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 ‘law’

Starting a Conversation about Open Source in Law Practice

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

At ABA TECHSHOW 2011, I got the opportunity to speak with Rodney Dowell on the topic of the “Open Source Powered Law Firm.” Rodney was great, the audience was engaged, and I really enjoyed the experience. Gwynne Monahan does a nice job of capturing the session in her post, “First Mac, then #cloudcomputing so perhaps #opensource #abatechshow.”

As I mentioned in the session, former Red Hat CEO Bob Young was a keynote speaker at ABA TECHSHOW 2000 and, I believe, this was the first TECHSHOW session since then to focus on Open Source software. Young’s talk inspired me to write a law review article on the Open Source licenses in 2001 (“A Primer on Open Source Licensing Legal Issues: Copyright, Copyleft and the Future,” 20 St. Louis Univ. Pub. L. Rev. 345 (2001)) and put together a list of web sources on Open Source legal issues. I’ve been interested in Free and Open Source software and the philosophy behind it ever since. If you Google my name and “Open Source” you’ll find some of my writings and a couple of podcasts (e.g., this podcast).

I’ve had the chance in 2011 to write one article and co-author with Gwynne Monahan another on the use of Open Source software in the practice of law.

The major article is the one with Gwynne that was recently published in the March/April 2011 issue of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine. It’s called “10 Tips for Getting Started with Open Source Software” and it’s meant to be a easy and practical introduction to Open Source Software and the role it might play in law practice. As you might guess from the title, it feature ten important practical tips.

In my monthly technology column for the American Bar Journal in March 2011, I wrote a short and concise introduction to Open Source software in law practice called “Free Can Be Good: Add Open Source to Software Considerations.” In the column, I conclude: “Open Source programs are be coming realistic alternatives for lawyers, especially for focused tasks. Now is a great time to add a consideration of Open Source software to your technology decision-making process.”

Through the presentation and the articles, I wanted to join with Gwynne and Rodney in raising the profile of Open Source software, highlighting its growing importance and introducing the philosophy and reality of Open Source software.

Open Source is about community. The articles and presentation are meant to start the conversation, but we also wanted to find ways to continue and extend the conversation about the use of Open Source software in the practice of law. One step in that direction is a new LinkedIn group called Open Source Tools for Law Practice. With luck, it will grow to help people find others interested in Open Source and offer a place for conversations. If you are interested in Open Source, please consider joining the group.

[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

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The Freemium Practice of Law and IgniteLaw 2011

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I did a presentation called “The Freemium Practice of Law” at IgniteLaw 2011 last Sunday night, produced by my good friends Matt Homann and JoAnna Forshee.

IgniteLaw takes a unique approach to presentations – 12 presenters each presenting for 6 minutes using only 20 slides apiece. And the slides advance automatically every 18 seconds.

It’s a challenging format for any speaker, no matter how experienced, especially if it doesn’t fit your usual style. Perhaps I understate that. It’s the speaking equivalent of riding in a top fuel dragster.

I found the presentation fun – in a challenging sort of way – but quickly struggled with time management. I got my points made, but not quite in the way I had hoped. My main points seemed to get across and I hope I was able to contribute in a small way to what was a fun evening with lots of high-quality presentations.

The videos will be posted soon, but I thought it might be fun to post the final version of the “rehearsal script” I had written. On that evening, the “script” turned out to be more ambitious than I’d hoped it would be (especially since I couldn’t refer to it), but I really liked the way this version of the script read. See what you think.

The Freemium Practice of Law – Rehearsal Script

1. Several years ago, when I was in the private practice of law, I had a meeting with a potential new client, a technology start-up. Things went well and they wanted to hire me. The initial project would be preparing terms of use and a privacy policy for their website.

2. I gave them an estimate and the president of the company joked that lawyers probably all used the same base documents and just changed the company names. Or at least we created documents with one push of a button. We laughed, although I felt the need to mention that even standard documents had nuances.

3. I thought a lot about that client’s view of legal work, especially documents, and the question kept coming back to me: “If clients assume we can use technology in this way and, technically, we can, why aren’t we”? I first implemented document assembly more than 20 years ago, so the issue is less technology than business model.

4. One of my favorite innovation techniques is to reverse my assumptions. I recently listened to a podcast with William Ury, co-author of a great book on negotiation. He said, “to change the game, you must change the frame.”

5. Here was my reversal. What if standard documents actually were provided to clients for free, perhaps as part of a service package? How would that work? I didn’t get very far myself, but Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson wrote a book in 2009 called “Free” that looked at the growing Internet phenomenon of successful businesses based on giving away what would traditionally be core products and services for free, and then making money in a variety of other ways.

