I mention John Boyd’s OODA Loop on this blog from time to time. OODA is an acronym for Observe – Orient – Decide – Act. I’m fascinated by the OODA Loop literature and the discussions around the topic.
Chet Richards, one of the leading thinkers on the OODA Loop, has recently made available his PowerPoint slides for a briefing that explains the OODA Loop. The presentation is an excellent introduction and I especially recommend it to anyone who wonders what the heck I’m talking about when I mention the OODA Loop.
I also recommend it to those who might like to join a conversation with me about the implications of the OODA Loop in the practice of law and Law 2.0.
Perhaps an even better introduction to the business implications of the OODA Loop and Boyd’s thinking bbis Richards’ Certain to Win PowerPoint presentation (with lots of notes).
If you want to dig deeper into to this very rich vein, I thoroughly recommend Robert Coram’s Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War and Chet Richards’ Certain to Win.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(R) – The Legal Unconference. Ask us about private LexThink retreats and conferences for your firm, business or organization. Coming soon – LexThink Lounge – April 19, 2006.
Technorati tags:

I highly recommend Dave Pollard’s great post called “Blinded by Science: What’s Your Dangerous Idea?” In the post, Dave takes a look at a recent collection of essays from prominent thinkers discussing their favorite “dangerous ideas.”
Dave, a little disappointed by the essay collection, offers ten dangerous ideas of his own that I guarantee will get you thinking.
The money quote:

Why are these ten ideas ‘dangerous’? Because they threaten deeply-entrenched ideas and strongly-held, widely-held beliefs. Because those who they threaten will do almost anything to prevent them becoming widely accepted. And because they’re actionable. Take them as your own and they will change what you think, believe and do.
What’s your dangerous idea?

I’m thinking that my Fourth Generation (4G) Legal Technology idea, once I get it fully thought out, will become my dangerous idea in my little niche of the world.
What’s your dangerous idea?
Technorati tags:
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(TM) – The Conference, Re-imagined. LexThink! – Think big thoughts, do cool things, change the world. Ask us about private LexThink retreats and unconferences for your firm, business or organization.

I highly recommend Dave Pollard’s great post called “Blinded by Science: What’s Your Dangerous Idea?” In the post, Dave takes a look at a recent collection of essays from prominent thinkers discussing their favorite “dangerous ideas.”
Dave, a little disappointed by the essay collection, offers ten dangerous ideas of his own that I guarantee will get you thinking.
The money quote:

Why are these ten ideas ‘dangerous’? Because they threaten deeply-entrenched ideas and strongly-held, widely-held beliefs. Because those who they threaten will do almost anything to prevent them becoming widely accepted. And because they’re actionable. Take them as your own and they will change what you think, believe and do.
What’s your dangerous idea?

I’m thinking that my Fourth Generation (4G) Legal Technology idea, once I get it fully thought out, will become my dangerous idea in my little niche of the world.
What’s your dangerous idea?
Technorati tags:
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(TM) – The Conference, Re-imagined. LexThink! – Think big thoughts, do cool things, change the world. Ask us about private LexThink retreats and unconferences for your firm, business or organization.

