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 McMurray, 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/)]

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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.

New Article: 13 Facebook Tips for Lawyers in 2013

In perhaps the classic example of “I didn’t have enough time to write a shorter article, so I wrote a longer one,” I have a new article out in the February issue of the Law Practice Today webzine. It runs about 3,000 words and is called “Thirteen Facebook Tips for Lawyers in 2013.”

As the article summary says:

Still scared of Facebook? Come on, it’s 2013 already—can 1 billion users really all be wrong? Here are 13 tips to guide even the most reluctant late adopter on how to get the most of the most popular social media tool.

The article offers some of my observations about lawyers using (and, mainly, not using) Facebook, thirteen practical tips (anybody else notice that matching the number of tips to the year has upped the degree of difficulty for these types of tips articles?), and three simple action steps to get yourself going on Facebook.

The money quote:

There are many reasons lawyers probably should be using Facebook, but I’m not sure that convince many reluctant lawyers with those reasons. Instead, consider my view that there may be no better resource than Facebook to help you reconnect with people who were important in your life with whom you have lost contact.

I expect that Allison Shields and I will cover many of these tips in more detail in our upcoming presentation on LinkedIn and Facebook at ABA TECHSHOW 2013 in Chicago in April.You will also have the chance to talk about these topics with Allison and me at the Taste of TECHSHOW dinner we will be hosting on April 4.

Hope you find the new article helpful.If you want to dive even deeper into Facebook, you might consider reading Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, which is also available in an iBook version.

What other tips do you have for for lawyers to make better use of Facebook?

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version here). Our previous book, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers is also available and also can be downloaded as an iBook. Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

New Article: Thirteen Mobile Collaboration Tips for 2013

I have a new article out in the January issue of the Law Practice Today webzine. It’s called “Thirteen Mobile Collaboration Tips for 2013.”

As the article summary says:

The expansion of mobile technology continues to rapidly change how lawyers collaborate. To stay up to speed, think beyond gadgets and apps, and devote some time to thinking about how you can work better in the expanding mobile world. These tips will help.

The article offers practical collaboration tips that cut across a variety of platforms and are not limited to specific tools, technologies or brands. I tried to provide tips that would be useful to all – from beginners to advanced users – and give readers some questions to ask and issues to think about.

The money quote:

Get a solid understanding of where you are, find ways to help others work with you using a variety of tools and giving them multiple options, and make yourself someone people look forward to working with, no matter where you are or they are.

I expect that I’ll cover many of these tips in more detail in my upcoming presentation on mobile collaboration at ABA TECHSHOW 2013 in Chicago in April.

Hope you find the article helpful. What other tips would you have for improving mobile collaboration?

[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.

Starting a Conversation about Open Source in Law Practice

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

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