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Dennis Kennedy

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Since interest in law school has been significantly lower than usual, lawyers have been brainstorming why this is and how to fix it. In this episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss the effect technology education could have on lower attendance numbers and the industry as a whole. They discuss the importance of teaching basic technology skills and including some of these lessons into regular classes. As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.

This episode features an audience question about Consumer Reports withdrawing their recommendation from Microsoft Surface devices. If you have your own technology questions, call Dennis and Tom’s Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for the answers to all your tech inquiries.

Special thanks to our sponsor, ServeNow.

Transcript

The Kennedy-Mighell Report

Integrating Technology into Legal Education

08/25/2017

[Music]

Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trend, Collaboration, Software, Metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can, hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.

Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode 197 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in St. Louis.

Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas.

Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode we talked about failed technology projects and initiatives and the notion of pivoting. I have just returned from viewing the total eclipse of the sun in Missouri and that’s given me some new perspective and a new math equation for people. And that is totality equals awesome. I can’t wait until 2024 when I will be chasing totality again.

So it’s the end of August and people are going back to school, so we thought it might be a good time to take a look at legal education and what law students are taught now and maybe what they should be taught about legal technology.

Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?

Tom Mighell: Well Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, we are going to indeed be digging into the inclusion of legal technology into law school curriculum, a topic that’s been going on for a while now.

In our second segment we have got another question from one of our listeners and as usual we will finish up with our parting shots, that one tip, website or observation that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.

But first, legal tech in legal education. Like I said, this topic is certainly not new. We have been talking about teaching law students about technology and specifically legal technology for I think quite a long time. When I was preparing for this I had to remind myself that seven years ago at one of the — maybe it was the very first Ignite Law competitions, I gave a very fast talking speech and my topic then was called ‘No Lawyer Left Behind: A Realistic Approach to Practice Management Education’, and that included teaching law students about technology in law school and why it wasn’t working right now and how to fix it.

While I think a lot more law schools since that time have started to incorporate technology with their curriculum; I think both of us are going to agree here that it’s not happening as fast or as broadly as it probably should be.

Dennis, what do you think has reopened the question about whether technology should be part of the law school experience?

Dennis Kennedy: Tom, you are just reminding me of your — I was just thinking of your Ignite Law speech, because I think that might have given me the idea to listen to podcasts at double speed, because you certainly took one approach to getting everything done in six minutes.

Tom Mighell: And you still got all the information.

Dennis Kennedy: Right. Well, I think what’s happening is back to school time, so people are thinking about legal education and so you see — I have seen more discussion of it, but I think it comes down to a couple of things.

One, the law school admissions numbers are down by shocking percentages and you see some schools with the actual attendance numbers significantly down. The law firms out there do not feel that students are what they call practice ready, especially on technology, although you could also say that some of the lawyers and firms are not practice ready on technology either. And then I think that the ethical requirement of technology competence also is playing a role in that. And so those are the things.

And somebody tweeted today, I thought it was interesting, they said, you could tell when school started because there would be the posts from professors banning laptops from the classroom. So I think there has been sort of a traditional law school hostility to including tech in the curriculum, with some notable exceptions; Michigan State and other schools come to mind on that. So I think it’s those things that kind of brought it to the forefront.

And I know Tom, we kind of look at this topic from time to time, but it sort of feels like people are really starting to question how law is taught and what it does and that notion of practice ready I think has become more important as people think how do they need to innovate in the law school curriculum.

(00:04:51)

Tom Mighell: Well, I agree and bringing up the fact that law school attendance numbers are down sort of brings up a side issue that is also technology related, but maybe not so much to the topic of this episode, which is that the people who are interested in the law may need to find themselves going into fields like e-discovery or legal technology as a practice or as a career. Obviously that’s probably a subject of another episode. In fact, we probably did talk about that in an episode in the past.

But what I think is interesting about being — the notion of being practice ready is that today’s law students know more about tech — arguably know more about technology than any class before them, and to use a term that gets used, it’s pretty much overused these days, they are digital natives, not digital I guess immigrants, like those of us who came into the law as that technology was maturing.

