In celebration of their 200th episode, this special Kennedy-Mighell Report is composed entirely of listener questions. Hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell answer questions about a wide array of topics like client portals, misused technology, and (Tom’s favorite) Bluetooth speakers. They also talk about why they continue to podcast and what motivates them to share their legal technology knowledge. Tune in for questions from Sharon Nelson, Patrick Palace, Chad Burton, Bob Ambrogi, Kevin O’Keefe, Andrew LeGrand, Liz McCausland, Scott Bassett, Adam Lockwood, Franklin Graves, and Jim Calloway. And, as always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
If you have your own technology question, 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.
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Celebrating the 200th Episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report
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 #200, wow, of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in St. Louis.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell here in Dallas.
Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode we reflected on the history of this podcast and it’s a great way to get introduced to Tom and me and the podcast so we recommend Episode #199, but this time after 11 years we’ve hit a big milestone, our 200th episode. We had what we thought was a great idea for this episode that was to do an all-listener question-and-answer show. And thanks to the work of the Legal Talk Network team, especially the work of the hardest working man in podcasting, Laurence Colletti, we are able to do that. So Tom, for the 200th time, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well, Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report we will indeed be answering questions from our listeners and all listener question show, which I think is achieving one of our bucket list items for the podcast, and it only took us 200 episodes to get there.
In our second segment we’re going to ask each other one unrehearsed question, and I’m already a little bit nervous, and as usual we’ll 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 up, listener questions, we are always excited about incorporating listener questions. We’ve talked to you about that and mentioned a number all the time. We’ve got a special voice mailbox for you. It is — here’s the number. I am going to repeat it multiple times in this episode 720-441-6820.
The Legal Talk Network team we think really outdid themselves. They went out and they gathered a bunch of great audio questions for us. Thanks to Laurence Colletti and the rest of the Legal Talk Network team. We are really pleased with the response that we got and about all the questions that you’re going to hear. So let’s get started.
Dennis, who’s got the first question?
Dennis Kennedy: The first question comes from our friend and our fellow Legal Talk Network podcast host, that’s Sharon Nelson. It’s about client portals, Tom.
Sharon Nelson: This is your friend Sharon Nelson, guys. Warm congratulations on your 200th Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast. I have got a long way to go to catch up. Here’s my legal-tech question. Recently our friend Jim Calloway wrote an article entitled ‘Client Portals Now More Important than Ever’, are client portals in your opinion really becoming a must-have for law firms, including for solo and small firm lawyers?
This is a question I get asked a lot when I lecture. So I’d love to hear what the two of you think.
Thanks, and again, congratulations on your milestone podcast. You guys rock the house. Congratulations guys. Bye.
Tom Mighell: So, Sharon, thanks for the question. I think it’s a really good one, but it’s also one that I think we have been hearing a lot about lately. I am going to come at this question from a slightly different way and say that being able to provide your client with secure 24×7 access to you, is definitely a must-have for all lawyers. That’s big or small firms, I think. Given the immediacy of today’s technology, clients have that expectation. They expect that kind of availability, but you are never going to or you are never going to want to provide that kind of access by yourself. And that’s why the client portal is really so ideal. There are so many things that client might want – that you don’t need to give your personal attention to. They want to look at their current bill or even pay their bill. They might want to review or make comments on the latest version of a document that you’re drafting for them.
A portal gives your client that freedom to interact with you on their time and on their terms when you don’t have to be there. So I guess it’s my way of saying I think, yes, client portals really are a must for lawyers, and I think that solo and small firms really should invest in looking at what a client portal would mean for their practice.
Dennis, what about you?
Dennis Kennedy: Tom, you and I had a conversation a couple weeks ago about whether the term Extranet even made sense anymore that really people were talking in terms of client portals, and I think that — so I agree that client portals in some form are really necessary. I think it goes back to the experience that we have everywhere else in all our other economic relationships, which is, what would you want as a customer, I mean, we are just used to be able to — like the other day I can make appointments to get my car serviced online, I can make doctor’s appointments, I can do all of these things, and I get my test results from my doctor now, so why wouldn’t I want that with my lawyer as well?
So it’s sort of what would you want as a customer, and I think you come down to that client portal now soon. And I would take it a step further as to say, if you do have a client portal, why don’t you go the extra step to say, there should be a mobile app, because that’s also a customer expectation these days. I would expect to be able to use a mobile app and get that same information and have that same contact. I would think the mobile app would be part of the portal automatically, yeah, agreed.
Tom Mighell: All right, let’s go over to our next question. Our next question comes from Washington lawyer, Patrick Pallas.
