The ever-interesting Dave Gray mentioned something called the Sideways Dictionary the other day. The Sideways Dictionary attempts to define/explain technology terms by offering analogies rather than definitions.

For example, if you look up “blockchain” on the Sideways Dictionary, you’ll (currently) start with an analogy that begins, “It’s like the minutes at a Town Hall meeting, written by two very accurate people. . . .” There are currently five blockchain analogies. Some are better than others. The one analogizing a blockchain to to a public money ledger is one that I might use. The notion of “distributed ledger system” is so essential to an understanding of blockchain.

For me, getting a good understanding takes several tries from several different directions. I read many articles on blockchain before Gwynne Monahan and I wrote our “blockchain for lawyers” article called “Lawyers Get Ready There’s a Blockchain Coming” article in January, 2017. We made a valiant attempt in the article to explain blockchain in a simple and accessible way.

When I was asked to write an article on smart contracts (essentially, blockchain applications) for lawyers, “Thinking Smartly About Smart Contracts,” I tried to improve on that explanation. You never know how successful you are.

For me, the explanation of blockchain that worked for me was in the book, The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey.

After recommending the book to others, I realized that an explanation that might be wonderful for me could be entirely opaque to someone else. I’ve sent people to podcast episodes and articles that I thought were crystal clear and had people tell me that they could not make any sense of them.

I do, however, get asked on a regular basis to point people to resources that explain “the blockchain.”

I decided to publish this post in which I have collected a bunch of useful and succinct “blockchain explainers.” My idea is to keep adding to this post as I find useful explainers. there’s no doubt that I’ve missed many good ones, so I encourage you to submit comments to this post with suggestions for additions to the list and I can add them.

My focus here is on “Blockchain 101” information, not in-depth technical discussions.

Here’s my starter list (in no particular order at the moment):

If, after that, you are ready to dig in deeper, I highly recommend that lawyers (and others) get an understanding of business aspects of blockchain. Any one of these four books should get you started:

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology, by William Mougayar

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

Don’t be discouraged if it takes you several tries to grab hold of the concept.

If you have any other resources for the list, please let me know.

ADDITIONS TO LIST:

Symmetry Blockchain Advisors Beginner Resources (Debbie Hoffman)

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

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Now available:

The second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

There is a period after you finish writing a book when you start to feel like you are about to throw it off a cliff into the ocean. Will anyone read it? Will anyone like it? Most importantly, will it help anyone?

And that even happens when you finish the second edition of a book that was as well-received as the first edition of Tom Mighell and I’s The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together.

We’re starting to hear from people who have read the book and it’s starting to feel like we didn’t throw the book off a cliff. In fact, we are very pleased with the comments we’ve gotten and are grateful for what people have had to say about the book.

Here’s a sampling.

Carolyn Elefant (of MyShingle.com fame) posted a comment on Facebook that made all the hard work seem worthwhile. Carolyn is a pioneer in the use of the Internet by lawyers and it’s difficult to put into words how much this comment meant to us:

The first edition of Dennis’ and Tom Mighell’s book on collaborative tech tools was released over 10 years ago and it soon became a staple of my law practice. I used the tech recommendations on wikis to help my then-30 member trade association draft 65 pages of comments on regulations for siting offshore renewables on the outer continental shelf and drafting and marking up legislation that lead to $50 million in federal appropriations for these nascent technologies. I have collaborated with my virtual assistant of 9 years using some or all of these tools and relied on them to attempt to create an #altlaw consortium law firm back in 2009 before anyone was doing that kind of stuff. Legal Tech is often confined to its own silos and so we don’t realize the profound contribution that it often makes to substantive law so I think it is important for those of us in the trenches who are actually using this stuff for real clients and real causes to share our experience. As an Audible convert, I don’t buy many books these days but I plan on purchasing this new edition at Tech Show.