But what’s interesting again is that as much as current generations know about technology, I would argue that a lot of them still aren’t competent in those practice ready tech skills, that Casey Flaherty talked about in his Tech Audit and that he measures in that; it’s the skills that lawyers need to be able just to do the average job that they do. And I would say that no matter when you — no matter your comfort level with technology, I still think that that’s a component that’s missing from a lot of law school curriculum across the country.

Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. And so I know that — I talk to a lot of people who say, well, these digital natives, you think they know technology, but when it comes to like doing track changes in Word or doing some of these things, they can’t do that at all, they are overrated in a way. And I think there is a big difference to me of being, and I think you used the word comfortable with technology, which I do think the so-called digital natives are, and so that to me makes their perspective really interesting. And I think within that comfort then learning the skills is a lot easier than say for the lawyers who are anti-technology or truly uncomfortable with it.

And then I also think that the digital natives are also comfortable with changes in technology and some different things.

So right now I think there are questions with technologies. I was just writing something the other day saying, we are so document focused now, well, what happens as we do voice interfaces and other things like that and the document does not become the center of what it is that we are looking at, that we are looking at other things, other types of data. And so are some of the technology skills that we think are important now, the sort of Microsoft Office skills, those sorts of things, will they be as important?

So I think it’s good to distinguish between the tech skills piece, which I think there is a role in legal education, because you can focus that and I have a few thoughts on that, and the actual integration of technology, into the way courses are taught, into the types of assignments that you do, into the sort of more clinical and practical approaches. And that to me is the really interesting piece is how can we make the classes more relevant, more practical, and bring the technology right into that rather than say, oh, we are just going to do basic tech training.

Tom Mighell: I think it’s a combination, and I agree with you, and I want to actually — I am going to — I am saving — I am going to hold back on integrating tech into courses and into curriculum a little bit later when we talk kind of about how we would approach this. I still personally think that the tech skills are going to be more valuable in the long run, but I really think law students need to be exposed to both.

Where I am going to draw my line for this session and maybe for this episode, maybe we don’t need to talk about it after this is that there are a lot of schools that are doing interesting things about technology that are really great, amazing curriculum, and I will call out Michigan State as an example here, is that it’s a great selection of courses, but it definitely does not fall into that tech skill set of things. There are courses that would have some practical utility to litigators, like e-discovery, there is information privacy and security, very topical, it’s the hot practice area, so definitely makes sense to have that.

But there is also things on artificial intelligence or quantitative analysis or entrepreneurial lawyering, which are I think all extremely useful if you plan to go into a practice of law that deals with these particular topics, but it doesn’t really further your technical skills to do the day-to-day stuff. It’s giving you some useful information on a specific thing that might be able to help you if you go into that particular area of law, but it’s not going to help you with track changes or learning styles in Word.

(00:10:09)

And I know that’s being too simplistic about it, but that’s kind of where I want to draw the line is, is that I think that those kinds of classes are valuable in their own right, but I tend to put a little bit more value in terms of competence, in terms of what’s the job to be done, as you like to say, of teaching technology in schools is I would rather it be for tech skills than for kind of learning about the hot new technology. I think they are both important; I am just kind of waiting the tech skills more at this point.

Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, so let me do one of my favorite things when I think about a topic, which is kind of turn everything on its head. And so when I look at Michigan State, I look at Georgetown, with their app competitions, other schools out there, they are doing some really cool things and I just sort of say, well, any and you listed some of those classes and I go you know what, I mean, what’s happening in law is going to change.

There is something called LawTech, one word, that people are talking about. There’s a lot of startup money going into LawTech. So job to be done notion is law school turn out traditional lawyers or is it to provide a way to bring people into the delivery of services, of legal services in both traditional and new ways both.

Tom Mighell: Why is it not both?

Dennis Kennedy: I think it could be both, but I don’t think other than the few examples that we have, it’s — you see both right now. So I think as people start to rethink the law school curriculum they say, do we need to have certain specific practice focuses, international intellectual property, those sorts of things? Do we need to have people — because right now I think if I were in law school, it would be really tempting if there was a — I know, we don’t do majors in law school, but if you had stuff that was focused on e-discovery and that included technology behind it, I think that would be really attractive to me. And there are also some of these other things I could say, well, if I don’t want to go in the traditional lawyer role, how can I use the law school education to go in these different areas that are really starting to open up in the last year or so.