Michael Kraft and Robert Enholm, in their excellent “GC Tech Wish List for 2006,” talk about contract life cycle management (CLCM) in terms of “applying technology to the contract process from letter of intent through negotiation and execution to performance, amendment and contract renewal.” They also say, “The emergence of enterprise resource planning software over the past decade has helped businesses with “workflow” processes, and GCs are exploring how to apply these principles to the activities of corporate law departments.” And CLCM is one good example.
In short, CLCM is about finding ways to look at the contracting process as a business workflow process that can be tuned in ways that benefit businesses rather than as a series of independent, unrelated legal projects.
It’s a difference that, as they say, makes all the difference.
I’ve been thinking, off and on, about CLCM over the past few years, including most recently in some discussions I had involving a large company that wanted to get some control over a very ad hoc approach they had to generating first drafts of standard documents. The business case for CLCM is pretty easy to make.
When I think about contracts (or other legal documents) as part of a process, I invariably think about the potential role of document assembly.
I’m not surprised that Kraft and Enholm move in the same direction in their article. They say, “‘document assembly software’ is coming to be seen as merely one link in the chain of the contract management process. GCs must be alert to opportunities to use this technology to expedite contract management process.”
The “one link in the chain” is the important part of this quote. Too many people I talk to see the goal of document assembly as being to generate finished documents with a “push of the button.” That’s not it at all. My goal is always to generate significant improvements in generating first drafts – versions of documents that are in “good enough” form that you can start immediately to do custom work and tailoring. People who look for the 100% solution from document assembly are inevitably disappointed and forego the benefits that 80%, 60% or even 20% solutions can bring them.
In a way, they remind me of people who see the benefit of electronic discovery only as a way of finding “the smoking gun.” Long-time users of electronic discovery rarely talk about “smoking guns.” Instead, they talk about the benefits of productivity, efficiency, organization, streamlining, telling a better story and focusing on the key issues. In other words, there are substantial benefits that flow from improved processes and procedures.
Document assembly brings with it a set of similar benefits beyond the “push button drafts” that most people concentrate on. They are similar to those you find in electronic discovery. Kraft and Enholm mention these other benefits: “GCs that effectively adopt these tools can conserve legal resources and time — and contribute to the competitiveness of the company.”
I’ve seen the benefits of document assembly coming in not just efficiency, but standardization, quality control, consistency, training, and effective use of learning from previous deals and documents. In fact, I’ve sometime described document assembly software as a tool for applied knowledge management. As you think in terms of CLCM, you will start to see the role that document assembly might play in the process.
Kraft and Enholm go on to say, “‘Contract process software’ is perhaps an apt label for the products that bridge document assembly and contract management.”
In 2005, Cisco’s NDA Central project (demo and white paper accessible from DealBuilder here (free registration required) has deservedly garnered a lot of attention. NDA Central took an undisciplined method of handling simple legal projects and used document assembly as a tool not just to create legal documents, but to manage and improve a business process with positive business results to the company and improved workflow and higher-value work for the legal department and outside counsel.
Again, Kraft and Enholm, “GCs want help from outside counsel to establish processes and protocols, help draft underlying documents and maintain the systems in our ever-changing legal environment.” Here’s the key to CLCM and the new approaches to using technology in the practice of law starting to be known as Law 2.0 – there are clear benefits to both clients and lawyers. Often, it allows the lawyer to do higher-level work, often the type that the client really wishes the lawyer had more time to do.
Kraft and Enholm provide an excellent, brief introduction to an area that could become as significant to transactional corporate lawyers as electronic discovery is to litigation lawyers. The rest of their article is well worth your while to read as well.
What do I think of the interplay of CLCM and document assembly and the potential that it has? Let’s put it this way, if I spent the whole of 2006 working only on these types of projects, 2006 would be a great year indeed. This is one topic you’ll being hearing more about from me in 2006.
Technorati tags:
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s legal technology consulting services, featuring RSS and blogging consulting, technology audit, strategic planning and technology committee coaching packages especially for medium-sized law firms (15 – 100 lawyers) and corporate legal departments.

[NOTE: This is another in the series of repostings of my previously-published articles. This article was written in 2002 in connection with a presentation I did on “client-driven technologies.” I became quite intrigued with the DuPont Legal Model and other efforts that I thought would change the nature of the practice of law. This article was written from the perspective of law firms. Today, I’d be more likely to take the point of view of the corporate legal department. Most of the same principles still apply today, although perhaps with a bit more urgency.]
Outside Counsel / Inside Counsel Partnering Through Technology Toward the Virtual Law Firm
Fifty-five percent of corporate legal departments considered firing one or more law firms in 2002, down slightly from 62% in 2001. The leading reason, by a significant margin, was “lack of responsiveness.” Add Enron, pressures to cut legal costs on the part of clients, increased rates and demand for billable hours on the part of law firms, and increasing movement of lawyers and law firm mergers to this mix and you get a volatile situation.
Both law firms and corporate legal departments desire stable relationships where work can be done at a high level, responsively and in a way where law firms can be profitable while a corporate legal department can control costs.
There have been a number of significant efforts at “partnering” between corporate legal departments and their core law firms to create these types of stable relationships. The classic example is the famous “DuPont Legal Model” developed by DuPont and its outside law firms beginning in 1992. The DuPont Legal Model grew out DuPont’s attempt to reduce the number of law firms it used (then over 300) to manageable number (currently 35) and, in the process, take advantage of a variety of techniques to improve the delivery of legal services.
The core elements of the DuPont Legal Model are (1) a business focus on DuPont’s legal issues, (2) an ongoing work process reengineering, (3) a commitment to cutting-edge technology, and (4) a shared culture of efficiency and cost control.
All lawyers who have corporate clients would be well advised to meditate upon these four elements.
Among other things, the DuPont Legal Model has resulted in the creation of the DuPont Primary Law Firm Network, an early form of a “virtual law firm,” a collaborative team of law firms and service providers who are willing to and do work together. DuPont believes that the next step beyond simple “partnering” is the collaborative work team and that turning partnering relationships into collaborative work teams offer great value.
Consider this description of a “virtual law firm” (http://www.dupontlegalmodel.com/files/onlinelibrary_detail.aspibid=14) [Note: link no longer works – unable to find new link to white paper):

