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. 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 ‘lawyers’

Upcoming Facebook for Lawyers Presentation and Webinar

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

As the number of Facebook users approaches the one billion mark, lawyers are starting to take interest in Facebook and how they might use it.

I’ll be co-presenting with Allison Shields at an upcoming presentation and a webinar on the “Facebook for Lawyers” topic.

First, this Friday, May 4, if you are in the San Francisco area or are attending the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s Spring Meeting in Napa, you can see our live presentation called, simply enough, “Facebook for Lawyers.” Details here.

Second, on May 17, Allison and I will be presenting an ALI-ABA webinar called, simply enough, “Facebook for Lawyers.” Details here.

As the perceptive reader will guess, you can also expect to see a new book from Allison and me called Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers later this summer. Both the May 4 presentation and the May 17 webinar can be expected to give you a preview of the book.

Hope to see you for one or both of these events.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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 still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

The Debut of “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers” Book

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

As you might already know, Allison Shields and I have written a new book called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers,” published by the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section.

For Allison and me, the target date for the “official” launch of the book has always been ABA TECHSHOW, and, more specifically, the Meet the Authors session for the book tomorrow (March 29) at 10:00 at TECHSHOW. Unfortunately, I’m not able to join Allison for that session (at least I have a medical excuse for that), but I know that she will do a great fantastic job in introducing the book and answering questions.

The book grew out of the very successful “LinkedIn for Lawyers” webinar Allison, Michelle Golden and I presented last summer. Allison and I took on the book project and some highly-ambitious deadlines to get the book ready for publication at TECHSHOW. It was a great writing collaboration and we already have another book project in the works. Here’s a hint about the topic of that book.

Our LinkedIn book is part of the re-launch of the reasonably-priced “In One Hour” series of books the LPM Section has done in the past. My friend and longtime collaborator Tom Mighell helped successfully re-launch this line with his highly-praised “iPad in One Hour for Lawyers” book. Tom’s excellent (I’ve already read it) new “iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers” and Ben Schorr’s Microsoft OneNote in One Hour for Lawyers” are new books in the series, with more in the pipeline.

Allison and I noticed that when we speak about social media and LinkedIn to lawyers, we consistently hear lawyers saying that while they’ve joined LinkedIn, they really don’t use it or even know how to use it. Interesting, many of them also say that one of their clients invited them to join LinkedIn and connect. That’s an interesting disconnect, when you think about it.

Our book tries to show lawyers how to get started with LinkedIn (the social media platform most commonly used by lawyers and certainly the social media platform lawyers find most comfortable), how to use it better, and, most important, how to integrate LinkedIn with your real world networking efforts in effective ways. The focus is on the practical, with lots of color screen shots, step-by-step instructions and our best practical tips on using LinkedIn.

The book is 128 pages long, divided into two main sections. The core of the book (which you should be able to read in about an hour) is a series of ten “Lessons” designed to walk you through opening an account, putting together an effective profile, adding connections, participating in LinkedIn and monitoring what’s happening in your network. We pack a lot of information into the lessons and have been told that even long-time LinkedIn users have learned some new things to implement right away. You can also think of the Lessons section as something to have at your side while you use LinkedIn. The second section is a group of essays on “Advanced Topics” – ethics, apps, advanced search, 60 tips, resources and more.

The early reaction to the book has been great, as you will see from the comments on the order page. My daughter, Grace, who helped with proofreading and editing, also thought the book would be very valuable to people who aren’t lawyers.

We’d be happy if you would take a look at the book and consider buying a copy. There are some discounts available for the book at TECHSHOW. If you are attending TECHSHOW, please stop by Allison’s Meet the Author session.

I know that there will also be an iBook version, but I don’t have the details on its availability at the moment.

If you haven’t started using LinkedIn or feel that you are using LinkedIn only to a fraction of its potential, this book might be just what you need.

Allison and I have started a LinkedIn Group as a companion group for the book. It’s called “Social Networking for Lawyers.” Simply search for the name fo the Group when you log into LinkedIn. We welcome you to join the Group to discuss LinkedIn, the book and other issues, as well as to get a sense of how LinkedIn Groups work and might work for you.

Details on the book and how to purchase it may be found here.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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 still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The UPS man brought me a package yesterday that contained the book in the photo below.

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers - Book Photo

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers

So, I thought now would be a good time to pre-announce the impending release of the new book Allison Shields and I have written called “LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers,” which is now available for pre-order.