Jordan Furlong of Law21.ca fame and the author of Law Is a Buyer’s Market: Building A Client-First Law Firm recently unleashed a “ttweetstorm” review that had us blushing, but very grateful:

Ten years ago, almost to the day, I published a review of “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies,” by @denniskennedy and @TomMighell: http://bit.ly/2rGWoa1 1/10

If you’re a younger or newer arrival on the legal tech scene, you might not appreciate just how much Dennis and Tom were (and are) giants of legal technology development and scholarship. 2/10

Meeting and speaking with Dennis at my first ABA TECHSHOW was a thrill for me. When Tom highlighted Law21 in his “Inter Alia” newsletter as “Blawg of the Day,” I was so pumped I wrote a post about it. 3/10

“The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies,” as my 2008 review attests, was a landmark publication — but not just because of the extraordinarily detailed insight and practical advice it contained. 4/10

It was important because it both foretold and helped usher in an entirely new category of legal scholarship: The study of *how lawyers worked.* 5/10

That wasn’t a subject most people talked or wrote about. But Dennis and Tom saw clearly, before the rest of us, that legal technology was going to transform the “how” of lawyer work. That might seem commonplace today. It was borderline radical in 2008. 6/10

And they were entirely correct that the most significant impact of tech on how lawyers work would be “less about personal productivity and more about using technology to make it easier for people to work together.” 7/10

Collaboration is the future of law practice. More accurately, it’s the future of “legal services delivery,” a better phrase that focuses on value to the client and the relationships among clients and providers to create that value. Dennis and Tom saw that before any of us. 8/10

All of which is to say that I think “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies” is one of the most important books in the recent history of law practice management and technology. And that’s why this next and final tweet is especially good news: 9/10

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell have published a Revised Second Edition of “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies” (https://shop.americanbar.org/eBus/Store/ProductDetails.aspx?productId=312056356&pubstartdate=2018-02-01&pubenddate=2018-05-08&sortby=Date+(DESC)&perpage=250 …). If you want to know the present and future of collaborative legal services, this is the book for you.

The thoughtful and wise John Heckman at the Does It Compute? blog recently posted a review that did a great job of summarizing our key points and themes and said:

The Second Edition of Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell’s Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies is long overdue. The book is a sweeping panorama of the wide variety of tools available to lawyers today in what is perhaps the most rapidly evolving area of web-based technologies.

The book has two distinct areas: “how to” accomplish varieties of collaboration, and arguments in favor of it. The latter element is probably even more important than the “how tos.” As they put it: “Technology choices are always more about culture than they are about technology.” They return to this theme repeatedly in an effort to address the issue of what I call “dysfunctional” law firms: where each individual senior partner is like a medieval duke in his own little castle on top of his own little hill.

Just one more (do I seem like a proud parent?):

Niki Black, the well-known author on legal tech, has a post on Above the Law called “Online Collaboration For Lawyers: Security Issues, Recommendations, And Predictions” that reviews the book in detail and also does a great job of covering our key points. Niki concludes:

Choosing the right tools for secure communication and collaboration in your law firm won’t be easy. But the time spent will pay off in the long run, since the collaboration choices you make today will necessarily impact your firm down the road. That’s why it’s so important to make educated decisions that will help to lay the groundwork for your firm’s future success. And if you’re not sure where to start, this book is a great resource that can help you make the right long-term collaboration software decisions for your firm.

I second all the points Niki makes about security in online collaboration in her post. Tom and I will be speaking on that very topic at the 2018 College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference in October. Our session is called “Cybersecurity is a Team Sport.” If you are interested in having Tom and me speak to your group on that topic, please contact me.

As for our book, we are delighted by the reaction so far. If you want to buy the book (and I know I’ve gotten you interested), you can get it at the ABA Shop.

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

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Now available:

The second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center has announced its 2018 class of Women of Legal Technology honorees. It’s a stellar list, with 25 selections made from a record-setting number of nominations.

When you add the names on this list to the names on the lists for previous years, you have around 80 great candidates for speakers at conferences, on panels, and for keynotes on legal technology. It’s a great start. I don’t want to hear the excuses about not being able to find women speakers on legal tech anymore.

They also have quite a range of accomplishments. Check out the list.