The virtual law firm connects lawyers electronically and culturally. Through the use of applied technology, such as extranets, integrated case management software, computerized databases, electronic invoicing software, document imaging, cell phones, personal digital assistants, and trial presentation software, team members in different geographical locations can perform legal work efficiently and cost-effectively in a shared environment. But this technology still depends on the human element and on the willingness of committed participants to implement and use it constructively in furtherance of an articulated vision and clear goals. In a virtual law firm, participants must share a common culture.

This description raises many issues and is an excellent basis for your discussion of this topic. I also want to emphasize this comment from DuPont’s white paper:

“Without the benefit of sophisticated technology, neither the concept of the virtual law firm nor the DuPont Legal Model could exist.”

This article will focus on the technology side of moving to partnering then to collaboration and to virtual law firms and perhaps beyond. There are also very difficult issues raised by taking these steps, competitively, economically, culturally and otherwise that also deserve very serious deliberation. I want to sketch out some key questions for you, some areas worth exploring more and some practical tips for getting started or moving forward.
1. Ask Your Clients. A recent survey indicated that over 90% of corporate general counsel would respond to surveys from their law firms. A tiny fraction of law firms use client surveys. Are there clients with whom you can extend existing relationships by means of technology or current technology cooperation into greater partnerships? Are they aware of initiatives like the DuPont Legal Model? Might they be considering such initiatives without including you in the discussion?
2. Listen to Your Clients. I have heard many stories of companies all but begging their law firms to cooperate on technology. Note that the number one reason law firms get fired is lack of responsiveness. If you survey clients, you must follow up. Find out where they want to go, what their priorities are and what they want to accomplish with their legal services. Of course, you will want to get a clear idea of where you fit into that picture. A very important lesson from the DuPont Legal Model is that clients are not necessarily adversarial with their law firms. Cost cutting may not be the primary concern and companies are willing to explore creative fee arrangements that may be more lucrative for law firms while maintaining a more stable relationship. Don’t assume; ask.
3. Learn The Playing Field. You cannot move very far toward implementing client-driven technologies if you do not know what technologies and capabilities your firm has or can obtain. It is rare to find a firm that is using or is even aware of all the capabilities of its software and systems, let alone to find lawyers and firms who have a good understanding of all the new developments in legal technology. In addition, it is vital to understand what software and technologies your clients use for their own work and how they would prefer to interact with you. You might use surveys, meetings with the client or meetings between IS people to compare notes on what software and systems are used.
4. Find Ways to Cut Costs and Improve Profits. How much good will it do you to have your client telling peers and colleagues that his or her lawyer actually came to him or her with a way to cut legal costs? Likely areas of potential include identification of lower level work that can be commoditized or value billed, improved communications, hosting databases or eliminating the need for duplicate systems. Consider the issue of electronic billing. Corporate clients are bemused by law firms’ reluctance to move to electronic billing. They see electronic billing as a way to streamline procedures and cut their own costs while at the same time improving the cash flow of their law firms by speeding up the payment cycle. Isn’t this win-win? It is certainly worth taking the time to consider fully.
5. Get IS Departments Talking. Exchanging ideas and creating good relationships between your high-level IS people and the comparable client IS people will ultimately be a key to any successful efforts in this area. Do they know each other now? Do they meet with each other? Can you facilitate that in constructive ways? This effort will help resolve existing problems, result in shared knowledge and set the stage for more extensive efforts.
6. The Extranet Family. A key concept in collaboration has been the use of private, shared web sites commonly known as extranets. Extranets can take many forms – information portals, access to files and communication, case monitoring, document libraries and virtual deal rooms. It is important to realize that clients do not need the same features or even a full-blown extranet. A virtual deal room that simply gives access to documents in a case or transaction may be a perfect introduction to the use of technology for both a firm and a client. The time and cost savings of not Fedexing documents can be a measurable means of showing return on investment. Another idea gaining some momentum is the “project portal,” an extranet dedicated to the work and resources in connection with a particular project.
7. Apply the 80/20 Rule. The 80/20 rule definitely applies in this area. The idea is that, as a general matter, 20% of your efforts will get you 80% of your results. You want to identify and act on that 20%. Which ideas make the most sense in your current context? From your point of view, which initiatives will best address the common reasons law firms are fired (improving communications to avoid “lack of responsiveness” issues) and hired (how can you show your expertise and understanding of the client’s business?)? Do these initiatives cut costs or enable creative billing approaches? Do these approaches connect the client to you and make it harder for the client to leave? Are these approaches useful to other clients? Finally, are they responsive to your client’s own list of priorities?