It’s part of the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s reasonably-priced “In One Hour” series of books on legal technology topics. While the title is self-explanatory, the goal of the book is to provide a quick and easy, but reasonably thorough, introduction and guide to LinkedIn, the premier social networking platform and the social networking tool most commonly used by lawyers.

Many, many lawyers have joined LinkedIn, but it’s rare for me to find a lawyer who tells me that he or she is using more than a tiny fraction of the potential of LinkedIn. This book is meant to help remedy that.

Allison, Michelle Golden and I presented a very popular webinar last year that led to the idea for this book. I’ve long been a fan of Allison’s writing – we have a similar style and a similar lawyer-focused approach. The writing collaboration was great, and we’re very pleased with the final product.

The book itself is short and to the point. It has lots of color screenshots and a simple, step by step approach to the essential components of LinkedIn – Profiles, Connections and Participation.

The main portion of the book consists of ten “lessons” that will get you up and running on LinkedIn. We finish the lessons section with three action steps anyone can take to improve their LinkedIn effectiveness.

We also have a set of advanced materials, covering topics like ethics, apps, advanced features, and more, plus a list of 60 of our best LinkedIn tips.

Our idea was to provide not just the basics, but point readers to more advanced uses, and share some of our ideas about how LinkedIn fits into the context of your real-world networking contexts.

I really like the way the book turned out and want to thank everyone involved in the project (including my daughter, Grace, who provided proofreading and editorial help).

I also wanted to share comments we received from two people I admire greatly, Bruce Marcus and Patrick McKenna.

“One of the byproducts of the new world of social media is the burst of new how-to books. Naturally, some are far better than others, and so we are blessed when a pair of superior and experienced practitioners like Dennis Kennedy and Allison Shields share their experience in using LinkedIn® in One Hour for Lawyers. Yes,after an hour with this clear and succinct book,you will indeed become highly proficient in the art of using LinkedIn® proficiently and profitably.”–Bruce W. Marcus, editor of “The Marcus Letter on Professional Services Marketing” and author of Professional Services Marketing 3.0.

“If you are interested in promoting your practice, finding clients, discussing important issues with like-minded colleagues, or getting answers to your important burning issues, than you definitely need to explore the social networking power of LinkedIn®. And it would be hard to imagine two better people than Dennis Kennedy and Allison Shields to make it unbelievably easy for even the most reluctant lawyer to get up-and-running as quickly as possible. What a great way to spend an hour–teach yourself how to ramp-up your networking activities with this highly practical guidebook. Even an old dog like me, who has had an active presence on LinkedIn® for more than a few years, has to admit that I learned a number of new things (advanced search techniques and company buzz) from reading this book.”–Patrick J. McKenna, bestselling author, law firm management consultant and host of “Law Firm Leaders,” the only LinkedIn® group exclusively for large law firm managing partners.

The book is currently available for pre-order, with a 15% discount available.

As an aside, as the title indicates, the focus is on use of LinkedIn for lawyers and other legal professionals, but I don’t think you need to be a lawyer to get some benefits from this book.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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.

Recent Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcasts and Upcoming Audience Questions Episode

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

It’s time for an update on recent episodes of the Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast. We’ve really liked some of the last episodes and I want to recommend them to you. We enjoy making the podcasts, working with our great producers at Legal Talk Network, seeing our monthly downloads number continue to increase, and growing our sponsor list (now up to four).

We’re trying to put together an all audience question show for one of our upcoming episodes. If you’d like to ask us a question that we might try to answer on the show, you can email us at, email either Tom or me, or reach us in one of the many other ways we can be reached. Or simply leave a comment to this post with your question. Because it’s a podcast, sending us an audio with you asking your question would be great.

Also, we’re happy to report that the show notes page is back. The show notes site will give you links to the podcasts, contents of each show, and links to sites and resources mentioned on each episode.

#68. Can Software Replace Lawyers?

From IBM’s Watson to Apple’s new Siri to the growth of predictive coding in e-discovery, it’s been a heck of a year for computers catching up to humans. Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion about the question, “Can software take the place of lawyers?” Can it, or will it? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss the latest software advances and the likely impact on lawyers, how lawyers might benefit from these advances, and how worried lawyers should be about competition from machines.

#67. iPads for Lawyers

iPads are making serious inroads into the work environment, even for lawyers. What role might the iPad play in the daily lives of busy legal professionals? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell are joined by special guest David Sparks, author of the new book, iPad at Work, to discuss the potential benefits of using an iPad in legal work, practical iPad tips, and how the iPad and iPad apps are changing the way lawyers use technology.

