Sunday, February 27, 2011

Law Practice Management Presentations to Law Students

Deborah McMurray has a great post on her Law Firm 4.0 blog about her recent presentation to a group on students at SMU Law School. The post is called "Law Practice Management Class - SMU Law School. What's on their minds."

She focused on marketing on the Internet, but centered her talk around two questions and the students's answers to those questions.

She asked them:

  1. When you think of starting your careers in a year or two, what is the biggest opportunity you see that the Internet can bring you?
  2. What is your greatest fear when you think about the Internet and your career?

The post shares their answers and their concerns. Deborah notes that the students concerns about the impact of the Internet on the profession track the concerns of lawyers. It's fascinating reading.

Deborah also links in the post to her presentation slides.

There does seem to be a bit more of a trend in the last year or so of inviting people knowledgeable on law practice managment to speak to law students.

I (Dennis Kennedy) will be speaking to a group of students at the University of Missouri Law School in April about careers, social media, technology and whatever else students have on their minds. I'm looking forward to it. As Deborah indicates in her post, there definitely seems to be demand for these types of sessions.


February 27, 2011 in Practice Management, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Leaving PPT

I will freely admit that I am a PowerPoint devotee - when it comes to presentations, I just don't feel comfortable moving away from its familiar features. But that doesn't mean I love the program - and I'll wager that many of you aren't fans, either. So in the interest of equal time, take a look at these 5 Web-Based Alternatives to PowerPoint

You'll find some intriguing alternatives here - I'm especially interested in trying out Prezi, which is less like PowerPoint and more like using a whiteboard, and 280 Slides, which reminds me a lot of Apple's Keynote. One of the tools, SlideRocket offers collaborative features, but to get good functionality you'll need to spring for the Pro or Enterprise plan. If collaboration is an important feature for your presentation software, then check out Google Docs or Zoho Show.

None of these tools are truly as powerful as PowerPoint, or Keynote, for that matter. They don't have the animation or transition features that many people like to use in their presentations. Come to think of it, maybe there's a reason for that, seeing that many presenters how are going away from complicated animation in their presentations. Give these tools a look if you're interested in trying a new presentation tool.


February 11, 2011 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Force a Secure Connection in your Browser

These days, hackers are finding it easier and easier to prey upon web surfers who access websites through traditional, insecure means. You know what I mean here, right? A website has no special security when it has the typical "http://" in front of the address. If you're visiting a site that has confidential or private information, you want to make sure the address starts with "https://" - which means the connection is encrypted. Your browser will also show a padlock or change the color of the address bar to tell you that security is enabled.

More and more websites actually have HTTPS-enabled sites, to protect their visitors - however, they don't offer these sites by default, because typically they are slower to load, and can sometimes degrade the viewer experience. But if you want to "force" a secure connection to load when you visit those sites, there's now a way to do that. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has developed an extension for the Firefox browser called HTTPS Everywhere, which automatically enables a secure connection for the sites that have them. Some of the sites included in this extension are:

- Dropbox
- Google
- Twitter
- Meebo
- New York Times
- Washington Post
- Hotmail
- Microsoft
- PayPal
- Wikipedia
- Evernote
- WordPress
- Facebook

....and more. Unfortunately, the extension only works for Firefox - when do we get versions for Internet Explorer and Chrome, EFF?

February 8, 2011 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Send Bookmarks to your Friends the Easy Way

I've always loved URL-shortening site for its ability to not only shorten long URLs, but also to track how many people click on those shortened links. Now it offers a great service that is really useful when you need to share a bunch of links.

Let's say your firm's managing partner asks for recommendations for the Partner Dinner. Or your spouse/significant other wants you to give suggestions for a hotel on your upcoming vacation. Rather than send an email with all the links in them, check out bundles. They're collections of links you can add, remove and rearrange. 