8. Make a Plan. Obviously, these kinds of initiatives cannot be done on a “back of the envelope” basis. Written plans are appropriate. In this case, educating your client is a form of marketing. Implementing the systems may an element of firm survival with a client in addition to solid marketing. The more you show your knowledge of the options, your familiarity with what others have done and the benefits for your client in the form of a well-conceived plan, the better shape you will be in. Part of any plan should be a method of measuring results.
9. Make it Reusable – Think Different. Some of the initiatives you take can be reused. Some aspects might even be licensed as moneymakers for your firm or even sold as products, either by your firm or jointly with a client. Be alert to intellectual property issues and opportunities, as well as reusable methods to implement similar projects for other clients. Databases of knowledge and expertise may also serve you well in the event of departures from your firm.
10. Make it Sticky. Stickiness is a term that is sometimes used in connection with web sites. It refers to a site’s ability to keep a visitor on the site for a significant time and to visit multiple pages. By using technology to address key concerns for clients and to make it easy for them to work with you, you can also create a “stickiness” in working with your firms and your systems. As a result, you increase the costs and effort for a firm that wishes to take a client form you.
Conclusion. The DuPont Legal Model began in 1992. More than 10 years later, DuPont and its primary law firms are still working out the model for a virtual law firm. It is not realistic for you to expect that you can jump immediately into a virtual law firm model. For one thing, the cultural and economic issues alone are too complex. But you can definitely take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with clients to put down the technological underpinnings that can lead to such a model and, in the interim, provide significant benefits for both law firms and clients, including, in some cases, allowing your firm to survive and do work for its biggest clients. If you do not address these issues, your clients may dictate the answers for you, and, lately, that may mean that they think about firing you.
Ten Practical Tips for Technology Partnering Initiatives.
1. Educate yourself. My web page at https://www.denniskennedy.com/resources/legal-tech-central/clientdriven.asp is a good starting point. But it takes a lot of work to get up to speed on technology alternatives. Hiring appropriate expertise may be desirable in many cases.
2. Thoroughly understand the DuPont Legal Model. Your clients may approach you about the DuPont Legal Model before you approach them. They are reading about it and hearing about it in seminars. A great resource is http://www.dupontlegalmodel.com.
3. Send a survey. Statistics indicate that the vast majority of clients are willing to respond.
4. Listen to what your clients are already saying to you about technology. Lack of responsiveness is the major reason law firms get fired.
5. Give your clients new ideas to think about. Clients cannot know everything that is available. Give them some great suggestions. Clients appreciate creative solutions. Be the first to mention the ideas.
6. Get the right people involved. Are you the right person for this initiative? Who is? What role will your IS department play in the initial phases? I suggest that a high-level IS person be involved at the earliest opportunity.
7. Facilitate relationships between your IS people and the client’s IS people. Here is a simple test. Ask the head of your IS department how many of the heads of clients’ IS departments are in his or her contacts list. I bet it is too small a number. Are there ways you can get IS people to get together on a regular basis. Presentations by your IS group to client IS groups may make sense.
8. Find creative ways to control costs. Clients like law firms that are creative. They are also under pressure to control legal costs. Technology may allow you to show you are good at both. Controlling client costs is different from cutting your fees and profits.
9. Use technology initiatives in a way to increase the costs for a competitor to steal your client away.
10. Lead, follow (closely) or get out of the way.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s legal technology consulting services, featuring RSS and blogging consulting, technology audit, strategic planning and technology committee coaching packages especially for medium-sized law firms (15 – 100 lawyers) and corporate legal departments. More information on the “Second Pair of Eyes” packages for legal technology audits and strategic planning may be found here (PDF).
Client-driven technology

I’ve been wanting to write more frequently about Web 2.0 and its implication in the practice of law. The Wired GC has stepped up to the task and hit a home run with his post “Web 2.0, Law Style,” a must-read if you’re interested in the application of new Internet technologies and applications to the delivery of legal services and the practice of law.
The money quote:

This could have all sorts of ramifications as to what law firms are really selling (information or insight), how they are organized (partner/associate) and how they are valued (finders over minders over grinders). It may also mean that a corporate legal department lets more work be done by clients themselves.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s legal technology consulting services, featuring RSS and advanced blogging consulting and technology committee coaching packages for law firms, corporate legal departments and other professional services providers.

