This post will probably end up being a part of a series of posts that I think of as “DennisKennedy.Next.”

The law school semester has ended and now ready to launch some of the new things I’ll be doing going forward. Expect to see more on that in the next month or so.

I’ve posted about my new approach to writing that I call #blogfirst. And I’ve posted about the new LinkedIn book Allison Shields and I are working on.

In this post, I turn to speaking.

First, a confession. I love speaking and I’m good at it.

Although I’ve done hundreds of presentations over the years, plus webinars and, of course, The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast, I’ve never had a plan or strategy about what I’m doing. If it sounded fun, I was likely to take the opportunity.

Over the last six months or so, I’ve had the chance to rethink what I’ve been doing and look at ways to direct those things to what I want to be doing. Speaking was the hardest one of these for me to come to terms with. Did I mention that I love speaking?

Over the weekend, I got the chance to present on digital estate planning at the 59th Annual Institute on Continuing Legal Education’s Probate and Estate Planning Institute. My friend, Jeff Kirkey, at ICLE talked me into it. I had a great time and the feedback was very positive. And there were several hundred people in the audience.

I also have been having an email conversation about speaking with Gabe Teninbaum and Jason Moyse over the last few days.

It also helped me finalize my new approach to speaking, which is:

1. Focus on Paid Speaking on Topics that Fit with What I’m Doing. No surprise here. I simply want to (further) professionalize the speaking I do. I’ve picked six topics where my interest is very high, there are few others who can cover the same topics as I do, and where I feel my perspectives and insights are uniquely helpful to an audience. Those topics are:

  • Legal Tech Trends – From Knowledge to Action – Building Bridges to Your Future(s)
  • A Legal Innovation Framework and Playbook
  • Panel Convergence – Innovation Driver or Innovation Destroyer
  • Productizing Legal Services: Delivering Value and Making Money While You Sleep
  • The 21st Century Platform Lawyer – Beyond the Transactional Lawyer
  • Building a Digital Estate Planning Practice Group

My new speaking page goes into more detail that I do here. I’ll, of course, consider customized engagements, which will be, well, customized and negotiated. Pretty straightforward.

2. Phasing Out of CLE Speaking. I have such mixed emotions on this, but the determining factor is that I’ve been doing CLE presentations for nearly 25 years. It’s been a great run, but . . .

  • Especially after my years at Mastercard, there is not a great fit between where my interests are and the interests of the typical CLE audience
  • It feels like it’s time to turn the CLE speaking I might do over to younger and diverse speakers
  • I feel like I’m blocking opportunities for people wanting to get started in CLE speaking
  • I think I have better ways to help bar associations than speaking

I use the term “phase out” for a reason. I still have some things on the calendar and have no doubt that I will be talked into doing a few presentations, especially here in Michigan. However, the timing seems right on this move.

If I am not able to speak at your CLE event, I generally can recommend a few excellent speakers for you, especially women and diversity speakers.

3. Commitment to Diversity. This point is the big one. For quite a few years, I’ve had the goal to speak only on diverse panels and to otherwise promote speaker diversity. People who know me know that I make it a point of suggesting several women speakers when I cannot take an opportunity. The “no more manels” goal is one that is important to me, and it pains me when I find myself on all-male panel or when an event has a small number of women and diverse speakers. In some cases, especially when I commit to a program early or there are late speaker replacements, that is not practically possible. I try to do my best, but want to do more.

In all cases, whether or not I am speaking at the event, I am happy to recommend diverse speakers from my extensive set of speaker contacts, which I intend to develop further. I recommend the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center’s Women of Legal Tech list as a great place to find excellent women speakers on legal technology topics.

I’m also talking with the Michigan Bar about how I can help them find and develop the next generation of diverse CLE speakers.

I’d like help and comments on this, but I have been trying to think of a way that I can turn over some of my traditional topics to diverse speakers and help prepare and promote them for speaking opportunities. I have no idea how to price that, what it might look like, or whether there is any interest. I can definitely say that the opportunity to become a known local expert speaker on digital estate planning, cybersecurity, technology competence, and other topics is there for the taking for some new speakers.

And that’s the new approach for more details, see my speaking page. I welcome your comments and suggestions, and, of course, also welcome your invitations under section 1 above.


[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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