Reflections on 2014 College of Law Practice Management’s Futures Conference

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be inducted as a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management, joining a group full of people I have long admired and gotten the opportunity to speak, write and work with over the years.COLPM Induction 2 - 10730193_10152796951291407_5441207644036415288_n

Even better, I got to attend the 2014 Futures Conference held at Suffolk University School of Law. Suffolk could not have been a better host and the program – a combination of TED-type talks and brainstorming sessions leading to a “Shark Tank” competition was quite fun, giving both the opportunity to learn and the chance to meet and collaborate with many other attendees. My thanks to everyone involved with the conference.

Tom Mighell and I devoted a recent episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast – “The College of Law Practice Management’s 2014 Futures Conference” – to our reflections on the conference and I recommend it for your listening.

Deborah Murray, on the Law Firm 4.0 Blog, has posted notes from the sessions and speakers and a great list of links to posts about the conference from other attendees.

The Futures Conference is an annual event. I recommend that you keep it on your radar as a place you might want to be in 2015.

[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.

Announcing the 2013 Blawggie Awards – Tenth Edition

Welcome to the 2013 edition of Dennis Kennedy’s annual Best of Law-related Blogging Awards, affectionately known as the “Blawggies.”

The Blawggies, which honor the best law-related blogs as determined from my personal and highly-opinionated perspective, were first unleashed on an unsuspecting blogosphere in December 2004 and are an annual tradition here at DennisKennedy.Blog.

This historic tenth edition of the awards makes them the longest running annual awards list for law-related blogs selected by a lawyer named Dennis Kennedy living in St. Louis, Missouri. What was originally just a crazy idea turned into a bit of an institution in the world of law-related blogging, illustrating my original premise: “Hey, I have a blog and there’s nothing stopping me from making up my own awards.”

I’ve included some explanatory and historical information about the Blawggies at the end of this post. As I’ve said before and explain in more detail at the end of this post, the Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. I choose the winners from only the blogs I read regularly. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone as I write this post.

Executive Summary.

Spoiler Alert In this era of short attention spans, many people, especially lawyers, do not like three thousand word posts such as this one. Even fewer like long introductions to even long blog posts, or reading through commentary to learn the award winners. What follows is the executive summary list of winners. If you’d like to keep up the level of suspense, you’ll want to scroll quickly past the summary list. If all you really want to know is whether I mention you or your blawg, hit control-F (or command-F for Mac users) and search for your name or your blawg’s name.

Here’s the list of the award winners. I will encourage you to read the whole post for details and the runner-up choices, and my thoughts about the blawgs. And I definitely encourage you to add the RSS feeds to all of these blogs to your RSS reader or “regularly-visited blogs” list.

2013 Blawggie Award Categories and Winners.


1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – 3 Geeks and a Law Blog

2. The “Marty Schwimmer” Best Practice-Specific Legal Blog – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Adam Smith, Esq.

4. Best Law-related Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

5. The “Kennedy-Mighell Report” Best Legal Podcast – The Return of the Legal Talk Network

6. The “Sherry Fowler” Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Legal Skills Prof Blog

8. The “DennisKennedy.Blog” Best Legal Technology Blog – V. Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM

9. Best New Blawg – Jerry Lawson’s NetLawTools

10. Best Blawg Aggregator – Tie: TechnoLawyer’s BlawgWorld; Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest

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I encourage you to keep reading this post to learn about the winning blogs (and why I felt that they were winners) and about the runners-up.

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THE 2013 BLAWGGIE AWARDS

1. Best Overall Law-Related Blog – 3 Geeks and a Law Blog

I decided to single out the excellent 3 Geeks and a Law Blog not only for great content, but also for its ability to generate serious discussions. With everyone involved in several forms of social media, “engagement” and discussion with blog posts and blog comments is becoming harder to find than ever before. This blog has raised a lot of great questions about law and law practice and gotten people talking about those issues. I admit the authors and especially like how they’ve been able to keep a group blog going in a vibrant way – a rarity in the blawg world. My hat is off to 3 Geeks and a Law Blog for making themselves an easy choice for this award in 2013. Congratulations to Toby Brown, Greg Lambert, Lisa Salazar and their team of helpers.

Runner-up – Jordan Furlong’s Law21 blog won the 2012 Blawggie in the “best overall” category and continued in a very strong fashion this year, ending the year with a thought-provoking post called “You Say You Want a Revolution” that’s garnered a lot of attention. The post exemplifies Jordan’s coverage of law practice and the legal profession with insight, creativity and a willingness to challenge business-as-usual approaches.