You have to have a account to do this, but once you've registered, it's pretty easy to create a bundle. Just enter the URLs of all the sites you want to include, and click Add to Bundle after each. Give your bundle a name, and you're done! You can add comments under each link, if you want to provide a little more background on the links you're providing. To the right of your bundle you'll find "stats" for your bundle, including a short link to it and privacy settings. Here's a bundle I created on Online Storage and Syncing Services - it's just three sites, but you'll get the idea.

This is an easy way to share large numbers of links with other people - you can even subscribe to the list by email or RSS.

January 18, 2011 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Professionalism & Ethics in Today's Technology

 In its September/October issue, “The Bencher,” the magazine of the American Inns of Court, published several helpful articles on the subject. Here are the articles available to the public online:

American Inns of Court (AIC) are designed to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar. An American Inn of Court is an amalgam of judges, lawyers, and in some cases, law professors and law students. Each Inn meets approximately once a month both to "break bread" and to hold programs and discussions on matters of ethics, skills and professionalism.

The membership is divided into “pupillage teams,” with each team consisting of a few members from each membership category. Each pupillage team conducts one program for the Inn each year. Pupillage team members get together informally outside of monthly Inn meetings in groups of two or more. This allows the less-experienced attorneys to become more effective advocates and counselors by learning from the more-experienced attorneys and judges. In addition, each less-experienced member is assigned to a more-experienced attorney or judge who acts as a mentor and encourages conversations about the practice of law.

For more information, please visit


January 15, 2011 in Current Affairs, Legal Technology, Practice Management, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Give your Gmail security a tuneup

If you're a Gmail user, you might want to to give this Gmail Security Checklist a onceover. It takes you through an assessment of security basics - on your computer, your browser, your Google account, and then your Gmail settings. And although this is designed for Gmail, many parts of this checklist apply just as well to other types of webmail.

December 29, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Internet Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Job Search

It's becoming easier and easier to undo all the good work you've done to find a good job after law school through a lack of good judgment in using the Internet, especially social media.

George Lenard has a great post on George's Employment Blawg called "Ten Internet Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Job Search." It would be good for all of us to commit these potential mistakes to memory.

Highlights include wise advice about pictures, Facebook, Twitter, comments on other sites, and creating your own Google Profile.

On the other hand, you can also point to at least ten great ways  (many of them found in George's post) effective use of the Internet can help your job search, so it's important to keep a balanced perspective. Just because you can make mistakes on the Internet doesn't mean you want to stay away from the Internet.

The bottom line: moderation and good judgment will always serve you well.


December 27, 2010 in Legal Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If Twitter Had Been Around in 1776

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

iPads in the Classroom

I recently read Wes Fryer's post "iPads in the Classroom by Jonathann Reed and Sharon Parsons," in which he published his notes from a breakout session on use of iPad technology in middle school from the 2010 Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference. I've been thinking about it ever since.

It's a fascinating post just in the sense of what is being tried, what works and what obstacles middle schools face in using iPads.

You can also add to the mix another post of his notes from the same conference called The 21st Century Teacher's Toolkit by Alice Barr, which discusses the use of laptops and other technology in early education with a big emphasis on collaboration tools.

I bet that both posts will get you thinking too.

One thing the posts will definitely get you thinking about is what happens when a new generation with a long history of access to excellent technology tools hits a law school system too often in the news for professors banning laptops from their lectures and a a legal profession expecting them to take several steps backwards in both the tools they are given and the ways they can use those tools to collaborate and get work done?



December 7, 2010 in Legal Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Courts Opt for Digital Audio Recordings Online

Two federal district courts and six bankruptcy courts now offer digital recordings online through PACER, a service of the federal judiciary. And another 22 courts are planning to offer digital audio access. Here’s a report from U.S Law Week online.


November 25, 2010 in Current Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pennsylvania Lawyers Aren't Fans of New Tech Devices for Professional Use

According to a recent story in Pennsylvania’s Legal Intelligencer, Pennsylvania law firms are sticking with traditional laptops and BlackBerry smartphones. For the most part, lawyers surveyed use mobile devices to check emails and view, edit, and draft documents on laptops. They don’t see much use for iPads and eReaders other than for entertainment.


