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, 2008

Kevin Kelly on Better Than Free

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Kevin Kelly’s post, “Better Than Free,” has given me much to think about, and I suspect it will do the same for you.
The money quote:

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.
Well, what can’t be copied?

Kevin starts with “trust,” a (or perhaps the) key element of any professional services practice.
He then lists 8 “generatives” that are better than free:

1. Immediacy. (E.g., instant, targeted alerts)
2. Personalization.
3. Interpretation (or “how to” or support)
4. Authenticity.
5. Accessibility.
6. Embodiment (putting into the format you want).
7. Patronage.
8. Findability.

The second money quote:

These eight qualities require a new skill set. Success in the free-copy world is not derived from the skills of distribution since the Great Copy Machine in the Sky takes care of that. Nor are legal skills surrounding Intellectual Property and Copyright very useful anymore. Nor are the skills of hoarding and scarcity. Rather, these new eight generatives demand an understanding of how abundance breeds a sharing mindset, how generosity is a business model, how vital it has become to cultivate and nurture qualities that can’t be replicated with a click of the mouse.
In short, the money in this networked economy does not follow the path of the copies. Rather it follows the path of attention, and attention has its own circuits.

Wow! To me, these are important, clarifying, and challenging (in the best sense) words. It also echoes the business models that have grown up around the Open Source licenses.
And, as Kevin notes, none of it involves selling ads.
I encourage you to read (and re-read) this post.
What do you think? I’d enjoy discussing this topic.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Coming in March from ABA Publishing – The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together
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Ross Kodner on the Difference between IT and Legal Tech; Laura Orr on Blogging

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Two posts of note today for those interested in legal tech and blogging, which I guess would be most readers of this blog.
First, Ross Kodner has a great post on the differences between legal technology and information technology (IT). It’s a great discussion-starter and should make you think. Highly recommended.
The money quote:

A mistake I’ve observed SO many firms of ALL sizes across the continent is confusing IT and LT – not making, or not knowing there is a fundamental distinction between these two areas of information.

My short take is that legal technology focuses on lawyers, how they work, and technology that helps lawyers do their work better.
Second, Laura Orr has a great post chock full of great tips on blogging for lawyers. It was nice to see the reference to me, even though it reminded me that I really don’t write or speak as much on blogging as I used to.
Among Laura’s excellent tips, is one I want to highlight that’s both simple and often overlooked:

Open an email account for your blog.

My best advice to starting bloggers is to find one or two of the blogging “rules” that you can break when you do your blog. Personal voice, more so than strict obedience of blogging best practices, is the key to a great blog (and a great blogging experience. That said, you won’t find many better digests of the best blogging practices than Laura’s post.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Coming in March from ABA Publishing – The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.
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Dennis Kennedy’s Links of the Week- January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

I’ve wanted to do regular feature on this blog where I simply list some of the most interesting links I’ve found during the previous week – sort of a “best of” from my Google Reader Shared Items.
So, I’m kicking it off today. the idea is that I’ll pick out a set of links that I might have wanted to write about or that I found especially thought-provoking or useful. I might or might not agree with the posts or items I link to, but I found them to be something I wanted to share.
In general, I’m just going to give a link to the item, without any explanation. I’ll try to do this every weekend, and I’ll include the latest additions to my 52 books in 52 weeks project.
And away we go.
How Buildings Learn
Sample Chapter of If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration, by Chet Richards
Kahn and Mann’s Ten Common Pitfalls
Overnight Sensation
Countering the Enemy’s Expectations
A President Like My Father

It’s all in the frame: how to promote your services without breaking rapport – a writing challenge for business bloggers

Getting Past Done: What to Do After You’ve Finished a Big Project
Legal Secretaries 2.0
Twenty Snacks That Help Productivity
The Coming of the Cloud, Networked Knowledge Work and New Business Logic
This Week’s Additions to 52 Books in 52 Weeks:
The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets…And How We Could Have Stopped Him , by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain

Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but lots of interesting items that will get you thinking.
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The Internet Roundtable Revisited: The Blog Columns

