Today, a friend shared a link to the New York Times Chrome Web App on Facebook.  My first reaction was: Wow!  My second reaction was to think of one of my favorite quotes by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

The web app appears to be just a web page — a very nicely designed web page.  And in effect, we might as well simply think of it that way. There may be benefits, such as content management, etc., for the publisher because it is a web app, but we can enjoy it by any name.

Probably the most important app feature is Continue reading »

Note: This post is cross-posted in my new blog, iPad4Legal, which I co-publish with Michael Aginsky.  In fact, you can continue reading this post there.  And follow iPad4Legal on Twitter.

On a recent visit to my favorite local coffee shop, I pulled out my netbook (this was before I got my iPad) to do a little surfing.  The server told me that they had instituted a new policy: No Computers.  The strange thing is that this place had previously embraced the ‘net crowd (or at least I thought it did because they offered free WiFi).

They Giveth and they Taketh Away

How strange: free WiFi, but no computers allowed.  I understand why they implemented this new policy: they didn’t want me buying a $2 latte and occupying a seat for 4 hours.  Not good for business. If this catches on (as it may be), it may become an issue for virtual law office lawyers and mobile lawyers, like Niki Black, who — based on her tweets — often gets work done at coffee shops.  (Niki also writes about iPadding lawyers at Legal iPad).

What’s a Computer?

I was really devastated.  I loved that coffee shop — in part because of the free WiFi (they have good cappuccino, too).  My gut reaction to the news was, “Umm. OK. Can I use my iPhone?”  Thankfully, the answer was yes, so I used the WiFi to surf on that for a while.  And that got me thinking: What’s a computer?  My netbook (a Toshiba Mini NB205 Series 10.1-Inch Netbook (160GB Hard Drive) isn’t a “full powered” laptop, but it is definitely a computer.  My iPhone 3GS can do almost anything my netbook can do.  Why is it OK to surf on my iPhone, but not my netbook?  I’m still filling up a seat at a rate of fifty cents an hour.

At that point in time, I had already mentally committed to getting and iPad.  I just had to figure out if it as going to be the WiFi-only version or the WiFi+3G (I subsequently decided to get the 64GB WiFi-only version for reasons that I’ll probably write about).  But, prior to the big announcement about the iPad, I was considering an Amazon Kindle.  I never got one (the iPad obviated that for me), but that day at the coffee shop, I wondered: would they let me sit there with a Kindle?  I could read a book on one of those for hours and still slowly sip that latte.  For that matter, I could do the same thing with a paperback.

Of course, my current, real-life concern is whether they’ll let me use my new iPad while enjoying a cup of joe.  I haven’t been there since I acquired it, but I’ll keep you posted.  If challenged, I think my response will be, “This is not a computer, it’s a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price.”  And what if I just use my iPad to read an iBook? (see Kindle issue above).  I’m so confused.

Are they Luddites?

Perhaps people tend to stay planted in coffee shop seats longer if they are surfing the web than when reading an old fashioned book (I haven’t done the research).  If that’s the case, then I get it.  If not, then what’s next: banning all devices and media?   Absent any evidence to the contrary, there is only one conclusion: coffee shop owners are a bunch of Luddites.

What do you make of all this?

Are you running into the same problems at your local caffeine supply place?  How will this  affect the mobile lawyer?  Perhaps more importantly, will judges start allowing iPads in their courtrooms?  The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has started to allow personal electronic devices under certain conditions.  You can see Standing Order M10-468 In The Matter of Electronic Devices and General Purposes Computing Devices here (opens PDF).  It’s a start.

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

The Knowledge Management Peer Group of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is conducting its biennial knowledge management survey to probe the trends, hot topics and development of KM in the legal industry. Results of the survey will be published in the KM White Paper scheduled for publication in June of 2010.

Please take five to ten minutes to complete the survey or forward it to the appropriate KM person in your organization (we only want one response per organization). The person responsible for KM at your law firm or law department should respond.

As an incentive to participate, ILTA will draw three names from the pool of respondents –– two winners will receive $500, and a third will receive his/her choice of $500 or a waived registration fee for ILTA 2010, the annual conference (a $1,025 value).

