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 the ‘Legal Profession’ Category

ABA Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference 2011

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Here’s a great conference for anyone interested in marketing a law firm or a law practice. The ABA Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference 2011 will take place on November 8 & 9 in Philadelphia.

The Conference is called titled “Reputation, Referrals, Rankings,” and has a great agenda of timely topics, including:

Tuesday, November 8

  • Keynote #1: Lie to Me! “Emotion Management” of Your Marketing Will Invite Trust, Not Contempt
  • ROI: Examining the Return on Investment for Business Development Spending
  • The Business of You – Surviving and Thriving in Big Law
  • Luncheon: Effects of Rankings & Ratings on the Legal Profession
  • An Ethics Guide to Lawyer Marketing
  • The Power of Video in Lawyer Marketing
  • Golden Gavel Awards Ceremony and Reception

Wednesday, November 9

  • Keynote #2: “In Search of…Lawyers” How the Internet Has Changed Everything
  • Social Media: Does Your Firm Marketing Plan Need A Face Lift? (I’ll be Joining Tom Mighell and Tim Stanley on this panel)
  • Associate Business Development Training
  • Luncheon: 10×10 – 10 Topics, 10 Presenters, 10 Minutes Each. (It’s like speed dating, but better)

The best news is that there is still time to register and some seats still available. It’d be great to see you there.

For more information, see the conference website here (conference brochure).

Also, there’s also still time to register for the replay on November 3 of the very popular LinkeIn for Lawyers webinar Allison Shields, Michelle Golden and I presented in August. Details are available on the ALI-ABA website.

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

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

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. Twitter: @collabtools

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Speaking at St. Louis U Law School on Saturday

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

The American Bar Association’s Law Student Division is holding what looks to be a great conference this Saturday at the St. Louis University School of Law. I got the chance to volunteer to speak – and I couldn’t resist. In these difficult economic times, I feel it’s important to do what I can to help law students. People helped me while I was in law school, and it’s always been important for me to do what I can.

Details on the event are here. It looks like registration is closed, but I’d guess they might be able to find a place for for you if ask.

The sessions look really good and address important issues for law students.

I’ll be part of a panel on practical networking in the afternoon. I see this as a Q & A session. I want to cover both social networking and regular networking. I’ll also be part of a lunch session called “Lunch with Experience” where I’ll share my observations about legal careers and answer questions.

It sounds like fun for me and I expect to learn a lot in addition to sharing some of what I know and have observed over my legal career. If you read this blog and are there, introduce yourself and say hello.

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

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

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. Twitter: @collabtools

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The Freemium Practice of Law and IgniteLaw 2011

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I did a presentation called “The Freemium Practice of Law” at IgniteLaw 2011 last Sunday night, produced by my good friends Matt Homann and JoAnna Forshee.

IgniteLaw takes a unique approach to presentations – 12 presenters each presenting for 6 minutes using only 20 slides apiece. And the slides advance automatically every 18 seconds.

It’s a challenging format for any speaker, no matter how experienced, especially if it doesn’t fit your usual style. Perhaps I understate that. It’s the speaking equivalent of riding in a top fuel dragster.

I found the presentation fun – in a challenging sort of way – but quickly struggled with time management. I got my points made, but not quite in the way I had hoped. My main points seemed to get across and I hope I was able to contribute in a small way to what was a fun evening with lots of high-quality presentations.

The videos will be posted soon, but I thought it might be fun to post the final version of the “rehearsal script” I had written. On that evening, the “script” turned out to be more ambitious than I’d hoped it would be (especially since I couldn’t refer to it), but I really liked the way this version of the script read. See what you think.

The Freemium Practice of Law – Rehearsal Script

1. Several years ago, when I was in the private practice of law, I had a meeting with a potential new client, a technology start-up. Things went well and they wanted to hire me. The initial project would be preparing terms of use and a privacy policy for their website.

2. I gave them an estimate and the president of the company joked that lawyers probably all used the same base documents and just changed the company names. Or at least we created documents with one push of a button. We laughed, although I felt the need to mention that even standard documents had nuances.

3. I thought a lot about that client’s view of legal work, especially documents, and the question kept coming back to me: “If clients assume we can use technology in this way and, technically, we can, why aren’t we”? I first implemented document assembly more than 20 years ago, so the issue is less technology than business model.