Patrick Pallas: This is Patrick Pallas with Pallas Law. Dennis and Tom, I have this question for you. In this day and age it’s really important for law firms to collect data. Data analytics are critical to the success of firms, but what tools can you recommend that a solo or small practitioner can use to be able to collect the data that they need and we all need to succeed in this new economy?
Contact me at, Twitter handle is @pallaslaw or [email protected]
Dennis Kennedy: That’s also a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately. And so I think that this is one of those things where I go back and especially in the solo and small firm world, I say, look at what you already have. So it could be that you can accomplish a lot in collecting data and making usable just using Excel. There may be depending on what time in billing or practice management software, there may be tools built into that. Also if you bump up a version or two, you may find that there were tools in what you have or if you go to a cloud version, you may find that we are growing set of tools who will allow you to collect data and look at it.
I think the other thing is that this question to me, Tom, points out that there may be some legal-tech startups out there, are looking at areas where there’s going to be interest. And I think this sort of data collection and simple data analytics in the solo and small firm space is especially interesting one.
Tom Mighell: I agree. Like you say I think there are several tools that large firms are already using to analyze and understand metrics around their practice, but they don’t really scale down to solo and small firms either in price or I think practicality.
So I think I agree, this is a great opportunity for a startup, and frankly, I went to go look at — Bob Ambrogi’s got a great list of legal startups. I really couldn’t find immediately find a company that would provide this kind of tool, so next year ABA TECHSHOW is doing a startup alley, maybe that’s a great place for a company to introduce a tool like this. But I am actually going to recommend the tool that I’ve been wanting to learn more about, but haven’t had the time.
As a potential way for solo and small firm lawyers, the question was, how do they collect information? It’s an online tool called Airtable. It’s basically an online tool that allows you to create databases. From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty straightforward to create a simple database online, which is, I think the kind of basic tool that a solo or a small firm would want to collect data about the practice and there is a legal offering. It’s actually free to try if you want to. So I think it is definitely worth a shot. That’s one example, may not be exactly what you need, but I think it’s an interesting tool, whether you use it to collect data about your practice or for some other purpose.
Dennis Kennedy: Our next question comes from Chad Burton, a well-known legal innovator, and the question is —
Chad Burton: Hi, this is Chad Burton, CEO of CuroLegal. My question for you guys is, what technology trend do you think in the next five years is actually going to have an effect on reducing the access gap?
So to get hold of me, my home address is — no, let’s leave that one out. Email address is [email protected] Twitter handle is @chadeburton.
Tom Mighell: So I don’t have a visionary answer to this. I am always nervous when their questions come along to say let’s look down the next five years and predict the future. I would much rather talk about the present, but that’s good, because I think that the technology that’s going to reduce the access gap is already here. To paraphrase your favorite quote, “It’s just not fully distributed yet”, and that’s really a combination of Artificial Intelligence that use conversational tools like Chatbots and mobile apps to talk to individuals who either can’t or won’t find an attorney. I think those who lack basic access to legal help almost always have access to online resources and almost always through a telephone.
They are going to be looking for free resources obviously, and a lot of times, they don’t actually want to talk to a lawyer.
So what better way to provide something for them than to provide that chat experience with a robot, a non-breathing body of knowledge and use that Artificial Intelligence to provide some general answers to basic legal questions.
I think the main requirements of what we’re going to see to reduce that access gap are free mobile and autonomous, and I think that the building blocks are there, we just need to move forward and get better at it.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, and I agree completely, Tom, and I think that this goes back a little bit to the client portal notion. So there will be client portals, I think Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, and what I would call a really dramatic focus on user experience to say, okay, the plain language, natural language, dealing with people with language and literacy issues, and how does that take place and taking advantage of as you say, some of the tools that are already out there, sort of simple AI, Chatbots and then Voice and Mobile. So I agree with you completely there, Tom
Tom Mighell: All right, our next question comes from Bob Ambrogi, our co-host at Lawyer 2 Lawyer, our fellow podcast host, I guess I should say at Lawyer 2 Lawyer, from Massachusetts, who’s got the following question.
Bob Ambrogi: Tom and Dennis, this is Bob. I’m a lawyer in Massachusetts and I wonder should I get Word or WordPerfect, and if I get Word, what will I do about the lack of reveal codes?
You can answer me on my Twitter handle, it’s @bobambrogi, I look forward to your response.
Dennis Kennedy: So Tom, you really think, this Bob, who is the lawyer from Massachusetts is Bob Ambrogi? I mean, it does sound suspiciously like him. But it’s — let’s treat Bob’s question as a perfectly serious one. So I come out in different places on this.