6. Anderson’s book tells about Monty Python deciding not to sue the thousands of people who started to put video clips from their shows and movies on YouTube. Instead, Monty Python created its own YouTube channel and made high-quality video clips available for free. In exchange, they simply asked people to consider buying their products. The result: a 23,000% increase in DVD sales in 3 months, even though they were giving the same video content away.

7. That’s Freemium. Make something available for free, use that to extend your reach and audience, and then provide options for people to willingly pay for enhanced value. My definition of freemium tonight would be: Giving away “something” in order to create educated customers who better understand how to use your services and products in ways that better help themselves and for which they will happily pay to do so.

8. There’s been a lot of discussion about Richard Susskind’s custom vs. commoditized approach and you’ll be hearing more about that in the next few days at TECHSHOW. The most interesting thing about freemium, at least to me, is not so much that it will work in both contexts, but that I think it can work extremely well in the custom context.

9. Another example. Open Source software and Larry Lessig’s Creative Commons licenses. The free “something” is the software or the standardized license. The Open Source model, where the software itself is available for free, but a company like Red Hat can be quite successful selling maintenance, support, consulting services, and even T-shirts around the software, is perhaps the best example of the freemium approach.

10. Stewart Brand famously said, “Information wants to be free.” We clearly live in a world where we expect to get digital versions of music, video, books and information for free. How do lawyers fit into that world?

11. My favorite new band is Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They let people post recordings of their live shows on the Internet. I doubt that I would have bought any CDs or even known of them if not for this approach. Now, I buy albums and would attend a show in a heartbeat. Bands can now be thought of as music services providers, giving away what we once thought of as core content and value – the music – to create revenue from shows, merchandise and other channels.

12. Now think about a “legal services provider” model. Law is certainly an information business. Are we like music? Encyclopedias? Newspapers? Other fields challenged by Internet models, aging business approaches and innovative competitors? Change the frame, change the game.

13. Lawyers often will say that clients buy documents or hours – a lawyer-centric view. When I did estate planning, I concluded that, at heart, clients were really buying peace of mind – assurance that their family would be taken care of after they were gone. In other practice areas, they might also be buying things like judgment or risk management – something they’d happily pay more for than a document or a unit of time.

14. That is the big disconnect between lawyers and clients and where the opportunity for freemium law practice comes into play. Change the frame, change the game.

15. Some ideas. Start with Anderson’s book. It has plenty of ideas that might Anderson has a lot of freemium ideas in his book that could apply to the practice of law. Here’s one of mine to start you thinking – moving from highlights to insights to personalized. Highlights: a free annual summary of important cases prepared by an associate. Insights: an audio or video where partners explaining why the cases matter. Personalized: Half-day customized presentations where your best people show a client’s legal and executive team how to address those new cases.

16. Barriers. Oh, there are a few. Not done before. It’s change. How do we bill? Bar regulation still applying a 20th century framework to 21st century client needs. Don’t underestimate – these will be difficult frames to change, but freemium is for innovators who like challenges.

17. It strikes me that simple technology can drive this. Document assembly has been around for years. Second graders are making videos these days. So much can be delivered easily via the Internet for free.

18. Where do you get ideas other than buying Matt Homann a cup of coffee? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Bryan Cave’s Trade Zone extranet application as a model. Other professional services firms, authors and consultants have successful models. Talk to young people, see what’s going on outside the US, and get a diversity of opinions.

19. Let me emphasize that I’m not for a second advocating a wholesale freemium approach. However, I do think that economic survival for the long term depends on taking a diversified portfolio approach. Using free to create enhanced-value freemium revenue streams should be one part of your portfolio.

20. 3 action steps for you:

1. Read Chris Anderson’s book. Even better, go to iTunes and get the audio version for free, and see if you go ahead and buy the book.

2. Carve out 30 minutes with a piece of paper and brainstorm ways you might try free and freemium, starting with places where you already heavily discount or write-off fees.

3. Change your frame and see if it changes your game

IgniteLaw 2011 was fun, fast-paced and informative. I congratulate Matt, JoAnna, all the other presenters and everyone else involved for putting on such a great event. And it was especially great to meet some other Grace Potter and the Nocturnals fans.

I’m hoping to post some reflections on TECHSHOW 2011 soon.

[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

Legal Aspects of Social Media for Non-Profits – Panel Presentation

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

If you are involved in the use of social media by and for non-profit organizations or just generally interested in legal issues arising out of the use of social media, and you will be in St. Louis on the afternoon of March 10, I have a panel presentation for you.