4. One of my favorite innovation techniques is to reverse my assumptions. I recently listened to a podcast with William Ury, co-author of a great book on negotiation. He said, “to change the game, you must change the frame.”

5. Here was my reversal. What if standard documents actually were provided to clients for free, perhaps as part of a service package? How would that work? I didn’t get very far myself, but Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson wrote a book in 2009 called “Free” that looked at the growing Internet phenomenon of successful businesses based on giving away what would traditionally be core products and services for free, and then making money in a variety of other ways.

6. Anderson’s book tells about Monty Python deciding not to sue the thousands of people who started to put video clips from their shows and movies on YouTube. Instead, Monty Python created its own YouTube channel and made high-quality video clips available for free. In exchange, they simply asked people to consider buying their products. The result: a 23,000% increase in DVD sales in 3 months, even though they were giving the same video content away.

7. That’s Freemium. Make something available for free, use that to extend your reach and audience, and then provide options for people to willingly pay for enhanced value. My definition of freemium tonight would be: Giving away “something” in order to create educated customers who better understand how to use your services and products in ways that better help themselves and for which they will happily pay to do so.

8. There’s been a lot of discussion about Richard Susskind’s custom vs. commoditized approach and you’ll be hearing more about that in the next few days at TECHSHOW. The most interesting thing about freemium, at least to me, is not so much that it will work in both contexts, but that I think it can work extremely well in the custom context.

9. Another example. Open Source software and Larry Lessig’s Creative Commons licenses. The free “something” is the software or the standardized license. The Open Source model, where the software itself is available for free, but a company like Red Hat can be quite successful selling maintenance, support, consulting services, and even T-shirts around the software, is perhaps the best example of the freemium approach.

10. Stewart Brand famously said, “Information wants to be free.” We clearly live in a world where we expect to get digital versions of music, video, books and information for free. How do lawyers fit into that world?

11. My favorite new band is Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They let people post recordings of their live shows on the Internet. I doubt that I would have bought any CDs or even known of them if not for this approach. Now, I buy albums and would attend a show in a heartbeat. Bands can now be thought of as music services providers, giving away what we once thought of as core content and value – the music – to create revenue from shows, merchandise and other channels.

12. Now think about a “legal services provider” model. Law is certainly an information business. Are we like music? Encyclopedias? Newspapers? Other fields challenged by Internet models, aging business approaches and innovative competitors? Change the frame, change the game.

13. Lawyers often will say that clients buy documents or hours – a lawyer-centric view. When I did estate planning, I concluded that, at heart, clients were really buying peace of mind – assurance that their family would be taken care of after they were gone. In other practice areas, they might also be buying things like judgment or risk management – something they’d happily pay more for than a document or a unit of time.

14. That is the big disconnect between lawyers and clients and where the opportunity for freemium law practice comes into play. Change the frame, change the game.

15. Some ideas. Start with Anderson’s book. It has plenty of ideas that might Anderson has a lot of freemium ideas in his book that could apply to the practice of law. Here’s one of mine to start you thinking – moving from highlights to insights to personalized. Highlights: a free annual summary of important cases prepared by an associate. Insights: an audio or video where partners explaining why the cases matter. Personalized: Half-day customized presentations where your best people show a client’s legal and executive team how to address those new cases.

16. Barriers. Oh, there are a few. Not done before. It’s change. How do we bill? Bar regulation still applying a 20th century framework to 21st century client needs. Don’t underestimate – these will be difficult frames to change, but freemium is for innovators who like challenges.

17. It strikes me that simple technology can drive this. Document assembly has been around for years. Second graders are making videos these days. So much can be delivered easily via the Internet for free.

18. Where do you get ideas other than buying Matt Homann a cup of coffee? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Bryan Cave’s Trade Zone extranet application as a model. Other professional services firms, authors and consultants have successful models. Talk to young people, see what’s going on outside the US, and get a diversity of opinions.

19. Let me emphasize that I’m not for a second advocating a wholesale freemium approach. However, I do think that economic survival for the long term depends on taking a diversified portfolio approach. Using free to create enhanced-value freemium revenue streams should be one part of your portfolio.