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

I recently mentioned the Internet Roundtable columns Jerry Lawson, Brenda Howard and I wrote on Internet marketing for lawyers several years ago and how they are some of my favorite articles.
Sabrina Pacifici emailed me that she has placed all of the columns in one location on Even better, she relinked and added columns 36 and 37, a two-part series on blogging.
I remember that Jerry Lawson decided that it was time (July 2003) to cover blogs as part of Internet marketing in the columns. We had been talking privately about blogs and how they were changing all the rules and conventions of law firm websites.
I started the first column with: “When I notice that both Jerry Lawson and I have commented publicly that the energy and excitement around blogging remind us of 1995 and the early days of creating web pages, it’s clear that blogging is a topic that deserves some attention . . . .”
We brought in two of our favorite bloggers as guests – Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson and Tom “Inter Alia” Mighell – and the columns are especially interesting to show their early reflections on blogging.
I’ve always felt that Ernie captured a core element of blogging with this comment:

I was always interested with the idea of having a website, but I would never have taken the time to set one up. But some easy-to-use weblog software with a free 30-day trial is all it took to draw me into the Internet fray. That, and an obsession to have my voice broadcast to the widest possible audience.

I thoroughly recommend the columns to anyone interested in blogs and blogging, and the early history of lawyers using blogging. Look for the discussion of the term “blawg.”
Column 37 (part 2) marked the end of the Internet Roundtable columns, which was appropriate in a sense because blogs so radically changed the world of traditional law firm websites.
Jerry Lawson’s final comment on that last article was both wise and prescient:

Blogs have enormous potential, but it’s important to keep the phenomenon in perspective. I think we’re going to see another instance of the “80/20 Rule.” It will probably shake out something like this: About 80% of all lawyer web logs will fail. The remaining 20% will have greater or lesser degrees of success, mostly modest. One per cent or so, maybe less, will be extremely successful. However, some of that 1% will be so successful that they will make their owners very, very glad they got into the blogging game.

A big thank you to Sabrina for bringing back these columns. And, when you visit the articles, be sure to check out the rest of the always great content at
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but lots of interesting items that will get you thinking.
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Planning for Legal Technology in a Recession

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

The recession winds have hit the economy at gale force levels in the last few weeks. Many people spent a nervous day watching the stock market today.
The natural reaction to news of a slowing economy is to cut back on spending. Recession often goes hand in hand with retrenchment, and there’s little doubt that the legal profession is already casting a nervous eye toward technology budgets.
Today, I took a look back at an article I wrote in 2001 called “A Prudent Approach to Legal Technology Spending in a Slowing Economy.” It’s been one of my most popular articles. I wondered how relevant it felt today.
The article actually holds up well, despite the outdated examples and reference to Y2K efforts.
It also reflects some of my common themes, including my stubborn insistence that the concepts of modern portfolio theory (diversity of investments, et al.) should play a role in legal technology strategy and planning.
Here are the key points in the article, which are worth thinking about in the coming days and weeks.

The key: being willing to think of technology in terms of investment.
I like to think of technology investing as a form of portfolio investing. Much as we rebalance our investment portfolios in changing economic conditions, the same principles apply to technology investment. . . . The interesting conclusion in modern portfolio theory is that the most prudent approach, over the long term, includes a reasonable proportion of high-risk, high-return investments, regardless of the investment climate. In a slow economy, sticking with a diversified approach is mandatory.
Investing in technology requires a similar portfolio approach.

The article identifies six areas to consider carefully when developing your technology portfolio:
1. Technology That Cuts Costs
2. Technology That Makes You Indispensable to Your Clients
3. Technology That Helps You Get New Clients
4. Technology That Helps You Move into New Practice Areas (or Creates Profitable Niche Practices)
5. Technology That Helps You Recruit and Retain Great People
6. Technology That Makes You Saner

The article concluded with these thoughts:

In a slow economy, you need to make smart choices about technology. Focusing hard on return on investment is important, but not if you are using that as an excuse to shut down technology investment. A better approach is to get a lot of options on the table and consider their likely risk and potential return. Then prudently pick a diverse portfolio of technology investment projects and step boldly forward. Not all of them may work, but the diversification will, and you’ll find yourself well positioned for the changes to come, both in the economy and the practice of law.