So like I said, that’s kind of looking in a completely different way, but to say not only is the approach that we take, which tends to not include technology use, which tends to deemphasize practical skills and focus on the theoretical, is that something that we are going to have to grow beyond. I mean that is a big question law schools have. And the other thing is, and this goes to the numbers is, like is it going to become a vehicle for people to enter into what I will call LawTech, for lack of a better term.

Tom Mighell: Well, I think that everything you said is absolutely right. I don’t think that it’s necessarily turning anything on its head. I think that today, more than ever in the past, technology and the law, I hate to say this, these words intersect more often, but there’s more applications and new applications of technology to the law than ever before. It’s getting overwhelming, the amount of things.

We have been planning next year’s ABA TECHSHOW and I want to expand it to a four or five or six day conference, because there’s so many interesting technology topics that now have to do with the law that it’s impossible to include them in just a short conference, and I would argue it’s the same with law school.

And so that’s why I kind of keep coming back to say all that stuff is great, if you could major in e-discovery in law school, that’s great. I will still come back and say that if you can’t format a Word document that you used to create your e-discovery report in, then you are lost at that point.

So that’s why I keep coming back to the basic skills as being really the key topic that some lawyers need to understand, I think most lawyers need to understand regardless of what the future of law looks like, whether some jobs are going to get replaced by lawyers. I would argue in answer to your first question that yes, many lawyers are still going to be doing the same types of work that they have been doing for the past 50 years.

For the next 50 years it’s going to look different, but I would argue that the technical skills will not be considerably different in 50 years, and maybe I am going to walk that one back a little bit and say that I think that, yeah — sorry, I think that lawyers will need basic technical skills on a computer for the foreseeable future, let’s just say that’s my prediction and that I still think that’s got to be a priority in law school.

(00:14:55)

Dennis Kennedy: Well, I mean and I think in 50 years time, of course the AIs are going to be hiring their own lawyers.

Tom Mighell: I know, I know, that’s why I shouldn’t have used 50 years.

Dennis Kennedy: And those lawyers need to be aware of AI.

Tom Mighell: I should have used like five years.

Dennis Kennedy: So I think what you see more of is the notion of practical skills classes, a little bit of law practice management classes, maybe one offer to people, more emphasis on clinical, you see legal software companies, not just Westlaw and Lexus, offering tools to students, but other legal tech companies as well, especially in part of the clinical program. So you see something starting to happen

And I know I have talked about this on the podcast before, but I was an adjunct for a couple of years recently at Washington University Law School and I did a class in intellectual property, licensing and drafting, and so there were eight written assignments that were drafting different types of IP documents.

But what I tried to do from the beginning of that class was to say, okay, here’s how a lawyer might use technology, going from the basic, okay, you have been given this assignment, what is it that you do? Do you write a longhand? Do you go to computer? And just to get people starting to think that way.

And then the assignment started to say, you need to do track changes, you need to do PowerPoint slides, which gave me a way to kind of talk through my approach to using PowerPoint for students.

So I think that you can — to me, I couldn’t really figure out a way to do a drafting class, where I just ignored the fact that there was technology that you would have to use. So I think in — and I have, I mean not to blow my own horn, but the students have told me that that class was incredibly helpful to them when they started working. They thought it was — they knew how to do things, they had the concept of doing drafts, they knew how to do track changes, those sorts of things. And they thought it really gave them a good start to their career, and I think that those are the things that students want, and when you are paying the huge amount that you pay to go to law school and trying to get a job that covers your loans, I think that it’s not just the firms that want to feel their practice ready, I think the students want to do that as well.

And so I think there are ways to incorporate technology, but I think it was just a stray class here or there, I am not sure how totally effective that is. And I also have the sense that it’s more than adjuncts who bring that in at the moment, and that your sort of traditional law school classes are still fairly abstract and theoretical these days and get you to the classic think like a lawyer. And that’s what I think the law schools are starting to question.

