Technology-Lawyer

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 September, 2007

Google’s 9th Birthday: A Look Back at the Early Days

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Lots of mentions today on blogs about Google’s ninth birthday. I thought it might be fun to fire up Copernic Desktop Search and find my first mention of Google and see what I said then.
I found a column I wrote for The Indiana Lawyer in March 1999 called “Internet Toolbox for Legal Research” that discussed ways to use the Internet for legal and other research. Tons of dead links in that article. It’s amazing how much has changed in nt ver many years and how the whole search engine and legal research landscape have changed.
In the article, I had a list of five tips for using search engines. Tip #1 (which is still quite vailid, although I might now change it to “learn to use Google really well”) contains my original reactions to Google and is fascinating for what it says about how Google has changed the search engine landscape. For Internet old-timers, the names of the search engines I mentioned will be a trip down memory lane.

Learn One Search Engine Well. Each search engine has its strengths and weaknesses. You will find the greatest success when you learn to work within these limitations. While the professional craftsperson may have the right tool for each job, he or she also has a general tool that can be used for most every situation. That’s what search engines are – tools that can be used to give you rough results or get a job done quickly. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the perfect tool – it just gets the job done.
For many years, I’ve used Altavista (http://www.altavista.com) as my general purpose search engine. It is fast and up-to-date. Lately, though, its search screen has become so cluttered with ads and extraneous material that I’ve found it difficult to use. I’ve found myself switching to Google (http://www.google.com), a new search engine that is lightning fast and has spartan, uncluttered screens.
Ask others who use the Internet regularly what search engines they use. Among the major search engines that most people use: AltaVista (http://www.altavista.com), Excite (http://www.excite.com), Google (http://www.google.com), HotBot (http://www.hotbot.com), NorthernLight (http://www.northernlight.com) and Snap (http://www.snap.com). Google and NorthernLight have recently become popular among Internet experts I know.

I’ve always thought that John Batelle did a great job of capturing why Google was such a breath of fresh air in 1998 – 1999 and why so many people moved to it early on in his book, The Search.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting in my Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but always interesting material.
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Recruiting, Paying and Retaining Lawyers: Quite a Discussion Going

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Wow! There’s been a lot of conversation over the last few days on lawyer salaries, the legal job market, recruiting and retention issues. As much as I’d like to believe that my post “The Brand is the Talent” last week set off this discussion, in fact it was Amir Efrati’s The Dark Side of the Legal Job Market in the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog that kicked off the lively conversation. Bill Gratsch does a nice job of summarizing and linking to the some of the posts on this topic.
I also liked Rob Millard’s America’s Two Legal Professions, Gerry Riskin’s Sharp Pin Approaching Associate Starting Salary Balloon, and Michelle Golden’s Law Students Building a Better Profession (a great example from the LSBABP blog Michelle discusses is called High Billables & Attrition Take Their Toll on Summer Recruiting). It’s worth tracking down and reading the posts on this topic.
The posts also brought me back to Ron Baker’s Two Cheers for Gary Boomer post last weekend, which really got me thinking, in part because Ron touched on the role that technology and hourly billing play in professional services recruiting and retention.
My own view? I have a number of thoughts percolating and some of them will definitely appear in the quickly approaching webinar that I’m doing about the role technology can play in law firm recruiting and lawyer retention on Thursday, September 27.
As I’ve said, the role that the use of technology can play in recruiting seems to get all the attention, but the role technology can play in retention is the more important piece of the puzzle, not just starting salaries. There’s still time to register and some spots available for the webinar. If you are interested in these topics, I hope you’ll attend the webinar, but I also hope that you’ll read the posts I’ve mentioned and think about their implications.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Upcoming webinar: On September 27 at 12:00 Central, Aspen Knowledge will present Frank Gillman and Dennis Kennedy on “Winning the Battle for Legal Talent with Technology.” Information and registration information here. Please mention that you heard about the webinar on DennisKennedy.Blog.
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Legal Talk Radio on Demand: Podcasting for Lawyers