#66. Kindle en Fuego: Next Generation Tablets

Amazon has just announced a new generation of Kindle devices, including a touch version and the Kindle Fire, a low-cost tablet device. The new Kindles start at $79. Are these iPad competitors, a new category of devices or another harbinger of the Post-PC era? In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss how the new Kindles might help lawyers, whether the platform is now the message, and where the tablet category might go after the death of Steve Jobs.

#65. Easy Productivity Improvements

Why are more lawyers than ever using two (or more) monitors at their desks? Others use surprisingly simple tricks to make their days more productive and their lives a little easier. Once you’ve learned some of these techniques, you often think that they are “obvious” and something you should have implemented a long time ago. In this episode, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss a few simple productivity techniques like using multiple monitors that have made a big difference for them, how those tips might benefit you, and steps you can take to make yourself much more productive than you were before you listened to this podcast.

Let me especially recommend the episode on iPads with David Sparks to anyone who owns or plans to buy an iPad. If you haven’t listened to the podcast before or haven’t listened for a while, give one or more of these a listen.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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 Twitter: @collabtools


Replay of LinkedIn for Lawyers Webinar – November 3

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Allison Shields, Michelle Golden and I presented a webinar on LinkedIn for Lawyers in August. That webinar was so well-attended that on November 3 there will be a replay. The details are available on the ALI-ABA website.

Although the November session will be an audio replay of the August session, we’ll be answering questions from attendees by email after the replay. That will give attendees a great chance to get their LinkedIn questions answered, to the extent that they aren’t answered in the webinar.

I had the benefit of hearing this webinar already and can tell you that the webinar is loaded with great information and practical tips, whether you are a LinkedIn beginner or an experienced user. I learned a lot from Allison and Michelle during the webinar. I also contribute some of my insights and tips from my many years of being on LinkedIn.

Here are the details on the webinar.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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 Twitter: @collabtools


Catching Up on Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcasts

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Tom Mighell and I have recorded several episodes of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast since I’ve last posted about podcasts on this blog. They are now available on the Legal Talk Network and on iTunes, with an RSS feed here.

Here’s a list (in reverse chronological order) with the program descriptions:

To Cloud or Not to Cloud: That is the Question for Start-up Firms

You’re starting a new firm, or you want to revamp your existing firm’s technology. What approaches and strategies make the most sense for the 10-20 lawyer firm in 2011? Is the “cloud” part of your firm’s immediate future? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell take a look at some of the technology options for smaller firms, the long term strategies and short-term tactics that should be considered, and the role cloud computing can play in todayís legal technology environment. (Episode 48)

A New Start: Legal Technology Resolutions for 2011

The new year is the perfect time to breathe some life into your approach to technology. Even small accomplishments can bring you big results. Where should you begin and what priorities should you set? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell survey what technology resolutions lawyers are making for 2011, how to narrow down your list of choices, and, most importantly, how best to make your technology resolutions come true. (Episode 47)

Asked and Answered

What are the hot questions in legal technology today? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell take on audience questions on legal technology and give you their best answers. (Episode 46)

Whatís the Word for Legal Tech in 2010?

Did technology rock the legal world in 2010 or was it a sleepy little year for legal tech? What were the tech highlights and lowlights for 2010? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell offer up a wide-ranging, fast-paced and highly-opinionated review of what transpired in legal technology in 2010. (Episode 45)

I really like all of these recent episodes (and the next one we’ve recorded on LinkedIn) and am grateful for the steady increases we’re seeing in downloads of the podcast. I recommend that you subscribe to the podcast through iTunes to get new episodes as they are released.

Of the recent batch of four episodes listed above, I really enjoyed the episode called Whatís the Word for Legal Tech in 2010? (Episode 45). In this episode, we did a tribute to one of our favorite podcasts: ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption (PTI). We based on review of legal tech in 2011 on the style of PTI and designed segments around familiar segments of PTI. Fun and informative.

Let us know what you think about episodes. And try some of the other back episodes as well. Although we’re working on some technical issues (please be patient), the show notes for the podcast can be found at

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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 Twitter: @collabtools

Upcoming Collaboration Tools for Lawyers Webinar

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

If you don’t already own a copy of the collaboration tools book Tom Mighell and I wrote, here’s a great opportunity to attend a webinar on February 9 where the “handout” is a copy of our book.