To me, the best word processing program is the one right in front of you. So if you want to write, you’re going to write and so it could be — it could be Google Docs, it could be Word, it could be Scrivener, it could be something on your mobile phone or tablet, that’s ultimately where I come out. And there are some markup tools, playing text tools, but sort of what gets — what’s in your brain onto the screen and into a file that you can work with, I think is the best thing.
So if for you, that’s WordPerfect, that’s fine, but I think we live in a world of Word. So at some point, you’re going to be converting a document back into a Word format, and I think what really drives that for me is, and I have something like Reveal Codes or anything like that, is Track Changes and just living in the world, where documents get exchanged using Track Changes in Word formats, and you just need to ultimately live in that world.
So if you are comfortable with the extra step of making conversions then I think in for first drafts, you can use anything but there comes a point where you aren’t going to have to live in a Word world.
Tom Mighell: So my first response to this is, has the Legal Talk Network been holding on to this question since 1998 because really, this seems like such an old question to me. But I will answer it in a serious way, which is, I think that the answer to this question is that if mobile is the future and I think that there are many who would agree that Mobile is the future, then it has to be Word, is the answer to the question.
Microsoft provides all of its office tools on all mobile platforms, on iOS, on Android, on Windows, on Mac, every platform that’s out there, there’s a version of Microsoft Office tool. WordPerfect offers a really, really lousy app for your tablet that just doesn’t match up to Word. I don’t have time to go into how bad I think that app is.
And so from the standpoint that Mobile is the future, Word is the answer. And really all I’ll say about Reveal Codes is, yes, I love those. I remember 1998, we moved over to Word, and that was a thing I hated the most but you know, once you learn how to work with styles, I know you don’t — nobody agrees with this, I really forgot about Reveal Codes entirely.
Dennis Kennedy: So our next question — and I think it’s a really great question, it comes from LexBlog’s CEO Kevin O’Keefe, who is a big friend of this podcast.
Kevin O’Keefe: Why are you guys still doing this? What motivates you to do this podcast time after time, after time? What is the most rewarding thing each of you find that you get from doing the podcast? It’s Kevin O’Keefe and my Twitter handle is @kevinokeefe.
Tom Mighell: Well, Kevin, when I hear that, I automatically want to say, why are you still blogging, because it’s really the same I think for us as well. For me, podcasting is about two things. One is general, one is more personal. First, it’s about keeping up with the latest in technology topics for lawyers, for me personally I enjoy that. And I’ve always wanted to help other lawyers keep up with technology and to the extent that I can teach them about that through podcasting, I love doing it.
I’d really love to be keeping up my blog doing this and I hope to be doing that in the near future but for now the podcast is a great way to provide that information. But then really from a more personal standpoint, doing this podcast gives me the opportunity to talk to Dennis for a couple of hours, every two weeks, which is always a lot of fun, and something that I have treasured over the last — I can’t believe it’s been 11 years. But yeah, that’s one of the reasons why I do this too.
Dennis Kennedy: You know what’s interesting to me, Tom, when I thought about this question is that we’ve never really thought about not doing this podcast. This has sort of become such a regular thing for us, and so, I think for me it’s really fun. It is about learning new tech in a regular, somewhat systematic way, and I really enjoy meeting our listeners from time-to-time because people will talk about the shows and how they learn something that changed their practice.
In some cases, they say changed their lives and that’s really rewarding, but I think that it really is the case, I mean in the preparation or the pre-show, it’s kind of funny because people think that Tom and I always agree on everything, and we just had a conversation where I’m not sure we agreed on anything, but now, we’re back in the podcast mode.
But I think it’s right, Tom is totally one of my best friends and to get the chance to talk together on a regular basis about the things that we like, is just a great part of podcasting, and then friends that you make through podcasting, like the friends I made through blogging is just an amazing thing.
Our next question comes from Andrew Legrand and it’s about actually paying for technology.
Andrew Legrand: My name is Andrew Legrand, I’m a business attorney here in New Orleans, Louisiana and my question is, which bill or invoice, are you happy to pay each month? And if it’s not a technology thing, what’s your favorite technology bill or invoice to pay each month? My contact information is on Twitter @LawByLegrand.
Tom Mighell: So this is actually a hard question. Thanks for the question, Andrew. I think this is a hard question though because there are a lot of technology bills that I’m happy to pay. And the reason for that is I think that’s different for me now, the reason why this is an interesting question is that I don’t know that ten years ago, there was a technology bill that you would be getting on a regular basis.