Tom Mighell: Well, I think that’s — I mean that was one of the premises of my speech seven years ago, which is that the faculty and most law schools at least at that time, and I think as you say, even today, tend to be more academic and that value add from a technology or even from really any practice management standpoint was brought in by adjunct and practicing lawyers who were coming in, and that’s why I want to talk really about an example here in Dallas that I think is a good example of how to get started and how to think about it.

So maybe let’s pivot here. You have talked about how you taught your one class as an adjunct, maybe now let’s talk about how we would each include technology in our own — if we could design curricula the way that we wanted to, how we would do it.

I will go ahead and get started. I think unsurprisingly I would start by having some type of practical skills clinic; a one semester clinic at some point during law school education that is teaching Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat. I think frankly it’s going to cover a lot more than that; it’s going to be time and billing, document assembly, practice management tools. Even just introducing those tools early on, even if they aren’t getting nuts and bolts training, I think is still a valuable exercise.

But one of the great examples I have noticed over the past couple of years is the University of North Texas College of Law recently got its ABA accreditation. So yeah, it’s a relatively new law school here in Dallas. I met with them early on; unfortunately, haven’t been involved with them since then, but I met with them early on and they have been, were and still are talking about making their curriculum truly experiential.

(00:20:00)

So they wanted to give everyone a subscription to a practice management tool from day one. You walk into the law school on your first day, you have a subscription to a tool like Rocket Matter or like Clio and they would be using it everyday to enter time that they would spend studying for class or working for class or studying for exams, which is a great way to start using those time and billing software.

But what if they could build, like you mentioned, integrate technology into every class, and I don’t know that they ever got around to doing this, but they have lots of great adjuncts who are teaching things, and I just — I mean I think that it’s kind of a no-brainer to do things. Like in contracts you could learn about document assembly or about contracts management software. It’s a natural part of the contracting process.

In torts, you could learn more about artificial intelligence and big data and how that’s making litigation prediction a huge business these days and how litigators are actually getting smarter about the cases that they are trying because of this technology.

What about trial advocacy, if you could spend some time actually learning how to use the iPad in court or learning about how to use some of these other tools, so you leave school with some practical knowledge on how to try case by yourself using technology.

Frankly, for all I know and this is why part of me feels like a fraud in debating this issue with you on this podcast is, I don’t know, some schools may be doing these things. I think they ought to — to a certain extent ought to be tried by more schools where, wherever there is a technical component, it ought to be mentioned, it ought to be explored, I think it ought to be taught.

So Dennis, how would your approach to technology in schools differ from mine?

Dennis Kennedy: Well, there is going to be overlap of course, but I think that there needs to be more focus on what lawyers actually do. I think that we need to look at the way technology is changing so many things. And then I think there is — so that’s one thing. Like the examples you gave are great. I mean I think it’s really hard these days in any number of areas not to have like a basic grounding in statistics, the predictive analytics and stuff, I think would be huge benefits if I were in the litigation field. And it seems difficult for me to say I am going to go through and just think about this in a sort of abstract theoretical way, because I don’t know how much that helps you.

So I think there are some ways to incorporate and I think that probably my most controversial thing would be to say, I just think this notion of the old law school approach of you go to lectures the whole semester and then you have one final that everything is based on, and then your grades depend on how that gets graded versus saying can you do something, whether a number of assignments, and some of them are the theory stuff and some of it is more practical in some ways and some of it is technology related, because I think that in grade schools these days kids are putting together videos, they are doing PowerPoint slides, they are doing these interactive things that in law school I think it tends to be more lecture.

So I think you are right, Tom, I don’t want to be like overly critical, because I know there is a lot of cool stuff going on and I think the legal writing classes, people are doing some really interesting things as well, but I don’t think it gets the priority that it should.

So I sort of feel like you, Tom, there is this required legal research and writing, I would open up some time for the practical technologies that you need to learn to do that, run that at the same time. And then I would start to say how can I integrate technology to start to move away from the notion of the all-or-nothing final exam, and then to kind of more align with the way technology is actually used in the practice these days.

Then just more electives that allow you to go deeper into these things. So like the Michigan State curriculum you were talking about, to me, that’s kind of cool because I think you can kind of really go deeply into areas and then possibly do independent study as well. All those things to me are great, and I think it’s partly that if I am a student paying thousands and thousands of dollars, I want to have an education that’s going to help me get moving into the career.

