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/)]

DennisKennedy.Blog is now part of the LexBlog network.

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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

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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It was 14 years ago today that I brought DennisKennedy.Blog into play.

Back in February 2003, I launched this blog as an early birthday present to myself.

Much has happened over those 14 years. It’s sobering to have a blog that’s a teenager.

The good news is that this year, both my blog and I are on the same page and decided to spend a quiet night at home. We’re looking to find a good blogging movie to watch. The only request my blog has made is for a chocolate mousse cake from Luebley’s Bakery.

We mainly want to say thank you to our readers, especially for those who have been there for us since the very beginning (1,661 posts, it seems). We welcome hearing your suggestions for the blog in 2017.

I’ve also been pleased by the good response to the recent article Gwynne Monahan and I wrote called “Lawyers Get Ready, There’s a Blockchain Coming.” If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to check it out.

Looking forward to a great 2017 for the blog.

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

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 59 books. Or, more accurately, I listed 59 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 – 2017

Birthday Cake with PineappleLong-time readers of this blog will know that today is the blawgiversary of DennisKennedy.Blog. I started this blog on February 15, 2003, and we (my blog and me) are marking its thirteenth birthday today. That makes DennisKennedy.Blog a teenager. Much more about that in a minute.

In previous years, I marked the week of the blogiversary with a weeklong combined celebration of my blog’s birthday and my birthday (February 17 – shout out to birthday sharers Michael Jordan and Jim Brown). The issue of “sharing” birthday celebrations came up this year and, as you’ll notice from the title of this post, “we” decided to do something different this year.

When you have written a blog as long as I have, two things will surprise you. The first is that your blog starts to take on a life of its own and begins to talk to you, especially about its “feelings” and “needs.” The second is that you are constantly surprised which posts set off a negative reaction from readers.

This morning, we had the combination of those two things.

The problem, it seems, was yesterday’s post – a seemingly innocuous post about some of my recent writings outside the blog and some recent podcasts.

I could not have predicted the firestorm. However, when you have a new teenager, you can’t predict anything.

To make a long story short, my blog and I had what they call these days a “good talk” this morning. If you know teenagers, it won’t surprise you that words like “unfair,” “independence,” “old enough,” and the like were flying around. I also heard the word “boring” and “old man” more times than I cared to hear them.

As I now understand it, yesterday’s post hit a tender spot that I apparently have not been listening to the blog enough about. In retrospect, I get the blog’s perspective, but sheesh. Yes, the post did refer to writing I have done in places other than the blog. And, yes, I am aware that my blog sees my podcast as competition for my time, attention and best work. I now better understand why my blog found this so upsetting.

And you don’t even want to hear the comments my blog made about my use of social media.

On the other hand, I do think my best work and content lately has been on the podcast. I won’t apologize for that. I was a bit surprised, however, that my blog has been skyping with Tom Mighell’s blog and commiserating about their perceived neglect from their authors. Not to oversimplify, but they are jealous of the podcast.

For most of the discussion, if I can call it that, I listened. I also tried to make rational arguments, justifications and excuses. I also tried changing the subject and a variety of other tricks. My blog was having none of that and, I’ll admit that I’m impressed, stuck to its guns and made all of its points.

The blog even tried to get me to express my feelings and emotions.

It’s was a difficult conversation. I’m still mulling over some of the blog’s points.

One of the things that came through loud and clear is that my blog feels it deserves my most creative work. It kept returning to the point that I was no longer writing posts like the Metallica LexThink post and the Steve Gadd copyright post. And that I should be. (NIt also wants me to fix some of the internal links on the blog so that people don’t have to search for old posts using the search box at the top of the right column. I get the point.)

My blog’s contention is that posts like those are what my real audience wants and not pointers to things I’ve done in other places. Especially on my podcast. At one point, my blog literally threw a “Legal Talk Network” t-shirt across the room.

Not too surprisingly, the subject of being “old enough” for a tattoo again came up. Again.