So I think that what’s interesting inherent in your question is that now that we’ve moved to a subscription model for technology that we’re paying for technology on a more regular basis rather than the latest version of Word, a latest version of Acrobat. I think that because this subscription model is at, what I would consider to be, fairly reasonable costs for most of these tools, as long as the tool does a good job, I like the subscription model.
It ensures that I always have the most up-to-date version, $150 a year to always have the most recent version of Office is great. $20 a month to keep up my Squarespace blog that I keep for my iPad. Each one of those services has learned to price the market so that I think those prices are reasonable, given the service that’s being provided now, obviously the problem is, when you add up all those costs you’re paying, you might be surprised at how much all your subscription costs.
But I’ve got to answer — if I have to answer one thing that I’m pleased to pay for, I’m going to say Office 365. I live in the Office world, I use that stuff the most, I think that for a $150 a year not only you’re getting those office tools but you’re getting teams and planner and bookings and a SharePoint site and you’re getting so much stuff for that. I really think that Microsoft has got a great model and that would be my number one choice if I had to answer the question.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I have one that’s not a monthly subscription, which is OmniFocus, which totally organizes my life so that they could charge me about anything and I would be in on that. On the monthly side, I agree with you, Office 365, probably the one that I’m just really easy to pay for is 1Password for password management and then I think Dropbox, Evernote, they all have benefits.
So you’re right, Tom, these companies have made it easy for you to pay for their services and they do a nice job on a lot of things. We have created a sense of community in some of these apps and it’s — you just feel like you’re helping the cause by paying for the apps.
Tom Mighell: All right, our next question comes from Florida lawyer, Liz McCausland.
Liz McCausland: Hi, I’m Liz McCausland from Orlando, Florida, and my question is, what are your top three apps for lawyers? @LizMcCausland on Twitter.
Dennis Kennedy: I liked this question because it allows me to kind of reflect on this type of questions, when people say, what’s the best whatever to do.
And so I always go to that notion which the longtime listeners of the podcast know that is that where I’m going, is it what’s the job to be done theory? So I think you answered this question by saying what are you hiring this app to do. So what do you need done, what apps help you, and then you say, well, all lawyers are different, all people are different, so are there apps that work across the whole legal profession? And I’m not sure that I have the answer to that, but I think my answer is that you’re going to find the companion apps, the mobile apps to the desktop programs or the cloud services they use, or actually the top apps for you as a lawyer, because that’s going to expand your range, allow you to work mobiley and take advantage of what’s in the system wherever you are.
So I’m not going to define apps, Tom, I may let you do that, but to me it’s sort of like what gives you — what is the mobile app that kind of extends the range of the programs that you use most often that are most important in your practice?
Tom Mighell: I like this question too, but it’s hard to say the top three apps and have a question, so I’m going to cheat also, Liz, I’m sorry. I’m going to cheat and answer this in terms of categories. Here are the categories of apps that I think are the top three that lawyers need to have.
I think first is security. Lawyers need a password management app to manage their passwords, that’s either LastPass, which I love, I think it’s great. Dennis mentioned 1Password already. Either one of those tools is, I think a must-have type of app that you need to have.
Second, lawyers need a good Task Manager. You need to be able to keep track of all the stuff you have to do, and I think as I’ve probably discussed many times before on this podcast, I think Todoist is the best Task Management app, it’s on all platforms, it does a great job, it’s a really smart tool with a lot of Artificial Intelligence capabilities 21:58 start being built in, but matter of fact there are a ton of great task managers out there, so don’t limit yourself to Todoist, there are others.
Finally, I think that for lawyers having a good email app is really necessary. I hate that we live in email, but if we’ve got to live in email, we might as well have an app that lets us manage it in a way that makes sense. And so I’m going to say my favorite is still Outlook, it connects directly to your exchange account, but it has some of those modern features that we see from apps like Inbox where you can swipe left or swipe right and really triage your email in a quick efficient way. I think those three types of apps are really the important things for lawyers to have on a phone if we’re talking about mobile apps.
Dennis Kennedy: So our next question comes from Scott Bassett, and I think it’s a great question that anyone who is thinking about moving to the cloud should ask.
Scott Bassett: Hi Dennis. Hi Tom. This is Scott Bassett, I’m a fellow podcaster. I am a practitioner in Portage, Michigan and also live in Bradenton, Florida, so I’m a virtual guy as well.
