People regularly ask me what “legal technology” or “legal tech” means when I use the terms and tell them it is something I’ve focused on for many years. In my class in Entrepreneurial Lawyering last fall in Michigan State’s LegalRnD program, I realized that “legal technology” was a term I took for granted and it was, in fact, something I needed to define and explain to my students.

Based on some ideas I picked up from Chrissie Lightfoot, a few ideas of my own, a little creativity, a little commonsense, and an infatuation with quadrant charts, I came up with the following chart for my students:

Image of Quadrant Chart

I’m now ready to unleash it on an unsuspecting and unprepared world for feedback and, I hope, improvement. I think it works as a pedagogical tool. I don’t think it quite works yet as a classic quadrant chart – I’ve never quite figured out what the Y-axis should be and I’m not sure plotting points for tools within the chart would actually work.

To me, that means the chart is ready for feedback and the wisdom of the crowd.

I’ve decided to post the chart here. Please comment or email me if you have thoughts, questions or suggestions. I’ll put it out under a Creative Commons CC BY license to make it super easy for people to use.

Tom Mighell and I have also recorded an episode on The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast in which we talk about the chart and definitions of “legal technology” or “legal tech” or “law tech”in some detail. That episode should be posted on Friday, January 18, 2019. I’ll add a a link when it’s available. It might be helpful to listen to the show and the explanations there before making suggestions. Or not.

I’m curious to see if people find this helpful or useful. If you think there’s already something better, I’d love to know that and maybe switch to that.

Also, this version is really a first and rough draft. I know that from font choices to other design and spacing, there is work to be done before I would consider it “final.” If you have strong feelings about design and are good at it and want to take a stab at an improved design, let me know and we’ll see how we might work on that.

ALSO:

Until March 31, 2019, I have a special discount code (20% off) for any readers who want to purchase the new edition of The Lawyers Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies. I have it on good authority that it makes a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift. Simply go to the ordering page for the book at
https://www.americanbar.org/products/inv/book/312056356/ and use the code TECHTOOL19 at checkout.

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

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The American Bar Association, for many years, has surveyed lawyers about their use of technology. The 2018 results are now available. The full results are available for purchase here.

The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (fondly acronymized as “LTRC”) has been publishing summaries of key findings from the survey as TECHREPORTS, which are available at no charge. The TECHREPORTS for the 2018 survey may be found here.

I wanted to highlight the Cloud Computing TECHREPORT, in part because I wrote it, but in larger part because the security results are very worrisome and troubling to me.

Here’s the money quote:

Confidentiality, security, data control and ownership, ethics, vendor reputation and longevity, and other concerns weigh heavily on the minds of lawyers, yet the employment of precautionary security measures is quite low, with no more than 38.1% of respondents actually taking any one of the specific standard cautionary security measures listed in the 2018 Survey question on the topic. 10.7%, an increase from 9% in 2017, reported taking no security precautions of the types listed. Only 40.7% of respondents report that adoption of cloud computing resulted in changes to internal technology or security policies.

I conclude the Cloud Computing TECHREPOORT with:

Reported growth in cloud use stayed relatively flat in 2018. However, the continuing lack of actual attention to confidentiality, security, and due diligence issues remains a serious concern, especially with the growth in mobile apps running on cloud services. The results on security procedures will continue to fuel client concerns about security efforts by their outside law firms.

There is much that law firm IT departments and technology committees, legal technology vendors and consultants, corporate law departments, clients, and all legal professionals interested in the adoption of technology by lawyers can learn from these results. They give us much to think about and some indications where firms might want to move their technology strategies in the coming year and beyond. Applying basic common sense, diligence, and increased attention to security efforts might be the biggest lesson to learn for the upcoming year. In short, cloud cybersecurity must be on your technology plan for 2019.

The survey findings on cloud computing will be of special interest to cloud vendors, law firm clients, and law firms making strategic technology and innovation plans. Although, as I note in the TECHREPORT, some of the results indicate a probably lack of understanding about the cloud and cloud usage by some respondents, you will find the trends over the last few years quite revealing about the legal industry.