Here are the details and registration info:

You have a choice of a live telephone seminar or a live webinar. There will be some slides, so the live webinar might be a slightly better choice. On the live webinar, you’ll also be able to submit questions during the presentation rather than waiting until the end.

As I mentioned, attendees get a copy of our book, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together.

You’ll get the chance to:

  • Learn about collaboration technologies that you can use to work with others in your practice
  • Get practical tips for using collaboration tools in common legal practice settings
  • Develop a strategy for selecting the right collaboration tools in your law practice
  • Hear future trends and developments in collaboration tools for lawyers

The seminar is a joint production of ALI-ABA and the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section.

Depending our your state’s rules, you might be eligible for 1.2 hours of MCLE credit. Cost is $225.

I hope you can attend. Registration info here.

Please help get the word out. Collaboration tools are more important now than ever before. I’ll also note that I’ll be speaking about collaboration tools for transactional lawyers at the upcoming ABA TECHSHOW.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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

The Lawyerís 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 Twitter: @collabtools

Top Tech Tips for Today’s Travelers – Podcast

Thursday, November 11th, 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 “Top Tech Tips for Today’s Travelers” (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 (#41) description:

Traveling with technology today has, simultaneously, gotten both easier and harder. On the road, you need to be resourceful and give yourself plenty of options to meet unexpected challenges. At the same time, you still want to “pack light.” In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell share their notes and experiences from a recent trip, offer some of their best travel tips, and make a few predictions about where traveling with technology is headed.

Tom and I had just returned from a great trip to Washington, DC for the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section’s fall meetings. We had compared notes with other attendees about what we have learned about traveling with technology over the years. We thought it would be fun and instructive to share some of our favorite travel tips and observations with our listeners.

We talked a bit about how our traveling styles differ. It’s essential to have a good understanding of your own style, what technology you actually use, and what you really want to accomplish. From that base, you can make smart choices about what you need for each trip.

Tom and I joked a bit about how your bag is really the most important “technology” tool you need, but it’s clear that your choice of computer bag (or backpack) can be important. My big observation from my recent trip was how valuable a sportscoat with lots of pockets can be.

We talk about Internet connections, power cords, the rise of smartphones and much more. Tom also gives his opinion on whether you can travel with an iPad and no laptop. We also talk about software and Internet services we find useful while traveling.

When traveling, I’m a big believer in giving yourself a number of options while still consolidating what you take down to the acceptable minimum. You have to be resourceful and be prepared for the unexpected. In the podcast, you’ll hear lots of our practical tips, both those that we have learned the hard way and what we’ve learned as helpful advice from travelers we know.

In our “stuff Tom and I have been talking about” segment, we discussed the upcoming 25th anniversary of the ABA TECHSHOW, the promotional video we shot for TECHSHOW, and the value of attending legal technology conferences.

We end the podcast with our Parting Shots – practical tips you can use right away. Tom recommended Google’s Gmail Security Checklist. I like a post from Dave Taylor that explains how to download your personal information from Facebook.

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 (]

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 Twitter: @collabtools

Social Media Presentations for Lawyers – My Approach

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I gave a presentation recently on Social Media and Legal Ethics to a great audience at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. I’ve given a half-dozen presentations on this topic (often with Mike Downey covering the ethics part) over the last year – to Indiana lawyers, to law students, to young lawyers, to corporate counsel, to estate planning lawyers and to the staff at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

As I drove home after the presentation, I started thinking about lawyers and social media, the changes I’ve seen as I’ve presented on this topic, and how my approach to talking about this topic differs from much of what I’ve seen about how this topic is presented. I thought it might be fun to share my observations and reflections at this point.

1. Interest Level. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of hands that go up when I ask who in the audience is actually using social media services. My experience largely reflects what I’ve read and surveys show. Most lawyers using social networking or social media tools primarily use LinkedIn. Facebook has always come in second place, but the gap between LinkedIn use and Facebook use is decreasing rapidly. The growth in Facebook users in my informal surveys has been dramatic in the last year. Twitter usage lags well behind, and there seems to be more hesitancy and fear of Twitter usage than of any of the other tools. In part, that’s due to lack of understanding how Twitter works and what the potential benefits might be. Alas, there have usually only been one or two bloggers in my audiences. This might be an unpopular (and definitely unscientific) assessment, but my sense is that most of the individual lawyers who really want to do blogs have already tried it. I think firms are still looking at and trying blogs – that’s a good thing – and there are still opportunities to create new blogs that could be successful, but the energy and growth seems to be in other places. For example, if I were thinking about starting a blog in 2010, I’m not so sure I wouldn’t do something in Facebook rather than write a separate blog.