20. 3 action steps for you:

1. Read Chris Anderson’s book. Even better, go to iTunes and get the audio version for free, and see if you go ahead and buy the book.

2. Carve out 30 minutes with a piece of paper and brainstorm ways you might try free and freemium, starting with places where you already heavily discount or write-off fees.

3. Change your frame and see if it changes your game

IgniteLaw 2011 was fun, fast-paced and informative. I congratulate Matt, JoAnna, all the other presenters and everyone else involved for putting on such a great event. And it was especially great to meet some other Grace Potter and the Nocturnals fans.

I’m hoping to post some reflections on TECHSHOW 2011 soon.

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

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

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. Twitter: @collabtools

Integrating Practice Management Tools in Law School

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Tom Mighell and I have recorded another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast and it’s now available on the Legal Talk Network and on iTunes, with an RSS feed here. The episode is called “Integrating Practice Management Tools in Law School” (show notes here), and it’s sponsored by Clio. A special thank you to readers of this blog who listen to the podcast – consider trying out an episode or becoming a regular subscriber through iTunes or our RSS feed.

Here’s the episode (#42) description:

With law firms cutting back or eliminating summer internships and law schools focusing on teaching theoretical legal concepts, law students find themselves in a difficult position in a difficult market. How can law students learn needed practical skills, including how to use legal technology? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell talk to Professor Clark D. Cunningham from Georgia State University College of Law, Jonathan Call, law school student at GSU College of Law, Jack Newton from Clio and Andy Adkins from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, about the exciting and innovative efforts to bring practical skills training, including legal technology, to law schools and law students.

Tom and I have long had an interest in ways education about legal technology can be improved for lawyers and law students. I especially enjoy the chances I get to talk to law students about legal technology. In addition, Tom and I are contributing editors for the new Legal Skills Prof Blog, part of the great Law Professor Blogs Network.

When we learned about the experiment the Georgia State University College of Law was doing with our podcast sponsor, Clio, we decided that it was a perfect topic for the podcast. A big thank you to Christy Burke and the great team at LegalTalkNetwork (especially the fabulous Kate Kenney), we put together a big show with four guests to talk about the project, put it in context, and, we hope, point to ways other schools might try similar experiments.

We divided the episode into two segments. In the first, we get an “on the ground” report on the Georgia State University School of Law experiment from Professor Cunningham and Jonathan Call. In the second, Jack Newton of Clio gives us his observations and insights from the vendor perspective and our good friend, Andy Adkins, adds his vast knowledge and perspective to talk about where this experiment fits into the history of bringing technology to law students, law professors and law schools.

This is exciting stuff. And it’s important work. If we are going to significant change in the use of technology in the legal profession, it is likely to evolve from these types of experiments to get the next generation of tools into the hands of the next generation of lawyers.

The one great insight I got from this conversation, and I should have thought of this before, is that because cloud-based tools can be used in schools without the need for additional computer infrastructure, it’s possible to move quickly on these types of initiatives.

A big “thank you” to all our guests. Let us know what you think about this episode.

We end the podcast with a Parting Shot about our involvement with the Legal Skills Prof Blog and how we are excited to be part of that project. Check out the blog here.

Give our new episode a listen and let me know what you think. Show notes for the podcast are here. And try some of the back episodes as well. You can also now follow the podcast on Twitter at @tkmreport.

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

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

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. Twitter: @collabtools

April Issue of Law Practice Today Features Diversity / Inclusion Theme

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The April issue of Law Practice Today, the webzine of the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section, is out. It focuses on practical aspects of diversity and inclusion in the practice of law and the legal profession.

It’s quite a collection of articles, from an excellent set of authors, that looks at diversity and inclusion from a variety of perspectives, with an emphasis on the practical, not the theoretical. Highly recommended.

As someone who helped co-found Law Practice Today and a current member of its board, I can hardly be expected to be objective about it, so I’ll point to Jim Calloway’s post about this issue. I also guest co-edited this issue, so all pretense of any objectivity goes out the door. But, I definitely think it’s a great issue.

The issue also contains two articles I wrote or co-wrote.