A big thank you to Heidi Alexander and the rest of the selection committee (Nicole Bradick, Natalie Kelly, Sofia Lingos, Brooke Moore, Allison Shields, and Kristen Sonday) for their work on this effort and their commitment to its goals. As Heidi put it so well, “LTRC’s Women of Legal Tech initiative is intended to encourage diversity and celebrate women in legal technology.” Let us encourage and celebrate.

As always, I encourage you to check out the resources at the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

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

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Now available: The new second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Adriana Linares and I had the idea years ago to do a live videocast from the ABA TECHSHOW. We made that a reality a few years ago. Steve Best joined the team last year when Adriana was chairing TECHSHOW. The Legal Talk Network has always produced the shows.

The 2018 TECHSHOW Today videos are now available on YouTube at the links below:

We have great fun doing these shows, but the shows have really strong comment and important insights. We had some fabulous guests this year and I recommend all of these episodes. Start watching and let us know what you think.

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

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Now available: The new second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Photo of box of books

Ten years ago, Tom Mighell and I wrote the first edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together. We decided that it was time for a second edition. The photo to the right is the box of books that arrived at my house recently. For an author, that’s when it really feels like the book is finally done.

For the reader, however, it’s probably more meaningful that the book is available for purchase more so than that I have received my copies.

The good news is that you can now purchase the book from the ABA Bookstore. Only the paperback version is currently available. I’m told that the eBook version will be available in the near future. Check my blog and the ABA Bookstore page for the book for details on that.

Much has changed in the last ten years, so the book has many revised and new chapters, including an all new chapter on Slack. It is just one on several now important tools that didn’t even exist ten years ago.

While writing the book, Tom and I noted a few big changes:

  1. The movement to smartphones and mobile apps is probably the biggest trend in this area.
  2. Most lawyers and others now understand the potential and the utility of the cloud.
  3. Names have changed, but many collaboration technology concepts have stayed the same.
  4. Culture and process are ultimately more important than specific technologies and tools.

In my opinion, the book is even better than before and I encourage you to look into the book, consider buying it, and definitely recommend it to your friends.

We are in the rollout stage for the book. If you regularly review books for a legal audience and would like a reviewer copy, please let Tom or me know. Both of us expect to be speaking on this topic, so contact us if that is a good topic for your group.

Writing a book is hard work, but it’s great to get to unveil the result to the world.

Ordering information for book can be found here.

 

 

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

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Now available: The new second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

On February 15, 2003, a day much colder than the 80-degree February day we had today in St. Louis, I started this blog with a quote from Babylon 5. It was an early birthday present to myself that year. I’m not sure that I expected to still be writing it 15 years later.

crystal ball photo

The name of the blog, DennisKennedy.Blog, was a tongue in the cheek reference to the unlikely possibility that blogs would one day have their own top-level domain name. That day has come, and this blog now can be found at www.denniskennedy.blog.

The biggest change with this blog in the past year, a change that has been long overdue, is that we are now part of the Lexblog network. Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog is one of my favorite people, and one of my best memories of the early days of lawyer blogging was a phone call I had with Kevin, who was starting LexBlog in his garage, during a layover I had in the Kansas City airport. I want to publicly than the LexBlog team for making the transition so easy for me. I’m a fan.

Tom Mighell and I just signed off on the final page proofs for the second edition of the second edition of our book, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies. It’s now off to the printers and should be out in time for ABA TECHSHOW in a few weeks. I will admit to a silly moment while reading the proofs when I thought, “Wow, this is really good stuff.” The book writing process is a lengthy one and you can forget what you wrote earlier in the process (and whether it was Tom or I who wrote it). You’ll be hearing more about the new book soon.

One of the good things about finishing a book project is that it frees you up to do writing unrelated to the book. My blog tends to pester me about writing more blog posts. It’s a fair criticism.

The original (and current) tagline for this blog is “Legal technology, technology law and other musings.” Most of my thinking on legal technology can be found on The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast these days, but watch for the topic to re-appear more regularly on this blog. I have a suspicion that “other musings” might make a big comeback on this blog over the next year.

Every blawgiversary gives me the opportunity to say a big thank you to my readers. I’m glad you are reading. I always appreciate your comments and encouragement.