Here are the details:

Online Communities for Your Nonprofit: Legal Aspects of Social Media

March 10 – 3:00PM – 4:30PM

A panel of information technology attorneys from the St. Louis Corporate Counsel Association Pro Bono Committee will discuss the potential benefits of social media for nonprofits and provide an understanding of the legal issues and risks involved. They will suggest ways to create a successful online community without unhappy surprises.

Call 314-539-0357 to reserve your seat.

Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (225 North Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108 (314) 367-4120)

The panelists for the presentation will be JulieAnn Broyles (Ascension Healthcare), Elizabeth Cox, Peter Salsich and me.

We’re planning to do lots of Q & A and try to cover what’s on our audience’s minds. Bring your questions. We hope to see you there.

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

Follow my microblog on Twitter at @dkennedyblog. Follow me at @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

IgniteLaw 2011 and The Freemium Practice of Law

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I was disappointed not to be able to attend the first IgniteLaw in 2010, although close observers will catch my very brief virtual appearance on the video from last year. I’m planning to make it to the recently-announced IgniteLaw 2011 that will happen on April in Chicago on the evening before the start of the 25th ABA TECHSHOW.

IgniteLaw (“The Future of Law Practice, in 6 minute increments”) is presented by my friends Matt Homann (LexThink) and JoAnna Forshee (InsideLegal). IgniteLaw uses the popular “Ignite” format with speakers getting 6 minutes to present with 20 automatically-advancing slides. The videos from last year will give you an idea of what to expect.

I thought it would be fun to come up with a possible presentation. While my first choice was to do a dramatic re-enactment of Doug Sorocco’s tremendous presentation from last year, I quickly realized that Doug’s presentation simply cannot be duplicated. We have to talk Doug into coming back this year.

The topic idea I submitted is called “The Freemium Practice of Law” and here is the description I wrote:

Richard Susskind meets Chris Anderson meets Larry Lessig on the road to new legal business models based on the notion of “Freemium.” How might lawyers give away traditional core services and products (think documents) to generate new flows of income, happy clients and personally-fulfilling work using technology readily-at-hand, Open Source principles, and new technology on the horizon?

I wanted to pull together some provocative ideas I’ve thought about off and on for the last couple of years, but haven’t written about or presented before. The talk would take me into some different areas than I’ll be presenting on at TECHSHOW (collaboration tools for transactional lawyers and Open Source software for law firms).

I’m excited about this topic and presentation. So much so that I’ve already sketched out the slides for the presentation. There’s a voting process for IgniteLaw, so I’m hopeful that my topic gets picked.

If you will be in Chicago on April 10 (for TECHSHOW or otherwise), I encourage you to attend IgniteLaw 2011. Tickets are free, seats are limited, and the information you need about tickets is here. Hope to see you there. I’ll be pestering you about going to TECHSHOW and talking a bit more about my presentations there in a future post.

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

Follow my microblog on Twitter ñ @dkennedyblog. Follow me ñ @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

Big Answers for Mid-Sized Law Firm Problems – Podcast

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

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 “Big Answers for Mid-Sized Problems” (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 through iTunes or our RSS feed.

We have a special guest host for this episode – our friend Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of the < "http://www.abanet.org/tech/ltrc/home.html">American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

Here’s the episode (#44) description:

There are lots of technology resources and conferences for large firms and small firms. Mid-sized law firms often feel that needed information and resources can be difficult or even impossible to find. Where can mid-sized firms get appropriately-focused technology assistance? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell and special guest host, Catherine Sanders Reach talk about the unique issues mid-sized law firms face, suggest practical steps those firms can take to address those issues, and discuss ways to improve the legal technology landscape for mid-sized firms.

I’ve long felt that the most underserved area of legal technology is the unique needs and issues faced by mid-sized law firms and legal organizations. If you are in a small firm or a big firm, you’ll find a lot of resources and conferences. However, it’s difficult to find resources (or conferences) focused on mid-sized firms. I keep thinking that I’d like to create a “portal” to resources for mid-sized firms in my spare time. Then again, I keep thinking that I’ll have some spare time to do that.

We brought Catherine in not just because we like her and think she is one of the most knowledgeable people out there, but because the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center has survey information and other data that give us some insights into the mid-sized market.

We start with a definition of mid-sized firms that moves from my “mid-sized is a state of mind” approach to a more practical definition of 10 – 100 lawyers, that breaks into two categories – 10 to 49, and 50 to 100.

There are a number of issues that begin to separate mid-sized firms from small firms – IT employees, sophistication of applications, tech committees, to name a few.

Catherine does a great job of highlighting key findings from the most recent ABA survey and looking at historical trends. If you deal with technology in a mid-sized firm, you’ll want to hear this information.