November 21, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Federal courts moving to archival standard for PDF (PDF/A)

The federal courts will soon begin moving the Case Management and Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system to the PDF/A standard for electronic filing. The PACER website offers more information about the transition. The Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog also notes this development and provides advice about implementing PDF/A.

PDF/A is an ISO-approved subset (ISO 19005: PDF/A) of the standard PDF specification and is intended for long-term archiving of electronic documents.

Links to useful information about PDF/A:


November 16, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free Adobe Acrobat X for Legal Professionals eSeminar

If a lawyer or law student could become an expert on only one software program, what should it be?

I’ve long believed that Adobe Acrobat should be that one program. It’s difficult to think of a more versatile or universally-used program in the law practice today.  From e-discovery to document management to document collaboration, Acrobat has many uses. Most lawyers barely touch the surface of everything that’s built into Acrobat.

Even better, Adobe has been very receptive to the needs of lawyers as Acrobat continues to evolve – dealing with issues like redaction, Bates numbering and metadata. Adobe’s representative to the legal industry, Rick Borstein has played a large role in getting lawyers’ needs addressed in Acrobat and training lawyers to use Acrobat better. His blog Acrobat for Legal Professionals is a great resource.

There’s a new release of Acrobat – Acrobat X Pro. The new version definitely has features that will interest lawyers.

There will be no better way to get an initial heads-up on the new version than attending Rick Borstein’s free Acrobat X for Legal Professionals webinar on November 16. Details here

I got the chance to talk with Rick recently about the new features and got a demo that I suspect will be similar to what he’ll show in the webinar. It should be excellent. Highly recommended.


November 11, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Integrating Practice Management Tools in Law School

Contributing editors of the Legal Skills Prof Blog, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell, host a legal technology podcast called The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network. In the latest episode, "Integrating Practice Management Tools in Law School," they take a close look at one interesting development in the way legal technology tools used by practicing lawyers might be used in law school classes. They interview four people, including the professor and a student involved in the experiment, and try to give a practical, “on the ground” report of what happened, how it worked and how others might follow the same path.

Here’s the podcast description:

With law firms cutting back or eliminating summer internships and law schools focusing on teaching theoretical legal concepts, law students find themselves in a difficult position in a difficult market. How can law students learn needed practical skills, including how to use legal technology? In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell talk to Professor Clark D. Cunningham from Georgia State University College of Law, Jonathan Call, law school student at GSU College of Law, Jack Newton from Clio and Andy Adkins from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, about the exciting and innovative efforts to bring practical skills training, including legal technology, to law schools and law students.  

Check out the podcast and let us know what you think. We’d also be interested in collecting examples of similar efforts. If you know of any, mention them in the comments to this post.


November 11, 2010 in Current Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Perils of Poor PowerPoints

When the Arthur Anderson accounting firm showed the Enron Board of Directors accounting board powerpoints that gently warned of sketchy accounting practices, did the lack of a bold warning doom Enron? Did a confusing powerpoint –driven presentation by Boeing engineers contribute to the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster? These are the questions that Nancy Duarte raises  in her article, “Why We Hate PowerPoints—and how to fix them.”


October 29, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

More on Stronger Passwords

Do you want to make your passwords even more of a challenge for hackers? Here’s a tongue-in-check list of suggestions.

 (Thnx to Ralph Brill)


October 29, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Billable Hour Credit for Blogging?

That’s one proposal put forward by Dallas lawyer Michael Maslanka who encourages law firms to implement a social media policy. Here’s the first paragraph of his article in the October  issue of the Texas Bar Journal:

Here are a few radical ideas. Law firms should allow billable hour credit for lawyers and paralegals who use social media. Lawyers who manage, encourage, and educate colleagues about the uses of social media should receive bonuses. Law firm websites should be given a sense of immediacy with podcasts, blogs, and videos.

 To read his full article, please click here.


October 25, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)