The first is co-written with Gwynne “@econwriter5” Monahan and is called “Will Free Fit into Your Technology Budget? An Open Source Software Primer for the Solo and Small Firm Lawyer.” I’ve wanted to write something introductory and practical about one of my favorite topics, Open Source, and was pleased that I could talk Gwynne into co-authoring the article with me. Gwynne is both very knowledgeable about Open Source and an excellent writer. Once again, I found out again how much I enjoy co-authoring. For more perpsectives on possible use of Open Source software in law practice, check out this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast, with my usual collaborator, Tom Mighell.

I also contributed a new article that suggests that diversification and portfolio management should be the primary foundation for defining technology strategies and choices. It’s called “Putting Diversification at the Center of Your Firm’s Technology Strategy-Using a Simple Grid Approach.” The article also offers a simple grid approach to setting strategy. I’d enjoy getting some feedback on that article.

We’ve gotten great feedback on the issue so far, so I encourage you to visit the issue and read all of the articles.

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

Call for Articles on Diversity/Inclusion: April Issue of Law Practice

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I’ll be guest co-editing the April issue of the Law Practice Today webzine (http://www.lawpracticetoday.org). The issue will focus thematically on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, more specifically practical approaches to these issue from the law practice management perspective.
We have some room for a few more articles, so if you have an article or a blog post that could easily be turned into an article, get in touch with me at denniskennedyblog @ gmail.com (or post a comment on this post) and I’ll follow-up to see how we can work together. I’m especially interested in articles that look at these issues from the finance and marketing side of law practice management, but any topic is fair game if you have something that would work for this issue.
Be sure to check out the excellent March issue, with a succession planning theme.
Thanks for your help.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy
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. Twitter: @collabtools
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Legal Ethics and Social Media – CLE Seminar in St. Louis

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Lawyers using or interested in learning more about social media who will be in St. Louis on March 23 have a great opportunity to learn about social media and ethics and pick up a couple of CLE ethics hours. I’m excited to be one of the speakers on an excellent panel with legal ethics expert Mike Downey and The Bar Plan’s Christina Lewis Abate.
The seminar is called “The Ethics of Social Media” and the details can be found here.
We’ll cover differences between LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, the basics of how to use each platform, including privacy settings, ad purchasing and disclaimer requirements, plus how to avoid potential pitfalls including a review of recent case law and rules of advertising, malpractice avoidance, and model social networking policies. We’re also planning to have plenty of Q & A.
The pricing ($95) is great, especially for the number of ethics credit. There’s a special deal ($30) for law students.
The Bar Assoication of Metropolitan St. Louis’ Young Lawyers Division is sponsoring the event at BAMSL’s downtown St. Louis headquarters.
Highly recommended. Help us get the word out about this one. Hope to see you there.
BAMSL members may register here.
Can’t make it on the 23rd? Give the new episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast, “Social Media Common Sense,” a listen.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy
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. Twitter: @collabtools
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Social Media and Internet Tips for Law Students – Upcoming Presentation

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

On Tuesday, at St. Louis University Law School on March 2 at 5:00, I’ll be speaking to law students, recent law school graduates and anyone else who might be interested about social media, the Internet and tegal technology with a focus on how you can use these tools to effectively launch your legal career. Phi Delta Phi is sponsoring the event.
I’ll take an informal approach, with lots of Q & A, and I’m planning to let the audience pick the topics they most want me to cover. In other words,I’ll see if i can “crowdsource” the structure of the presentation.
I’ll highlight some of my ideas from this post on advice for 1Ls and my latest ABA Journal column called “Saving Face,” but I expect to share a lot of other information based on my own experience and what I’ve learned over the years. I’m also hoping to learn a lot from the perspecitives of law students who are facing these tough economic times.
There are two places you can find more information on the presentation – on the Law School’s calendar page and the Facebook page for the event. There’s also an email address for information – pdp@slu.edu.
Please mention the event to law students or others in St. Louis who might be interested. It’d be great to see you there.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog; Follow me – @denniskennedy
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. Twitter: @collabtools
Listen to The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast on Legal Talk Network. Twitter: @tkmreport
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By Request: Advice for 1Ls

