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

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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.

The Return of Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast – Four New Episodes

Tom and I have rebooted our podcast after a brief hiatus with four really good new shows, a second channel and what feels like a bright future for the podcast.

First of all, we’re grateful to Adam, Trent, Keoki and the team at the new Legal Talk Network for keeping LTN going and keeping our podcast in their lineup, with all the archives (and iTunes subscription feed) still available and a lot of fresh new ideas for the podcast. Check out what LTN is doing.

And we are also grateful to Josh Poje at the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center for helping us set up a second channel for the podcast at the LTRC site as part of a new legal technology podcast network.

What does that mean? Existing subscribers (RSS and iTunes) should be receiving the new shows automatically. New listeners will find the past four episodes and future episodes on both the Legal Talk Network and the Legal Technology Resource Center. Think of the new approach as a dual-channeled effort to get the podcast to new audiences. At both places, you’ll get the audio content Tom and I create, but in a slightly different wrapper (sponsorship, identifiers, etc.), depending on how you access the podcast.

We’ll be releasing new episodes every other week.

The new episodes are episodes 94, 95, 96 and 97. Observant readers will note that we are fast approaching episode 100 and plan to do a special episode in honor of that.

The new episodes:

#97 – The Internet of Things and Our Virtual Lives. [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, we discuss the idea of “the Internet of Things” and the implication of a world where more machines now connect to the Internet than people. Perhaps we have yet to see how much the Internet can do for us. I also talk a bit about my cool experience with personal genome sequencing with the 23andMe service.

#96 – Taking Control of Your Mobile Apps. [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, Tom and I confess to how many apps we have downloaded and installed on our mobile devices. I try to blame Tom’s iPad App in One Hour for Lawyers book for that. We talk about the growing need to organize and manage apps and then explain the basic ways to do that. We also answer a question about whether you should choose and iPad Mini or an iPad.

#95 – Digital Cameras in Law: Are Smartphones Enough? [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, we turn my recent failure to get a decent photo of two bears fishing salmon out of a stream near Lake Tahoe into a meditation on the role always-at-hand digital cameras in smartphones and devices can play in today’s practice of law. We have a lot of ideas and practical suggestions. We also answer a question on what are our best new presentation tips for 2013.

#94 – Top Legal Blogs & State of the Blawgosphere in 2013 [LTN] [LTRC]

In this episode, we are happy to be back to the podcast and discuss what seems to be a renewed interest in law-related blogging, my 2012 Blawggie awards, and our favorite law-related blogs. We have many new blogs for you to try if you don’t already read them. We also take the bold step of revealing our own 2013 technology resolutions.

To longtime listeners, we thank you for your patience and hope that you return to regular listening. To new listeners, sample a few episodes and consider subscribing.

We’re happy to be back. As always, if you have ideas for topics or questions for us to answer on the podcast, let us know.

And, if you will be at ABA TECHSHOW, consider joining Tom and me at a Taste of TECHSHOW dinner we will be hosting. Even if you don’t attend the dinner, make sure that you say hello at TECHSHOW and let us know that you listen to the podcast. We really enjoy meeting our audience.

[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: Does Your Firm Have a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy?

My latest ABA Journal tech column is called “Does Your Firm Have a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy?” The column is just a simple introduction to the two main approaches to the increasingly-common desire of employees to use work technology devices for personal purposes and personal devices for personal purposes.

The two approaches, not surprisingly, have their own acronyms – BYOD and COPE. BYOD stands for “bring your own device” and COPE stands for “company-owned, personally enabled.”

As I say in the column:

With BYOD, a separate, secure area for work data and activity is created on an employee’s personal device. In COPE, a separate area for personal data and activity is created on an employee’s otherwise securely protected work device. The concepts are simple, but the devil is in the details.

I go on to discuss the general concepts and some practical issues and questions involved in each approach.

Money quote:

The consumerization of IT is another example of how a standard technology brings up many issues about the culture of a firm, how to treat those who work for it, and the blurry line between work and home. Firms need to understand the main approaches and the vocabulary for the discussion because this trend is likely to keep gathering momentum.

Read the entire column at “Does Your Firm Have a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy?”.

How is your firm or organization choosing between these two approaches?

[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.

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

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

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

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

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

Here it is.

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

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

Here are a few of my thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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

Will You Be Writing a 2012 or 2013 Legal Tech Trends Article?

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

Will You Be Writing a 2012 or 2013 Legal Tech Trends Article?

The answer is: No. Well, maybe if someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, I’d think about it, but I still think I’d say no.

I get this question fairly often around the end of the year. It used to be an annual tradition for me to write an article summarizing the most important legal tech trends I found in the preceding year or make predictions about the next year. I’ve drifted away from that practice for a number of reasons:

1. Tom Mighell and I typically cover this topic in an episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast (an example). In fact, we’ve already talked about covering this topic in an upcoming episode.

2. I had gotten into the habit of matching the number of trends to the year (12 Trends for 2012?) and the number of trends simply got to be too large for me to attempt. (See my 2008 article)

3. Too many of the people I respect in legal tech said either that the trends are really the same as the previous year or that there was nothing really eye-openingly new. For example, I’m not sure that saying predictive coding or technology-assisted review in e-discovery is really something that would not have been said for the last several years. It doesn’t really feel new to me. Social media? Cloud? Those topics have been around for quite a while. I’m reluctant to write an article that simply says some things I’ve mentioned before are still around and haven’t made much progress.

4. I don’t really have a regular writing outlet these that makes sense for an article like that, and it would be a very long blog post (even by my standards).

With a couple of possible exceptions, legal tech seems like a sleepy area lately. The agendas for legal tech shows (with the exception of tablets and apps) look a lot like they did a few years back. Those observations, unfortunately, would make for a rather sleepy legal tech trends article. It’s more fun for me, and more interesting for you, that Tom and I cover the topic in the podcast format rather than that I write an article.

I am, however, definitely interested in what others see as the hot, significant trends and whether people disagree with my overall assessment.

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

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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