In the past, I’ve been able to say that the blog is too young and that I make all the decisions. And my threat of getting an ear pierced and wearing an earring was a deterrent the blog on the tattoo front because it did not want to be embarrassed to death. Now, my blog seems ready to call my bluff. I’m still not convinced that my blog’s tattoo idea – a large “Cloud” with a lightning bolt that says “You only live once” is the best choice, but I understand its point that it has long been living with a photo of me “tattooed” on its front page and, even worse for it, a logo and feed for the podcast.

The bottom line. We agreed that DennisKennedy.Blog gets its own separate birthday celebration this year and going forward. We also agreed that any birthday presents to the blog will be the blog’s presents and not shared with me. Unless it wants to share – not likely.

I also agreed that I would ask readers to let us know in the comments what direction you would like to see the blog take going forward. Keep in mind, however, that my blog will see your comments before I do.

And I agreed that I needed to pay more attention to my blog and consider its feelings.

It was a difficult, contentious discussion, but a worthwhile one that will help us begin to plot a path forward.

We hugged it out at the end and said “good talk,” both nervously looking around to make sure no one was watching us.

So, I wish my blog a happy thirteenth birthday, salute it for becoming a teenager and invite you to do the same. It’s been a pleasure writing the blog all these years and I look forward to many more.

– Dennis

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers (Second Edition), the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version also available). Our previous book, Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, is also available (iBook version here). Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

For the last 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.

LIOHFL 2ed Image

Last year, I read 53 books, just topping the goal. Or, more accurately, I listed 53 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.

I’m doing the same thing in 2016. My approach is the same in previous years – I’ll simply update this post from time to time from time to time throughout the year as I finish books.

I’ve noticed that I tend to read all or most of a series or two of books each year. Last year, they were the Sidney Chambers series and a start on Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

I’ve enjoyed doing this challenge every year and hope you find the list useful. And I encourage you to take the challenge yourself.

I welcome your recommendations of good books I might read this year.

As Bill Taylor says, “Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?” Challenging yourself to read 52 books is probably a good way to start to answer that question.

December

59. The End of Dieting, Joel Fuhrman
58. Spark Joy, Marie Kondo
57. A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny
56. Please Kill Me, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

November

55. Mapping Decline, Colin Gordon
54. Breaking Cover, Stella Rimington
53. An Obvious Fact, Craig Johnson
52. Think Simple, Ken Segall

October

51. Visual Intelligence, Amy Herman
50. The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes

September

49. Back from the Dead, Bill Walton
48. Any Minute Now, Eric Van Lustbader
47. The Other Side of Silence, Philip Kerr
46. The Index Card, helaine Olan and Harold Pollack

August

45. Daniel Silva, THe Black Widow
44. The Highwayman, Craig Johnson
43. The Bourne Enigma, Eric Van Lustbader
42. Even Dogs in the Wild, Ian Rankin

July

41. My Life in Middlemarch, Rebecca Mead
40. Secular Meditation, Rick Heller
39. The Encore Career Handbook, Marci ALboher
38. How to Make Your Money Last, Jane Bryant Quinn
37. The More of Less, Joshua Becker
36. The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly
35. Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, Daniel Amen
34. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Daniel Amen
33. The Mechanical Horse, Margaret Guroff

June

32. The Wolves, Alex Berenson
31. Living Forward, Michael Hyatt
30. The Green Mill Murder, Kerry Greenwood
29. The Castlemaine Murders, Kerry Greenwood

May

28. Dead Man’s Chest, Kerry Greenwood
27. Sprint, Jake Knapp
26. My Adventures with Your Money, T.D. Thornton

April

25. The Mulberry Bush, Charles McCarry
24. Murder in Montparnasse, Kerry Greenwood
23. Death Before Wicket, Kerry Greenwood
22. SPQR – A History of Ancient Rome, Mary Beard
21. A Coffin for Dimitrios, Eric Ambler

March

20. In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson
19. Primary Greatness, Stephen Covey
18. Queen of the Flowers, Kerry Greenwood
17. Away with the Fairies, Kerry Greenwood

February

16. The Mark Inside, Amy Reading
15. What to DO to Retire Successfully, Martin Goldstein
14. The Last Kingdom, Bernard Cornwell
13. Murder on the Ballarat Train, Kerry Greenwood
12. The Spy House, Matthew Dunn
11. An Officer and a Spy, Robert Harris
10. Raisins and Almonds, Kerry Greenwood