(00:24:45)

So I think there will be some lobbying from students. I think that professors can look into what’s going on out there. It seems like there is a very active community of professors who are trying a lot of things, and then I think the schools have to take on the job of really reflecting on what it is they are doing and how they need to meet the needs of everybody, including the community, in what it is that they do and involve people who are just going to look at things in different ways or to say, we do need this component, and we do need more clinical, we do need more practical, we do need more technology and to value that.

And that’s very disruptive; the word people like to use these days and I use it in a way that it’s shaking things up, not in the classic disruption notion. So those are the things I see Tom.

Tom Mighell: Well, that’s sort of — you have sort of I think — I was about to close this out with let’s maybe offer some practical suggestions for law students or professors or law schools on this whole sort of thing and I don’t know that you have — I don’t know whether you have covered it all right there or not, but I am going to end with mine and then Dennis, if you have anything you want to wrap up with, I am going to give kind of one big practical suggestion and it’s a self-interested suggestion, which is, attend ABA TECHSHOW.

If you feel like you are not getting the technology education in law school that you want, ABA TECHSHOW is a great opportunity and not just because you learn about technology and the real reason why I mention this is that, again, TECHSHOW 2018 is hosting an academic track, which I think is going to offer some interesting sessions. Last year they spent a lot of time talking about how to introduce technology curricula into law schools and I think they are going to be talking about that again.

So if you are a professor, if you are a student, if you are affiliated with a law school and you want to see that law school use more and talk more about technology with its law students, then come to TECHSHOW, join the conversation, learn a lot more. And on top of that, you can go out and go to other parts of the conference, where you can get your practical skills, where you can learn about a whole lot of new topics that you may not have had any exposure to.

And if you are a law student, it’s really a price you can’t beat, it’s only $100 for a three-day conference, which is really kind of an amazing price when you think it’s in the middle of Chicago, and it’s a great conference to boot.

So that’s my recommendation, come to TECHSHOW, take advantage of the academic track, as well as the other great educational content.

Dennis, what about you?

Dennis Kennedy: My thought is for the schools really. I mean the numbers don’t lie. I mean there is something going on and there is a mismatch between what people are expecting from law schools and what law schools are delivering. I mean that’s obvious.

So I think that there is a rethink that has to be done, and I looked at things that says, is educating the traditional lawyer in the classic way, does that make sense for all law schools or are there other things that relate to delivering legal services in the technology aspects of law and in access to justice through the Internet and other things that we are seeing that law school is a vehicle for? Is the law school — should it be like a business school that says we are doing initiatives, we have centers for innovation, so there are things happening. We are involved in startups. Is that the way a law school is going to differentiate itself from other law schools and just look at what’s out there.

And what I would like to leave with Tom is that we have always been told that law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer and so my question I want to leave for everybody is in 2017, does thinking like a lawyer include knowing technology in a meaningful way? And the way I ask the question will let you know what I think the answer is, but I think that’s something people need to think about.

Tom Mighell: And before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsor.

[Music]

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[Music]

Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Tom Mighell.

Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. We usually have an audience question in this segment and we encourage you to send us your questions, but we had a question for ourselves come up and we wanted to discuss it in this segment because we thought it made sense for the audience.

(00:29:57)

It actually comes in a way from Consumer Reports, which recently recommended against the Microsoft Surface Tablets and Laptops. Since Tom and I both use and like the Surface products, we thought it might be good to share our reactions to this news. However, we also want to ask you to send us your questions by email, LinkedIn or our new voicemail number, which Tom will give you at the end of the podcast, so you can have your questions covered in this segment in the future.

So here we go. Tom, as the TV interviewers like to say, how did this news about the Surface line make you feel?

Tom Mighell: Well, at first it kind of panicked me because I saw that — I mean it’s a pretty big deal when Consumer Reports withdraws a recommendation for something, and at first it concerned me a great deal because I do like my Surface. I have owned three now; I own a Surface Pro, I own a Surface Book, before I ruined it with unfortunately somebody’s glass of wine spilling on it a couple of months ago, and now I own the Surface Laptop, and I like them all.

