The Kennedy-Mighell Report is wrapping up the year in their traditional style! Joined once again by Debbie Foster, Dennis and Tom recap 2020 with “Pardon the Interruption”-style segments, including Toss Up, What’s the Word, and their very own Buzzword Bingo. They exchange views on many of the latest hot topics in legal, hashing out COVID-era changes, rapid tech adoption, access to justice, and much more.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.
Debbie Foster is the managing partner for Affinity Consulting, and is a nationally recognized thought leader on efficiency and innovation in professional legal organizations.
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Pardon the Interruption: 2020 Edition
Intro: Got the world turning as fast as it can? Here 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 276 of the Kennedy-Mighell report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I’m Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors. First of all, we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever court bonds you need, get a quote and purchase online at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Dennis Kennedy: And we’d also like to thank ServeNow. A nationwide network of trusted pre-screened process servers work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume servs, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit serve-now.com to learn more.
Tom Mighell: And we want to mention that the second edition of our book, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies is available now on Amazon. Everyone agrees that collaboration is essential in today’s world but now more than ever before knowing the right tools will make all the difference.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, as I like to say at the start of our recent podcasts, what are difference another week or two makes and big changes just keep rolling along I guess the only good thing is that we’re almost to the end of 2020. In our last episode, we talked about how to become a video star. Now, it’s time for our annual end of the year show. Tom, 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 wrapping up 2020 in our traditional style. Long time listeners will know that ESPN’S pardon the interruption show also known as PTI with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon was one of our inspirations for the podcast way back when. Our tradition is to use some elements of the show for the format of this recap episode and kind of bend them to our purposes and to do that, we have a special guest, our favorite fan of the show, Debbie Foster, thanks for joining us for this episode, Debbie.
Debbie Foster: Glad to be here.
Tom Mighell: And for those of you familiar with PTI, you’ll recognize some of your favorite segments for those unfamiliar with the show. We’re going to have three segments in this episode. Toss-up in which we purposely take multiple opposing sides of a legal tech topic. What’s the word in which we fill in the blank on a statement about a legal tech topic with a well-chosen word and our own new segment, buzzword bingo in which we categorize a legal tech buzzword as overused, underused or rightly used. And as usual, we end with our fast response big finish to give you Debbie and Dennis a sneak preview of the results and really to continue a yearly tradition, I win every segment. So, let’s get started. Let’s start first, Debbie — for those of us in the audience who don’t know Debbie, please give us a quick introduction and a hello.
Debbie Foster: Absolutely. So, thanks for having me guys. My name is Debbie Foster, I’m with the Affinity Consulting Group and I work with law firms and have for 20 plus years helping them understand how to best leverage the technology that they have and I am a self-proclaimed super fan of the Kennedy-Mighell report.
Tom Mighell: Thank you, Debbie. With someone like Debbie on the show, it is truly amazing that I am still going to win all of these competitions. Good luck to you in the game. Our first segment is called toss-up. In toss-up all of us are required to take a different side on a topic which is interesting since there are three of us on this conversation. Each of us argues his or her position and at the end. As usual, I declare myself the winner. Dennis, are the rules clear? No agreeing here.
Dennis Kennedy: I disagree about the rules and the results in fact I disagree with the whole system but here’s our first toss-up question. Many people are saying that 2020 and COVID accelerated the legal professions moved to the Cloud and other new technologies by at least 10 years in 10 months. Anyone buying that?
Tom Mighell: So, I’ll go first and I will say that it was accelerated. I don’t know about 10 years. I believe that law firms and lawyers were forced to unnaturally do things that they weren’t intending to do and found that it wasn’t the horrible, awful thing that they thought it was going to be. I think that as I’ve been saying in multiple times that don’t waste a good crisis and I think that to a certain extent the legal community has not wasted it. Now, whether we’ve made the kind of advances that you and I and Debbie would expect or want to see on something and what we usually talk about on this podcast about lawyers not moving fast enough or adopting things soon enough. I can’t really agree with that. I still keep hearing about going back to things as normal once we’re all able to go back to the office and do things again.
So, I’m not convinced. I will say there are more people using the Cloud. There are more people adopting collaboration tools which we’ll talk about more here but I think you got to start somewhere. Debbie?