January

9. The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown
8. Quiet, Susan Cain
7. Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton
6. The Stuff of Life, Mark Schultz
5. APIs: A Strategy Guide, Daniel Jacobson, Greg Brail and Dan Woods
4. Momofuku, David Chang and Peter Meehan
3. Vision to Reality, Honoree Corder
2. Kettlebell Simple & Sinister, Pavel Tsatsouline
1. The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers (Second Edition), the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version also available). Our previous book, Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, is also available (iBook version here). Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Dennis Kennedy photographed on December 19, 2010.Last summer, I was asked the question “Are there really too many lawyers?” I wrote a reply and remembered the other day that I never posted it.

Unlike when you write something for a print publication and might have to wait months for an article to appear, the great benefit of having your own blog is that you can publish it to the world immediately – assuming that you remember to do so.

In the spirit of clearing out 2015 to get a fresh start in 2016, here’s my answer, at least last summer (because I haven’t edited it), to the question “Are there really too many lawyers?”

Are there really too many lawyers?

The science fiction writer William Gibson (@greatdismal) his the source of the well-known quote, “The future has arrived – it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” That’s a good framework to consider the “too many lawyers” question.

That question suggests that the primary issue is one of quantity and the Goldilocksian test of too much, too little or just right. However, that approach misses the most interesting and important facets of the question – distribution, allocation and, ultimately, adaptability of lawyers and the legal profession.

There are a lot of lawyers in the US – a whole lot of them – and many more enter the profession every year. Lawyers also have a tendency not to retire, at least not at an age like 65. The total number inexorably grows.

At the same time, we all see stats that perhaps 80% of people (and probably small businesses) can’t afford or find the lawyers to perform the legal services they need. There are areas like public defenders, judges and certain practice areas where there is a strong feeling that there simply aren’t enough lawyers. In my own world of information technology law, I would say that there is a severe shortage of lawyers knowledgeable in the practice area, which expands and grows more complex almost daily, or so it seems.

Perhaps paradoxically, we also live at a time where it is very difficult for lawyers to get tradition law firm jobs. Some would argue that we’ve had a few “lost years” where only a very small fraction of law school graduates got traditional law opportunities.

What I see is not a “quantity” issue, but an imbalance of supply and demand. In other words, the future of legal services might already be here, but it’s not evenly distributed yet. There is a mismatch of client need and lawyer availability, all aggravated by technology change (think Internet), geographic mobility (general population but not lawyer regulation) and, increasingly, globalization.

The “too many lawyers” question, to me, opens up the issues of legal service distribution and allocation of legal resources and alignment with the changing needs of an increasingly mobile, global and savvy client population with difficult and novel legal issues.

In so many ways, the practice of law has never been so interesting as it is today, with opportunities for creative approaches, futuristic technology tools, and ways to play a key role in the accelerating pace of change we see today.

However, too often today lawyers bemoan the “decline of the profession,” want to pull up the drawbridges and fill up the moats, and try to go back in time to some “mythical good times.”

We live in a world where commerce routes around “friction.” Lawyers have too often allowed themselves to be seen as part of the friction rather than the enablers of new approaches. The path of the Internet is littered with those who felt that what they did was so unique that the Internet would not be able to route around them.

The successful lawyers of the near future will be those who can better distribute and make available their services to the clients who need them. The successful firms will be the ones best able to identify, hire, retain and allocate lawyers to client needs. It’s not rocket science, but it requires a clear-eyed look at the present and the future and a willingness to look to new models rather than return to old structures. At least in my opinion.

The key is adaptability. Can lawyers adapt to changing times? It is reasonable to expect drastic changes on a regular basis within traditional practice areas. It is reasonable to expect clients to change, evolve and disappear. Lawyers must be adaptable to an accelerating pace of change.

Too many lawyers? I don’t know if there’s a magic number. I do know that the number of lawyers is not well distributed from the client perspective. Too many lawyers with adaptability? Not by a long shot. And, unfortunately for many lawyers who hesitate on adapting, the future is already here.

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

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

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

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers (Second Edition), the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version also available). Our previous book, Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, is also available (iBook version here). Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.