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Dennis Kennedy

Technology Law and Legal Technology. Dennis Kennedy is one of the few technology lawyers who is also an expert on the underlying technologies. Dennis an award-winning leader in the application of technology and the Internet to the practice of law. DennisKennedy.com gives you access to a wide variety of Dennis Kennedy's resources on legal technology, his writings, his well-known blog, DennisKennedy.Blog, and information about how you can have Dennis speak to your organization or group.

Dennis Kennedy is one of the most knowledgeable legal technologists you will find. - Michael Arkfeld.

Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and legal technology expert in St. Louis, Mo., has been a significant influence in the ever-evolving relationship between lawyers and the Web. - Robert Ambrogi

Archive for October, 2008

The Land of Hope and Dreams

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Long-time readers of DennisKennedy.Blog will know that I regularly listen to my iPod in the shuffle mode and sometimes notice patterns in the randomness. Yesterday was an example, I think, of an interesting pattern.
Although I did not technically get the three items I’ll mention here exactly in a row, it was close enough that I’ll take the liberty of saying that I did.
First, a PRI: Open Source podcast featuring historian Gordon Wood about the “historicness” (my term, not his) of the 2008 election. Wood made a striking comment, which I’ll paraphrase, that the young generation is looking forward to this election as a way to show that this country has finally moved beyond the era of racism, because the legacy of racism is profoundly disturbing to our younger generations. I invite you to think about that for a few minutes the next time you start a rant about whatever negative qualities of the “younger generations” happen to bother you.
This also reminded me of something I heard recently on a podcast about college age and younger students and the older technologies that we knew but they won’t ever experience. What surprises them most? It won’t be what you think. It’s that they are surprised how difficult it once was to make your opinions known to the world. That’s profound, at least to me, and why blogs and RSS have been so game-changing.
Second, my iPod served up Brue Springsteen’s “The Land of Hope and Dreams.” In my personal Springsteen canon, this song rates extremely high, especially given his tendency to perform a condensed version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” within the song in some live performances.
Third, and this one did immediately follow The Land of Hope and Dreams, was the NPR On Point podcast featuring Andrew Sullivan on “Can Bloggers Save Journalism?” Andrew is at the top of his game and, if you are a blogger, you have to hear his comments, especially in the first part of the podcast. His insights are so compelling in many ways at many levels on, again, the game-changing nature of blogging. Just one example was his comment that blogging has created a new form of writing that resides somewhere between writing and speaking.
Now, I’m going to take this post in a direction that you might not expect, as I usually do.
All of these got me thinking about the “historicness” of your own blog and whether you should always stay on topic on your blog no matter what is happening outside your blog.
I’ve been blogging for nearly six years. I’ve been known to go “off topic” every now and then, although, for the most part, this blog tries to cover technology as it relates to the legal profession.
Probably the most common criticism or question I’ve gotten over the years relates to my use of personal themes and moving off-topic. Some people simply don’t understand that. I remember well how someone lit me up for actually mentioning NASCAR (in a favorable way) on a law blog. If I recall correctly, I’m still blogging and they are not. I’m just sayin’.
Ironically, some of my posts that some feel went farthest off the path (my Metalica post and the Steve Gadd copyright post) are definitely among my best-liked and most popular posts. The fact is that you learn to trust the authors of the blogs you like and are rewarded when you trust them enough to follow where they lead.
Here’s my thought for today. Our blogs live within the context of our current history and they tell a story about how we relate to that history. It’s interesting and telling to look back at what your blog said at different historic points.
And it gives you an odd feeling to see a blog post with a date of 9/11/2001, for example, that stays on topic and does not refer to the events of the day. I’m not being critical. It’s not that you can judge at any given time what the significance of a day is, but, on the other hand, it’s odd to see that at a time when something momentous was happening a blog seems to be oblivious to the historic events of the time. It would be disconcerting to look back in the future and see that during historic times in the fall of 2008, my blog might have been focused on the difficulty I was having with the Firefox awesome bar. I’m sure that you get the idea of what I mean.
Now, we are at a time of economic turmoil with potentially unprecedented impact, an election of historic proportions and other events of a magnitude that it makes it almost impossible, I’d think, for a blogger resist using his or her forum to comment on these things, even if only to make a record of what it is that you were thinking for a time when you later want to look back.
I enjoy when bloggers reach that point where they realize that they have to use their platform to talk about what matters to them, with a sense of rawness and revelation, even if it seems to be off topic. I find that compelling reading and, frankly, it makes me more willing to stick with them when they stay on topic. Four recent memorable examples for me are here, here, here and here. It’s also interesting that each of these posts is in that zone between writing and speaking, and feels closer to a speaking voice.
So, I decided today to post about the Land of Hope and Dreams rather than about legal technology and about when it’s time to stay on topic and when it’s time to leave your topic behind for a post or two.
And what will you be posting about in coming days?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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A Short Instant Messaging Primer for Lawyers

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

In my latest ABA Journal technology column, Get the (Instant) Message, Dude, I tried to put together a short primer for lawyers who use and are considering using instant messaging.
My motivation for the column:

Three different times last summer, I was standing in a line behind teenagers and saw one turn to another and say, “I wish my mom texted.” In fairness, I didn’t hear anyone wish his or her lawyer texted, but I have heard several lawyers tell me their clients want them to use instant messaging.