2. The Marty Schwimmer Best Practice-Specific Blog – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

This category is named for Marty Schwimmer, whose The Trademark Blog, has long been my gold standard for what a practice-specific blog should be. Cybersecurity, discovery and data privacy have become front-and-center issues for many lawyers in 2013 (and should become top of mind for many more lawyers). I’ve really enjoyed Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning blog this year. She focuses on computer security and ediscovery, but has branched out in privacy and other areas. The posts are practical and thoughtful and often cover breaking developments with real-world insights. These topics cut across all traditions areas of law practice and I give this award in part in recognition that lawyers should no longer think of their niche practice areas as isolated islands that are somehow unaffected by the changes technology is bringing us.

Runner-up – The Inhouse Blog took the runner-up prize in this category for 2013. Since I work as an in-house counsel, this blog is a very useful resource with practical information, links, news and developments relevant to in-house counsel. Highly recommended for anyone who is an in-house counsel, wants to be an in-house counsel or wants to work better with in-house counsel.

3. Best Law Practice Management Blog – Adam Smith, Esq.

The Adam Smith, Esq. blog has long been the gold standard in analytical study of the practice of law, with an emphasis on legal economics. The blog usually focuses on so-called BigLaw issues, but there is much to be learned for firms of all sizes. The blog also does the occasional longer, multi-part thought pieces that are well worth your time and attention.

Runner-up – Allison Shields’ LegalEase Blog. I know that Allison had to spend time away from her blog this year to write two books with me, but her blog (and email newsletter) have lots of great practical tips. There’s a series of time management tips she’s been writing and I really like her recent experiments with infographics.

4. Best Law-related Blog Category – Law Librarian Blogs

I use this category annually to highlight the blogs written by law librarians, a category that I don’t think gets enough attention. These blogs are places to find great information, help for finding information, links to great resources and just plain interesting insights into topics like knowledge management and our changing world of information. If you want to try just one, Sabrina Pacifici’s BeSpacific Blog provides a steady stream of links to great US government and other information. The Law Librarian Blog is a great starting place and there’s a great list of law library blogs here.

Runner-up – Non-US Law-related Blogs – I also use this category to remind people that blawgging is a global phenomenon. As longtime readers know, I’m a huge fan of Canadian bloggers. As I’ve said before, “If you only have US blogs on your reading list, you need to go global.” Diversity is a good thing. Why not start in Canada? The annual Clawbie awards will give you a starter list. In the UK, I especially like the Legal Futures Blog.

5. The Kennedy-Mighell Report Best Legal Podcast – The Return of the Legal Talk Network

I name this category after the podcast Tom Mighell and I do, since I can’t really give it the best podcast award without causing much eye-rolling from Tom. Last year, we thought the Legal Talk Network was finished, but it was resurrected by the great people at Lawgical and I’m thrilled that LTN is again a vibrant resource for legal and law-related podcasts.Lots of choices. If you have not tried listening to podcasts, the Legal Talk Network gives you a great place to start. Try out a few of them.

6. The Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award – Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning

I’m a big fan of the pure writing ability of some of the best blawggers. I named this award after the legal blogger who had the biggest influence on my blog writing, Sherry “Scheherezade” Fowler (who hasn’t been a lawyer blogger for many years). This is my favorite of the Blawggies, my most-opinionated award, and the one I historically get most criticized for. The bottom line: I like the writing I like.

As I was thinking about this award, I started thinking about how much I enjoy reading Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning blog on a regular basis. Sometimes when you have known someone for a long time and are friends with them, you tend to take for granted how good their work really is. Sharon’s an excellent wrier and her blog captures her voice so well. Blog pioneer, Dave Winer, has defined a blog as “the unedited voice of a person.” Sharon encapsulate that notion well. It’s time to recognize that.

Runner-up – Jane Genova’s Law and More – Topical, opinionated, wide-ranging, thoughtful and well-written, the Law and More blog is one that I just enjoy reading every day. I like the way Jane addresses issues like alcoholism, depression, burnout and other things that many lawyers like to avoid.

Special Mention – Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest – Although technically not a blog, Jeff Brandt’s daily email newsletter selects three or four worthy blog posts and summarizes them in a pithy, witty and engaging style. Jeff also illustrates Dave Winer’s idea that a blog is the “unedited voice of a person.” We all get too much email, but this is an email newsletter that you won’t mind at all in in your inbox.

7. Best Law Professor Blog – Legal Skills Prof Blog

Although, I’m nominally a contributing editor of the Legal Skills Prof Blog, I’m way more a reader than a contributor. As the debate about the future of legal education started to take hod in 2013 and gain momentum, the “practical skills” approach started to get a lot of attention. THis blog’s coverage of those issues was excellent and it’s a great place to keep up-to-date on discussions about the future of legal education, analysis of current trends, and generally help links and information.

