Here’s a little tip that I have been doing for years. Before I travel, I check my LinkedIn connections in the area where I’m going.  It helps remind me who I’m connected with and it gives me an excuse to catch up with an old friend or colleague.

Here’s my step-by- step method for pre-trip connection planning:

1. Go to LinkedIn’s Advanced Search page.  The link is in the upper right-hand corner, next to the search box.

2. Select the location where you’ll be, using a zip code, and a range (e.g., 50 miles) indicating that you’re looking for contacts within a certain distance of the zip code.  Depending on where you’re going, you’ll want to adjust this setting.

3. Decide who you want to connect with.  You can narrow your search by industry, members of LinkedIn Groups, and degrees of contacts.  I usually opt to filter out everyone except for my first degree connections. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Review the list and reach out.

Online (social media) connections are great, but there’s nothing like a good old face-to-face meet-up.  The nice thing about tools like LinkedIn is that they’re not only great for keeping in touch online, but they can facilitate an in-person meeting as well.

Here is a continuation of my ILTA Conference coverage.  ILTA information followed by my brief notes.  Please forgive the typos (I’m typing away quickly just to get the thoughts down on “paper.

From ILTA:

Social Networking in the Legal Industry
Description: Law firms, like virtually every other business today, are discovering the benefits of social networking collaboration. Learn about the use of collaborative tools such as wikis, blogs and discussion forums, and networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Date/Time:     Monday 8/22/2011 at 1:00 p.m.
Location:     Canal C
Speaker(s):

  • David Hobbie – Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Beau Mersereau – Fish & Richardson P.C.
  • Katrina Dittmer – Baker & Daniels

My Notes:

This was a standing room only crowd.  They actually had to bring in more chairs and there were still people sitting on the floor.  This session covers non- Continue reading »

The International Legal Technology Association (a.k.a. ILTA) Conference starts next week (Aug 21-25) at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN.  The official conference Twitter hash tag is #ILTA11.

As a part of the ILTA Knowledge Management Peer Group Steering Committee, I had the pleasure of serving as this year’s conference liaison.  The Steering Committee members worked hard to develop six great sessions for the conference.  I hope you attend them.  Here are the summaries of the six sessions:

1. Advances in Document Assembly
Description: While document assembly applications have been around for a few years, adoption has been relatively slow and usually for niche legal practice areas. However, new technologies may rejuvenate interest.

Date/Time:     Monday 8/22/2011 at 11:00 a.m.
Location:     Canal C
Speaker(s):

  • Peter Krakaur – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Michael Tominna – DLA Piper
  • Ayelette Robinson – Littler Mendelson, P.C.
  • Yvonne Willis – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Moderator: David Hobbie – Goodwin Procter LLP

2. Social Networking in the Legal Industry
Description: Law firms, like virtually every other business today, are discovering the benefits of social networking collaboration. Learn about the use of collaborative tools such as wikis, blogs and discussion forums, and networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Date/Time:     Monday 8/22/2011 at 1:00 p.m.
Location:     Canal C
Speaker(s):

  • David Hobbie – Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Beau Mersereau – Fish & Richardson P.C.
  • Katrina Dittmer – Baker & Daniels

3. It Takes a Village to Deliver Effective AFAs
Description: Learn how KM professionals and key players from finance, IT, professional development, legal project management, records and other areas can collaborate to help law firms implement successful AFAs.

Date/Time:     Wednesday 8/24/2011 at 9:15 a.m.
Location:     Delta Ballroom C
Speaker(s):

  • Tom Baldwin – Reed Smith LLP
  • Toby Brown – Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P.
  • Pamela Woldow – Edge International

4. How KM Supports Innovative Service Delivery
Description: KM isn’t just precedents anymore. Hear how some true innovators in the field have tied sustainable KM processes and tools to specific legal services in ways that show clear increases in value delivered to clients.

Date/Time:     Wednesday 8/24/2011 at 11:30 a.m.
Location:     Delta Ballroom C
Speaker(s):

  • Scott Rechtschaffen – Littler Mendelson, P.C.
  • Brynn Wiswall – Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz
  • Howard Nicols – Squire, Sanders & Dempsey

5. Creating an Optimal KM Value Strategy
Description:  A sound KM strategy is essential to success. Whether you are just starting a KM program or you’ve been at it for years, you’ll take away insight into how your colleagues have formulated or refreshed their KM strategies to optimal levels, and what did and didn’t work.

Date/Time:     Wednesday 8/24/2011 at 1:30 p.m.
Location:     Delta Ballroom C
Speaker(s):

  • Steven Lastres – Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • John Gillies – Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
  • Sally Gonzalez – HBR Consulting LLC
  • Moderator: Patrick DiDomenico – Gibbons P.C.

6. KM Helps Meet the ACC Value Challenge
Description: The Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC) has challenged law firms to understand their clients’ business better, be more efficient in their work, be more effective in training junior lawyers, and better budget and manage costs. Find out how knowledge management can help achieve these goals.

