What Tech Gifts Do You Recommend for Techie Lawyers (and Others)?

[Note: I’m running a Q&A series all the rest of December on DennisKennedy.Blog (details here).]

What Tech Gifts Do You Recommend for Techie Lawyers (and Others)?

The answer is: Normally, I don’t make these kinds of recommendations, leaving that task in the excellent hands of people like Reid Trautz, who has posted the latest edition of his annual gift guide for lawyers.

However, there is one item that I see as the must have for techie lawyers, especially those who travel a lot. It’s perfect for all of my friends who speak regularly on legal tech and have so many gadgets and chargers that their hotel rooms look like they are decorated with Christmas lights.

Here it is.

Ok, admit it, I made you laugh. However, I really do think a sleep mask is great for travel.

Before I give me some of my general thoughts, let me recommend the gift guide that Allison Shields posted, which links to a number of tech gift guides, including the 2012 Holiday Tech Toys podcast from Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway, an annual tradition.

Here are a few of my thoughts.

It’s difficult to give (or receive in some cases) tech gifts, especially as tech has become so much more personal. For example, I’m really liking my iPad Mini and would thoroughly recommend it, if it fits your use case. However, giving it as a gift is tricky because the amount of memory that makes sense will vary from person to person. It’s nice to get an iPod, iPad or other device, but if it doesn’t have enough memory or isn’t in the color you want, it’s not quite as nice as you hope it would be. It’s best to determine what your gift recipient really wants, which takes away the surprise element.

Headphones are another example of a tech gift where people have certain ideas and requirements in mind. I have a collections of headphones and earphones, each of which has a specific use. That said, I’ll put in a good word for the MEElectronics M6-BK-MEE Sport Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones with Memory Wire that I use when I work out. Great price, good sound and they stay in my ears well and block out music and other sounds in the fitness center where I work out.

I tend to take a practical approach to tech and I think that approach works really well for tech gifts. For the techies on your list, I’d suggest the practical stuff, things like cables, chargers, connectors and the like. You really can never have enough, especially if you speak and travel. External hard drives and higher capacity USB drives will always be appreciated – you can’t have too many.

For the tech speaker on your list, the hottest thing among speakers is using an Apple TV and Airplay so you can present wirelessly with an iPad. They’ll be happy to see an Apple TV.

A gift card to buy some apps is another good idea.

Not surprisingly, I also recommend one or more of the reasonably-priced “In One Hour” books from the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section. I’ve ready many of them and you can pick topics that interest your gift recipient. I especially like the ones of LinkedIn and Facebook, but I might be a little biased.

If you have a question for me to answer in this series, you may submit it for me through the usual channels – email at denniskennedyblog @ gmail . com, a comment left on the original post about the Q&A series, this post or a subsequent post, or through Twitter (@dkennedyblog), or whatever other way you want to reach 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

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.

An Attendee’s Guide to ABA TECHSHOW 2012

ABA TECHSHOW runs from Thursday to Saturday this week. It’s my favorite legal technology conference, although I might be a bit biased because I was on the TECHSHOW Board for a few years.

Unfortunately, as some readers already know, I’m not going to be able to attend this year because I’m in the process of recovering from a blood clot in my leg. I’m feeling better, but not enough. That’s very disappointing to me because I was scheduled to speak at two sessions, the book Allison Shields and I wrote, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, will debut at TECHSHOW, and I’ll miss see all of my friends in the legal technology world.

As I thought about this development, I decided that I’d write a blog post that was a little bit about what I’d do if I were at TECHSHOW and a little bit about what I’d recommend others do while at TECHSHOW.

My first recommendation would be to read Peter Bregman’s great Harvard Business Review article about attending conferences called “How to Attend a Conference as Yourself.”

The secret to attending TECHSHOW is to realize that it’s a great gathering of lawyers who want to use technology in their practices. In many firms, these lawyers can’t find other lawyers with the same interests and passion about technology. At TECHSHOW, lawyers often say that they didn’t realize that there were so many lawyers like them.