Debbie Foster: Yeah. You know, I think that there has definitely been some big changes and from a technology perspective, I think what happened at the very beginning is people figured out how to do it and what we are seeing now is people are rolling back a bit and trying to figure out how to do it right. They had to get it done, they got it done quickly some of it was band-aids and bubble gum and paper clip and super glue and now they’re going back and saying does this really make sense especially because people are looking at this none of us thought in December of 2020 when this all came to be back in March that we would still be facing it. So, I think that there is some re-examination of what the firms did to move and make the shift to people being able to work from anywhere but I think where I’ve seen the culture shift, the example — part of what you said in the question 10 years of change in the last 10 months, I think that there is some truth to that in a lot of firms when it comes to the culture. I think that back in January or February, there were still a lot of lawyers, the vast majority of let’s say boomers and traditionalists who thought if the person isn’t sitting in the office right down the hall for me, how would I ever know that they’re working or if my paralegal or my legal assistant isn’t sitting outside my door and I can’t yell when I need something. How will I ever be able to survive?
And I think that shift while I agree there still are a lot of people who are talking about getting back to normal and getting back to being in the office. There has been a significant leap from a culture perspective in the work from home, flexible schedule perhaps even hybrid model of how people will get their work done. So, I think that’s been actually pretty amazing to see.
Dennis Kennedy: So, a couple of things. So, one is that I think there are a lot of people in sometimes largely unappreciated ways who did a ton of work this year to move things forward and kind of keep the doors open, keep revenues coming in, keep the technology working, get the work out and I truly hope that they’re bonused massively this year and they’re not let go in January or the first time there’s a little bit of a downturn. But I think the jury is still out on that. What I’ve noticed is there was this initial move and there’s been some follow-up but it’s actually fairly small steps. People figured out how to use Zoom, but almost just to use it. They figured out e-signatures, big massive development for many lawyers which always makes me laugh because I always wonder why it took so long since they could have read the seminal article that Chip(ph) Finnell and I wrote about e-signatures in 2001 and been ahead of the game but I think there’s — it seems there’s very incremental things and it doesn’t reflect so much at this point the changes that clients want across the board in access to lawyers in simplification in the use of technology and I really don’t think it has an impact on what the courts are starting to do and my perspective on this is a little bit biased I guess by seeing what’s happening in Michigan but I would say that the court systems seem to be the one that are moving faster than time is moving. So, I think they’ve moved actually a couple years or putting in the processes to move even further forward in a short time. So, there have been some things happening but I think if you’re saying this is just this you know gargantuan shift, I don’t see that.
Debbie Foster: I would just say if I can just add one last thing. I think we’ve joked before and used the phrase necessity as the mother of invention. When we’re talking to our clients just about implementing technology but that really came true in this situation, right? Yes, they could have known about digital signatures all the way back to 2001. Yes, they could have had video conferencing and web meetings and they could have made that a more normal part of the average lawyer’s day where it made sense before but it wasn’t necessary because there was still the old way and I think what has happened is the perspective and the shift in mindset now in just some of these lawyers and some of our clients. I’ve seen it with our clients where they’re looking and saying “wow, we would have never believed that if you would have said this is what’s going to happen over the next 10 months, we would have never believed that we could actually pull that off.”
But now we’ve seen that we can and it was painful but it was necessary and so they managed to do things that they never believed that they would or could do because it became necessary and I hope that some of that spills over post pandemic where people look and see the kind of grit and the kind of just know like get it done mentality that they had to have and they had to figure out, I hope that some of that lasts.
Tom Mighell: All right. Up to our next question, our next toss-up, here it is. The most interesting legal tech developments are happening in the access to justice area, Debbie, you go first.
Debbie Foster: I’m not sure that I believe that that is true. So, I’m going to be basically disagree with that because I think that while there is still a giant struggle and there’s so much data out there, I think about the comments that Jack Newton made at the Clio Conference about the number of lawyers, how many the lawyers there are and still how many people are struggling to get the legal help that they need and I know that there’s been a lot of great work done from a grant perspective with legal aid organizations but I don’t see where that has been really interesting legal tech developments. I think it’s just been trying to get the legal aid organizations caught up to be able to deliver those services.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. I actually think it is a very hot area and but it’s one of several and when I look to things is — I think if we look in the usual places, we may not see everything that’s going on. So, I’ve just been really encouraged in the past year by things like Suffolk Law School, other places that are people putting together apps to help people with COVID and other issues with immigration issues with expungement issues to really simplify and streamline what’s happening to deal with the pro se crisis of the real difficulty the courts are having with people representing themselves. There’s definitely a lot happening at the high end especially out of — I would say what I tend to call the London firms and definitely stuff outside the U.S. in the area of data and a little bit of AI and sort of the higher end and I think there’s some small and mid-sized firms who are really focused on client things and working on that and I would say — the other thing that I’ve been really impressed by is this move to technology to help people actually bring in the revenue to kind of make online payments possible and those kinds of things and that was a necessity thing but that’s I think really modernized part of the back office.