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

The latest issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine has a great article called “Legal Talk Radio on Demand: Podcasting for Lawyers.” It’s a roundtable article about lawyers using the podcasting medium and includes a stellar cast of podcasters – Bob Ambrogi, Evan Brown, Jim Calloway, Denise Howell, Tom Mighell, and Sharon Nelson, with me thrown in as organizer and, since I was unable to resist joining in, as a contributor too.
If you have any interest at all in podcasting, you will find valuable, practical information and tips from lawyers who have been podcasting for a long time and have some of the best-known legal podcasts.
The money quote (one of many possible candidates) is from Bob Ambrogi, host of one of the longest-running, best-known and most-listened-to lawyer podcasts:

Podcasting is a powerful marketing tool, particularly if your practice relates to technology or media. Podcasting distinguishes you as someone who is innovative and on the cutting edge. It allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise and to provide a more personal view of yourself than potential clients could glean from a simple Web site. You will reach audiences you never imagined — we’ve mapped the IP addresses of our listeners and found that they come from virtually every country in the world, even China and Russia. All this, and the cost of entry is minimal.

The article includes links to the author’s podcasts, links to other podcasts and podcast resources, and podcast recommendations from the authors.
I’m proud of this article, very pleased at how it turned out, and invite you to put it on your reading list. And, yes, we all appreciate the irony of an article by podcasters about podcasting that is not available as a podcast. This article is a good example of how you can use the Google Docs online word processing tool to create collaborative articles, something that the Law Practice Today webzine has pioneered and used frequently with great results.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Get your legal technology information by audio. Check out The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast.
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The Brand is the Talent

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Gautam Ghosh’s post, “The Brand is the Talent,” (also seems to work if you say the talent is the brand) makes some great points and directs you to a short, pithy video of Tom Peters speaking (on a slide that says “Brand = Talent”) and a blog post from Peters called “Competing To Achieve Excellence: You Are Your Only Competitor!“.
Ghosh singles out a passage in Peters’ post in which Peters says in part:

it’s not an externally directed “war to snatch talent from the other guy” by “being more aggressive than the competition”—but an internally directed competition against ourselves (and our outrageously strong beliefs about people) in which we aim to create an unimaginably attractive workplace.

I also like Peters’ comment that:

I contend that the bedrock of finding and keeping and co-creating with great folks is not about clever tools to induce prospective “thems” to “shop [live] with us,” but a 99% internal effort to create such an exciting, spirited, entrepreneurial, diverse, humane “professional home” that people will be lining up by the gazillions (physically or electronically) to try and get a chance to come and live in our house and become what they’d never imagined they could become!

Peters also links to a set of his slides on the topic.
However, the money quote for my post comes from Ghosh’s post:

Think about great retention. And great recruiting will happen.

I had an interesting conversation with a law student who asked for a bit of my time to get a little advice about the job market and the profession this weekend. It made me think about recruiting and how many firms seem to focus on recruiting in ways that are difficult to fathom. The approaches make little sense and the turnover among those recruited is immense. Years ago, when I was on the steering committee for the St. Louis Minority Clerkship Program, I was struck by how the role of retention was far more significant that the role of recruiting in making positive steps in improving diversity in law firms. Unfortunately, the lack of emphasis on retention resulted in poorer results over the long term than the improvements in minority recruiting promised.
All of this fits in with the thinking and preparation I’m doing for the upcoming webinar that I’m doing about the role technology can play in law firm recruiting and lawyer retention. The role that the use of technology can play in recruiting seems to get all the attention, but the role technology can play in retention is the more important piece of the puzzle and the part that I want to emphasize in the webinar. If you are interested in these topics, I hope you’ll attend the webinar, but I also hope that you’ll read the posts I’ve mentioned and think about their implications.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Upcoming webinar: On September 27 at 12:00 Central, Aspen Knowledge will present Frank Gillman and Dennis Kennedy on “Winning the Battle for Legal Talent with Technology.” Information and registration information here. Please mention that you heard about the webinar on DennisKennedy.Blog.
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Matt Homann Interview in Law Practice Magazine

