Must-have Apps for Lawyers – My New ABA Journal Column

My latest “Kennedy on Tech” ABA journal column is my attempt to answer a question I frequently hear from lawyers – “What mobile apps should I have?”

ABAJ Column - Feb 2015

One of the things that intrigues me most about our new world of apps is how personalized each of our experiences using tech, especially mobile devices, has become. The apps that I like might not be the ones you like. The apps I use most might well be apps you don’t even use. It becomes more difficult than ever to compare what I’m seeing on my screens to what you are seeing on your screens.

As a result, I find that lists of “best” apps or even app reviews to be somewhat unhelpful for me.

In my new column, the title largely reveals my point of view: “Which apps are must-haves? It depends on your practice.”

In the article, I set out a framework for you to use when considering what mobile apps might work best for you.

I divided apps into four categories:

  1. Apps for programs you already use.
  2. Apps for convenience.
  3. Apps for how you work.
  4. The elusive “other” types of apps.

The money quote:

There are plenty of useful apps out there, especially if you take a step back and think about how you practice, how you use mobile devices and the intersection of the two.

Mobile apps are especially good for three things: allowing you to perform tasks anywhere and at any time, extending the range of what you can do with computer programs or Web services, and taking advantage of the features of a mobile device (camera, microphone, sensors) to give you new tools right at hand.

As always, I like to hear what you think of these columns. Let me know. Longtime column readers will notice that the column has a new photo of me.

[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

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

MoBar Lex Port Legal Tech Conference – October 3 & 4

If you will be in the St. Louis area on October 3 and 4, there’s a great legal tech conference called Lex Port that the Missouri Bar Association is putting on. In just its second year, Lex Port has a great schedule of programs, national legal tech speakers (Mike Downey, Ben Schorr, Jeff Taylor and Paul Unger), an attractive price, and, I’ve already been told, an impressive number of attendees already registered, I believe doubling the excellent attendance of the inaugural event last year.

Lex Port logo

However, there’s always room for more, and walk-up registration is still possible. Check with the Missouri Bar. We’d like to see you at the conference in St. Charles, Missouri.

The agenda (see details here) is wide-ranging, with lots of great topics, from Microsoft Office programs to ethics to tablet and apps to technology law topics and much more.

I’ll be speaking at three sessions on Friday, October 4:

FACEBOOK IN 50 MINUTES FOR LAWYERS

Facebook has more than 1 BILLION users. What does this mean for lawyers? Is Facebook right for you and your practice? Whether you simply want to know enough about Facebook to advise your clients or you want to jump in or improve your Facebook presence, this practical session will provide you with strategies, lessons and tips for using Facebook to achieve personal and professional goals. You will learn how to decide whether Facebook makes sense for you and your practice, setting up a personal and/or professional presence, dealing with privacy and security settings, and much more.

DEATH, DISABILITY & DIGITAL ESTATE PLANNING

We all now have a growing base of digital “property” – passwords, online accounts, photos and much more. What happens to your digital assets on death or incapacity? Do traditional probate rules and concepts work in the parallel universe of digital property? Who can access online accounts? How do you obtain passwords? How can digital property be accessed and transferred to heirs? How do we prepare for dealing with our increasingly online world? This practical session will look at the issues that have already arisen, future concerns and how laws and lawyers are trying to keep up with online trends.

50 APPS IN 50 MINUTES (with Jeff Taylor and Lucas Boling)

Over 1,000,000 Android Apps, more than 900,000 iPhone and iPad apps, and 130,000+ Windows Phone apps – with so many choices, how do you find apps relevant to your practice and your busy life? You will not want to miss this fast-paced session that highlights 50 of the best apps for the legal professional.

The great people at the Missouri Bar Association always do a great job with conferences and I expect this year’s Lex Port conference to exceed the high standard set by last year’s event.

I hope to see you there. As always, I enjoy meeting readers of this blog. Please feel free to introduce yourself.

- Dennis Kennedy

[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

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

Summer Vacation Tech and Browser Apps: New Podcasts

Let me recommend two new episodes of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast in which Tom and I take a look at how technology can enhance your summer vacation and discuss the “other apps” – browser extensions, apps and plugins. These are are first two regular episodes after our blockbuster hundredth anniversary episode for the Legal Talk Network titled “Pardon Our 100th Interruption“.

Here are the show descriptions:

#102 – Summer Vacation Technology [LTN] [LTRC]

Summer and vacation seasons are approaching. Some prefer to completely disconnect on vacation, while others like to stay connected. Work aside, those who choose to stay connected can use technology to make their trips more manageable and stress free with travel apps, adapters, and travel-friendly cameras. In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss the intersection of technology and vacation, whether to connect or disconnect while traveling, and some of their favorite vacation and travel tech tips. In the second half of the show, your hosts will cover the accelerated speed of cloud-based interface updates and how to keep up.