2. The Traditional Approach. When I present on this topic, I definitely do not take a traditional approach – more about what I do later. In fact, I tell my audiences that upfront. The traditional approach, and I’ve seen too much of it myself, goes like this: Social media is new, it’s scary, it’s risky, and it raises lots of questions for which we have no answers. In fact, the only thing the audience can possibly do to protect itself from the scary risks and dangers is to have a social media policy prepared by the law firm of the lawyer doing the speaking. If you think I’m joking, you should see how people nod their heads and laugh when I say exactly this during my presentation as I contrast what I’m about to do. By the way, this same approach was taken on the risks of blogging when blogging first started, and on websites before that, and email before that.

3. My Approach. I really think my approach is better, but I’m interested in your feedback, and I’m continuing to evolve what I do. My basic premise is that lawyers can spot issues and balance risks, but they need a solid understanding of how people use social media tools to do so. I spend most of the time in my presentations showing actual screenshots and explaining how and why people use these tools. The fact that I’ve been experimenting with many social media tools for a long time also helps. No matter how knowledgeable you might be, it undermines your credibility with an audience if it seems like you are new to using social media or, worse yet, that you don’t use it at all. I once attended a social media legal presentation where the presenter actually said, “I’m sure you all know more about using social media than I do.” I honestly don’t remember what he said after that because I tuned him out. What I’ve found is that once lawyers understand the basic use of the social media tools, they can spot the issues and risks very easily and will often point out issues and potential solutions that I hadn’t considered. By the way, this approach is comparable to how I presented about electronic discovery years ago.

4. A Framework. As I was writing a standard disclaimer to give at the beginning of one of my presentations, I wrote: “I’m Dennis Kennedy. I’m here today speaking personally and not on behalf of my employer or any other entity. And this presentation is for educational purposes, and should not be considered legal advice.” Hey, it’s a disclaimer. I was thinking about ways to either make it shorter or to jazz it up, when I saw that there were three components to that disclaimer – identity, role, purpose – and that getting those components right were an essential theme in social media. More important, confusion and lack of congruity in those three components causes most problems. The funny thing is that now I give that disclaimer as my opening, and I sometimes get some chuckles because it seems so like what lawyers do. Then I explain the three components and how they work, and it seems like I immediately get everyone’s attention and give them a framework for understanding the rest of the talk.

5. The Social Media Matrix. I don’t think lawyers make enough use of the matrix or quadrant charts most business people use regularly. I had this crazy idea last year that I wanted to create a one page chart that explained all of social media. Well, here’s my latest version and it seems to work for presentation purposes. Again, I want to give an audience a simple framework to help them understand the practical aspects and benefits of social media.

Social Media Matrix

6. Questions. I like using a lot of screenshots and showing what I actually do and telling about what I’ve done right and wrong. As people see and understand how these tools work, they want to ask questions. Often, I can see the light bulbs going on as people realize that they are only using LinkedIn in a small fraction of the ways they could or that Twitter could be extremely valuable even if they never tweet. As a speaker, it’s difficult not to take the questions as they arise and, at the same time, it’s easy to get into an open discussion with the audience. My presentation is structured in a way where I can go with the flow, but I can tell you that presenting on social media in a short time (say 25 minutes) is incredibly difficult and requires major editing work before and during your presentation.

7. Practical tips. It’s easy to get laughs talking about all the dumb things lawyers and others have already done while using social media. However, we’re all starting to hear the same stories over and over. I like to use instead some hands-on practical tips. In the last presentation, I took five minutes and used a series of screenshots to show exactly how to change your Facebook privacy settings, what settings I actually use and why, and some of the considerations to think about when making those decisions. I thought I won the audience over when I explained to them exactly how to block Farmville updates from their Facebook friends. You decide – would you rather hear about social media policies or learn how to block Farmville updates? Exactly.

8. Simplification. I actually take some time to explain Web 2.0 and the read/write web, in a non-technical way, because I think it helps people understand how social media works. But, I keep it simple. I also simplify my examples of social media, but also show people the range of social media tools (which seem to be growing all the time) rather than overload them with details on each. I always end by saying that people need to try a few tools, focus on one or two, and find what best fits you. In general, the social media tools that I like will not be the same ones other people like because I am a writer and a content producer. I agree with most of the lawyers I talk to – I don’t have any idea how they would use Twitter. Giving permission to the audience to try just one or two and that it’s OK if they feel something doesn’t work for them really seems to help them with the topic.