Tom Mighell: And so, I’m going to take issue with – actually, I’m going to frame my answer by taking issue with the statement by saying that I think that maybe the not most interesting developments are happening in access to justice but to borrow Debbie’s phrase from the last question, the most necessary developments are happening in access to justice and Dennis what you bring up is important. I mean, this is a year where we’ve used the word extraordinary or lack of precedent to me to for so many things and immigration, people being evicted having tools that allow consumers to be able to put off being evicted is a tremendous thing in an unprecedented time that we’re dealing with and so the fact that people are coming to and responding to the needs of the things that are happening here to me is extraordinary and necessary. Is it all that interesting? I don’t know that the tools I mean the tool to get your eviction done, you’re filling out a form. I mean, it’s very simple, this just amazing thing but it is absolutely necessary that it’s getting done and I applaud that.
Debbie Foster: So, the third one is online meetings have transformed the world. Tom, what do you say about that?
Tom Mighell: So, my general answer is yes. They have transformed the world but that is not — I would say that transformation is not necessarily a good thing. The one thing that actually is good about it and what I and my company have learned over the past year is that meeting remotely and meeting people — not being in person is possible. It’s not something that’s necessary that you have to be there in person.
Now, we make our living by traveling and meeting with clients and being there and there is definitely a value of the in person but the fact that we’ve been able to maintain a successful business model virtually, I think is an important fact of how it has — whatever transformation this is. And I think the other big transformation is in the area of online trials and hearings the fact that the courts are having to move to online systems for dealing with things some more successful than others. Dennis and I have talked about this on a prior podcast. I still think that there are innovations to be made in the technologies. I just don’t think it’s enough to just have a Zoom room for a trial. I think that there’s a way to customize Zoom or Microsoft teams or something out there that really benefits litigators or people who are trying cases in court and that’s around the corner. So, I think that is a transformation that has begun that I still think has a lot to do but I think I’m going to reserve the rest of my answer, Debbie for you because I think that — they transformed the world but not necessarily in a good way and I’m sure you’re going to cover that a little bit in your response. But first, we hear from Dennis.
Dennis Kennedy: As to no surprise of neither of you and probably our audience I am like the biggest fan of online meetings there can possibly be. I just see it as a new medium, tons of potential, I’ve taught one, two, three classes online, done a bunch of webinars, I had like 25 different types of Zoom meetings last week, there’s so much happening there, so much potential that — it just seems like a new — almost a creative medium to me. So, I think it — there’s so many pluses and just more things to explore as we kind of take the learnings from elsewhere and get better at that. The one thing I will say is that people doing on the online meetings who don’t use chat at the same time are just missing out on a ton of potential with that. So, if you’re going to do anything in 2021 on online meetings like figure out how to do the chat.
Debbie Foster: Yeah. I agree with that. So, have they transformed the world — I think the obvious answer there because of what our current situation looks like is yes. It is definitely for me made me think a lot about what my life will look like after this and where there are opportunities to not get on an airplane and go somewhere. I hear people talking a lot about Zoom fatigue and I chuckle because I think for me, I’ve just traded airplane fatigue and airport fatigue and fast food fatigue and Uber fatigue and hotel fatigue for Zoom fatigue. So, you’re going to be fatigued about something it’s work I mean I welcome it and I actually think it’s been a really positive thing for me personally and for our company. The last five or six years, I’ve traveled 250-ish days a year and it’s crazy that I’ve been home for the last ten months. So, I think it’s a good thing. I do think — one thing I do want to mention our friend Matt Homan put a tip on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago that has changed the way that I feel about Zoom meetings and that is turning off the self-view in the video that he posted on LinkedIn, he said, it’s not like you walk into a live meeting with a mirror so you can see yourself and you can see everyone that you’re meeting with and when you’re seeing yourself, it’s like you’re attending two meetings, you’re looking at yourself like what does my background look like, what about my hair, what’s behind me, what’s going on and you would never — that’s not how you would ever act in an actual meeting and I think that has just been a game changer for me in how I interact and pay attention in a meeting.