I won’t pretend that my experience with them has been perfect, because I think we need to be honest here, Microsoft is new to the world of building hardware. They have done software for a long time but they have relied on companies like Dell and HP and ASUS and all these other laptop companies to make the hardware and so this is new territory for them.

A couple of things came to mind though was, the first thing I thought about was a number of years ago there was a time where Consumer Reports actually withdrew a recommendation for the Apple MacBook because of some battery issues, and Apple lobbied and what do you know, lo and behold, Consumer Reports reinstated that recommendation.

I am not sure they are going to do it here for Microsoft, but you have to understand that even companies that have great products and that have generally great satisfaction still get bad reviews from Consumer Reports.

My other somewhat defensive feeling is, is that I really like Consumer Reports for home appliances and big equipment and things like that; I have never been particularly impressed with their technology reviews. So I am a little critical in that area, but I guess I will come back and talk.

Let’s really talk briefly about Microsoft and their end. There’s no question that because these are new pieces of hardware, they have had issues with returns. I don’t think that those numbers are quite as high as Consumer Reports is reporting, but there was one generation of the Service Pro and the Surface Book, as great a device as it was, they tried to do a lot with inserting a tablet into a premium, a high quality laptop and the hardware just didn’t work that well together, and so they had lots of returns, but they have improved the product and those returns have dropped off.

Now, I guess, again, it’s me being defensive saying that the Consumer Reports doesn’t include the Surface Laptop because that’s too new, they don’t really have any data on returns for that yet, so we will have to see how that works out. But I don’t think that this has changed. It’s not telling me to stop recommending the Surface to people; it’s wanting people to be good, diligent shoppers to understand that if you are willing to take the chance that you might get a device that has some 1.0 issues, I think it’s well worth it.

I have had nothing but good experiences with all of my devices. I have some software issues, but I think that’s a — that’s kind of the status quo and the normal working with Microsoft.

But I don’t know, I think that it’s not going to change how I either use Windows devices or recommend them. What about you Dennis?

Dennis Kennedy: I have been thinking about our friend Debbie Foster and how much she loved her Galaxy Note 7 and even though they were catching on fire and you were getting these warnings about them every time you are on a plane, she just did not want to give that thing up. And so I think that people have different experiences and if you like something, you are going to really like it.

So I have just had a great experience with my Windows Surface Pro and I think that if you are in the Windows world, it’s just to me like a great option. However, like you said Tom, Consumer Reports rates things in a number of different ways and they emphasize things perhaps differently than you or I might, no matter what it is.

And so I think it’s Surfaced, if I can use the word, and potential issue for some people. So if the sort of reliability/problem/need to get things, need to have additional maintenance is a big factor in your decision then you have to weigh that in, I think.

(00:34:54)

But people make decisions all the time. So like I was most recently looking for a car in Consumer Reports, I noticed that there are a lot of people who buy cars that have really low ratings in Consumer Reports. So there are a number of different factors.

So I have had a good experience and I always tell people, I come back to what I always do on technology, what’s the job you are hiring this computer to do? And if you are in a Windows world and you want a combination tablet device, the people I know who use these really like them, but the tradeoff may be that Consumer Reports has identified a reliability issue.

So that might be a good thing, because if it starts to act in a wacky way that you can say, oh, this could be an example of the problems that people found and you can deal with it in a more straightforward way versus in another computer that starts behaving in a wacky way and you are just not sure whether it’s you or it’s software or it’s hardware.

So just something to think through, and I think it’s a good time to say, let’s look at it from our own perspective, see what makes sense and then like I say, I would factor it into account, but talk to people who really like them and then try to be smart about what matters most to you.

Tom Mighell: Well, two really quick points. The first one, as you were talking I just recalled is that Consumer Reports reported a 25% return rate on the Surface Tablets, but the return rates for probably five or six other brands that were in the list were really only about 4% or 5% off. There was one that only had — that had a 24% return rate and a couple that had a 22% return rate, and the bottom six or seven on the list had somewhere between a 19% and 25% return rate. So what’s the real difference here, just because it was at the bottom of the list, does that really make it truly worse than these others, because those numbers don’t all sound fantastic to me? So that’s again kind of an interesting thing.