The best thing you can do is to introduce yourself to and talk to others at TECHSHOW – attendees, speaker, vendors. Especially speakers. TECHSHOW speakers enjoy talking to attendees about technology. See the speaker ribbon on an ID badge as an inviting to say hello, not as a barrier.


There’s a smartphone app for TECHSHOW. Download and install it in preparation. I’d also go over the agenda and identify the sessions you want to attend. TECHSHOW has always focused on education. It’s a conference where it makes sense to attend as many educational sessions as you can. The speakers always have a practical focus. Arrive at TECHSHOW with your list of the sessions you want to attend. Also, it’s OK to slip out of a session if it’s not what you want and move over to another session. The sessions are close to each other in location.

Wednesday Afternoon.

If you arrive on Wednesday, get yourself registered and get your name badge right away on Wednesday afternoon. Wear the badge so others know that you are attending TECHSHOW and introduce yourself to other attendees.

Wednesday Evening.

I’d recommend trying to get into the LexThink .1 event. It’ll be a fast, thought-provoking and fun session of twelve 6-minute presentations. Matt Homann and JoAnna Forshee know how to put on a great show. And it’s free. Make it your mission to talk to as many new people as you can.

There’s also an opening reception. I wouldn’t miss it.

Then take advantage of any opportunity to hang out with other attendees after the event in the hotel. A key point: you can’t really network from your hotel room.


Especially if you are a first-time attendee, but everyone should see TECHSHOW chair Reid Trautz’s intro address first thing in the morning. Reid is a great speaker and he’ll help you map our the highlights of TECHSHOW.

Then, make it your goal to wear yourself out by attending as many sessions as you can, visiting the exhibit floor and meeting as many people as you can. People are very welcoming at TECHSHOW. Find an empty seat at a table at lunch and invite yourself.

Also, take advantage of the Conference Concierge booth, Adrian Linares’s great contribution to the TECHSHOW. The Conference Concierge booth sits at the entrance to TECHSHOW is staffed by speakers and TECHSHOW Board members with the goal of answering all your questions. From directions to sessions and restrooms to signing up for Taste of TECHSHOW dinners to answering tech questions, this booth is the place for information. You’ll often find the speakers you want to meet at the booth helping out. It’s a great place to talk to speakers you’d like to meet. I always found the booth so much fun that I worked it even at times I hadn’t volunteered for.

If you’ve done your pre-work, you will have identified the sessions you want to attend and vendors you want to visit. I’ll recommend especially the two sessions I’ll be missing in action as a speaker. First, Allison Shields at 10:30 in the Meet the Authors session for our new book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers. Allison is so knowledgeable on LinkedIn and she’s planning to answer questions about how lawyers can best use LinkedIn. Then, at 2:00, check out the session called Coffee Shop Office: The Ethics of Mobile Computing, where Sharon Nelson and Tom Mighell will be speaking on the vital topic of mobile security. I’ve seen the slides and the session should be excellent.

End up your first full day with the traditional opening reception.

Did I really say end your day? Not at all. One of the great thing at TECHSHOW is the Taste of TECHSHOW dinners. Arranged by topic, these dinners allow about ten people to sign up for dinners at nearby restaurants hosted by topic experts. Some are already sold out, so check out what’s available online. You can also sign up at the Conference Concierge desk. Here’s a little-known tip: there are usually some last-minute cancellations, so check at the Concierge booth to see if a spot will open up for you. Also, watch for places other attendees are hanging out in the hotel in the evening and join in.


Get up early and dive right in. Repeat the overloaded schedule from Thursday (get your money’s worth). I’ll recommend what would have been my other session at 3:30 called Running Your Practice Entirely in the Cloud: From Start Up to a Large Virtual Firm, with Chad Burton and Catherine Sanders Reach. Again, I know what will be presented and it should be a great session.

Make sure you spend time on Friday visiting all the vendors whose products you want to learn more about.