Monday, December 7th, 2009

December is “By Request” month at DennisKennedy.Blog. I’m invite you to ask your questions about legal technology and other issues I cover in this blog, or even stuff I don’t usually cover. I’ll my best to answer them during the month.
Here’s the question:
“My girlfriend is wrapping up her first semester at law school. Any words of wisdom?”
I’m going to assume that you are asking for advice for her and not for you.
I’m also assuming that you are not asking for wisdom about taking law school exams. However, I’ll note that Ashby Jones has a great new article called “What Makes a Good Law School Exam Answer? Law Profs Weigh In” that you might point her to.
I will instead assume that you are asking what advice I might have for a 1L who wants to position herself for a job during and immediately after law school, and a satisfying career after that.
I was at a holiday reception for the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel the other night. I spent some time taking with a law professor from one of the local law schools. I asked if this was the worst job market for law school graduates ever. The professor said that he thought it really was. He also noted that the numbers of people taking the LSAT has gone up dramatically.
Most interestingly, he suggested that the past graduating class and maybe the next one (or more) might lose the opprtunity to ever go into larger law firms.
That’s a thought-provoking comment.
However, if you consider the traditional approach law firms take on new associate hires, it’s actually a reasonable prediction. Larger law firms like to hire directly out of law school and keep associates in their “classes” (based on graduating years) as part of the lock-step process. The hiring process in many law firms struggles with people who take non-traditional routes or don’t fit into this system. In addition, firms often, for reasons that have always baffled me, like to hire directly from law school rather than bring in lawyers with experience. Don’t ask me – I’ve never been able to figure that out.
The prof’s opinion is that when law firms go back to hiring, they will probably cut starting salaries, but they will definitely go back to hiring recent graduates out of their summer programs. The result could well be that a couple of years of law school graduates have a drastically reduced presence in law firms and a large number of current law school graduates might miss out on the ability to join large law firms.
Think about it.
But that’s not what you asked.
The large increase in LSAT takers and law school applications is in no small part due to an expectation that the economy will turn in the next year or two and law students starting now will be perfectly positioned when law firm hiring returns to “normal.” I talked to several people in the last year who are taking exactly that approach.
That, of course, assumes that the legal profession and law firms simply returns to the way things were a year or two ago. It won’t surprise any reader of this blog that I don’t believe that it will. There are fundamental structural changes in the profession in process.
I have one word for law students today. It’s “portfolio.”
I read an article this evening by Alex Aldridge called “The Job Squeeze.” (hat tip to Jordan Furlong for the link) It’s a good analysis of hiring and employment trend inthe legal profession in the UK. I highly recommend the article.
The Money Quote:

Of course, worrying about all of this is futile for students enrolled on law degrees and Graduate Diploma in Law courses. Instead, graduate recruitment partners advise aspiring lawyers to devote their energy to making applications stand out from the crowd.

The article is disappointing in its lack of specifics about this key point. In fact, I don’t think you’ll impress anyone with what the article suggests: “Avoiding gimmicks – we get some awful ones, such as photo collages of applicants – and providing evidence that you are genuinely interested in law as a career. Something that demonstrates you have got a life beyond law helps, too.”
Instead, I urge law students to think in terms of putting together a portfolio rather than a resume. You want to be able to demonstrate your practical skills, your knowledge and your accomplishments in tangible ways, not simply put together a bloodless list of standard accomplshments on a standard resume. I was involved in law firm hiring for many years – most resumes aren’t that different from any other.
Portfolios also inevitably lead to networking. Resumes lead to lists of “references available on request.”
Here’s what I mean by portfolio – tangible evidence that you are serious about becoming a lawyer, assembled in a way to tell a compelling story.
How do you do that, especially in a tough economy, as a law student? Something as simple as a blog reporting on developments in an area of interest can lead, over a year or two, to articles, speaking opportunities and interviews in publications or even radio or TV. If you aren’t working part-time (and developing a portfolio with deatils of the work you do), you want to do volunteer work that is law-related, including ABA or other bar association activities. If you know what area of law you want to go into, look at showing initiative by attending continuing legal education seminars and asking questions and meeting peoiple.
Here’s my point:
You have two candidates for a tax lawyer position. One has the typical top-notch law student resume and a focus on class work and even law review. The second doesn’t have the same class rank, but excels in tax classes, has a blog on tax law developmetns, has volunteered to prepare tax returns for senior citizens, has attended several tax CLEs for practitioners during law school, and has been quoted about a tax matter in the local business journal.
Who am I likely to hire? The one with the portfolio, of course. Portfolio indicates passion.
Actually, if you work hard on building a portfolio, the connections you make will likely mean that the job finds you rather than you finding the job.
I was in law school in the early 1980s, which, until now, might have been the worst time for finding jobs out of law school. What wisdom and advice I might offer is based on what I learned from the many, many mistakes I made. If I had to do it again, especially in the era of blogging, podcasting and other outlets, I’d be think in terms of portfolio all the way.
There are other things, but most of them flow from taking the portfolio path.
Hope that helps. I welcome your comments and questions.
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REMEMBER: It’s “By Request December” at DennisKennedy.Blog. I’ll be answering reader questions all month about legal technology, blogging, social media or whatever topics interest you. Send me your questions.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog; Follow me – @denniskennedy.
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. Twitter: @collabtools
Listen to The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast on the Legal Talk Network. Twitter: @tkmreport
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Law Practice in a Time of Great Economic Turmoil – Roundtable Discussion