Date/Time:   Wednesday  8/24/2011 at 3:30 p.m.
Location:     Delta Ballroom C
Speaker(s):

  • Jeffrey Brandt – PinHawk LLC
  • Thom Wisinski – Haynes and Boone, LLP
  • Mary F. Panetta – Crowell & Moring LLP
  • Moderator: David Hobbie – Goodwin Procter LLP

These are all sure to be excellent sessions and I encourage everyone to attend.

 

This looks like an interesting webinar.

Here is the re-post from ILTA:

Join us for this free webinar on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at

12:00 p.m. Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Central /

10:00 a.m. Mountain / 9:00 a.m. Pacific.

As organizations look to social media to address internal and external business needs, they must walk a fine line between accessibility and governance.

What are the common business needs for using social media? What is the framework for day-to-day governance, collection and preservation of information shared in these platforms?

And how can organizations weave these competing interests together to reap the benefits of the social media revolution?

This session will provide some insightful commentary from experienced panelists who are in the “trenches” with this business solution.

If you’d like to Tweet during this session the hashtag for the Litigation & Practice Support Peer Group is #ILTALPS or#ILTAKM for the Knowledge Management Peer Group.

Speakers:

Ayelette Robinson is the Director of Knowledge Technology and Knowledge Management Counsel at Littler Mendelson P.C., where she is responsible for the design, development and implementation of the firm’s technology-based knowledge management systems. Ayelette works closely with cross-functional teams, leveraging her experience practicing law and her understanding of technology inside and outside the legal industry to assess firmwide knowledge needs and oversee the analysis and maintenance of firmwide practice resources. She can be reached at ayrobinson@littler.com.

Jack Halprin, Esq. is the Vice President of eDiscovery and Compliance with Autonomy. He serves as a subject-matter expert and assists clients with building best practices and defensible processes around electronic discovery and compliance issues. Jack manages the product line strategy for Autonomy’s Legal Hold and Early Case Assessment solutions, and he is a frequent speaker and writer on enterprise legal risk management and e-discovery, legal hold and knowledge management. He can be reached at jack.halprin@autonomy.com.

Peter Ozolin is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Manzama, where he is responsible for leading the company’s strategy and vision. Peter founded Legal Anywhere in 1997, and the company became the leading provider of extranet solutions for the legal profession. Niku Corporation acquired Legal Anywhere in 2000, and he served as Niku’s Vice President and General Manager for the Legal Profession. Peter has also held leadership roles at Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, Thomson Reuters and Remote Technologies. He has published articles in numerous periodicals and has presented at nationwide conferences and tradeshows. Peter can be reached at peter@manzama.com.

REGISTER online here

Questions? Please contact Kristy Costello at 512.795.4674 orkristina@iltanet.org

During some recent speaking engagements, I mentioned how lawyers can benefit from using social media, among them, blogs. Countering one common reason for resistance to blogging–“I don’t have the time”–I pointed out how to use leverage to your advantage.

The idea is simple: turn the work you already do into a blog post. Lawyers do lots of work.  They draft briefs, contracts, opinion letters, etc.  Some even try to develop business by drafting newsletters, presenting pitches, and speaking at bar association functions, trade shows, and the like.

Of course, you can’t just copy and paste a client pitch, opinion letter, or brief into a blog post.  I hope it goes without saying that you shouldn’t disclose confidential or proprietary information in a blog post. You also need to edit the content for your audience.  The bad news is that it will require a little work.  The good news is that unlike the newsletter that just goes out to the people on your mailing list, your blog audience is potentially limited only to those with web access.

You’ll also need to convert your content so that it works for the web.  This means, among other things, that you’ll need to “tighten it up.”  Make your posts short and to the point.  The web is giving us all A.D.D.  If you can’t hook your readers quickly, you’ll lose them fast.  But that is also good news.  It forces you to chop up your otherwise lengthy materials into bite-sized pieces, which in turn, means more blog posts.

You work hard.  Recycle some of that work into blog posts.  I just did.  And I intend to do it more in the near future.

Knowledge Management, Technology & Social Media for Lawyers and Law Firms

LinkedIn recently released a new feature, called Signal, that allows you to easily search all LinkedIn members’ Network Updates.   As LinkedIn says in its introductory video, below, this is a way to cast a professional net on the constant stream of Tweets and Updates, and use LinkedIn as a business intelligence dashboard.