As always, I’m happy to hear your feedback on the Cloud Computing TECHREPORT, highly recommend all of the TECHREPORTS to you, and encourage you let the LTRC know if you have suggestions for improving the survey questions and the TECHREPORTS.

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[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 115 books, exceeding my goal by quite a bit. Or, more accurately, I listed 115 books that I read. I don’t list books that might reveal certain things I might (or might not) be working on. You will also notice tat I’ve been attempting to read the entire catalog of books of certain authors of detective stories. If 2018, those were Marcia Muller (Sharon McCone) and Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks).

If you forced me to pick a top 10 for 2018 (or ten recommendations for books you might read), I’d probably list:

Autonomous, Annalee Newitz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz
Build an A Team, Whitney Johnson
Portfolio Life, David Corbett
The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber
For All the Tea in China, Sarah Rose
Gridiron Genius, Mike Lombardi
Creative Strategy, William Duggan
Building a Story Brand, Donald Miller
The Dan Sullivan Question, Dan Sullivan

Continue Reading 52 Books in 52 Weeks – 2019

A quick look back at 2018.

A big move to Ann Arbor, Michigan after taking early retirement from Mastercard.

Being convinced by my wife and daughter to take what they like to call a gap year. Or maybe a gap year or so, essentially leading to a “portfolio” phase of my career.

Not that I haven’t done a few things.

Tom Mighell and I published the new edition of our book, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, and were thrilled with the excellent reviews and comments we received.

Speaking of Tom, he and I completed another year of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast on the Legal Talk Network. We’re up to episode 227, and started back in 2006. We had some of our best shows ever this year. Check out the podcast!

Tom and I also got one of our all-too-rare opportunities to present together. We spoke about the under appreciated area of cybersecurity and collaboration tools at the College of Law Practice Management’s Futures Conference.

I hosted a live video interview show from the ABA TECHSHOW and, although I phased back on speaking in 2018, got the chance to speak in Charlottetown, PEI for the Canadian Federation of Law Societies about future legal tech trends and AI, about corporate law departments as business enablers at Northwestern, and about legal innovation at the SOLID West conference.

I’m now an adjunct law professor in Michigan State University’s LegalRnD program. I had a great class this Fall on Entrepreneurial Lawyering. The students did an outstanding job and were accepting of my tendency to experiment. My syllabus for class is up on the Syllabi Commons. I’ll be teaching a class called “Delivering Legal Services” this spring.TimeSolv and ClariLegal

I also enjoyed getting the chance to do some advising for TimeSolv and ClariLegal, both doing very cool things, in my opinion. I’m likely to do more of that in the future.A big thank you to my new neighbor, Cash Butler of ClariLegal, for introducing me to Ann Arbor and for many great conversations.

I didn’t do a lot of writing this year – I always need time to wind down after finishing a book – but I did participate regularly in the Law Technology Today’s monthly roundtable series. I also completed my three-year term as chair of the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center board. I’m quite pleased with what we were able to accomplish, especially the Women of Legal Technology recognition program.

And much more – some good travel, family time, Steve Earle and Melissa Etheridge concerts, seeing friends, and just getting to rest after a long, hard stretch of working. Didn’t realize how tired I had gotten.

I’m also really happy to have gotten some time to think, read, learn, and put together ideas and and plans for 2019. Watch this space.

A special thank you to my wife for both encouraging and tolerating me in this phase of my work.

All best for 2019 to all.

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

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I’m a big fan of what John Mayer is doing at the Syllabi Commons and the Teaching Technology to Law Students Special Interest Group.

He is collecting syllabi from law school course that provide opportunities for law students to learn about technology and its application and impact in the legal profession and the legal system.

I have given John and John has posted the syllabus for the Entrepreneurial Lawyering class I’m teaching this fall at the Michigan State University College of Law as part of the LegalRnD program. It’s #39 on the list. I offer in the spirit of collaboration and sharing that the Syllabi Commons is promoting.

The Entrepreneurial Lawyering syllabus owes a large debt to Ken Grady who original conceived of and taught this course. I made some small adjustments to the assignments and sequencing of the course and emphasized, not surprisingly, legal technology as a component of the course.