Dennis Kennedy: I don’t know, it’s just going to date me but I think back to the Prince’s Purple Rain movie and the guy with the — with his assistant holding the mirror for him. So, some of these things come back to us. So, last question. I think this is a year of new media and new approaches and new channels. So, I want to ask if you were to sum up your thoughts on 2020 and you want to get them out to the world, how would you do that? Tweet stream, a Substack newsletter, a YouTube video, a TikTok, a blog post or something else, Tom?
Tom Mighell: So, because you said 2020 and again because this is an extraordinary year. For me the answer is easy, it’s Substack and the reason is is a couple of things.
We’re seeing people who’ve lost their jobs, we’ve seen people who are being laid off from traditional media or people who are looking for extra ways to make money by writing. They’re good writers, they need a platform and they want to make money doing it and Substack is really a unique platform to be able to allow people to charge for their newsletters, we’ve seen several very famous writers and journalists move away from there or either leave or get fired or decide to run their own business, they’ve moved over to Substack. I think the top 10 contributors on Substack are making upwards of 10 million dollars a year on the writing that they’re doing and I highly recommend the recode, decode podcast with the CEO of Substack it was just this past week that we’re recording very worthwhile but I think that Substack newsletters are a new model, it’s bizarre that I’m saying that about newsletters that the newsletters are actually a thing again but it is a new business model on how to make money and do writing that I think is truly interesting and I’m interested to see where it goes.
Debbie Foster: I’m going to go with just your standard YouTube video that I share on social platforms. You can call that a little bit old school but if I’m really being honest, I had to Google Substack and I knew that you had mentioned it in a previous podcast I think your last podcast I listened to and I meant to go check it out and then when I saw it in our notes, I was like “what was that again?” I’m like “no, I definitely wouldn’t use that.” So, I’m going YouTube video straight up social media.
Dennis Kennedy: And my answer is actually going to be my mighty networks community, the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community. I love the idea of a sort of private network that turns into a community or group that can put content through. So, that be number one. I hate tweet streams more than anything as most people know me now, email newsletters just don’t send another one at me. I do like video and also, I would say that as Tom would know, I would actually use every possible media I could to put information out.
Tom Mighell: And that’s it for toss-up and I guess as predicted, I’m hoping all of you agree. I clearly won.
Debbie Foster: Oh, God.
Dennis Kennedy: What?
Tom Mighell: All right. We got to move on to our next topic which is what’s the word. In this segment, we’re going to have a sentence about a legal tech topic that has a blank in it. Each of us has to come up with the best word or maybe series of words to fill in the blank. Dennis, what is our first sentence?
Dennis Kennedy: I think it’s really supposed to be one word, Tom. The combination of the adoption of the ethical duty of technology competence in many states and moves by California, Utah, Arizona and a few other states to open up or re-regulate the legal profession has had A or an blank impact on the legal profession?
Tom Mighell: So, my word is hopeful but with a question mark because I’m not real sure. I mean, we’ve talked so much, we talk all the time about the ethical duty of technology competence and I never see anything being done about it. I see more states adopting it as the duty but I never see that anything ever comes out of it. So, either they’re all being ethical or we just don’t really, we’re just paying lip service to it. So, I’m not sure that that means anything these days. I am though more encouraged by opportunities to re-regulate the legal profession to look at other ways of doing this. I think that this is not the only way that we’re looking at it but ways that the whole law firm lawyer model is just in need of innovation and modernization and if creating these sandboxes where they can practice on some of these things in states is a first step to doing that then I’m all in favor of the efforts that they’re doing because I think it’s what pushes us forward whether it’s having an effect now and but I’m hopeful for the future. Debbie?
Debbie Foster: My word is meh, slang.
Tom Mighell: Is that a word?
Debbie Foster: It’s a slang, meh.
Tom Mighell: Okay, fair.
Dennis Kennedy: I count it. I count it.
