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

Posts Tagged ‘column’

Two New Tech Columns: Law Firm Apps and Departure Policies

Monday, April 1st, 2013

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

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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: Manage App Overload on your iPad or iPhone with Folders

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

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?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

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.

My ABA Journal Tech Columns

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Someone recently asked me if all of my monthly American Bar Association Journal articles are collected in one place.

They aren’t, but I wanted see if I could create a link to saved search that would, as a practical matter, let people see them all in one place. (Here’s the link.)

When I did that, I noticed that I am fast approaching 5 years of writing the column. It first appeared in November 2007.

I remember how excited I was to get the call from Ed Adams about taking over the tech column. It’s a great list of topics that the columns have covered and my editor, Reg Davis, has been, if I may use the word, awesome to work with over the years.

The idea of the column is to write in a very practical way about a useful technology audience in a way that potentially appeals to all lawyers who read the ABA Journal. That can be a challenge, to put it mildly, but I always have fun writing the column. I’ve also enjoyed the comments most of the columns have generated. Well, except maybe the comments taking me to task for not covering everything about a topic in the 600 words I have to address the topic.

Anyway, here’s a link to a saved search that will take you to all the articles I’ve written for the ABA Journal (link).

I’ve been vowing to update the list of all my articles over the years, but I haven’t made much progress. However, you can go to the “Articles” category archive on this blog to find many of my articles. I’ve also been toying with the idea of putting together a selection of my best articles and blog posts as a low-priced or free ebook. Let me know if you might have any interest in that so I can gauge the potential interest and 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.

Twitter Talk – My Latest ABA Journal Column

Monday, October 8th, 2012

My latest ABA Journal tech column is called “Twitter Talk: Its Search and Trends Can Keep You Up to Speed.” The column provides some practical pointers on ways lawyers can benefit from using Twitter without the need to learn how to “tweet.”

In my experience speaking to lawyers, Twitter is the social media platform lawyers have the most difficulty seeing where the value might be. In this column, I focused on the non-tweeting side of twitter – search and trends.

I cover the basic details and highlight ways lawyers have used and might use Twitter search and trends. I’ve long used these tools and have always found them valuable. I always encourage lawyers to experiment with search and trends before they write off Twitter as something that makes no sense for them. You should do that too – you might be surprised at how much you can learn by using Twitter without actually tweeting.

Money quote:

Even if tweeting does not make sense for you, Twitter Search and trends as monitoring tools might.

Read the entire column at Twitter Talk: Its Search and Trends Can Keep You Up to Speed.

[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. 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.

Planning for Your Digital Estate – My New ABA Journal Tech Column

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

My August ABA Journal tech column is called “Of Sound Mind: Make Plans for Your Digital Estate.” The column provides a quick overview of and some practical pointers for the increasingly-complex issues and questions that arise in handling our digital assets after we can no longer manage them ourselves.

I’ve been fascinated by this issue for years and first wrote about it in 2010 when my friend Wendy Werner talked me into writing a primer on “digital estate planning” issues for the Law Practice Today webzine. That article was called “Estate Planning for your Digital Assets” and is one of my favorite articles that I’ve written in the last few years. I also got a very good response to the article.

As many readers know, I spent most of the first half of my legal career in the estate planning and tax field. It’s no wonder that the combination of estate planning and technology issues would interest me.

I’ve gotten the chance recently to talk a number of people who are also interested in this topic, most notably my friend Sharon Nelson and my personal estate planning lawyer and former law partner, Jackie Dimmitt.

Tom Mighell and I also did a podcast on this topic called “Planning for Your Digital Estate.”

The ABA Journal article is an attempt to distill a very complex topic into a 600 word format and offer a few practical pointers. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive treatise, but to start an important discussion. I like the way it turned out and invite you to read it.

As I ask in the article:

What happens to your online accounts, computer files and other “digital assets” when you die or become incapacitated? More importantly, what do you want to happen to them?

As usual, it comes down to people issues more so than technology issues. The best recommendation I have is point #5 – choose the right person. The traditional fiduciary choices probably are not the best choices for dealing with all of technology remains, especially all your Internet accounts. An estate planning lawyer is not reasonably knowledgeable of and comfortable with the issues of your digital estate and savvy about when and how to get help might cause your survivors undue stress and mishandle significant issues.

As I say in my conclusion: “The collision of the real world and the digital world always results in surprising consequences. Are you taking steps to ensure that the right things happen?”

Money quote:

How will your Internet friends get notice of your death, and can key accounts be accessed quickly and easily?