Runner-up – Paul Caron’s The TaxProf Blog What more can I say than that this blog covers tax topics in such an interesting way that I want to read every post. My greatest compliment: reading this blog makes me want to take a class from Paul. I hope he’s thinking about doing some online courses.

8. The DennisKennedy.Blog Best Legal Technology Blog – V. Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM

[Note: I used to give my own blog this award every year, in part because of the attribution issue I talk about in this post and in part because I thought some of my blogging friends got a laugh out of it. They did, but others didn't, and, instead, I started the tradition of naming the award for my blog rather than having my blog win it. I still get some criticism for that, and my friends laugh even more at that. Or maybe they just like to laugh at me.]

Legal technology takes many forms and covers a wide rage of areas. This category’s winner, V. Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM, covers an area I’ve long been interested in gaining more expertise – knowledge management. Interest in legal KM has ebbed and flowed over the years, but it seems to be gathering attention, especially as we start to enter the realm of Big Data. I find that I look to Mary’s blog for thoughtful commentary and her always excellent notes on presentations she attends. It’s a niche topic, but also one that has broader insights and principles.

Runner-up – Law Technology Today OK, I’ll admit that this blog is one that I post to on a once-a-month basis, but I really like what Josh Poje and his team are doing with this blog. If Above and Beyond KM is an example of a niche legal tech blog, Law Technology Today is a great example of a practical, general audience legal tech blog. Lots of great practical advice, often from well-known legal tech writers.

9. Best New Blawg – Jerry Lawson’s NetLawTools

I’m kind of cheating in this category, but you’ll see the reason for my selection. Jerry Lawson is one of the true Internet pioneers among lawyers. I had the chance to write a regular column with Jerry on Internet marketing more than ten years ago. Jerry is the one who first noticed that I had written that blogs might be a great thing for lawyers about two years before I actually got around to starting my blog. In 2013, I noticed that Jerry had started posting to his blog again after a long absence. It’s so great to have his voice and insights back on a regular basis that I knew that I had to give him this award, even if I had to change the rules. Then I realized that I made up all the rules and can do whatever I want. It is very welcome news to see that Jerry is back to writing regularly and I highly recommend you check out his blog.

10. Best Blawg Aggregator – Tie: TechnoLawyer’s BlawgWorld; Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest

Two different approaches to keep up with legal tech and law practice management blogs and other posts related to the legal profession. If you read DennisKennedy.Blog, then you should be (and probably already are) a member of Neil Squillante’s excellent TechnoLawyer community, with its great set of resources on legal tech, marking and management. TechnoLawyer’s BlawgWorld is a weekly email newsletter that uses human editors to cull out usedul blog posts and other materials. They say, “Week after week, BlawgWorld provides you with everything you need from the legal Web but nothing you don’t.” The Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest is a daily email newsletter in which Jeff Brandt highlights three or four blawg posts on legal tech and summarizes and comments on them in his perceptive, concise and often witty way. His eye for selection is also great and I usually find myself checking out a few of the linked posts everyday.

And there you have it – the 2013 Blawggie Awards.

I wish I could give awards to all the blawgs (and blogs) I like, but this post is already long enough (another Blawggie tradition). Once again, I encourage you to create your own awards (although I’d prefer that you not call them Blawggies – that makes me feel that you don’t read my blog).

When it really comes down to it, the Blawggies are really my way of saying thank you to the blawgs I enjoy most. There are times when blogging can seem like a thankless pursuit, so remember that all bloggers welcome a thank you from readers from time to time.

Some Background on the Blawggies.

The Blawggies are not based on any popular votes, surveys or, God forbid, objective criteria. They are highly-opinionated choices made by me alone, based on my experience, expertise and likes and dislikes gained from nearly ten years of blogging and from reading blogs voraciously for a good number of years before that.

The reactions to the Blawggies have traditionally run the gamut from “who does this guy think he is?” to “if he’s so smart about blawgs, why didn’t he give my blawg an award?” to “who is Dennis Kennedy?”

I used to get some criticism for giving myself awards or naming awards after me on this list (in fact, I still do), but, as I’ve explained before, most of the reason for that stems from my longtime experience of seeing lists I made republished without attribution or linkbacks. Adding myself to the list is a way to make sure that someone finds his or her way back to my work if the list is “repurposed.”

I’ve always wanted to do three things with the Blawggie awards:

1. To highlight the law-related blogs I read and like and to say thank you to those who write them.

2. To direct my readers to the law-related blogs I enjoy.

3. To prompt others to give their own awards so I can learn about other blogs I should be reading.

From the beginning, I expected that many bloggers would pick up on the idea and write their own awards posts. After all, there is no barrier to entry for posting your own awards. I thought that I could then get great recommendations for blogs to add to my reading list from other awards posts in much the same way you can get great recommendations for new music to listen to from the “best of the year” posts by music bloggers that appear at this time of year.