I have a question about cloud-based time billing and accounting programs. I’m a long time PCLaw user, and I have a lot of faith in the program, it’s been very solid for me, but I’m tech-savvy and I want to be in the cloud and be able to enter time wherever I am. Is there a time billing and accounting program that’s cloud-based that I can trust as much as I trust PCLaw?
And you can find me at [email protected], or on Twitter @sgbassett or on LinkedIn @ScottBassett.
Tom Mighell: So Scott, thanks for the question, but I’m going to punt, just a little bit. I am going to punt a little bit because I believe that to give a recommendation like this you’ve got to have spent some time with the options and I just haven’t been able to do that. So I am going to actually give two answers to the questions.
First, I think that there are a number of great cloud-based tools out there that are practice management-related, they may not be solely dedicated to time billing and accounting, but they have time billing and accounting features. Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase, they all offer those types of features. From what I understand from the people who use them, from the people who implement them, they provide good solid services in those areas. Are they as good as PCLaw? This is where I just don’t have the experience to talk about that. But let’s say that for a second.
So if you really like PCLaw, if you trust PCLaw, then don’t worry about going to another service. Go and find and grant it — I don’t know how much longer this will be a service, but there are a number of hosted versions of PCLaw, so that you can actually go and access PCLaw in the cloud getting all the features that you already know that you already trust, without having to worry about going to another solution.
So there are a couple of them that are out there if you just go and do some searches. Find a version of PCLaw in the cloud and use that instead of trying to find another tool that can do the job just as well.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, so I have similar comments Tom, and I would just add that — and this is one of my weakest areas of legal technology, but I saw something called PCLaw Mobile which may give you the functionality that you need.
And the other thing is, and I am not sure Tom, this is exactly what you were talking about, but there are some services that provide cloud hosting or a cloud-based desktop that would include the actual legal software packages like PCLaw. So you would have the benefit of having the cloud type access even though there’s not a cloud version, so it’s more of a dedicated host for you. So that’s another way to look at solving this question.
And the other thing is to go to the PCLaw people and say, hey, what do you have that you can help me with.
Tom Mighell: All right. Next up, our next question is from Michigan lawyer Samantha, I think, I hope this is right, Meinke; I hope I got that right Samantha.
Samantha Meinke: Hi Dennis and Tom. I am Samantha Meinke, the Communications Manager for the State Bar of Michigan, and I am wondering do you have any advice on what apps exists for Apple Watches and other wearables that are germane for lawyers? Please let me know. I am on Twitter @sammiem. Thank you.
Dennis Kennedy: So thank you Samantha for that question. I think that I just am not really aware of on the Apple Watch something that I would consider a legal app, but I think the watch could be really useful. I mean definitely timers, reminders in their own way. I think the health apps, because if you look at the health statistics on lawyers, I mean just the fact that you are able to track your movement. That you stand during the day, those are useful. But I would say on a watch at this point, I mean other than sort of screening your calls and screening your text messages, I would say timers and reminders I think would probably be the best applications for lawyers.
Tom Mighell: Right. And I think as far as I can tell, and I am not an Apple Watch user, but as far as I can tell, there aren’t any specific legal apps for the Apple Watch. So I think if we think in the pure legal sense the best answer to your question really Samantha is no, but if you think about it in terms of the best functions of the watch, what’s the, to borrow Dennis’ term, what’s the job to be done of the watch, I think the watch’s purpose is to alleviate the need to use the phone to a certain extent.
So what does the phone do or what are some of the things that the phone has done that you can pass off to the watch if necessary. One example of an app that I found is a recording app, it can record conversations. It’s called Just Press Record. If you want to take a quick statement from a client or record a conversation that you have with somebody, obviously letting them know you are recording them, you can do that on your phone.
Then there are the practical things that lawyers need to do. So think about what are the things that I would do with my phone, can I do it also with my watch instead. So, like using the password manager that we talked about just now, instead of looking on your phone to get a password, just open it up on your watch and it’s there a lot faster.
The Deliveries App, Deliveries is one of my favorite apps on iOS and it can tell you when packages are going to be delivered and now you can get that on your phone as well.
So when you are thinking about the best apps to use on your watch, think about the things on your phone that really are your go-to and find out if there’s a watch app version of that as well.
Dennis Kennedy: So our next question comes from Legal Talk Network Audio Engineering Legend Adam Lockwood, and Tom, I think this is your favorite topic.
Adam Lockwood: Hey guys, audio engineer for Legal Talk Network Adam Lockwood here. Congratulations on your 200th episode. This is very cool and we are looking forward to many, many more.
I had a question for Tom. Tom, I hear that you are a connoisseur and fan of Bluetooth speakers, so I am wondering what has been your favorite one that you have tried and are you going to be trying out the Apple HomePod when it comes out? Love to hear your thoughts.