The second interesting thing and Dennis, that you brought it up is that, believe it or not, our good friend Debbie Foster is actually thinking about buying a Surface Laptop. I am not sure that she is going to do it, but she is thinking about doing it at this point in time.

Dennis Kennedy: So that’s either validation of what we are thinking or just proof that she likes to live dangerously.

Tom Mighell: Take that as you will, yes.

Dennis Kennedy: So now it’s time for our parting shots, that one tip, website or observation that you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.

Tom Mighell: So my parting shot is in part due to our good — another good friend of ours, Adam Camras of the Legal Talk Network, who introduced me to his personal assistant Amy, his artificial intelligence assistant, who was able to schedule meetings with me just by asking a few questions in email. I thought it was an amazing technology. It did a great job.

But they charge money to do that. Over the past week I have discovered that Microsoft has rolled out its own smart calendaring assistant. I am not a fan that it calls itself Cortana, but it works very much the same way as amy.ai, I think is what it was called, or x.ai I think is what the original tool was called.

You sign up for the service, if you have an Office 365 account, you have to have an Office 365 subscription, you sign up for the service and then you CC [email protected], and in your email you can say, I would like to set up a meeting sometime later this week. Let’s make it a 30-minute call. My assistant will help make the schedules.

And then Cortana will actually back and forth send email to the people that are going to attend the meeting with you, look at your schedule, see what times are available, see what works for them and schedule a meeting, all without your having been involved in it at all.

To me, I have done it a couple of times now, it’s a magical experience, it’s really cool. So if you are an Office 365 subscriber, go to Calendar.help and see if you are eligible to join the program as well. It’s free to all Office 365 subscribers.

Dennis Kennedy: And then does Cortana like make suggestions about how you can productively use the time that you would have otherwise wasted on the back and forth, trying to set up meetings because that would be great too?

Tom Mighell: That’s in the second release.

Dennis Kennedy: So I have a podcast recommendation; both the podcast itself and a specific episode. So I like to sample all sorts of different podcasts. So what I am liking these days, it’s called the Unmistakable Creative, and the host is Srinivas Rao, and he interviews a whole bunch of interesting people; in a way it’s about creativity and other things.

But on the August 18th, 2017 episode, he interviewed Jerry Colonna, who is one of these people who is probably one of the inventors of a lot of things on the Internet, as you will find out in the interview, but it’s about Conversations We’re Afraid to Have.

(00:40:04)

And Jerry is like super honest and really goes into a lot of things about making decisions and what you do, how to deal with success, how to deal with failure, very frank. And I was listening to it and I just found it really helpful to me and in framing a lot of things that I have been thinking about. And it’s probably things that I and probably most of the listeners, we actually are afraid to have conversations about.

So I would say take a chance on this one, listen to it. There is a little bit of salty language on there, but that shouldn’t offend you too much, because it’s very sincere, very passionate, emotional at times, but I just think that all of us who are professionals would really benefit from hearing this and thinking about some of the things that are discussed in this podcast.

Tom Mighell: So that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast.

You can find show notes for this episode at  HYPERLINK “http://www.tkmreport.com/”tkmreport.com. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to us in Apple Podcasts on the Legal Talk Network site or in your favorite podcasting app.

If you would like to get in touch with us, you can email us at  HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected][email protected] or visit us at our LinkedIn profiles, or as Dennis mentioned, you can call us. We have got our own mailbox, the Dennis and Tom’s Tech Question Hotline. Dial 720-441-6820, that’s 720-441-6820. We would love to feature your question on an upcoming episode of the podcast.

So until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.

Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. And you have been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus, brought to you by the Legal Talk Network.

Help us out by rating us in Apple Podcast.

[Music]

Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon, and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, only on the Legal Talk Network.

[Music]

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Episode Details
Published: August 25, 2017
Podcast: Kennedy-Mighell Report
Category: Legal Technology
Podcast
Kennedy-Mighell Report
Kennedy-Mighell Report

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell talk the latest technology to improve services, client interactions, and workflow.

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