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 the ‘Musings’ Category

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 (]
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
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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 (]
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
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Thursday, September 11th, 2008

I so associate blue skies with 9/11 that the overcast, drizzly morning was oddly comforting to me.
My commute now takes me by an unexpected 9/11 memorial. Unexpected both in that it is in O’Fallon, Missouri and that it is found in the median of a four lane road. It’s made of large, rusting pieces from the World Trade Center.
It’s not that you ever stop noticing, but some days you notice it more. Today, the three very large flags over it flew at half-mast.
Some days, I find that I want to go up and touch it – to create some kind of tactile and emotional connection.
However, it is in the middle of a busy road and I’ve never seen anyone actually walk up to it.
As I drove by this morning, though, I saw a woman, dress in a business suit, walking to it with a bouquet of flowers, wrapped in plastic. I wondered all day about the story behind that.
When I drove by this evening, still oddly comforted by the gray skies, I noticed the single bouquet still lying on the hedges that surround the rusted metal.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

Gone Biking

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Ah, back to the blog after spending time at the excellent ILTA ’08 conference and the holiday weekend.
I got in quite a bit of seat time on my bike over the weekend (120 miles), with a 50-mile ride this morning.
Here’s a picture of the technology I use for cycling:
The bike was conceived, selected and created for me by cyclist extraordinaire, old school bike designer (yes, it has a lugged frame), and high school classmate, Howard Smith. When it comes to technology, it’s one of my favorites.
I’ll be getting back to legal technology observations and reflections on ILTA shortly.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.
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Calling All St. Louis Bloggers: Helping with the Housing Crisis

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Robert Paterson writes one of the blogs I really enjoy reading. Today, he posts some sobering statistics about the housing crisis, with St. Louis showing up higher on the list than any of us might like to see.
He has also done some cool work with St. Louis public TV, KETC. He is working on a new project that combines these two areas and is looking for St. Louis bloggers who might me able to help him. Read the post and see if this is something you might be willing and able to help Robert with. If so, get in touch with him. In any event, his post is a must-read, whether or not you are in St. Louis. It will also be interesting to see if and how blogging and the Internet can be used to collaborate on these kinds of projects. Please help put out the word.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Join the book’s Facebook Group here.
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Happy 4th Anniversary Wishes to Kevin O’Keefe and LexBlog

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I enjoyed reading Kevin O’Keefe’s post tonight marking the fourth anniversary of LexBlog.
Kevin has done so much to bring blogging to lawyers and I’ve enjoyed watching the steps he’s taken all along the way.
In fact, one of my favorite memories from the early days of lawyer blogging involves Kevin. I had known Kevin for a while and always admired what he did with his Prairielaw site.
In the early days of LexBlog (and Kevin’s blogging), Kevin got in touch with me to talk about blogging and what he was working on. I remember that we finally got the chance to talk on the phone during a layover I had in the Kansas City airport over a terrible cell phone connection. I ended up talking with Kevin until the last possible minute before my flight. I really liked Kevin’s ideas, his plan, and the clarity of his vision for bringing blogging to lawyers. I must admit that he was much more of an optimist than I was. He’s definitely transformed the world of lawyer blogging in great ways.
As Kevin says in his post . . . to the next four years.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Join the book’s Facebook Group here.
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Robert Reich Captures the Spirit of the (Tax) Season

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Like many others, I spent the weekend working on tax returns. No doubt that’s why Robert Reich’s comments in Time to Pay Your Taxes, Support Wall Street, and Take a Licking seem to capture the spirit of the tax season, at least for me. And maybe for you, too. There has to be an easier way to do this.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Now Available: The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.
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By Request Posts Coming Soon

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Got a little busier than I expected, so the blawgiversary series of posts hasn’t happened yet (always a danger of pre-announcing what you’ll do on your blog). Got the birthday celebrated, the book is at the printers and on schedule for a debut at ABA TECHSHOW, and watching the lunar eclipse here tonight took the place of catching up on the blog.
I’ve been working on some by request posts and will probably do them as a batch in the next couple of days.
If you have questions for me that you’d like to see answered as a “by request” post, go ahead and email me. I’ll add them to the list.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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It’s Blawgiversary / Birthday Week at DennisKennedy.Blog

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

This blog got started on February 15, 2003. I got started on February 17, 1958. This blog was a birthday present to myself. I have a tradition of doing a week of special posts on this blog to celebrate. Welcome to the 2008 version of blawgiversary / burthday week.
If someone asked me what has changed the most in the world of blawgs in the last five years, I’d have to say that things have gotten a LOT more serious and focused. Perhaps it was the freedom that came in the early days with knowing that you had about a half a dozen readers (all of whom you knew), but I used to do some posts that no one would ever advise a lawyer blogger to do these days. A great example was my somewhat infamous “Metallica post.” Ah, well, one of my essential blogging guidelines is to be sure to break the “rules” from time to time.
In its own odd way, blawgiversary week has proven to be almost as controversial as my Blawggie awards. It’s meant to be a way to have fun (especially some fun at my own expense) and as a form of a reader appreciation week. So, let’s have some fun.
This is a big year for this blog and me. Five years for the blog and fifty years for me. It’s also a big year for multiples of five around me. My father-in-law will be celebrate his 90th birthday this weekend. My daughter turns 15. My wife and I celebrate our 20th anniversary this summer. This is my 25th year of practicing law. You see the theme.
Every year, I try to arrange some special things to recognize blawgiversary / birthday week, and I’ve outdone myself this year. I’ve talked NASCAR into running the Daytona 500 (also celebrating its 50th birthday) on my birthday and the federal government into making this a three-day weekend. Ahem.
So, for the next week, I’ll be doing a few things to celebrate. First and foremost, I’ll be doing as many “by request” posts as I can. If you have a question for me, leave a comment or drop me an email at denniskennedyblog @ and I’ll turn the answer into a post.
I’ll also try to come up with a treat or two. In the past, I’ve been able to make special discounts and free downloads of software available. If you are a vendor and want to do a special promotion this week, let me know and we’ll see if we can put something together in the next few days or at a later time.
Anyway, this is a time to remind people that the best part of blogging is that it is fun.
[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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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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