Take the Survey Now

It will remain open through March 26, 2010.

And don’t forget the the annual ILTA Conference, which will be held August 22-26, 2010 in Nashville, TN.

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

The New Communication is better communication.  Why address communication in a KM blog?  Because communication is part of the “how we do things” component of knowledge management.  Here are 11 tips on how to better communicate:

1. Be Concise. Nobody wants to read though paragraphs of blather to reach your point.  Enough said.

2. Choose the right tool for the job. Don’t send an email if you need (1) immediate confirmation of receipt of your message or (2) an immediate response.  While some people have the ability (or luxury?) to respond to emails immediately, others are not always in front of a PC or able to check their BlackBerrys.  The only way to ensure that your message got through is by way of a synchronous communication (like a telephone call or face-to-face meeting).  As fast as some people seem to respond to email, remember that it (like snail mail) is an asynchronous communication tool.  Don’t assume that everyone reads all of your email as soon as you click “send.”  For more ideas about using the right communication tool for the job, see my previous post on the topic.

3. Indicate the need for action up front. If you’re in the unfortunate group of people at your firm or company whose emails are routinely ignored after the first sentence, then make that sentence (or even the subject line) count.  If I need someone’s attention or action in response to my email, I start it with “Your action is needed” (yes, in bold, red letters).  If it’s an important update, use a headline (e.g., “Note: meeting time has changed — info below“).

4. Make your point up front. Your email should not be a suspense thriller like The Sixth Sense, where only at the end do you realize that Bruce Willis’ character… I won’t spoil it for you.  Sometimes an email will be longer and more complex than you would like.  If that’s the case, consider an executive summary or a short statement that will make the recipient want to read the whole thing.  Instead of starting off with “I met with opposing counsel today regarding settlement.  At first, the plaintiff would not consider our proposal…” try “I have negotiated a settlement in the Martin case; here are the details.”

4. Don’t change the subject without changing the subject. Sometimes email strings get pretty long.  And sometimes, the topic of the email “conversation” changes midstream.  If that happens, then change the subject line of the email (or simply start a new email).  Your email recipient will appreciate it.  And you will too when you try to find the email weeks or moths later.

5. Name your shared appointments properly and respectfully. I keep my Outlook calendar up to date.  If someone wants to meet with me, they can simply schedule an appointment and pick any free time (while people can’t see the contents of my calendar, they can see whether I am available).  It’s handy and it obviates back-and-forth emails suggesting meeting times.  When inviting someone to meet with an appointment invitation, remember that it’s not all about you.  If you send me an appointment invitation called “Meeting with Patrick,” it may help you, but it is meaningless to me (all of my meetings include me).  Instead, name the appointment by its topic (e.g., “Monthly Performance Review” or “Smith v. Jones Deposition Prep”).  Be concise, but not vague.   “Monthly Meeting” is confusing to someone who has multiple monthly meetings with various people.  “Monthly IT Budget Meeting” is better.

6. Stop using “ASAP” as soon as possible. ASAP is meaningless.  What you mean by “as soon as possible” may be very different than what I mean by it.  Don’t leave things up to chance.  If you’re asking someone to do something, you probably need (or want) it done by a deadline (real or contrived).  Say so.  While you’re at it, eliminate all temporal vagueness from your communication.  Rather than “send me a draft ASAP” or “send me a draft next week” (both vague), try “send me a draft by noon on Wednesday” (certain).  Be clear and leave no room for interpretation.  It saves time for everyone and eliminates misunderstanding.

7. Don’t leave them hanging. If part of your job is to respond to requests for assistance (e.g., a Help Desk or Reference Librarian), then let your customers know that you’re taking care of them.  Promptly acknowledge receipt of your customers’ requests and let them know when they can expect results (or ask when they need an answer).  If things change and you can’t meet the agreed-upon deadline, then let your customer know as soon as you learn things have changed.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  Nobody likes to be surprised by delays.

8. Avoid jargon. Do not use KM jargon or “geek speak.”  As a former practicing lawyer who now tries to bridge the communication gap between other lawyers and techies, I can attest that this is very important.  Speak in the language of your audience–not your language.  There’s no better way to lose the attention–or the confidence–of your audience than to make their eyes glaze over in confusion.  If you want to communicate your point, speak in terms your audience can understand.