Tom Mighell: I have to say Adam, this is a fantastic question and thank you so much for asking it. I love talking about this sort of stuff, but I am going to be short and sweet.
My recommendation is for speakers that work, no matter whose world you are in, Apple’s or Google’s. So that’s why I am not going to talk about the HomePod so much here. I think you pretty much can’t go wrong with any speaker from UE or Ultimate Ears. I have three of their speakers that I have been trying; the UE BOOM, the ROLL 2 and the MEGABOOM.
The ROLL 2 actually just got named by Wirecutter as the Best Bluetooth Speaker. I suppose reasonable minds could differ on that, but I happen to like it quite a bit. I hang that up in the shower while I am taking a shower and listen to music in there all the time. It’s waterproof. It’s really lightweight. They all have really, really good sound. So anything from Ultimate Ears is a great Bluetooth purchase.
I have to say no on Apple HomePod, it’s too expensive and frankly, I think it’s great if you are in Apple’s universe, but I don’t use Siri as my artificial intelligence of choice, so that doesn’t make the sense for me.
However, I am going to tell you, I am all in. I am going to be all in on Google’s new Google Home Mac speakers, which are going to have great sound and the Google Assistant built in. Hopefully they are going to be ready to ship by the end of this year and I am probably going to have more to say about that a little bit later. Dennis.
Dennis Kennedy: And in a preview of our 2018 Tech Prediction Show, I will predict confidently that Tom will literally test every Bluetooth speaker being sold next year.
Tom Mighell: That’s a good bet.
Dennis Kennedy: I am a definite yes on the HomePod. I would like to have something to compare to the Amazon Echo, which I love, and the idea that it’s something a little bit more upscale and designed maybe a little bit more for home entertainment is appealing to me.
I actually really like the Echo speaker as a Bluetooth speaker, but I have more interest in Bluetooth headphones and so that’s where I look. I really like them when I am exercising. I like them just walking around the house and listening to podcasts, just not having the wires is such a great thing.
Tom Mighell: All right, the next question comes from our friend, Franklin Graves.
Franklin Graves: Hey guys, it’s Franklin Graves from Nashville, Tennessee. I am a longtime listener, but first time caller in. I wanted to go ahead and take a minute to just toss a question your way that I have been pondering and wondering what other people are doing for the solution.
So I typically ever since law school have been blogging and trying to keep up with recent happenings in the field of IP, media and tech law. So I typically would go to the dockets for any recent filings. In law school as I mentioned I used Westlaw, which obviously was free for law students and that’s gone away, but they had a nice docket system in there, and oftentimes I didn’t even have to go and pay the fee for a PACER to get access to them.
But after law school I started using dockets.justia.com and you can drill down, just like on Westlaw, drill down by specific topic and the type of case.
So I would just love to hear your thoughts or even any of your listeners’ thoughts on free or cheap ways to access docket systems, because going through PACER is obviously or can be very expensive, so just any way to get around that and not have to pay those fees.
I am just throwing it out there aware of RECAP the Law, and that’s an excellent plug-in I have on Chrome when I use that. But yeah, just want to toss that over to you.
I am @franklingraves on Twitter and we have emailed before. So thanks and I look forward to hearing you well beyond the 200th episode. Congratulations guys.
Dennis Kennedy: So that’s a great question Franklin. Yeah, I mean Franklin is a friend of the show and he has had us on interviews. I think that legal research — I mean Tom built the early part of his career on being the legal research guru, so I am probably going to defer to Tom there.
But I think that the question is really this kind of interesting thing to me about how in law school you get to use these great tools, then when you go out into the practice they are no longer available and you have to struggle a bit. So I think that you are on the right track Franklin and I think there are going to be some services out there that will start to develop some of that or maybe even a legal startup. But I am going to defer to Tom, who I suspect probably has way better answers than I do.
Tom Mighell: So a good legal researcher knows when to go out and find other researchers who actually know the answer to this question or at least who can give you some more answers, and that’s my way of saying, you know what, I don’t know the answer to this question, but I asked one of our good friends Carole Levitt, who is a much bigger Internet legal researcher than either of us are, and her answer was actually that there’s not a lot out there. There’s not a site to search only IP or technology law dockets.
And so her recommendation was, was to actually search at a website called CourtListener, CourtListener RECAP Archive. I think you mentioned Franklin using the RECAP plug-in. There is a CourtListener RECAP Archive that allows you to do a search of all of the PACER submissions.