A very important topic that we all need to think about in more detail. Read the entire column at Of Sound Mind: Make Plans for Your Digital Estate.

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

The new book Allison Shields and I have written called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers” is now available and also 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.

My New ABA Journal Tech Column on Vulnerability Testing

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

My July ABA Journal tech column is called “Are You Vulnerable? Sometimes a Good Hack Can Help.” The column provides a gentle introduction to vulnerability testing as part of your security efforts.

The focus of the column is on simple assessment as a key building block of your security plan – how do you know what steps to take if you don’t know where you currently stand? I take a look at some do-it-yourself tools, but concentrate on the idea of hiring a third party to do some vulnerability testing, something sometimes known as “white hat hacking.”

In vulnerability testing, the third party expert, at your direction, probes your network and systems and reports on the vulnerabilities it finds. You can take that report to determine where your security might need to be shored up.

Although you might think that this is something only for large firms, it’s important to realize that many smaller firms handle lots of sensitive client data, as well as internal firm data. You should be able to find providers of vulnerability assessments who will offer flat-fee options in the few thousand dollar range.

As I say in the column: “And since security is a process rather than a destination, vulnerability assessments should be performed from time to time on a schedule that makes sense for your practice.”

Money quote:

Data breaches can be time-consuming, publicly embarrassing and costly to deal with, and they might require notifications and even law enforcement involvement.

Read the entire column at Are You Vulnerable? Sometimes a Good Hack Can Help.

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

The new book Allison Shields and I have written called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers” is now available and also 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.

Data Dieting

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

My latest tech column for the ABA Journal is called “Data Diet: Feed Your Head with a Better Info Balance.”

This column grew out of some podcasts I listened to of interviews with Clay Johnson about his new book, The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption.

Some of Johnson’s main themes won’t be a big surprise to you – decreasing the quantity of information you consume – but he also makes some great points about improving the quality of your information intake as well. As I say, “We might want to reduce our intake, but we also want to improve the ‘nutrition’ of what we do consume.”

This ABA Journal column gives an overview of Johnson’s ideas and gives a few suggestions for improving your data diet.

We’ve recently gone to a lower word count on the column, so I don’t go into a lot of detail. (Lower word counts are a mixed blessing for me – a little easier to write, but not everything will fit.) My idea is give you you some good starting points and practical ideas.

I’m also hoping the comments section will let other people contribute their ideas. I see that the initial comments mention the idea of listening to podcasts at double speed, one of my favorite suggestions.

The money quote:

Social media analyst Clay Shirky has famously said we suffer from filter failure rather than information overload. Concentrating on improving your information diet might be the best move you can make this year.

Check out the article here.

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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.

Dealing With Disasters with Technology at Hand

Monday, February 13th, 2012

My latest tech column for the ABA Journal is called “Got Disaster? Your On-Hand Technology Can See You Through.”

This column grew out of a podcast Tom Mighell and I did called Technology in a Time of Emergency, which was, in a way, our response to the tenth anniversary of 9-11 and which also grew out of some long power outages I went through over the years and the history of how blogging and social media have played roles in major natural and other disasters. I recommend the podcast episode highly – it’s one of our favorites and it has a lot of useful information and insights.

This ABA Journal column is a short version of some of the ideas in the podcast, distilled down to a few main take-aways.

The money quote:

I don’t want to downplay the importance of data backup and disaster recovery. However, in a real disaster, our concerns are more personal, more visceral and more immediate than just our data.

The article focuses on four key areas – electricity conservation, SMS, smartphones and apps, and Twitter and social media – and gives a few ideas on ways they can help you when you face the unexpected. Although I hope you never have to use any of these ideas, it’s best to be prepared.

Check out the article here.

[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.

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Setting Your Legal Tech Priorities for 2012: BYO Upgrades Exercise

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

My latest tech column for the ABA Journal is called “BYO Upgrades: How to Set Your Priorities.”

My editor, Reg Davis, gets the credit for this topic. The premise was to imagine you have a good technology budget (we said $3,000) and assume that everything was possible in terms of technology and policy.

The idea is that this simple exercise would tell you a lot about what you want, what is important to you, and where your priorities are. Once you complete the exercise, you can do a little analysis. For example, if you wanted to spend $600 of your $3,000 on training, you might question the actual percentage of your tech budget you are spending on training.

I make some suggestions in the article, based on my perspective, but the key to this exercise is that you determine your own answers.

As I conclude, “Most of us will find a gap between what we are spending money on and what we think we want to spend on. Closing that gap is a great technology goal for 2012.”

I enjoyed writing this column and hope that you enjoy it and find it helpful. Check out the article here.

[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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