9. Avoid the details, if they’re not important. This concerns the previous point about concision.  Sometimes people just need to know when something will be done so that they can act on it.  They don’t necessarily need the details.  Perspective is important.  If a lawyer asks a litigation support analyst when he’ll be done with a project, she probably doesn’t need to know when each step of the process (initial culling, de-duplication, data processing, database creation, etc.) will be completed.  She really wants to know when she can begin doing her job: reviewing the electronically stored information (ESI).  Don’t waste someone’s time with minutiae.

10. Include details, if they are important. On the other hand, it’s important not to withhold information if it’s important to a decision.  Using the litigation support scenario again, a lawyer may ask if all of the electronic documents in a matter can be “TIFFed” or turned into images for attorney review.  The answer is generally yes.  But other factors, such as cost, ability to keyword search the documents (by applying optical character recognition (OCR) processes), the processing time, and better alternatives (in this case, perhaps initial native file review) should be discussed.

11. Measure twice, cut once. Today’s forms of communication are fast.  That’s great, but they can lead to hasty mistakes.   Take a moment to check some things before sending that email: (1) double check the recipient list [we've all heard of "reply all" horror stories]; (2) spell check; (3) proof read; (4) did you forget an attachment referenced in your email?  (thanks to Jennifer Perez for this list).  Slow down, and get it right.  It can avoid embarrassment and wasted time.

How do you ensure better communication?  Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

PLEASE NOTE: LawyerKM has moved.  We’re now at www.lawyerkm.com.  We’re no longer at www.lawyerkm.wordpress.com.  If you subscribe by RSS, please re-subscribe in the upper-right hand corner.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

The first sessions at the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference have begun.  I’m at the Information Management track listening to Tom Baldwin, Joshua Fireman, and Peter Krakaur talk about Selling Enterprise Search in Your Organization.

Here are some key points (please fogive any typos – I’m doing this on the fly to get it out there quickly):

  • Don’t let the vendor define the scope.  Figure out what your firm needs and acquire the technology that works for you – not necessarily the tech the vendor is trying to sell.
  • Don’t rely on the users (especially lawyers) to tell you what they need  or how you should deliver it.  They are experts in the law – not in tech.
  • Think big about all the stuff that you want to include in your finished product.  What are the buckets that you want to include?
  • Manage the “Google expectation” – these systems will not be as simple as Google.  You’ll need some training.
  • Don’t under estimate the manpower that you’ll need to maintain these systems.  Expect that you’ll need at least a part time (probably a full time) person to keep the systems running.
  • Think about strategies beyond KM and IT – what about records management?  Think about the full life cycle of the information your firm needs to manage.
  • Figure out what’s important to your firm.  Is it work product retrieval?  CRM? ERM? a basic intranet?
  • Think of search as an enterprise integration layer that is very good at finding things.
  • You should have a good business case to present the strategy to the firm.
  • Security by obscurity – be careful of documents that will come to the surface when you start an enterprise search project.  These same documents were there before but were “hidden” just because they were hard to find.  Make sure those documents (reviews, employee compensation memos, etc.) are secure before going live with the project because people will find them.
  • Don’t get lost in over design and over “tweaking” the system at the outset.
  • Google Paradox – manage the expectations of your users.  They can find anything on Google – why can’t they find something on a server three floors away within the firm?  Manage their expectations early.
  • “Selling” after the roll out: beware of “If you build it, they will come” approach.
  • Don’t leave to chance the perception of the system to the users.  Don’t forget to follow up after the roll out.  See how people are using it.   Make sure they are using it properly.  Drive adoption and utilization.
  • Pre-launch communications are only the start…
  • How to sell the goods.  Analyze the usage and compare it by practice group, office, and role.  You need firm-wide messages, but also target certain groups.  Let your users do the selling: have the power users evangelize for you: a partner endorsing the system means more than you doing it.  Use “other” ways to reach people – not just email; use webinars, live presentations, etc.  Tom at Reed Smith uses videos of lawyers talking about the system – very effective.
  • Maintaining the system.  You’ll need people to do this (at least a pert time position).  Find out who is not using the system and focus on them.   Reporting is key for maintenance.  Check out the firm-wide emails – see what people are asking, then do the search for them and send them a “friendly reminder” email (give them a fish, and teach them to fish).
  • Marketing is really important.  ATV campaign Awareness, Training, and Visibility.