9. Action Steps. Social media policies are a good thing, and the speaker’s firm might even do a great job of preparing them, but a presentation that ends with a call to action to hire the speaker’s firm to prepare a policy is an infomercial rather than an educational presentation. All lawyers get this part of it. It doesn’t take any convincing, but they want to know the hows and not the whys. I actually don’t even talk about social media policies because it seems so obvious, but I do point people, in my handout, to useful resources on social media issues. That’s what I would want – guide me to where I can learn what I need to learn. I end with four practical action steps for people to try when they leave the presentation:

  • Pick one social media to try or to delve more deeply into (and gradually experiment until you find one that “fits”).
  • Create clean lines between personal and professional identities.
  • The learning process is always consume first (listen, learn, understand the community and the medium), then produce.
  • Monitor Twitter Search to get a sense of how people use Twitter.

10. What Can I Learn? I’ve learned new things every time I’ve presented on social media. There’s a lot that I don’t know, and there’s so much growth and change in social media that I’m not sure anyone can stay on top of it. By sharing what I know, I feel like I’m helping others explore and learn new things that maybe they’ll share with me. More than any other topic I’ve presented on, social media presentations really seem to lead to an exchange of ideas and opportunities for continued conversation.

11. The Secret of Social Media. I hope this doesn’t get me kicked out of the blogger guild, but I do reveal the true secret of blogging and social media in each of my presentations. It’s not about ROI and stuff like that, The secret is that it’s really fun and you meet the greatest people. And that’s enough – everything else is gravy.

In a way, I’m just thinking out loud and trying to capture some of these reflections. Hope you find them useful. Let me know.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.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 Twitter: @collabtools

iPads and Lawyers

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

My most recent technology column for the ABA Journal is called simply “A Legal iPad” and, not surprisingly, talks about the potential usage of the Apple iPad by lawyers.

One of the tricky things about writing a technology column for a print publication is the lead-time necessary for articles. Longtime readers will know that my favorite definition of a blog is “an online newspaper or magazine column without the newspaper or magazine.” With a blog, you write the post, publish it and it’s instantly ready to be read and find its audience.

For my ABA column, there’s generally a two month or so lead-time. So, this column about the iPad was written back in February. As a result, I wrote it before the iPad was released and before I could have had one in my hands. That’s reflected in the article, which is not a review. Of all my columns, it’s the one that I had the most concern about becoming outdated or inaccurate before it actually came out. But, because of the way I wrote the piece, I think it turned out OK in terms of timeliness.

The column generated a lot of comments, showing the interest of lawyers in the topic.

My approach in the column was to look at whether the tablet computer form factor, iPad or otherwise, would ever replace the venerable legal pad for lawyers.

Now, I’m a longtime Tablet fan (see my 2005 article on my Tablet PC epiphanies). In fact, in the column, I refer to myself as “eternal optimist about tablet devices.”

However, I’m definitely a “wait until the second version” Apple hardware person. So, I’m actually planning my iPad purchase for late 2010. I’m definitely following the experiences of my friends and others using iPads in the meantime. As I always say (and I emphasize this point in the latest episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast), you really have to focus on what your own “use case” is when you buy new hardware.

In general, I’m bullish on the iPad and the likely uses lawyers will make of it. Take a look at the article and see how accurate my initial predictions seem to be. My concluding thought: “I don’t think we’ll see the legal pad disappear anytime soon, but it’s about to get its biggest challenge yet.”

The money quote:

Where I expect to see significant early iPad adoption is among solos and small firms (including boutique firms started by refugees from large firms) that are already using the Internet and technology in new ways.

One of my main points in the column was the importance of the iPads as an application platform. It’s the apps that matter.

I point specifically in the column to Dan Bricklin’s Note Taker app (originally for the iPhone and iPod Touch), which allows you to write with your finger on the screen and capture and work with notes. I was intrigued by its potential on the larger form factor of the iPad. Bricklin, who has the development of the original spreadsheet program, VisiCalc, on his resume, has an active web presence, so you can follow his work and thinking as he develops the app for the iPad.

That said, it’s been interesting to see both Jeff “iPhoneJD” Richardson and Josh “Tablet Legal” Barrett write positively about Note Taker recently. Maybe I was on the right track in the column.

I recommend the column to you and also suggest that you take a listen to the podcast Tom Mighell I did on the iPad called “The iPad: Gadget or Game-Changer?

I’d enjoy hearing about your experiences with the iPad.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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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 Twitter: @collabtools

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