I’ve learned today that the 15th anniversary is the crystal anniversary. Perhaps it might be a good year to do some crystal ball gazing on this blog – about technology and other things.

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

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

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One of my favorite projects during my time as chair of the board for American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center has been the annual Women of Legal Tech list.

In 2015, Heidi Alexander posted a great list of women in the field of legal technology on the Law Technology Today blog. In 2016, she brought the concept to the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center to turn it into an annual recognition event.

There has been some evolution of the concept. For example, there is now a nomination and selection process, and there is a new class each year, which I think makes the combined list especially helpful to those looking for women speakers, authors and experts.

The 2017 class was announced at ABA TECHSHOW 2017. The list of this year’s class and earlier classes can be found here.

The 2018 class will be announced at ABA TECHSHOW 2018.

To submit nominations and learn about the process, go to this post on the Law Technology Today blog. Submit early and submit often. Self-nominations allowed and encouraged. The deadline is March 1, 2018.

Nomination form.

 

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

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For quite a few years, I’ve enjoyed reading the posts of several bloggers who are trying to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I’ve also wanted to find a good way for me to keep track of the books I’ve read. And it gives me a good reading target to shoot for.

Last year, I read 79 books, exceeding my goal by quite a bit. Or, more accurately, I listed 79 books that I read. I “read” many business books in the form of getAbstract summaries and I don’t list books that might reveal certain things I might (or might not) be working on.

Continue Reading 52 Books in 52 Weeks – 2018

My first published article of 2018 has appeared in Law Practice magazine and it’s called “Thinking Smartly About Smart Contracts.”

The editors of the magazine approached me a while back to see if I wanted to write a blockchain article that would introduce lawyers and others to the blockchain concept and its implications. I told them that I felt that the article Gwynne Monahan and I wrote last year (“Lawyers Get Ready, There’s a Blockchain Coming“) was still a good starting point. However, I said, I was willing to write an article that was a primer about “smart contracting,” which is a next big step in blockchain evolution. They liked the idea and the result is this article.

Smart contracts can be thought of as “apps” that run on blockchains and embed “if-then” logic so that certain activities occur automatically. People have been intrigued by how they might take the place of standard legal contracts in certain situations.

My article introduces the key concepts, gives some examples, and suggests ways that smart contracts might impact lawyers and the legal system.

The money quote:

Smart contracting could help people who can’t afford lawyers or in areas like online commerce where lawyer involvement in every dispute is not practical because of the amounts involved or volume. Removing commodity legal work also frees lawyers to do more creative, high-value work.

This article is my contribution to getting conversation started about blockchains and smart contracts. I’ve been very pleased by the positive reaction the article has gotten already. Let me know what you think. And check out the rest of the issue of the magazine – there are some very good articles on important topics.

 

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

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I have recently taken early retirement from Mastercard. I’ve already learned from telling this to people that I need to say “But Mastercard is the only thing that I am retiring from.” I felt that now was the right time to make some major changes. The photo to the right is from my retirement party.

The first big change is that we will be leaving St. Louis and relocating to Ann Arbor, Michigan in the spring. We want to be closer to my Dad and my family, and I’ve always wanted to live in a great university town.

I’ll also be moving in some new professional directions – most expected, but perhaps a few surprises. There will definitely be more writing (especially on my blog), more speaking, and more involvement in some of the outside projects that have interested me over the last few years.

It was quite a run at Mastercard. I got to work with great people on large and meaningful projects and keep at the cutting edge of technology, innovation, and law.

So many people helped me on this decision with much-appreciated insights and advice: Wendy Werner, Cash Butler, David Cowen, Allison Shields, Tom Mighell, Dan Linna, Ahaji Amos, Michael Khoury, Marty Schwimmer, Amanda Gioia, Adam Camras, Jim McKelly, and, especially, Whitney Johnson (understanding S-curves played a huge role in my decision-making process) are some of the people I wanted to mention.

I’m excited about this change. The timing seems right. I appreciate your good thoughts and am always happy to hear what ideas you have. More details to come.

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

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