Great presentation.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

I attended LegalTech New York and took some notes from Monday, February 2, 2009.   They may be a little rough, so please forgive any typos.

From the conference: What is Twitter and How Can I Use It?

  • What is Twitter and why should ‘I’ use it?
  • At the end of the day is Twitter the “ultimate time waster” or a “great tool”?
  • From ‘huh?” to “a ha!” – one lawyer’s journey into the Twitterverse. — alternative title “How I learned to stop worrying and love to Tweet!”
  • Time to Tweet? How to use Twitter without losing time to Twitter.
  • Lawyers, Twitter and Client Development
  • How lawyers are using Twitter for sharing and camaraderie among each other

Bob Ambrogi introduced the panel.

Moderator: Monica Bay, Editor-in-Chief, Law Technology News, incisivemedia

Panelists:
Matthew Homann, Founder, LexThink LLC
Kevin O’Keefe, Chief Executive Officer, Lex Blog
Chris Winfield, President, 10e20

My notes of the presentation:

There are already several lawyers and a handful of law firms using Twitter. Chris Winfield polled the audience to see who is on Twitter – quite a few.  Maybe 30-50%

Twitter is about the conversation – it’s not to do “old fashioned” marketing and just slam your message down someone’s throat.   But, as I’ve said, I believe that it can be used to publish marketing-type updates.   Not that it should be used exclusively for that, but it is one possible use.

Chris went through all the basics about how to use it, including search, hash tags, etc.

Chris actually tweeted as he prepared for his presentation and asked people to tell him what Twitter is.  He got many responses and displayed them to demonstrate the way people use it and the value  they find.

Went over Twitter tools:
- search.twitter.com
- TweetDeck
- twitterFon
- EasyTweets – for easy Twitter marketing

Described ways to use Twitter as a lawyer
- learn
- build relationships
- make connections

Matt Homann

Many people in the audience were tweeting the presentation using #LTNY to indicate “Legal Tech New York”

Why do people use it?

- it’s a Kool-Aid application – once you use it and get it, you can’t stop talking about it.
- Matt gets his news from Twitter – through featured and trending topics.  It often has news that does not make it to the mainstream media.  And Twitter users often break news much more quickly than mainstream media.

Twitter is like a river – you can’t see it all at once.   And don’t feel overwhelmed if you miss something – you’re not supposed to see it all.  But, you can always search for key words and find what people have said after the fact.

It is a way to initiate a relationship – the best thing that you can do is make the connection and then follow up with a phone call or some other “real” in-person conversation.

Kevin O’Keefe

Kevin was a Twitter skeptic, but after using it for a few months he was converted.  He gave a concrete example of how he made a customer contact through a Twitter conversation about baseball.

Social Media is more important than search engine optimization.
Kevin — like Guy Kawasaki — would rather go without his cell phone for a week than to go without Twitter for a week.

The Twitter small talk leads to real conversations and relationships.

I had a chance to chat (really, a real conversation – face to face) and he mentioned that he knows of some practicing lawyers who have landed clients through Twitter.
LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Find Without Searching

For a search engine to deliver what you need, you have to enter a query into a search box, right? But what if you don’t know what you need, or if your need to find something arises in an instant?

Among other things, knowledge management is about getting the right information to the right people at the right time. What if there is no time to search? Can you still get the right information when you need it?

Client calling...

Picture this: It’s early morning, you’re in your office and the phone rings. Caller ID indicates that it is one of your biggest clients. You panic a little because you haven’t spoken with the client in a while and you’re not expecting the call. You’ve been busy with other matters, so you’re not exactly up to date on what’s going on in the client’s industry. You don’t know the status of the client’s open matters because a junior partner has been handling them day to day. What does the client want? You could let the call go to voicemail and call the client back, but you know that one of the reasons your clients like you is because you’re accessible. You could answer the phone, open your intranet client page and hope to skim the status of the matters while you engage in small talk. While you’re at it, open up a web browser and do a news search for the client’s name; do another news search for the industry and the client’s main competitors. Since you’re not sure if the client is calling about a recent bill, or an estimate about next month’s bill, you could stall the client a bit more with chitchat while you open up your time and billing application to see the WIP reports.