Monday, September 17th, 2007

There’s a great interview with Matt Homann in the current issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine. Matt talks about many things: innovation, big thinking, his views on the practice of law, LexThink and his recent move to Xplane, the visual thinking company. The article also includes two sets of helpful tips from Matt for lawyers and their clients.
The money quote:

What’s driving innovation in law firms now?
MH: That’s a particularly difficult question to answer because the forces driving innovation in firms (if innovation is happening at all) are varied. In large firms, big clients have wised up and begun to demand businesslike efficiency, accountability and technology from their counsel of record. Midsize firms have recognized that innovation allows them to compete for previously unattainable clients and work.
For their part, small firms have always innovated out of necessity—and that’s never been more true than today. The lack of institutional friction inside a nimble small firm gives that firm a tremendous advantage in trying new things. What’s driving much of the innovation in small firms now, however, is that a much more educated and Internet-savvy clientele is not only expecting better service, better technology and better pricing, but is also not afraid to find a lawyer who will deliver it.

If you are in St. Louis this evening, I see that there are (as of now) a few openings left for Matt’s latest Idea Market event tonight. Check it out if you have the chance.
In any event, read the interview with Matt. But read it quickly, because, despite my suggestions to change this policy over the past few years, this article will disappear behind the magazine’s members’ only firewall and not be available over the Internet in a few weeks. That might be a good reminder to join the Law Practice Management Section and get the print version of the magazine (with a nice picture of Matt), but I’ve always preferred the open, always available on the Internet approach. We might see a change in that policy soon, but it hasn’t happened yet. Lots of other great articles in this issue too.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Upcoming webinar: On September 27 at 12:00 Central, Aspen Knowledge will present Frank Gillman and Dennis Kennedy on “Winning the Battle for Legal Talent with Technology.” Information and registration information here. Please mention that you heard about the webinar on DennisKennedy.Blog.
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09/11/2007

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

As I mentioned last year, I’ve been working on-site for a client and my highway exit (O’Fallon, Missouri) has a small 9/11 memorial with metal building structures from the World Trade Centers. It’s called “Spirit of Freedom 9-11″ and, to quote from the link above, “Thirteen tons of twisted steel from the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center in New York dominate this compelling monument in the median at Winghaven Boulevard and Highway 40-61.”
I drove by this morning, noting that the flags were at half-mast in the wind, and also noticing that the sky was very blue. It’s the cloudless blue sky that I’ll always associate with 9/11. And it made me a little uneasy as I noticed, as I walked from my car, that from my vantage point there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The helicopter that flew over about that time didn’t help either. I was reminded of the 2003 post I wrote on 9/11.
This evening, I stopped for the traffic light and looked out my window and was face to face with the metal structural elements and the engraved stone monument at the exit.
There are many pieces of public sculpture these days that include rusting metal as a component. I can appreciate them intellectually, but they don’t really do much for me. This rusting metal, so inexplicably place at a highway exit in Missouri, has great immediacy and power.
Many posts about 9/11 passed through my newsreader today. I’ll single out this one from Marty Schwimmer, a revisit to his earlier classic post, in part because we talked about it and the fighter jet he mentioned when I visited him and his family this summer, and in part because I thought about Marty, that post and that conversation this morning.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on my new linkblog or subscribe to its RSS feed.
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Collaboration Tools, AmLaw Tech Survey 2007, and Expect a Reduced Number of Posts for a Little While