Legal technology pioneer Marc Lauritsen asked me to publicize the following roundtable discussion that will be held as part of the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s Fall Meeting in a few weeks. I’m happy to do so because this topic is so fascinating. I’ll be at the roundtable discussion, titled “Will Document Automation Disrupt the Legal Profession?” Hope to see you there.
Marc writes:
A roundtable discussion sponsored by the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force:
Saturday, October 22, 11 am to 1 pm
Loew’s Hotel, Philadelphia
This is the first in a series of roundtables on technologies that have the potential to disrupt the legal profession.
Document assembly software automates the production of legal documents, usually through an interview process. You answer questions and a custom draft is automatically built.
Although the concept is simple, many applications involve sophisticated decision trees and web interfaces. Automation processes for self-help business users can have built-in “trap doors”: safe documents are generated automatically but questionable ones are routed to a lawyer for review.
Document assembly has not lived up to its promise, despite the huge efficiency gains it creates. One big barrier to adoption by law firms has been the billable hour.
Some law firms use document automation to sustain their current practices. Some deploy extranets through which clients can assemble their own documents. But most firms look at these endeavors as unattractive, downmarket opportunities.
In the meantime, corporate law departments like Cisco’s are e-lawyering large swaths of routine document work. Courts and legal aid programs are delivering free online forms to the public. And a variety of nontraditional legal service providers with capital and entrepreneurial zeal are clamoring to seize opportunities evidently being left on the table by lawyers.
The session will begin with several short presentations, followed by group discussion.
Marc Lauritsen will give a short history of document automation and its current state of development, both in terms of technology and in terms of applications.
Darryl Mountain will apply Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovations to the document automation industry.
Richard Granat will discuss disruptive business models such as We the People U.S.A. and his own mylawyer.com and directlaw.com.

For more information, contact Marc directly – info at Marc’s website at http://www.capstonepractice.com.
You can expect this roundtable to cover some of the areas I’ve referred to as Fourth Generation Legal Technology. The roundtable should also be an excellent way to whet your appetite for BlawgThink 2005.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by LexThink!(TM)/a> – The Conference, Re-imagined. LexThink! – Think big thoughts, do cool things, change the world. November 11-12, 2005 – LexThink’s BlawgThink.

A quick check of Google and Yahoo today showed me that no one has used the term “Fourth Generation Legal Technology” or “4G Legal Technology.” I want to lay claim to the phrase to describe a collections of ideas I have.
Here’s what I’m thinking.
I’ve been speaking and writing for a while about the third age of legal technology (the allusion to Babylon 5 is intentional). The first age is secretary or staff focused. The second age is IT department focused. The third age is lawyer focused – when the goal is to get the tools lawyers need into the hands of lawyers.
I was stopping there. When I recently spoke about this in a presentation I gave, I noticed that I was trying to crowbar the idea of “client-driven” or “client-focused” technologies into my description of the third age and it really didn’t quite fit.
It struck me today (it takes time for ideas to percolate for me these days) that the age when legal technology has as it primary focus clients, clients’ wishes and clients’ needs was in fact a fourth age, at least in my way of thinking.
For the last few months, I’ve been reading John Robb, William Lind and their work on Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). It’s given me a lot to think about.
It strikes me that “generation” is a better word to describe what I see happening in legal technology than “age” or “stage.”
It also strikes me that some of the ideas of 4GW analysis – Open Source principles, decentralization, fast innovation, non-traditional fluid forms of organization – also apply in my ideas of client-driven technology (see the other posts in the Client Driven Technologies category of this blog).
This subject, this phrase and this combination of ideas really intrigues me and gives me, I believe, a framework to pull together some ideas and concepts that I’ve been working with for a number of years. Expect to hear/see much more from me about this (Fourth Generation Legal Technology, 4G Legal Technology, 4GLT) in the coming months.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
This post brought to you by Dennis Kennedy’s consulting services, featuring RSS and advanced blogging consulting and technology committee coaching packages for law firms, corporate legal departments and other professional services providers.