I’m always interested in feedback, so let me know if you have any reactions to the syllabus. And, yes, I’m aware of a couple of typos in there because I saw them on the screen when I went over the syllabus with the class. I’d also be happy to talk with others thinking of offering a class based on this model.

I tip my hat to John for his work on this and encourage others to contribute their syllabi to the effort and others to make use fo the resource for their own learning.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels.com

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

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Now available:

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On September 7 at 12:00 noon Central time, I’ll presenting a webcast called “Looking for Data in New Tech Places.” for CLESeminars.com.

Here’s the description:

Magnifying glass and cityscape

As information flows to and from the old world of PCs and internal servers into and out of mobile devices, the “Cloud” and “Internet of Things,” the potential locations of relevant data area growing at a shocking pace. We can barely get up to speed on one technology before several new ones pop up. Once simple questions, like “what is a document?” have become complicated to answer. In this webcast, you’ll get a highly-practical survey of the new landscape of technologies where people put and keep data, sometimes unknowingly. What you aren’t aware of might hurt you.

The webinar will cover:
• Getting beyond the basics
• From documents to datasets and beyond
• Texting, in many forms
• Data storage services (Dropbox, et al.)
• Wearables
• Social media
• Photos and location
• Collaboration
• Apps that collect and store data
• Devices that collect and store data
• Knowing what those in the target culture use
• Internet of Things

More information about registration and tech requirements may be found here.

I’ve pre-recorded the webcast and will be available during the webcast to answer any and all questions in a simultaneous chat session. Please mention the webcast to anyone you think might find it useful.

Photo by Maurício Mascaro from Pexels

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

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Now available:

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I’m planning to launch something new this fall that I’ve been calling “Legal Innovation as a Service.” The concept is a menu of just-in-time, just-enough service packages targeted at specific parts of the innovation process – ideation, experimentation, evaluation, commercializing, success audits, et al. Much more to come on that in due course.Ideas post-ts

I did a Google search on “legal innovation as a service” (in quotes) and found that Google has literally never seen that combination of words in that order before. In part, this post is designed simply to stake a claim in Google.

I’m also publishing this short post for two other reasons:

1. As you may already know, I’ll be teaching a course called “Entrepreneurial Lawyering” this fall semester in the LegalRnD program at Michigan State University Law School. I thought it might be a good experiment to run my “Legal Innovation as a Service” business as a test case / example during the class and feed results back to the class as part of the learning experience. A little experiment in transparency.

2. I wanted to get customer perspectives on this idea and do some testing. I’d like to find some people who consider themselves potential customers of a service like this who would be wiling to have a phone call with me or perhaps answer a short survey about the idea. If interested, please email me at dmk @ denniskennedy.com. If you participate, I’d like you to allow me to share non-attributed responses as part of my class.

Thanks for your help!

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

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Now available:

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WhiteboardOne of the things I’ve really enjoyed over the past year or so is getting to know Dan Linna and the students in Michigan State’s LegalRnD program, including working on a legal innovation project with a group of students. I also got the chance to host a videocast with Irene Mo and Jay Evans (current and former students of LegalRnD) at TECHSHOW in March (watch video).

A while back, Ken Grady sounded me out on my willingness to take on the two classes he taught in the LegalRnD program. After talking with Kristi Bowman at MSU and Carla Reyes, the new head of LegalRnD, I’m on board as an adjunct for two classes in the next school year. I’ve always enjoyed teaching law school classes, as I did from time to time at Washington University when I was in St. Louis.

So, it’s official – I’m on the MSU website. I’ll be teaching a class called “Entrepreneurial Lawyering” that was developed by Ken Grady. I’ve heard that the class is already full.

It’s been great to see LegalRnD grow under Dan Katz and then Dan Linna. I really like the ideas that Carla Reyes has and am looking to get started.

The students I’ve met in the program have always impressed me and I’m excited to get the chance to push new approaches, innovations, and experiments into legal education.

(Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels)

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

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Now available:

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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/)]

DennisKennedy.Blog is now part of the LexBlog network.

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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.