I really like the ideas in this article and find them quite appropriate for today. What do you think? Do you have other ideas and strategies? Is it time to focus on recession strategies?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Get your legal technology information by audio. Check out The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast.
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Celebrating the Martin Luther King Holiday

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I’ve written before (here and here) that the Martin Luther King Holiday is one of my favorites holidays of the year. It’s a perfect day to take some time to reflect in a way that the crunch of the end of the year holidays simply does not allow anymore.
I also enjoy monitoring Technorati for the posts about MLK, with Springsteen’s Land of Hope and Dreams (lyrics and a player here) as the soundtrack. Try it.
Lots of interesting posts to find today. Start with Bert Decker’s The Speaking Style of Martin Luther King and follow some blog posts to see where they lead you. As they say, “Make It a Day ON, Not a Day Off!”
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but lots of interesting items that will get you thinking.
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I’ve Been Listening to So Many Podcasts that I Didn’t Realize that Podcasting Might Have Been Declared Dead

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

One of the amusing things about reading blogs, especially tech blogs, for many years is how quickly trends arise, blossom and get declared dead, sometimes, it seems, within a period of weeks or even days. There are times when a trend is declared dead even before many people have even heard of it.
Just pick a trend and do a Google search on “is [trend] dead?”] and you’ll be surprised by the number of hits.
However, it’s also true that the “is [trend] dead?” post or, more emphatically, “[trend] is dead” post, will definitely generate traffic to your post. (See linkbaiting – by the way, is linkbaiting dead?)
A lot of things have been declared dead by someone or another lately – email, Windows Vista, the billable hour, the horse and buggy, you name it.
I’ve always liked podcasts. Tom Mighell and I even talked about our favorite podcasts on our own podcast.
My biggest reservation about podcasts was that there would be so much great content that you would have such a backlog of podcasts that you could never hope to listen to them all. You can be a fast reader, but it’s much harder to be a fast listener.
I can confirm that my reservation was well-founded. There are lots of great podcasts. What NPR has done in the world of podcasting is simply amazing.
I’ve wanted to blog more about podcasts, but I find it difficult to blog about podcasts. In part, that’s because there is often a time lag from when the podcast was released and when you listen to it. That can make it harder to find the URL when you want to link to it in a blog post. Also, if you listen to podcasts on an iPod or other mp3 player, you probably aren’t at a computer and won’t blog about it contemporaneously.
I had reached the conclusion the other day that I was going to highlight podcasts and podcasting as a key legal tech trend for 2008.
Then, I realized that there is a big debate going on whether, surprise, podcasting might be dead. I like Dave Winer’s take on the topic, especially when he says, “My phone doesn’t have a business model. Neither does my porch.”
By the way, my Google search on “is podcasting dead?” tonight shows a total of 3.570 results.
So, I reconsidered my opinion about podcasts, for a few seconds, and went back to listening to podcasting and recommending it as a trend to watch in 2008. If you haven’t been introduced to the world of podcasts, I recommend that you take a listen. A good starting point is visiting the Apple iTunes store and checking out the wide variety of podcasts now available, on almost any topic that you can imagine.
Count me on the side of those who think that podcasts are alive.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Get your legal technology information by audio. Check out The Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast.
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ABA TECHSHOW 2008: Early Bird Discount and My Sessions

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I always recommend that lawyers interested in technology, especially lawyers within easy reach of Chicago in mid-March, try to attend ABA TECHSHOW. I might show a little favoritism for TECHSHOW because I used to be on the board, but it’s a great show if you are interested in educational programs about practical ways practicing lawyers can use technology for their benefit.
I see that February 1 is the deadline for a $100 early bird discount. The registration page also details other available discounts. I’ll also note that joining the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section was one of the best moves I made in my legal career, and it entitles you to another discount for TECHSHOW.
I’ll be speaking at two sessions this year, with two of my favorite co-presenters, Dan Pinnington and Tom Mighell.

The Virtual Law Office: Is “Software-as-a-Service” Ready for Prime Time?
Friday, March 14, 2007
What if you could work from anywhere that you had Internet access? Our experts will help you decide whether it’s finally time to make a virtual law office your reality, and the online services that can help you make it happen. We’ll also cover the ethical and due diligence issues you must work through to keep your virtual office as safe as one made of bricks and mortar. Whether you want to practice from the beach, the mountains, or a treehouse, it’s time to start designing the virtual law office of your dreams.
Speakers: Dennis Kennedy, Dan Pinnington


Working Together from Wherever You Are: The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaborating on the Internet
Friday, March 14, 2007
Collaboration is no longer an option. Online tools like WebEx, Sharepoint, Acrobat Connect, Basecamp, Zoho, wikis and others make it easy for lawyers to work instantaneously with clients and colleagues, whether they’re across the hall or on the other side of the world. Come join the authors of a soon-to-be published ABA book on collaborative technologies as they discuss the options available to lawyers, developing a collaboration strategy, and the ethical implications of working with others in an online environment.
Speakers: Tom Mighell, Dennis Kennedy