Now, the reason why this is probably not the best — is not the foolproof idea is because the RECAP Archive relies on donation, so although it’s going to say that it’s got millions of PACER documents, you may not be getting a complete collection there. But they actually have as part of their search tool, they have something called the Nature of The Suit search and you can search for — there are Nature of The Suit codes for copyrights, patents and trademarks. There’s not one necessarily for technology, but you can do that search through CourtListener.
Thanks to Carole for providing that answer. That’s about all I have got on that question.
Dennis Kennedy: And our last question comes from our great friend Jim Calloway, also a Legal Talk Network podcast host, but a longtime friend for both of us.
Jim Calloway: Hello Dennis and Tom. This is Jim Calloway. Congratulations on your 200th podcast. My question is what is the worst or most misused bit of technology that most of us are using today, but no fair using email, we all know about that one? Again, congratulations. This is Jim Calloway from the Digital Edge Podcast and the Law Practice Tips Blog at lawpracticetipsblog.com. Thanks.
Tom Mighell: All right Jim, that’s a tough question, because there are so many misused technologies for people. And I am going to go old school and I have talked about it already several times during this particular podcast, I am actually going to say Microsoft Word. Every Word document — let me back up, I am going to expand and say Microsoft Office tools. Every Word document I get is a mess. I spend more time cleaning up and formatting a Word document than actually working on the content itself. If people could learn about styles, about line spacing they could create really neat, easy to navigate documents that are a pleasure to work with.
And I will say that about PowerPoint. People just don’t know how to use PowerPoint in a way that makes any sense and I spend a lot of time cleaning up presentations.
I think Excel is harder to mess up, but people who don’t know how to use Excel, you really know they don’t know how to use it. I really think that the stuff we spend the most time on is still the most misused piece of technology that we have.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, that’s a great answer Tom. So I have two answers, neither will be surprising, but I think that probably the worst thing people are doing is texting while driving. Let’s think about what’s going on when you do that.
And then the other technology use that I really, really hate are video ads that sort of automatically execute and you can adjust settings on this, but God, I just hate when all of a sudden some video with sound just starts running when I am on a webpage, and I don’t know why anybody thinks that after that experience I am going to buy what they are selling, but man, I hate those.
Tom Mighell: Whew. We got through them all Dennis. That was a great set of questions. Thank you so much everybody for making our 200th episode such a memorable experience. It was great to answer your questions and we look forward to answering more questions in the future. Remember the number to call is 720-441-6820, 720-441-6820.
Before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsor.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. In this segment we want to ask each other one surprise question to answer, unrehearsed and unscripted. Our only rule was the question could deal with anything, not necessarily legal technology.
So Tom, here’s the question I have for you, and of course I cheated by having a question with several parts. So Tom, you convinced me to watch Season 1 of Mr. Robot and I kind of liked it, but not as much as you did. Then you convinced me to watch Season 2 and it was an utter and absolute train wreck and just painful to watch.
So I saw on my DVR that Season 3 is about to start. Should I hang in there or run away, which is my gut feeling? And then, do you have any new shows I should watch or that you think I should watch, like The Orville or anything along those lines?
Tom Mighell: Okay. All right. So would you really watch The Orville? I mean The Orville really hasn’t gotten great reviews. I am unfortunately a slave to Metacritic and the reviews have not been good for The Orville. So you will have to tell me whether that’s a good show to watch or not.
So I apologize about Mr. Robot. I am still intrigued enough to probably want to watch Season 3, but your review of the past two seasons I think is an accurate one. I am really challenged here though because you have asked, do you have any new shows that I should watch or that you think I would like, and there really aren’t a ton of good new shows out there that I am recommending, but here are three. I am going to give you three that I am intrigued by for one reason or the other.
There is a new limited series on Netflix called American Vandal. The subject matter is a little bit foul, if you can get past the graffiti and the graphic nature of the graffiti, it’s a satiric documentary. It’s showing how a documentary is made these days from a standpoint of something that’s utterly absurd and ridiculous. And I have watched three episodes and I am just laughing hysterically at all of it. It’s a great depiction of how people do and take seriously documentaries these days.
I have always been a Star Trek fan and so I am watching; I think I am past Episode 3 now of the new Star Trek Discovery on CBS. I love it. That has something to do with me being a Star Trek fan, but I highly recommend that.
And then the one that I am really looking forward to, the one that I really want to be good, but as we are recording this it hasn’t come out yet, so I don’t know yet, is called Mindhunter, which is coming up on Netflix. It’s about how the FBI first identified and profiled serial killers, which I love shows like that. The star Jonathan Groff is a great actor, so I can’t wait to take a look at that. Hopefully by the time this podcast comes out, I will have gotten a better appreciation for whether that’s going to be a good show or not.