Now picture this: It’s that same early morning and the phone rings. As soon as caller ID identifies the client, a search is triggered and the system queries and returns—on one nicely-organized screen—a package of relevant information about the client: the vitals on the client (from your CRM system), including spouse and family information (for additional small talk); a linkable list of recent active matters, including billing information; a live news feed about the client, his industry and main competitors; docket information from your managing clerk software that shows recent filings on litigation matters. All of that “just in time” information right at your fingertips and you didn’t even touch your keyboard.

Caller ID on Steroids

Think it’s too good to be true? Think again. Back in 2006 Intel introduced the idea of “caller ID on steroids” as a part of its Proactive Health Research Project to help people with Alzheimer’s who might “fear that they won’t remember the person on the other line by name alone.” The system “provides senior citizens with a photo of the person calling, a personalized diagram of how they know the caller, and a brief blurb on the topic of their last phone conversation.”

Why should senior citizens have all the cool stuff? Well, Bruce MacEwen, at the Adam Smith, Esq. blog, describes this idea applied to a law firm scenario and says that there is at least one law firm working on such a project.

How’s that for getting the right information to the right person at the right time!

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Web 2.0 Expo Wrap-up Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thanks to Doug Cornelius at KM Space, I was able to attend the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC.  Instead of taking paper notes (speaking of paper-free, I wish I had one of these), I tapped them out on my laptop, and figured that I would share them with you.  They are rough (so please excuse any typos).

Today’s Workshop: Enterprise 2.0 Jumpstart

Speaker: Thomas Vander Wal of InfoCloud Solutions, Inc. (www.infocloudsolutions.com)From the Web 2.0 Expo:

This workshop provides an overview of the Web 2.0 tools and the changes
these social tools and user focused ease of use tools play for enterprise
(organizations that are large to small with business, non-profit, or public
service focus). There have great changes made to tools and services provided
on the web in the last 5 years or so as the layers and use of the tools on
top of the web browser have changed for the better. This change has value to
the organizations using the web and not just the people using sites.

The workshop focuses on conceptual models to help people things about the
important components for success using the social web tools and services to
augment the organization’s reach and engage better with customers and
employees.

The workshops covers advantages, lessons learned, and current along with
potential gaps around deciding how to make first steps, how to select tools,
and how to increase the chances for success with the Web 2.0 tools for
Enterprise use.

My Notes:

History – how did we get to Enterprise 2.0?

  • Old office systems were clunky, required too much IT involvement, etc.
  • The consumer web started to change – offer improved direction and features: blogging, etc.
  • the volume of information changed: email, IM etc. have greatly increased to amount of data floating around the enterprise.
  • People started to realize that Individuals — regardless of rank — offer solutions.  So, there was a need to give them the tools – the ability to contribute.
One factor contributing to Enterprise 2.0 Adoption: is that new employees are expecting web 2.0 tools (they grew up on the web and don’t understand why they can’t do it at work).  They understand the ideas — and ability to connect — related to social networking.
There is a bit of deja vu going on with the concerns about E2.0: similar to the 1990s with email (and before that with the telephone) – companies have a false concern that E2.0 tools will lead to information leaks outside the company.  [I remember someone once saying that if the telephone were introduced today, most companies would reject it because it would be too risky - people might use it to improperly disclose information to people outside the company]
So, what’s this web 2.0 / enterprise 2.0 stuff about?
  • people meeting and discussing: their wants, desires, needs, interests.
  • sharing.
  • but really: all about “me” – and those who I follow.  A very ego-centric world.  So, it’s social.
  • tools that help people advance as a society [whether that society is the world - on the web, or the enterprise]
When so many people have such far-reaching access, it can lead to a flood of information, many layers of
information, so we need tools to be able to get to the specific information that we need.
The digital nature of these w2.0 / E2.0 tools help ease the technology pain.  The ease of use of new tools increase the likelihood that people will use them to capture the information that is important to the company.