On my brief review, this looks like it has potential to be very useful, and to make LinkedIn a more relevant player in the social networking universe.  The search is fast and surfaces what appears to be good content.  Just enter a search term in the “Search Updates” box above the Network Updates section:

The search results are interesting. Continue reading »

For some reason, more and more and blog posts have enumerative titles like “The Top 10 Most Popular Social Networks,” and “Top 5 Myths about Facebook.”   A  Google search revealed over 530,000 blog posts published in 2010 that have “Top 10″ in the title.  In the spirit of the beloved enumerative blog post, here are five reasons why we love these lists:

1. They’re short

Who has the time to read lengthy blog posts?  Enumerative posts are usually short and concise (I have a thing for concision).  They have numbered headings, so they’re skim-able.   By the way, lack of time to read good stuff is why I love to use Instapaper, a bookmarking tool that let’s you quickly mark web pages to read later.  It’s dead simple.  Set up a free account, install the bookmarklet, and click it when you’re on a web page that you want to read later.  When you have the time, visit Instapaper (on the web, iPad, or mobile device) to get a nice text-only, super-readable version of the article.  Here is a New York Times article about it.*  But I digress.

2. Anticipation

I get all excited when someone promises me a list.  I can’t wait Continue reading »

Google announced this morning Cloud Connect for the Google Search Appliance (GSA).  The Search Appliance has been around for years, but Google has had difficulty getting law firm adoption.  The latest version, however, offers some additional benefits that might make it more attractive to all types of businesses, including law firms.

The Cloud, Ground, and Social Search.

Google says that GSA now displays search results from “Google Docs and Google Sites alongside results from more traditional repositories, like file shares and content management systems.”  In addition, one search can show results from blogs, and social media sites, like Twitter.

Who We Know.

Equally important — especially to law firms — is the new People Search feature, “which makes it easy to find experts and contact coworkers.”  Search results for coworkers are included in response to queries.  The announcement indicates that the GSA can index personnel information and includes an LDAP connector, which should make things easier to set up.  The ability to index popular client relationship management (CRM) applications, like InterAction, is unclear.

Important Extras.

Finally, the new GSA includes Dynamic Navigation and SharePoint 2010 support.  Dynamic Navigation “allows users to drill down into search results based on search modifiers for their queries.”  This sort of feature is nothing new;  most of the search tools used by many law firms use it, but is an important addition to GSA nonetheless.   Narrowing search results — rather than executing a new search — is one of the fastest ways to get the information you need.  Google did not elaborate on SharePoint integration, except to say that it supports Microsoft SharePoint 2010 “content without the need for additional connectors.”  Going forward, tight SharePoint integration will be absolutely necessary given the increasing rate of adoption at law firms.

What are your thoughts?  Will the new version of GSA prompt more law form adoption?

Knowledge Management, Technology & Social Media for Lawyers and Law Firms

I’m a “social media evangelist.”  I encourage responsible use of social media.  I think that having a good LinkedIn profile, for example,  is important.  Since I often spread the good word, I often get questions about how to use various social media sites.

One question I get a lot is: “How do I get my picture from one website (e.g., my firm’s web page) to appear on my LinkedIn profile?”   Not rocket science.  I can practically do it in my sleep.

The first time someone asked me, I called them and walked them through the steps involved.  It took a few minutes.  No big deal.  I didn’t mind doing it once.

But when someone else asked me the same question, I kicked myself for not taking a few extra minutes to write it down and send it to them in an email.  So, I did.  Now, if a third person asked, I’d be ready and forward that email – so as to not reinvent the wheel.

The third time was déjà vu all over again.  I knew I had answered the question before.  I knew I was ready to answer it again.  But now I just had to find it.  It was somewhere in my rat’s nest of Outlook folders.  It took several minutes, but I found it and forwarded the answer along. Not horrible, but there had to be a better way.

That better way was a wiki.  I had learned my lesson.  The next time I would be ready.  I saved the instructions into a wiki page.  No more email folder hunting.   I knew it was in the wiki.  A quick search for “LinkedIn” would bring it up.

That next time was today.  The whole transaction took me about 20 seconds.

The goal is to do things once, then re-use what you’ve done.  It saves time and frustration, and allows you to provide faster and more consistent customer service.

How do you use wikis to make your life — and the lives of others — easier?

Knowledge Management, Technology & Social Media for Lawyers and Law Firms

On Friday, March 12 at 12:15 p.m. I’ll be speaking about Knowledge Management at the Legal Marketing  Association Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.

There is a ton of buzz about this conference on Twitter (and I thought legal tech people loved Twitter).  The conference goers are using the #LMA10 hashtag on Twitter to converse.  Check it out here.

Here is the description of my session, from the conference materials:

Title: Leveraging Knowledge Management to Increase Efficiency and Improve Your Firm’s Bottom Line

Topics for this session include:

  • Best practices for completely aligning your knowledge management processes with the business processes and goals of the entire firm
  • Collaborating with marketing and business development groups to use knowledge management to impact your industry and practices teams, and clients
  • Examining ways in which knowledge management can improve profitability and impact the bottom line
  • Different technologies firms are using and how information-sharing improves internally as a result

_

Presenters:

  • Meredith Williams, Director of Knowledge Management, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz P.C.
  • Patrick V. DiDomenico, Chief Knowledge Officer, Gibbons P.C.
  • Rob Saccone, Vice President & General Manager, XMLAW
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    Knowledge Management, Technology & Social Media for Lawyers and Law Firms

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