Hope to see you there. I always try to make myself available to meet with as many readers of this blog as I can while I’m in Chicago for TECHSHOW.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but lots of interesting items that will get you thinking.
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52 Books in 52 Weeks

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

In the least couple of years, I’ve enjoyed reading the posts of several bloggers who are trying to read 52 books in 52 weeks.
With The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies due out this spring, I thought it would be a good idea to focus on book-reading for 2008.
I’ve also wanted to find a good way for me to keep track of the books I’ve read. I experimented a bit with Shelfari, but didn’t stick with it.
So, for 2008, I’ve decided to do the 52 books in 52 weeks meme (and encourage others to do so).
My approach will be to update this post periodically throughout the year to keep the running tally in one place.
64. Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Sanction, Eric Van Lustbader
63. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, John Bogle
62. Bumping into Geniuses, Danny Goldberg
61. Chain of Blame, Paul Muolo and Mathew Padilla

60. The John Boyd Roundtable, Mark Safranski
59. Looking for Trouble, Ralph Peters

58. The Medici Effect, Franz Johansson
57. The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, Charles Morris
56. Reinventing Collapse, Dmitry Orlov

55. The Integral Vision, Ken Wilber
54. First Daughter, Eric Van Lustbader
53. Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?, Thomas Kohnstamm
52. The Art of Cycling, Robert Hurst
51. The 2008 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide, Sharon Nelson, John Simek and Michael Maschke

50. The Faithful Spy, Alex Berenson
49. The Third Coast, Ted McClelland
48.The Unthinkable, Amanda Ripley
47.A Simpler Way, Margaret Wheatley
46. Richistan, Robert Frank
45. Downsizing Your Home with Style, Lauri Ward
44. Seeing the Old Way, Jonathan Hale

43. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
42. The iPod Book, Scott Kelby
41. Kingdom of Shadows, Alan Furst
40. The Foreign Correspondent, Alan Furst
39. Sins of the Assassin, R. Ferrigno
38. The Orpheus Deception, David Stone
37. Terror and Consent, Philip Bobbitt

36. Flashback, Raymond Chandler
35. Pulp Stories, Raymond Chandler
34. Double Indemnity (script), Raymond Chandler
33. The Amateur Spy, by Dan Fesperman

32. Still Broken, by A.J. Rossmiller

31. The Big Switch, by Nicholas Carr

30. High Window, by Raymond Chandler

29. Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler

28. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

27. The Rolling Stone Interviews, by Jann Wenner and Joe Levy

26. Bathroom, by Suzanne Ardley

25. Darkness Falls, Kyle Mills

24. Prince of Fire, by Dan Silva

23. Beyond Bullet Points (Second Edition), by Cliff Atkinson

22. Certain to WIn, by Chet Richards

21. Crashproof Your Kids, by Timothy Smith

20. The Physics of NASCAR, by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky

19. The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle

18. Absolute Power, by David Baldacci

17. Stone Cold, by David Baldacci

16. The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin

15. The Shell Game, by Steve Alten

14. Coltrane, by Ben Ratliff

13. The Sign of Four, by Arthur Conan Doyle

12. A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle

11. How to Pick a Peach, by Russ Parsons

10. Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds

9. The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets…And How We Could Have Stopped Him , by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

8. Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain

7. No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain

6. The United States of Arugala, David Kamp

5. Ronnie, Ronnie Wood

4. Dance with the Dragon, David Hagberg

3. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle

2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle

1. Last Harvest: How a Cornfield Became New Daleville: Real Estate Development in America from George Washington to the Builders of the Twenty-first Century, and Why We Live in Houses Anyway, by Witold Rybczynski

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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My Lexblog Q & A Interview

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Thanks to Rob La Gatta and Lexblog for running a two-part interview with me as part of their excellent series of interviews with lawyer and law-related bloggers.
I enjoyed the interview greatly, as you probably will be able to tell. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.
I talk about the early history of blawgs, my own first steps to blogging, lessons learned and useful advice I wish I had gotten when I started. I tried to share some of my best information and thinking about blogging.
I also recommend the other interviews in the series – you can learn a ton of great things,, and not just about blawgs and blogging.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on Google Reader Shared Items or subscribe to its RSS feed. High volume, but lots of interesting items that will get you thinking.
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