Information is great, but Actionable Information is more important.  It’s fine to capture all of this information, but you need to be able to do something with.

What does your organization know?  This is a key question in KM.  Most organizations don’t know everything they know.  A lot of information is trapped in people’s heads and it doesn’t do any good to the organization of those people leave.
Also important is what your company calls things.  If there are different terms, then it may be difficult to
communicate.  Knowing what your customers / clients call things is also important.

Vander Wal described his Four Rings of Social Enterprise:

  1. the tools: blogs, wikis, feeds, social bookmarking, voting, profiles, widgets, mashups, favoriting, comments.
  2. interface / ease of use: this is the platform, e.g., oracle, SharePoint [1&2 combine to make up the usability; eventually, the tools get out of the way, if the software is smart enough, it can take unstructured data and know what to do with it to make it actionable (e.g., stikkit.com)]
  3. Sociality: what are your relationships you have with others?  who do you want to share with?  everyone?  select people or groups?  [tools and sociality combine to make intelligence and business needs].  There are “spheres of sociality”  personal, selective, collective, the mob.
  4. Encouraging use: this is easy for younger employees.   [The combination of encouraging use and sociality leads to"social comfort"] – show success stories regularly; buiild and show use cases; manage the community – promote contributed content.  Show how good ideas in one part of the organization can be applied to another part of the organization.
The balance of all four rings: “social software perfection.”

Benefits and Cautions of Enterprise 2.0 (Inside, Outside and Through the Firewall)

Enterprise 2.0 – Inside the firewall
Benefits:

  • fills in gaps in communication
  • individual voices: more people can contribute their own perspectives (in a 1.0 environment, you might not even know that certain people have ideas about what the company is doing).  You never know who might be able to contribute valuable perspectives.
  • flexible structures:
  • tools are starting to get out of the way: again, ease of use…
  • ease of connecting:
  • tools embrace horizontal interaction: this is the idea of how ideas can be applied in various parts of the organization.
  • easy to iterate & create more efficient workflows: this helps the organization work much more quickly
  • low, if any, abuse of the tools: since the tools used the organizations LDAP/AD feeds to identify users, the users are reluctant to abuse the system – there is accountability (even the intelligence community uses wikis and blogs they’ve never had a case of abuse of the tools)
Cautions:
  • know offerings of tools (i.e. the tools mentioned in the first ring, above): what does each tool offer
  • adoption may be slow – you must work to improve engagement/use (incentives are often counter productive – it can lead to people putting junk into the system) – get people focused on the “me” aspect – figure out how the tools can be beneficial to them so that they will want to contribute
  • formal training is not needed: use overview sessions (in intelligence agencies, trainers go around and spend small amounts of time with users)
  • the web is different from in-house: e.g., there is no anonimity in-house
  • understand employee fears: and address them
Enterprise 2.0 – Outside the firewall
Benefits:

  • a more human approach: e.g., rather than press releases, blogs allow companies to interact with their customers and clients.
  • embrace conversations with customers: web 2.o allows you to connect with customers [cited book: Cluetrain Manifesto: marketing is a conversation - it's happening whether the company is involved in it or not.]
  • supports interaction through ease of use
  • eases customer support: lets customers show their love and support: e.g., endorsing products and services in blog posts, twitter posts, etc.
  • allow direct connection to the customer: web 2.0 is yet another channel to connect with customers
  • let’s customers help innovate
Cautions:

  • listen first: listening to customer / client feedback
  • marketing will need to adapt: this is a new way of doing things.
  • moderate the comments and discussion (with a light hand) [but you don't want to make the comments seem artificially positive - you may be criticized if you delete all negative, but relevant, comments]
  • avoid lock-in: allow people to get the information out of your site and on to other sites.
  • must be easy to join and engage: if it is too difficult to contribute, people won’t bother.
  • consider scaling & long-term use: make sure you can handle it if your company blog grows and generates more and more comments, etc.
Enterprise 2.0 – Through the firewall (communication from within the company to those outside the company)
Benefits:

