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 (]

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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.