As I’ve said before, “When you realize that there is no reason that you can’t simply post your own awards, you move you from merely blogging to becoming a Blogger with a capital ‘B.’”

The best response to my list is to post your own list, although I do invite your comments and discussion about my list.

The Blawggie-winning Criteria.

I like blogs with (1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment, personality and talent, with an emphasis on good writing. In other words, I like blogs that compel me to read them on a regular basis.

The awards necessarily reflect my many biases and personal preferences, which are far too numerous to list here.

It’s very important to remember that the awards also reflect the blawgs I actually read. While I read a lot of law-related blogs, the number of blawgs I read continues to decrease and the number of non-law-related blogs I read increases. Also, the blawgs I do read are concentrated in my areas of interest and day-to-day focus.

I’m a transactional lawyer, who focuses on information technology law, legal technology and law practice management issues. For better or worse, I’m simply not familiar with most litigation-oriented, criminal defense, regulatory or other specialized blogs. You get the idea.

A Word about the Name “Blawggies.”

Among the historic documents of law-related blogging are a series of emails in which Denise Howell (@dhowell), blogging pioneer and coiner of the term “blawg,” and I had on the question whether “Blawggies” (as well as “blawgger” and “blawgging”) should be spelled with one or two “gs”. As a result, I’m pretty confident of the correct spelling, although I’m seeing more of the single “g” approach lately.

I use the word “blawg” in the sense of “law-related blogs.” I find “lawyer blogs” or “legal blogs” to be limiting and inaccurate for what I want to cover.

All best wishes for 2014.

Dennis

[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.

Upcoming Webinar: The Why and How of LinkedIn for Law Students

On Thursday, November 7, I’ll be part of a great panel with Jan Wallen and Ruth Carter for a free webinar called “The Why and How of LinkedIn for Law Students,” presented by LexisNexis as part of its Law Student Webcasts series. Register here.

Description:

On Thursday November 7th at 3 PM EST a panel of LinkedIn experts, including two attorneys who are currently using LinkedIn in their practices, will present to law students on the uses of LinkedIn. You’ll learn why it is important for law students to have a professional presence on LinkedIn and how to set-up your profile and start networking.

You’ll be able to interact with a panel of LinkedIn experts:

1. Learn the nuts and bolts of LinkedIn from Jan Wallen, who literally wrote the book on it: “Mastering LinkedIn in 7 Days or Less”: http://bit.ly/1aC8mFr

2. Hear how LinkedIn is applicable to the legal profession from Dennis Kennedy, Vice President and Counsel MasterCard, who writes the technology column for the ABA Journal: http://bit.ly/1aC8mFt

3. See how LinkedIn is being used in the practice of law from Ruth Carter, owner of Carter Law Firm, who was selected to the ABA list of Legal Rebels in 2012: http://bit.ly/1aC8mp3

BTW – all webcast attendees receive special discounts on the LinkedIn books/ebooks published by Jan and Dennis.

There’s also more information at the LexisNexis 4 Law Students Facebook page.

There have already been a large number of registrations, but there’s plenty of room for more.

I really enjoy talking with law students and am looking forward to this webinar. We have a lot of great information to share. If you know law students who might benefit from learning more about LinkedIn, please let them know about this webinar.

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, Second Edition

This webinar helps Allison Shields and I with the launch of our new book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, Second Edition. We think the book will be especially useful for law students.

The second edition of LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, Second Edition can be purchased through the ABA Store or in an iBook version on iTunes.

- 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 (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.

Protecting Your Online Accounts with a Little Knowledge

I contribute a post monthly to the Law Technology Today blog. You can find all my posts in one convenient location.

The most recent post is called “A Little Knowledge Goes a Long Way in Protecting Your Online Accounts.”

The post highlights a great recent post from Chris Hoffman called “How Attackers Actually ‘Hack Accounts’ Online and How to Protect Yourself.” I call it “a welcome starting point and primer for all of us to understand how accounts get broken into and the simple steps we can take to make our accounts safer than they are now.”

I especially like Hoffman’s conclusion:

”People who say their accounts have been ‘hacked’ are likely guilty of re-using passwords, installing a key logger, or giving their credentials to an attacker after social engineering tricks. They may also have been compromised as a result of easily guessed security questions. If you take proper security precautions, it won’t be easy to ‘hack’ your accounts. Using two-factor authentication can help, too — an attacker will need more than just your password to get in.”

He highlights five key problem areas, with clear and helpful explanations:

1. Reusing Passwords.

2. Keyloggers.

3. Social Engineering.

4. Answering Security Questions.

5. Email Account and Password Resets.

I offer my own take on each of these issues in my post.

Making even a little effort to learn about these issues can really help you protect your online accounts. What are you waiting for?

- 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.