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Tom Mighell and I have been working on our upcoming book, tentatively titled “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools.”
I mentioned to him after the ILTA conference that I thought our timing for the publication of the book (Spring 2008) was bout right because collaboration was certainly a point of emphasis at ILTA. In fact, the current issue of ILTA’s Peer to Peer magazine focused on collaboration technologies.
This morning, I saw that the new 2007 AmLaw Tech Survey had been released and in the feature article summarizing the survey, “Digital Dialogue Revs Up at Top Firms,” the word “collaboration” is used 19 times, by my count. I highly recommend the article, and the companion pieces. It’s always useful to take a close look at the AmLaw Tech Survey to spot trends in legal technology.
I’ve always noticed that bloggers who write books always seem to reach a point where they say that there will be light posting while they try to get the book finished. I wondered if I’d ever reach that point and, yes, here I am. I’m going to be concentrating my writing time on finishing the draft of the book for the next four to six weeks, so expect light posting here.
I’ve decided that the easiest way for me to write blog posts quickly and easily during this stretch is to shift over to the “By Request” mode and answer your questions. If you’ve had any questions (ideally ones that lend themselves to short answers) that you’ve wondered if I might answer, now’s the time to ask them. I’d like to build up a stock of them and dip into them from time to time over the next several weeks.
You can leave your questions as a comment to this post, email them to me at denniskennedyblog @ gmail . com, leave them on the “wall” on my Facebook profile page, or leave them at the discussion board topic I’ll be creating at the Between Lawyers group on Facebook.
I also wanted to recommend Ron Friedmann’s recent post, “The Future of Law Practice Management.”
To get a glimpse of blog posts that interest me and topics that might show up later, you can check out my Google Reader Shared Items linkblog and feed (warning: high volume, although I’ll probably cut back on that as well).
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Upcoming webinar: On September 27 at 12:00 Central, Aspen Knowledge will present Frank Gillman and Dennis Kennedy on “Winning the Battle for Legal Talent with Technology.” Information and registration information here. Please mention that you heard about the webinar on DennisKennedy.Blog.
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Winning the Battle for Legal Talent with Technology

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

A while back, I had a great conversation with Frank Gillman, Chief Technology Officer of Allen Matkins LLP, about the different ways that lawyers could use technology to attract and retain lawyers and other professionals. Our conclusion was that there were many underused and untapped opportunities – some quite simple and inexpensive – to use technology in these areas.
Fast forward a few months (and after starting associate salaries took another big bump up into the $150,000+ range at leading US law firms). Andrew Sandler at Aspen Knowledge called me about kicking off the Strategic Speakers Series that he was planning. He wanted to produce a series of video webinars that addressed legal technology with a strong business focus. His goal was to give law firm decision-makers information on ways to think strategically about technology in law firms and to place technology squarely within the business needs of a law firm.
That’s the approach I like best, and I also really enjoyed working with Andrew on a video webinar about best practices for technology committees last year.
I immediately suggested to Andrew that he try to get Frank to do a webinar with me on the topic of using technology for recruiting and retention so that we could extend our earlier discussion and share it with others.
I’m pleased to announce that on September 27 at 12:00 Central, Aspen Knowledge will present Frank Gillman and Dennis Kennedy on “Winning the Battle for Legal Talent with Technology.”
Here’s the program description:

The fight to retain and attract top legal talent is one of the most talked about topics in the legal industry and for good reason. The two most significant continual investments a firm makes are in legal recruiting and in technology. What many firms don’t realize is that technology itself can be a deciding factor in the recruiting wars. Our speakers will show your firm how to effectively connect these two factors to give you a competitive edge in this critical war.

You can get more information at Aspen Knowledge’s Knowledge Center and register here. Please mention that you heard about the webinar on my blog when you register.
Also, if you have topics you’d like Frank and I to address, specific questions, or, best of all, examples of ways your firm is using technology to recruit and retain law students, lawyers, and other professionals, please leave comment to this post or email me at denniskennedyblog @ gmail . com. I know that I’ll be mentioning some of the efforts Meredith Williams spoke about in our recent presentation at ILTA that Baker Donelson is using – if I worked at that firm and had regular access to those tools, it would be difficult for me to leave to a firm that did not offer the same tools.
This webinar will be especially valuable to hiring partners, members of technology committees, department chairs, managing partners, and executive directors of law firms in addition to lawyers and IT directors. It will also be a great way to check out the way that video can be used to present educational and other materials using Aspen Conferencing’s videoconferencing services.
Register for webinar.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Get your legal technology information by audio. Check out The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast.
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