  • authenticated interactions: know who is allowed to interact.
  • common space for franchisees
  • preferred customer usage (e.g. invitation only beta testing and previsews)
  • transparent communications
  • directly engaging with customers / clients
Cautions:

  • transparent communications: must be aware of legal ramifications, leaks, etc.
  • set nimble processes for setting official organization responses.
  • set firm policies for handling caustic situations
  • scaling: problems if your site or services are down
  • information reuse by customers
  • how to engage
Enterprise 2.0: Value of Multiple Perspectives

  • Personal
  • Collective: when aggregating information about “social objects,” you can follow the links to the various individuals and get multiple perspectives.
  • Collaborative – a group perspective around a “social object” (you may not be able to see the individual contributions (things are seen as a whole).
  • New User: this is someone who doesn’t know yet how to use the system.
  • Service Owner: this person is concerned about more technical and structural aspects of the E 2.0 systems.
  • External Developers: example is Twitter: most of the people who use Twitter use it via third-party interface [Ijust started using Twittelator on the iPhone]
Examples of Users (using Digg.com or Mixx.com as an example):

  • Non-user (newbies)
  • Non-Contributing Collective User (this person simply consumes content )
  • Non-Contributing Selective User (maybe uses a selective view of a site)
  • Light Contributing User (this person might tag, favorite, or comment on content)
  • Heavy Contributing User (this person also adds new content)
The above was combined into a matrix of perception with depth of perception and faces of perception.
Elements of Social Software

  • Identity
  • Objects
  • Presence
  • Actions
  • Sharing

Once an OBJECT is shared, a person (through IDENTITY) builds RELATIONSHIPS, and then RELATIONSHIPS form CONVERSATIONS about OBJECTS, this turns into GROUPS that COLLABORATE.  Of course, there was a venn-type diagram to explain this.

Focus on the individual voice: Information, understanding, and knowledge in context from their perspective.

Case Studies:

1. Comcast Cares

Started on Twitter: one Comcast employee would look for people on twitter who would voice complaints, he would reach out to them.
  • now comcast searches blogs and other forums and reaches out to people there, as well.
  • it is a whole new way to connect with customers
  • now the team is 7 – 10 employees
  • have various searches and alerts to monitor the web and community forums for mentions of Comcast.
  • provides customer feedback and assistance
  • as of August ’08 – interacted with 11,500 Twitter users
2. Starbucks Ideastorm
  • built on SalesForce.com system
  • a “My Starbucks” platform
  • open to all to make recommendations for new ideas for Starbucks
  • customers suggest ideas and other customers can vote
  • in one month there were over 600 comments and 53, 000 votes
  • gets customers involved and drives innovation
  • what about long-term engagement?
3. McDonalds Franchisee Community
  • built on Awareness hosted platform
  • About 2 -3 months to build & deploy
  • internal McDonalds corporate & franchisees
  • inside the firewall and through to trused external customers
  • news, blogs, community, profiles, & photos
  • focus on community neighborhoods, with 200 planned.
LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

Plastic Logic's electronic reading device is thin.

Plastic Logic's electronic reading device is thin.

Look out Kindle, there’s a new e-reader coming to town.  Check out TechnoEsq’s blog post on a new, up-and-coming electronic-reading device from Plastic Logic.  Unlike the Amazon Kindle and Sony E-Reader, the Plastic Logic device is aimed at business users.  About the size of a legal pad, this device shows some potential to catch on in law firms.  Check out a video of a demo of the device in action on TechnoEsq’s blog, as well.

Want one?  You’ll have to wait.  It’s scheduled to ship in the first half of 2009.   Cost?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Is this a giant leap toward the paperless office?  Probably not paperless, but perhaps less paper.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

I’m very interested in how different generations of lawyers and legal staff will affect the way law firms will operate.  See Attorney 2.0 – Generation Y in Your Law Firm.   Here’s my coverage of a related ILTA program called Baby Boomers and Generation X and Generation Y – Addressing Generation Gaps in Culture and Technology in the Legal Industry. 

ILTA – August 28, 2008 2:00 pm

These are my notes from the ILTA program [Since I am taking paper-free notes and because there is free Wi-Fi here, I thought that I’d add the notes to the blog.  Disclaimer: my notes are rough, so forgive the typos.]