Dennis, I have a question for you. So here’s my question, it’s funny because your question was about movies, mine is about books. You read a lot of books. You read many more books than I could ever get to. We usually have a podcast during the summer about our summer reading lists and we didn’t do it this year. So here’s my question, if you had to recommend one book to me that you read over the summer, which book would it be?
Dennis Kennedy: So this is a tricky one for me, because as you know, Tom, this is the year that I decided I was going to read all of the books by the Scottish writer Ian Rankin, which is the Inspector Rebus series, and which was 21 books, maybe it’s 22, because there’s a book of short stories. So that makes this tricky because that was a lot of the huge proportion of the books that I read.
So I would not recommend that you start from beginning to end, like I did, because it is a lot of work and I think the character really takes off maybe about two-thirds of the way through. So if you are going to pick one, I would say there’s a one called ‘Standing in Another Man’s Grave’, which I think kind of captures the character really well and the writing is great as well.
I might recommend this book called ‘1491’, an older book by Charles, Charles Mann, which talks about North and South America before Columbus arrives, hence the title ‘1491’. And it’s a fascinating look at the fairly large civilization in North America and in South America before the Europeans arrived and I really enjoyed that.
And then the other one and this I think is probably unique to me Tom, but it’s something we all need to think about at some point, and you sort of face the issue in a different way than I am, because we are thinking about selling our house and downsizing to an apartment. But it’s a book called ‘Let It Go’ by Peter Walsh, which really helped me kind of think about what stuff do we need to keep and how big of a place do we need to have to live in and how that changes as life goes on. So those would be my suggestions for you.
Tom Mighell: Thank you very much.
Dennis Kennedy: Now it’s time for our parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: All right, so this is not so much a tip as just an observation that if you have paid attention to Google’s announcements the week before we recorded this podcast, so I think it was October 4, you will know that Google is all in on artificial intelligence. They have made it clear that where other phone companies and other companies might be trying to make the most beautiful or stylistically interesting devices that are out there, Google is all about the smarts, and they are building the Google Assistant into everything that they do.
And the only reason why I didn’t buy every single one of the things that Google offered last week is that they are not available yet. They have a new Pixel phone that I am going to buy. I want to buy a Pixel phone. They have new headphones that use the Google Assistant, where you can actually use the Google Translator and have the translations come through your headphones into your ear.
I already mentioned the Google Mac speakers that I plan to buy and replace my Sonos speakers with, because I want to be able to talk to my stereo speakers throughout the house.
There’s this new camera that’s called Clips that a lot of people are going to think is a little bit creepy, because it’s designed to just kind of watch you as you do things and take movies and get smarter about how it takes pictures of you. I am really intrigued by the concept. I agree that it could be kind of creepy, but I think this is where the future of AI is going, is being able to make these kinds of decisions like that, but really, really interesting stuff coming out of Google these days. You would do well to pay attention to it.
Dennis Kennedy: Can you still buy Google Wave, Google Reader and Google Plus?
Tom Mighell: You could never buy them to begin with; they were always free tools, Dennis.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I like to wait a little bit on Google stuff myself. So my parting shot is a personal one and that is that — it’s probably something I am surprised I didn’t do a lot longer, but I have moved my blog, DennisKennedy.blog and my website denniskennedy.com over to LexBlog, to become a part of the LexBlog family. So it’s launched, and now, denniskennedy.com, DennisKennedy.blog all point to a new redesign, and I am going to have, probably by the time you hear this, I will have more of a launch because I haven’t posted for a little bit while that transition has happened.
But I am very excited to be part of the LexBlog community and to having a new redesign of the site. It’s great now that the domains that I own all point to the same place. So I feel like I am making progress on the Internet presence front.
Tom Mighell: My gosh, maybe that’s how I re-launch my blog is to become part of that LexBlog network, that would be interesting.
All right, so that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, the 200th edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report that is. Thanks for joining us on the podcast.
You can find show notes for this episode at tkmreport.com. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Please give us a like in the Apple Podcast App or go to the Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous podcasts.
If you would like to get in touch with us, you can email us at [email protected] You can find us on LinkedIn, and once again, not that I have said it enough, that phone number for voicemail questions is 720-441-6820.
So until the next podcast, #201, 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. Really it will help us if you rate us on Apple Podcast. So think about doing that for us. And we will see you next time for another episode, as Tom says, #201 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
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.
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