End the day with the Beer and Bloggers event, another Taste of TECHSHOW dinner or have dinner with new friends you’ve met. My motto: If there’s an event on the schedule, try to attend it.

Extend your evening by finding where people are hanging out at the hotel. You can learn a lot in these evening conversations.


It’s the good kind of tired, believe me. The Saturday sessions are usually excellent. I especially recommend Jim Calloway’s plenary session on the future of law practice. TECHSHOW closes with the traditional 60 Sites in 60 Minutes session.


Whether you use LinkedIn, email or phone, make sure you stay in contact with the new friends you made. Most importantly, if you are not already a member of the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section, give very serious thought to joining the Section.

As I like to say, technology is more about people than it is about technology. Nothing proves my point more than TECHSHOW. I’m so disappointed I won’t be able to attend, but I hope this guide helps you get the greatest benefit from your experience.

[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. Also, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

A Podcast Listener’s Guide – Podcast

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 “A Podcast Listener’s Guide” (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.

Here’s the episode (#35) description:

Lawyers have started to dabble in listening to and creating podcasts. Most of the emphasis we see is on how to create podcasts. However, listening regularly to podcasts can bring you a treasure trove of timely and practical information, especially if you don’t have time to read everything in your “to read” stack. In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell offer some great tips and techniques for improving your use of podcasts, making the most of your listening time, and generally opening the doors to an underused information resource.

I’ve talked to a number of people recently who listen to the occasional podcast, but don’t really seem to take advantage of greats ways to use podcasts. People tell me that they listen to podcasts they find a direct link to or they visit the website of a podcast to download an episode from time to time. In most cases, they don’t seem to take advantage of the best way to consume podcasts – subscribing to them.

At the same time, I noticed that most of the articles and posts I see about podcasts, especially for lawyers, seem to focus on whether and how to produce your own podcast.

As in most aspects of the Internet these days, you can get benefit from being a producer or a consumer. Too often, people neglect the significant benefits of becoming a smart consumer of content. Hence, the idea for this podcast.

I’ve listened to audio content (books on tape, seminars, CDs, etc.) for many years. I’m definitely an audio learner.

I also noticed several years ago that you could listen to commercial radio on a short car trip and never hear anything other than commercials or DJ promotional chatter for your whole trip. Even National Public Radio, which reduces the “commercials,” still gives you the audio content in the order they want.

As we mention several times in the podcast, the key way to think about podcasts is as “Tivo for radio.” This is especially true since organizations like NPR make so much of their daily content available for free later as podcasts. By subscribing to podcasts, you can listen to programs when you want, where you want and in the ways you want. You might listen on an iPod or on your computer, in your car or office or while working out.

Two key points:

First, the big benefit I see to podcasts is the control it gives you as a listener. You can determine what you listen to when and where. It’s difficult to overestimate the value of portability. If you use iTunes, you also are able to use its control features (organizing into playlists, listening at double speed, et al.).

Second, you really need to take advantage of the ability to subscribe to podcasts, either through iTunes or via an RSS feed. By subscribing, the podcasts automatically come to you and you never have to go out again and look for individual episodes. Your task becomes one of management rather than finding.

We go into all of this in a good amount of detail on the podcast. I think you’ll find it helpful.

As a note, if Tom seems surprised at one point, it’s because he actually was surprised that he had convinced me to change my approach and use the method he uses. I actually am willing to consider good ideas and and make changes based on them.

In our “Questions and Answers” segment, we anticpate our audience question (i.e., “What podcasts do you listen to?”) and provide a list (and mini-reviews) of some of our favorite podcasts these days. You can put together a pretty good list just by taking notes from this section.

We end the podcast with our Parting Shots – practical tips you can use right away. Tom, a huge fan of e-books, recommends Calibre as an e-book management tool. I note a great little Internet Explorer 8 tip our friend Adriana Linares tweeted recently – simply hitting the key will reveal the standard menus (File, Edit, View, etc.) at the top that are missing from the standard view in IE8. It’s a simple tip that can make your life just a little easier.

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