From ILTA:

Title: Baby Boomers and Generation X and Generation Y – Addressing Generation Gaps in Culture and Technology in the Legal Industry  – slides
Description: Are law firms dealing with the reality that there are real differences in how the various generations perceive the world, the expectations they have around technology and mobility, and how they relate to each other and member of different generations?  With most law firms being run by Boomers, we need to consider the issues around the fact that most new attorneys and staff are members of gen-X, gen-Y or gen-ME.
Speaker(s): Mark Cameron Willis – Kutak Rock LLP
Matthew Willis – IKON Office Solutions, Inc.
Learning Objectives: Learn new approaches to management.

LawyerKM’s Notes:

Today’s Emerging Law Firm

  • Many firms have been involved in mergers and acquisitions
    Firms are operating like larger companies (they have c-level people)
    There is a global practice
    Competition for institutional clients
    multi-generational workplace

Generation Characteristics

Traditionalist

  • Characteristics:
    64+ years old (5% of firm population)
    traditional family values
    loyalty to firm
    strong work ethic
  • Legal practice:
    not tech savvy
    prefer phone vs email
    traditional legal practice – value of relationships
  • Value to Firm:
    loyal clients
    relatinships in community / practice areas
    good mentors (valued by younger generations)
  • Myths / perceptions:
    perception - that this group has stopped learning
    reality – they have vast knowledge

Baby Boomer

  • Characteristics:
    late 40-60′s (70% of law firm partners)
    they surpassed the former generation many ways (e.g., first to go to college, etc.)
    work your way up mentality
    the “me generation” – affluent
    work-a-holics
  • Legal practice:
    loyal clients
    traditional legal practice, but they embrace change dictated by their clients
    client-service oriented
  • Value to Firm:
    managing the firm
    transition from traditional practice
    these people run the firm
  • Myths / perceptions:
    perception – they are obsolete
    reality – they run the firm
    perception – work-a-holic
    reality – hard workers

Generation X

  • Characteristics:
    30s / 40s year old
    saw 50% divorce rate growing up
    7-8 career changes
    consider themselves as “free agents”
  • Legal practice:
    traditional legal training- research and writing
    they question traditional firm policies
    first generation to adopt technology advances (e.g., Westlaw and Lexis)
  • Value to Firm:
    money makers
    control day-to-day relationship with clients
    they embrace technology
  • Myths / perceptions:
    perception – self-centered (e.g., salary hikes)
    reality – family-centered
    perception – sense of entitlement
    reality – unwilling to sacrifice personal life for firm
    perception – “slackers”
    reality – maybe, but positive response to challenges

Generation Y

  • Characteristics and values:
    late 20s year olds
    quality of life
    brought up on technology in school and in social networks
    “trophy generation” – they need a reward for what they’ve done
  • Legal practice:
    technology is the backbone of practice
    diversity
    few strong client relatinships
    pressure to bill hours
  • Value to Firm:
    fresh insight
    resourceful and adaptable
    teaching boomers and traditionalists
    access to information (e.g., Findlaw)
  • Myths / perceptions:
    perception – undisciplined
    reality – they actually crave structure
    perception – they challenge authority
    reality – they crave to learn from their elders
    perception – disrespectful
    reality – they tend to treat everyone as equals

Firms Adjusting to the generation gaps:
Check out the matrix in the slides that show differences
Communications: face-to-face > telephone > email> email/text/sms
Bridging the generation gap

HR:
offices are designed to attract and keep employees (i.e., Google style vs. Stuffy NYC firm style)
quality of life – some firms have QoL committees
telecommuting
feedback that matches the generational needs
firm evaluations (the employee can offer reverse feedback)
mentoring
meaningful work
pro bono opportunities

Technology:
Education and training (training up and down, promoting new technology – wikis, web hosting, webinars, virtual conferneces)
Showed Common Craft’s Wikis in Plain English – the audience actually applauded this video – they loved it.
Technology committee – involving tech end users in tech decisions; comparing tech with corporate clients

Marketing: the new way of marketing involves blogs

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