
That said, Andrw Carton’s post on mobile RSS readers for Treo is a good starting point and he liked QuickNews.
However, I wondered why you would want to use a separate application rather than simply use an online RSS reader. So, I asked my Treo expert Tom Mighell for his insights. Tom noted that you really don’t want to use the standard online newsreaders, because it’s not optimized for the mobile interface, which can cause performance, display and other problems.
The solution, then would be to check out the online newsreader pages optimized for moblile reading. You have a number of choices, including the Google Reader and Bloglines.
Tom also mentioned that reading RSS feeds on a smart phone has its limitations because of screen size and probably makes sense when you have a limited number of key feeds that you want to follow. I’d be tempted to create two online reader accounts and use one just for feeds that you want to access over the Treo or other Palm or mobile device.
I welcome comments from those with other answers and insights.
[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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Eversheds Outsources IT Systems: Sign of the Law 2.0 Times?

Monday, June 11th, 2007

In my writings and presentations over the years, I’ve often commented that law firms need to take a good hard look at what business they are really in, what are their core competencies, and whether it makes sense for firms to continue to try to handle all IT operations in house. This is especially true in the case of large electronic discovery efforts. reports that Eversheds has asked itself those questions and decided to outsource its IT systems.
The money quote:

Eversheds UK managing partner Bryan Hughes said: “We’re a law firm, not a specialist IT provider and this, coupled with the fact that we had finite internal resources, meant that we could never be at the cutting edge of legal technology.”

The short article also indicates that we might be seeing the start of a trend, especially in the UK. There’s much to think about in both the above quote and the few paragraphs in this article.
There’s a good roundtable article on outsourcing in Law Practice Today called “Inside vs. Outside: When Does it Make Sense for Law Firms to Outsource?” and Tom Mighell has a good list of legal outsourcing resources here.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about electronic discovery at Dennis Kennedy’s Electronic Discovery Resources page.
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It’s By Request Time Again at DennisKennedy.Blog

Friday, June 8th, 2007

One of the more popular features of my blog is the occasional “by request” times I set aside to post answers to questions submitted by readers. I haven’t done that for a while and thought that this might be a good time to do that again.
So, for the next week, it will be “By Request” time again and I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can from what readers submit to me.
To submit a question, either leave a comment to this post or email me at with your questions. I don’t identify questioners in my posts, and I might modify questions slightly to make the answers more useful to all readers (or to make them easier to answer for me, heh).
It’s a great way for you to follow up on a recent post of mine or to ask me questions that my posts have raised or to ask general questions about some of the topics I cover on this blog or elsewhere.
- Dennis

