Two New Tech Columns: Law Firm Apps and Departure Policies

My latest two ABA Journal tech columns are called “Apt to make apps? What you need to consider before jumping in” and “5 tech policies law firms should consider to prep for job departures.”

1. Apt to make apps? What you need to consider before jumping in

In this column, I did a little investigation into mobile apps (really, iOS apps) that law firms and lawyers had created so far. My research was not scientific or thorough, but it gave me an indication of what the typical person looking for law firm apps would find. I didn’t find a lot of these apps, but, to generalize, most fell into the megafirm category or the auto accident firm category.

Some of the apps look to be be useful, and some are underwhelming.

The exercise gave me something think about in how lawyers might create mobile apps and I try to draw a few practical conclusions and give some tips about costs and approaches to apps.

The money quote:

In some ways the current app environment is reminiscent of the early days of webpages in 1995 or blogging in 2002 or 2003, when there was a small number of early adopters among the legal profession. For some, moving to the Web or blogging was a rewarding and successful step. For at least as many, it was a move that did not make sense. And for the majority, their efforts did not make much of an impact.

While I don’t expect law firm mobile apps to become as ubiquitous as law firm websites, I’m intrigued by the ways law firms might take advantage of the apps platform.

Read the entire column at “Apt to make apps? What you need to consider before jumping in.”

2. 5 tech policies law firms should consider to prep for job departures

This column was suggested by a lawyer friend of mine in St. Louis when we had breakfast a few months ago. He mentioned that knowing what to do when a lawyer (or any staff member) left a firm was hard enough, but determining what to do about technology when someone left was really difficult. He talked about some of the approaches he had seen and taken and thought that the topic would be good for a column. I agreed.

I focused on five key policies, but want to emphasize how important it is to be flexible and have a good understanding of what is happening at the time and what is at stake.

This area struck me as one where lawyers were likely to be advising clients on appropriate employee manuals and policies, but not bother to implement them for their own firms. It’s also an area where manuals and policies can only take you so far. I vividly remember when the IT director at my then firm left a manila envelope with some notes and a “yesterday was my last day” letter on my chair for me to find when I came in in the morning.

The column focuses on some of the biggest issues (there are more, to be sure) and makes a few practical suggestions for each.

The money quote:

Common responses to the technology issues raised by a departing lawyer or employee can be ad hoc, chaotic and woefully incomplete, raising more problems than the firm solves.

If you haven’t given this subject some attention recently, there is no time the present to revisit it with fresh eyes.

Read the entire column at “5 tech policies law firms should consider to prep for job departures.”

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

New Article: 13 Facebook Tips for Lawyers in 2013

In perhaps the classic example of “I didn’t have enough time to write a shorter article, so I wrote a longer one,” I have a new article out in the February issue of the Law Practice Today webzine. It runs about 3,000 words and is called “Thirteen Facebook Tips for Lawyers in 2013.”

As the article summary says:

Still scared of Facebook? Come on, it’s 2013 already—can 1 billion users really all be wrong? Here are 13 tips to guide even the most reluctant late adopter on how to get the most of the most popular social media tool.

The article offers some of my observations about lawyers using (and, mainly, not using) Facebook, thirteen practical tips (anybody else notice that matching the number of tips to the year has upped the degree of difficulty for these types of tips articles?), and three simple action steps to get yourself going on Facebook.

The money quote:

There are many reasons lawyers probably should be using Facebook, but I’m not sure that convince many reluctant lawyers with those reasons. Instead, consider my view that there may be no better resource than Facebook to help you reconnect with people who were important in your life with whom you have lost contact.

I expect that Allison Shields and I will cover many of these tips in more detail in our upcoming presentation on LinkedIn and Facebook at ABA TECHSHOW 2013 in Chicago in April.You will also have the chance to talk about these topics with Allison and me at the Taste of TECHSHOW dinner we will be hosting on April 4.

Hope you find the new article helpful.If you want to dive even deeper into Facebook, you might consider reading Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, which is also available in an iBook version.

What other tips do you have for for lawyers to make better use of Facebook?

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

New Article: Manage App Overload on your iPad or iPhone with Folders

My latest ABA Journal tech column is called “Manage app overload on your iPad or iPhone with folders.”

Most of us are starting to see a proliferation of apps, especially if you take advantage of the many free apps available. Sites like Apps Gone Free also let you know about pay apps that are free for a limited time. Before you realize it, you can have a lot of apps on your smartphones and tablet devices.

At that point, just finding apps can become an issue. You probably also wish that you could organize your apps neatly and logically.

However, accomplishing that is still not as easy as you might hope.

The column covers the basic approaches to app management – “on device” and “through iTunes.” I use iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) as the model. There are similar approaches for other mobile OSes.

There’s still plenty of room to improve app management. I’m looking forward to seeing those improvements, but, for now, it’s good to know that some basic approaches exist and will help you.

Read the entire column at “Manage app overload on your iPad or iPhone with folders”.

How do you manage all your apps?

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

New Article: Does Your Firm Have a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy?

My latest ABA Journal tech column is called “Does Your Firm Have a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy?” The column is just a simple introduction to the two main approaches to the increasingly-common desire of employees to use work technology devices for personal purposes and personal devices for personal purposes.

The two approaches, not surprisingly, have their own acronyms – BYOD and COPE. BYOD stands for “bring your own device” and COPE stands for “company-owned, personally enabled.”

As I say in the column:

With BYOD, a separate, secure area for work data and activity is created on an employee’s personal device. In COPE, a separate area for personal data and activity is created on an employee’s otherwise securely protected work device. The concepts are simple, but the devil is in the details.

I go on to discuss the general concepts and some practical issues and questions involved in each approach.

Money quote:

The consumerization of IT is another example of how a standard technology brings up many issues about the culture of a firm, how to treat those who work for it, and the blurry line between work and home. Firms need to understand the main approaches and the vocabulary for the discussion because this trend is likely to keep gathering momentum.

Read the entire column at “Does Your Firm Have a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy?”.

How is your firm or organization choosing between these two approaches?

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

New Article: Thirteen Mobile Collaboration Tips for 2013

I have a new article out in the January issue of the Law Practice Today webzine. It’s called “Thirteen Mobile Collaboration Tips for 2013.”

As the article summary says:

The expansion of mobile technology continues to rapidly change how lawyers collaborate. To stay up to speed, think beyond gadgets and apps, and devote some time to thinking about how you can work better in the expanding mobile world. These tips will help.

The article offers practical collaboration tips that cut across a variety of platforms and are not limited to specific tools, technologies or brands. I tried to provide tips that would be useful to all – from beginners to advanced users – and give readers some questions to ask and issues to think about.

The money quote:

Get a solid understanding of where you are, find ways to help others work with you using a variety of tools and giving them multiple options, and make yourself someone people look forward to working with, no matter where you are or they are.

I expect that I’ll cover many of these tips in more detail in my upcoming presentation on mobile collaboration at ABA TECHSHOW 2013 in Chicago in April.

Hope you find the article helpful. What other tips would you have for improving mobile collaboration?

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.