I outline two types of instant messaging and offer some examples of when and how lawyers might use instant messaging effectively.
I also give six tips for those of you starting out in the world of instant messaging without a child to help you out:

1. Text first on your cell phone, especially to family members who text and who will be tolerant of your learning curve.
2. Find effective, practical uses of mes­saging for your firm and your practice. Hint: collaboration.
3. Understand the risks and deal with them reasonably.
4. Standardize to one (or a few) platforms in your firm.
5. Avoid acronyms and emoticons until you learn how to use them appropriately (IMHO).
6. Finally, if you plan to do any significant amount of business texting, you should go for an unlimited text plan on your cell phone.

The column might also contain the first use of the OMG acronym in an ABA Journal article.
Here’s a link to the column. As always, I’m happy to hear what you think of the column and any of your ideas for future topics.
For another example of an instant messaging medium, check out the companion microblog for this blog on Twitter.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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Recent Microblog Posts – October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

DennisKennedy.Microblog is a supplement to this blog that can be found on Twitter at @dkennedyblog. I invite you to become a follower. An explanation of the microblog can be found here.
Here are posts from the microblog for the last week or so:

Ross Kodner adopts the the laptop plus netbook dual computer approach – http://bit.ly/3CwrjU – great hands-on analysis
Nicholas Carr on Tim O’Reilly and Hugh MacLeod on cloud computing and network effects and the new platform – http://bit.ly/4yLVgq
Ron Friedman posts notes from a David Maister presentation on building success from the bottom – http://bit.ly/NtMZO Wish I’d been there.
Kevin Kelly’s thoughtful & thought-provoking overview of cloud computing – http://tinyurl.com/6y5ars
Interesting to compare Bob Ambrogi’s list of top 10 legal podcasts – http://bit.ly/3MMtex – to this July 2005 article – http://bit.ly/4tjABU
Mary Abraham on resistance to Web 2.0 from law firms and the weakness of the “not ready for prime time” excuse – http://bit.ly/3IX377
Huge KM news (at least to me) – Dave Snowden updates his 3 laws to 7 KM principles – http://bit.ly/NpfDz – essential KM reading
Putting together a list of seminar presentation ideas on legal technology topics. What most interests you these days?
Adam Thierer revisits Negroponte’s “Daily Me” and Being Digital – a hugely influential book on my Internet thinking. http://bit.ly/3eQBNv
Brett Burney’s positive review of Adobe Acrobat 9 – http://bit.ly/4l5qcS – I just installed it for myself and am liking it very much.
Ron Friedman on 2008 AmLaw Tech Survey – “Wow, there’s a lot new and nothing new.” http://tinyurl.com/4swuu9

Let me know what you think about the microblog approach.
Also, Tom and I have started to do some regular posting at the Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration blog. I invite you to check it out and add it to your RSS reader.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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Why I Blog – 2008 vs. 2004

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

There’s been a lot of well-deserved attention on Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog.” I highly recommend the article.
It made me think about a post I wrote in 2004 in reaction to two of my all-time favorite blog posts. The post was called Why Do We Blog and pointed to a post on the Sandhill Trek blog that collected reflections from 36 bloggers on why they blog.
It’s instructive to contrast the reasons for blogging you see in that post with the heavy emphasis you get these days on the marketing and SEO value of blogging as well as the occasional admonition to avoid the personal element in business blogs. I always have preferred to keep Dave Winer’s notion of blogging – the unedited voice of a person – firmly in mind when blogging.
There are many reasons to blog and Andrew highlights some great ones. You’ll definitely want to read his article. And, since my approach of using a “money quote” is an homage to Andrew, it’s only appropriate to give you a money quote from his article:

Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.

However, I’ll end this post with the reason for blogging that has always resonated the most with me. It comes from Lisa Williams back in 2004:

Why do I blog?
because I cannot
play the guitar.

And why do you blog?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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Recent Microblog Posts – October 5, 2008

Monday, October 6th, 2008

DennisKennedy.Microblog is a supplement to this blog that can be found on Twitter at @dkennedyblog. I invite you to become a follower. An explanation of the microblog can be found here.
Here are posts from the microblog for the last week or so:

“Windows Cloud” – Nick Carr on Amazon EC2 + Windows – http://bit.ly/WpYmk – Big story – I highly recommend Carr’s book, The Big Switch, too
Green legal technology – http://tinyurl.com/3qjscy – my new ABA Journal column. 8 ideas to help the planet
Practicing Law with SaaS – http://bit.ly/5Ic6Z – Good overview of SaaS concepts, with quotes from some of my favorite people.
Eliminating the middlemen – lawyers – from the legal equation – http://bit.ly/BWFkn – disintermediation

Let me know what you think about the microblog idea.
Also, Tom and I have started to do some regular posting at the Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration blog. I invite you to check it out and add it to your RSS reader.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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Go Green, Save Green

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Green legal technology. Is there such a thing? My new ABA Journal column, “Go Green, Save Green,” offers my answer to the question.
Subtitled “8 ideas to help the planet, your pocketbook,” the column takes a practical approach to green technology and argues that “green” initiatives will have more traction when there is a saving of green money. I also note that recent tech developments make it easier to go green than ever before. I get 8 tips and practical ideas that focus on potential cost savings associated with green efforts.
The column also mentions the ABA’s Law Office Climate Challenge, which has a great set of resources for those thinking green.
The money quote:

Whether you want to save the world or just save some cash, greening your technology has become an attractive, easy path for lawyers and law firms. Small steps will produce measurable results.

Check out the column and the rest of this month’s issue of the ABA Journal.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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