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

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The graphic above is a tag cloud from Wordle that I generated from the article, What Should You Do Now? A Roundtable Discussion on Law Practice in a Time of Great Economic Turmoil, which is just one part of an excellent new issue of the ABA’s Law Practice Today webzine that you should run, not walk, over to see. Your time spent there will be well-rewarded.
The roundtable article arose from an idea I had to put together a roundtable discussion of some of the most interesting thinkers (and doers) on law practice management issues about the most top-of-mind topic of the day – what should lawyers and law firms (and the profession in general) be doing in this tough economic times?
I wanted to pull together some practical answers to some of the most basic questions that everyone I knew was either grappling with or trying to pretend didn’t exist. The latter is more common, while the former is more recommended.
My practical problem was pulling together a group of experts in the face of a very tight deadline. Fortunately, I found a group of eight who were as generous with their time as they were with their expertise and insights.
Frankly, it’s a stellar cast: Tom Collins (formerly of the Fabulous More Partner Income blog, who I coaxed out of his novel-writing retirement), Jordan Furlong, Patrick Lamb, Bruce “Adam Smith, Esq.” MacEwen, Patrick McKenna, Edward Poll, Allison C. Shields and Merrilyn Astin Tarlton.
And this stellar cast delivers well beyond my high expectations of them. I play the role of moderator and tried to ask the questions that seem to be on most lawyers’ minds.
Here’s a summary of the piece:

The economic turmoil rumbling through the land has lawyers facing layoffs, uncertainty and flat-out fear. In this roundtable discussion, our panel of law practice management experts share their expertise, wisdom and practical tips about what you need to do right now.

There are six parts to the conversation:
1. The Nature of the Crisis – Uncharted Territory.
2. Tell-tale Signs – When Do You Need to Act?
3. Taking a Prudent Approach – Setting the Right Priorities.
4. What Steps Do Make Sense? Some Practical Advice.
5. Predicting the Future.
6. Best Practical Tips.

There are many, many “money quotes” from this article, but let me give you this one from Merrilyn Astin Tarlton:

Convene a meeting of your firm’s decision-makers tomorrow. Agree together to cease hand wringing and start planning. Don’t leave the room until you have a short list of things that must be done and the names of the people who will do them – plus a deadline. Hold each other accountable. Switch from saying “What are we going to do?” to “Here’s what we’re going to do!”

As we say in the article, panic is not a strategy.
I’m proud of this article and highly encourage you to go over to the article and read it from beginning to end. Even better, work your way through the same questions I asked the experts and come up with your own answers to both those questions and the fantastic list of hard questions that Patrick McKenna provides as part of the article.
I put the graphic of the tag cloud at the top of this post for three reasons. First, I’m really intrigued by the visual summary of the article that the tag cloud provides (note that the importance of the word “clients”). Second, the graphic was left off the end of the article, making my last comments in the article quite confusing (at least until it’s fixed). Third, to prove that I actually do know the difference between tag clouds and cloud tags, even though I have a tendency to type “cloud tags” (and I hope to get that corrected in the article as well).
Highly, highly recommended. And just one more example of why I love roundtable articles.
[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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