We also give a few suggestions for mid-sized firms and realize that this is a topic we’ll come back to in a future podcast.

I’ve become quite worried about mid-sized firms in today’s market and some of the issues they face. Technology might not be the most difficult one, but it’s well up on the list. Our podcast will give you some ideas, but providing education and resources for mid-sized firms should get a bigger share of the legal technology discussion than it seems to be getting today.

In our “stuff Tom and Dennis having been talking about” segment, we include Catherine and take a look at some recent surveys in Macintosh use by lawyers and discuss whether or not Macs are starting to make inroads into law offices. Perhaps the most interesting point is that the growing use of Macs by lawyers (and their family members) might have implications for future Mac use in law firms, especially as we see growing interest in the “Bring Your Own Computer” approach to work technology.

We end the episode with our Parting Shots segment, in which we give a couple of useful tips. Tom talks about Google’s new Cloud Connect. Catherine has a very useful Outlook tip. I mention TechnoLawyer as an excellent resource for mid-sized firm lawyers, as is the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

Let us know what you think about this episode. Show notes for the podcast are here. And try some of the back episodes as well. I recommend subscribing to the podcast on iTunes so you automatically get each new episode as it is released. 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

Integrating Practice Management Tools in Law School

Monday, November 15th, 2010

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 “Integrating Practice Management Tools in Law School” (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 through iTunes or our RSS feed.

Here’s the episode (#42) description:

With law firms cutting back or eliminating summer internships and law schools focusing on teaching theoretical legal concepts, law students find themselves in a difficult position in a difficult market. How can law students learn needed practical skills, including how to use legal technology? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell talk to Professor Clark D. Cunningham from Georgia State University College of Law, Jonathan Call, law school student at GSU College of Law, Jack Newton from Clio and Andy Adkins from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, about the exciting and innovative efforts to bring practical skills training, including legal technology, to law schools and law students.

Tom and I have long had an interest in ways education about legal technology can be improved for lawyers and law students. I especially enjoy the chances I get to talk to law students about legal technology. In addition, Tom and I are contributing editors for the new Legal Skills Prof Blog, part of the great Law Professor Blogs Network.

When we learned about the experiment the Georgia State University College of Law was doing with our podcast sponsor, Clio, we decided that it was a perfect topic for the podcast. A big thank you to Christy Burke and the great team at LegalTalkNetwork (especially the fabulous Kate Kenney), we put together a big show with four guests to talk about the project, put it in context, and, we hope, point to ways other schools might try similar experiments.

We divided the episode into two segments. In the first, we get an “on the ground” report on the Georgia State University School of Law experiment from Professor Cunningham and Jonathan Call. In the second, Jack Newton of Clio gives us his observations and insights from the vendor perspective and our good friend, Andy Adkins, adds his vast knowledge and perspective to talk about where this experiment fits into the history of bringing technology to law students, law professors and law schools.

This is exciting stuff. And it’s important work. If we are going to significant change in the use of technology in the legal profession, it is likely to evolve from these types of experiments to get the next generation of tools into the hands of the next generation of lawyers.

The one great insight I got from this conversation, and I should have thought of this before, is that because cloud-based tools can be used in schools without the need for additional computer infrastructure, it’s possible to move quickly on these types of initiatives.

A big “thank you” to all our guests. Let us know what you think about this episode.

We end the podcast with a Parting Shot about our involvement with the Legal Skills Prof Blog and how we are excited to be part of that project. Check out the blog here.

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

Business Edge for Individual Artists Presentation

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

I’ll be one of the speakers tomorrow (Monday) evening at a St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts workshop called “Business Edge for Individual Artists.” The focus of the workshop is websites for artists and the program looks great.

Here is the program description:

Business Edge for Individual Artists

WEBSITE CLINIC

Monday, Nov. 1, 2010 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

What makes a successful site? Jeff Hirsch and Travis Estes (Graphic Panacea) will present a checklist. Then Attorneys JulieAnn Broyles (Ascension Health) and Dennis Kennedy (MasterCard Worldwide) will offer practical tips for artists of all disciplines. After the presentations, you’ll have an opportunity to spend 15 minutes getting one-on-one feedback on your site. Consultations will be scheduled in person that evening and may not be available if you do not register in advance. Co-sponsored by AIGA and Art St. Louis.

$10 in advance; $15 at the door.

The workshop will be held in the Regional Arts Commission’s building, 6128 Delmar, across from the Pageant. Here is a link to program registration form.

Julie and I plan to give a lot of practical tips in our presentation.

See you there?

[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