This episode takes a very practical look at technology in the non-work context and shares lessons from Tom’s recent Mediterranean vacation. In the B segment, we vented a bit about how many of our favorite web services seem to be making major interface changes these days, often overnight and with no warning. You might have noticed the same thing. I’m not sure what we can really do about this, other than to be adaptable and resilient.

#101 – Taking Advantage of Apps and Plug-ins [LTN] [LTRC]

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell enter the realm of apps and plug-ins. Also known as web extensions, browser apps, add-ons, and bookmarklets, these additions to web browsers are made to make your Internet browser experience more efficient. Learn your hosts’ favorite web extensions when browsing for leisure and for work, and how to manage your apps and plug-ins so they don’t slow down your browser speed. The second half of the episode turns toward Internet communication, more specifically, how Twitter users are creating hashtags to express their moods in posts and how this changes the meaning and use of the hashtag.

With all of the focus on smartphone and tablet apps (I’m actually speaking on that topic later today), you might overlook the world of browser apps (Google Chrome extensions, Firefox add-ons, and the like) and how they can enhance your Internet browsing experience. Tom and I explain how they work and suggest some helpful apps. I’ve been wanting to increase my use of these apps and got to take advantage of Tom’s expertise in this area. I suspect that you’ll find some helpful advice, too. In the B segment, we look at the cool trend in hashtags (on Twitter and, increasingly, elsewhere) to use hashtags to make comments and meta-observations in addition to the original use of self-categorization (#ifthatisthataword). I used to think that the 140 character limit made it difficult to say that I wanted to say, but now I find that that I have plenty of room to make a point and also use a hashtag to make a metacomment (#funnyhowthatworks).

Remember the podcast is now available at two places: the Legal Talk Network and the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center. And it’s available in iTunes, where you can subscribe and have new episodes appear in iTunes automatically when they are released. As always, if you have ideas for topics or questions for us to answer on the podcast, let us know.

- Dennis Kennedy

[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.

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/)]

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.

The Return of Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast – Four New Episodes

Tom and I have rebooted our podcast after a brief hiatus with four really good new shows, a second channel and what feels like a bright future for the podcast.

First of all, we’re grateful to Adam, Trent, Keoki and the team at the new Legal Talk Network for keeping LTN going and keeping our podcast in their lineup, with all the archives (and iTunes subscription feed) still available and a lot of fresh new ideas for the podcast. Check out what LTN is doing.

And we are also grateful to Josh Poje at the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center for helping us set up a second channel for the podcast at the LTRC site as part of a new legal technology podcast network.

What does that mean? Existing subscribers (RSS and iTunes) should be receiving the new shows automatically. New listeners will find the past four episodes and future episodes on both the Legal Talk Network and the Legal Technology Resource Center. Think of the new approach as a dual-channeled effort to get the podcast to new audiences. At both places, you’ll get the audio content Tom and I create, but in a slightly different wrapper (sponsorship, identifiers, etc.), depending on how you access the podcast.

We’ll be releasing new episodes every other week.

The new episodes are episodes 94, 95, 96 and 97. Observant readers will note that we are fast approaching episode 100 and plan to do a special episode in honor of that.

The new episodes:

#97 – The Internet of Things and Our Virtual Lives. [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, we discuss the idea of “the Internet of Things” and the implication of a world where more machines now connect to the Internet than people. Perhaps we have yet to see how much the Internet can do for us. I also talk a bit about my cool experience with personal genome sequencing with the 23andMe service.

#96 – Taking Control of Your Mobile Apps. [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, Tom and I confess to how many apps we have downloaded and installed on our mobile devices. I try to blame Tom’s iPad App in One Hour for Lawyers book for that. We talk about the growing need to organize and manage apps and then explain the basic ways to do that. We also answer a question about whether you should choose and iPad Mini or an iPad.

#95 – Digital Cameras in Law: Are Smartphones Enough? [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, we turn my recent failure to get a decent photo of two bears fishing salmon out of a stream near Lake Tahoe into a meditation on the role always-at-hand digital cameras in smartphones and devices can play in today’s practice of law. We have a lot of ideas and practical suggestions. We also answer a question on what are our best new presentation tips for 2013.

#94 – Top Legal Blogs & State of the Blawgosphere in 2013 [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, we are happy to be back to the podcast and discuss what seems to be a renewed interest in law-related blogging, my 2012 Blawggie awards, and our favorite law-related blogs. We have many new blogs for you to try if you don’t already read them. We also take the bold step of revealing our own 2013 technology resolutions.

To longtime listeners, we thank you for your patience and hope that you return to regular listening. To new listeners, sample a few episodes and consider subscribing.

We’re happy to be back. As always, if you have ideas for topics or questions for us to answer on the podcast, let us know.

And, if you will be at ABA TECHSHOW, consider joining Tom and me at a Taste of TECHSHOW dinner we will be hosting. Even if you don’t attend the dinner, make sure that you say hello at TECHSHOW and let us know that you listen to the podcast. We really enjoy meeting our audience.

[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.