Birth of the Blawg – A Historical Visit and Thoughts about the Future

Monday, June 4th, 2007

First, let me recommend Bill Gratsch’s fascinating post he subtitles “From There, To Here, To Where?” in which he discusses law-related blogs past, present and future, and suggest that you follow it up with Bob Ambrogi’s “Blawgs: From There to Where?” which nicely acknowledges the role Bill played in helping organize access to blawgs.
I especially liked Bill’s overview of the early days of lawyers blogging and his rumination about the future of blogs, but I was struck by the ways his post paralleled the ideas I’ve been trying to turn into a post for the last few days.
I’ve been traveling a lot the last week, including a quick trip to New York for meetings. I had a very limited amount of unscheduled time and Marty “The Trademark Blog” Schwimmer and I were hoping to have the chance to get together the only evening I was there. Actually, it was more than hoping – we were working really hard to make that happen and Marty wanted me to come to his house and meet his wife and children.
Just before I went to New York, I spoke at the seminar on ethical rules for marketing on the Internet mentioned in the previous posts, and was thinking about lawyer blogging and the earliest legal bloggers. Although most of the discussion of blawgs revolves around their use and success as marketing (and communication) tools, my own view is that the real value of blogging comes from the friendships that evolve directly from blogging. In fact, if you look at Bill Gratsch’s list of the earliest blawgs (and I thank him for stretching the window a bit to include me on the list), it’s astonishing how many of us have become close friends, and how, if not for blogging, we probably would have never met each other.
It’s a funny thing, but whenever I get together with Marty, it feels like I’m getting together with one of my best friends from college, even though we met each other only a few years ago. One thing I’ve always noticed about great friends is that it becomes difficult to imagine a time when you didn’t know them.
So, Marty picked me up at my hotel and we drove out to his home where I met his family and had a wonderful dinner with them. Marty also pointed out the spot in his basement where he wrote most of the posts for The Trademark Blog. OK, I know this is a little silly, but I felt I was visiting a place that should be on the Historical Register. In fact, I was reminded of when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law took me to Palo Alto to visit the site of the garage where Hewlett-Packard began. Blawgs had many birthplaces, but the home of the Trademark Blog is one of the most important.
I’m always intrigued by what bloggers talk about when they get together. Interestingly, only a very small part of the conversation is about blogging. A good chunk of it is about what’s going on with other bloggers and how they are doing. It is quite similar to catching up on old classmates. But most of it is about the things close friends talk about.
But you probably do not read this blog to hear about that. Let me try to point to some of what we did talk about blogging that might be interesting to you. There were two short conversations about blawgs and blogging that Marty and I had that echo some of Bill’s post today.
First was a short discussion about podcasts, sound quality, blogs, and putting the tools of communication into the hands of everyone. As I’ve noticed more frequently in recent months, discussion of these topics tends to bring up at least one reference to Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, and the Clash. (See my comment to Jack Vinson’s post about a punk rock analogy here). Or maybe that’s just because Marty and I talk a lot about music these days. The element of democratization of expression rarely gets enough mention in connection with blawgs, but it’s always been a essential element of the early blawgs. The blawgs Bill mentions in his posts illustrate that well. As Bill says, “Indeed, all of the above people [early legal bloggers] are still actively posting, albeit some, whose careers have taken them in different directions, are not writing very much about the law anymore.”
Truth be told, the early blawggers were great writers and have evolved in the directions our writing has led us, which may or may not be “the law” as a topic and my or may not lead some of us to post about NASCAR or the Sex Pistols (perhaps even in the same post). The simple characterization of lawyer blogs as legal marketing or legal advertising has never really made sense to me – it’s a much broader and richer area than simply that.
The second conversation evolved out of the first. As blawgging has cycled through a couple of generations, it has changed. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m fascinated where legal blogs are moving these days. Lately, blogs have become very focused on niche topics and have practice development as the primary goal. The topics are quite specific and narrow. In fairness, in the early days, it was easier to see your niche as trademark law, patent law, appellate law, or technology law – there just weren’t many other blawgs out there.
Marty and I were speculating how these newer blogs would evolve and whether it would be easier or hard to keep them going because they were so focused. At the same time, we wondered how hard it would be to keep ours going.
This led us to the point that echoes Bill’s post and Bob’s further thoughts in is post. We both noted how we were convinced that we are very close to seeing the beginning of a new generation in blogging and blawgs in particular. We’re not sure what that will look like, but we had a few ideas, but we thought it would start soon. We think it will come from a new group of lawyer bloggers, no matter how much we might like to think that it could come from ourselves. It will be fascinating and I hope inspiring to see happen. And if reading this post inspires someone who is now reading this to start a blawg that brings in the next stage in blawgging, that would be awesome. As in the old days, it probably only takes a willingness to experiment and a nagging feeling that what’s out there now doesn’t quite do what it needs to do and that a new voice is needed.
We ended this conversation with Marty noting that it would be interesting to re-read a conversation we had a few years ago on the Between Lawyers blog about the future of blogging and see how it holds up and what clues might be in there. That seems exactly right, and I invite you to read that conversation and use it as a springboard to where blawgs will be going. I definitely do not think that we had all the answers there, but I do think that those who consider that conversation and react to it from the perspective of today will have some fascinating answers to give and might well give us a glimpse of the next stage.
The next evening, I caught up with Tom Mighell on instant messaging and ask him if he had the same “vibe” about the approach of the next stage in blogging. Indeed, he did. Since Tom is my “go to” person about the world of legal blogging, I got the feeling that this was not another of my wild ideas, but something solid. Then came Bill’s post today. Something may be happening here, even though we don’t yet know what it is.
What do 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).
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