Debbie Foster: I look at it like foreign language in high school or college if that’s your major and you’re engaged and you’re interested and you want to learn more about it, you’re going to be amazing and that mandatory requirement is going to be excellent for you and if you’re not, you simply are checking boxes and you’re reading newspapers on your iPad, you’re playing solitaire, you’re just not really invested in it. I mean, I took Spanish because it was everyone said it was the easiest and it was required and do I remember anything “hola” that’s about it. I really don’t remember anything about it. I was not engaged and I just feel like forcing people to do something that they’re not really interested in is not necessarily the best way to get them to be technologically competent.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m going to be very definitive and say infinitesimal and I’m kind of an optimist on this. I just don’t see — I think COVID did way more than regulations did and rules did and there’s re-regulation notion. If you force me to make a prediction, I’d say change is going to come from litigation and probably sooner or rather than later and that’s where I would be looking for change.
Tom Mighell: All right. Next sentence. The one new legal technology all lawyers should be learning about is blank, Debbie?
Debbie Foster: I’m going to go with the apps in Microsoft 365. And I’m saying that those are new because every time I turn around, I’m like “what’s that?” there’s another new one, they’re just constantly adding to it and there are actually some really useful tools in Microsoft 365.
Dennis Kennedy: For me, my one word is collaboration tools, baby.
Tom Mighell: You said one word, you said one word.
Dennis Kennedy: It is one word to me.
Tom Mighell: And then for me, mine is like six words getting better at all video and audio. So, I’m going to go back to our earlier topic about how online meetings are transforming the world. They’re transforming the world but not everybody is good at having the right sound, the best sound, having a good camera that makes you look good. I mean if you’re representing clients and you’re seeing clients or you’re in a courtroom, I mean looking professional and looking like you know what you’re doing, I think is important. So, make the effort to learn better about the video tools that you can possibly use, the audio tools that will make you sound better and I think it will make you come across better in this new world of online meetings.
Debbie Foster: All right. The third question. Teaching legal tech to law students is blank, Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: Rapidly changing. So, there was a huge pivot that happened in March basically in one week where classes went from in person to online and I think that prompted a lot of change in rethinking but there is a difficulty that I see more that I’m in the law schools is the way that legal education sort of focuses on appellate advocacy when you kind of reduce it to its least common denominator that it’s hard to find places for the actual tool, the tech tools that lawyers use at practice and I think that’s starting to be seen by students as something that they need and by the law schools is something that they need to think about providing.
Tom Mighell: And my word is no brainer. I take look at this from a different angle which is I would say that most law school students these days are digital natives. They know how to use technology but legal technology is I think a very different thing and it’s amazing how little they understand, how to use some of the tools that we need to use in order to be good lawyers for our clients. I will say it is kind of interesting to me how our answers to this question are very positive and saying yes, yes, yes, whereas when we were talking about the effect that teaching technology competence is has having an infinitesimal effect on the legal profession but teaching technology, no, no, we’re all in favor of it. I find that interesting, Debbie?
Debbie Foster: So, I think it’s necessary. I think we should absolutely be doing it but I worry sometimes and I’ve been involved in a bunch of law practice management classes with different law schools where I’ve done some guest lectures on things like what is practice management software, why should you use it and I worry sometimes about the context like is that the right time to tell them about that tool and will they really remember that later? So, I’m all for it because I think there should be some exposure to it. I just wish that we could add in and I know it’s not technically technology but I wish that we could add in what it all means and not just keeping track of things but how do you report on it, how do you understand your firm, how do you understand your business. I just wish we could take that a little bit further in not just how do I use the technology tools to practice law but how do I use the technology to run my business and help me understand what makes me successful.
Tom Mighell: And that’s it for what’s the word and I’m happy to say that I’ve racked up another humongous(ph) victory.
Dennis Kennedy: Wait, wait, come on.
Tom Mighell: All right. Sorry, Dennis. We’ve got to go to a break. Let’s go to a quick break from our sponsors before we get on with our next segment.
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Tom Mighell: And now, let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell report. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy along with our special guest, Debbie Foster. I’m not sure about the judging on this show. Do I get to throw a challenge flag? Debbie, don’t you think Tom is definitely doing some home cooking as our referee?
Debbie Foster: Absolutely. I’m not sure if that’s really a contest.
Tom Mighell: Hold on there. Now that’s a delay of game penalty right there. We’re going to move on. It’s time for our new segment and that’s buzzword bingo. Dennis, want to introduce this for us?
Dennis Kennedy: Tom, this is a new innovation for us that might disrupt well everything it has AI, blockchain, legal process optimation, ALSPs and so much more. We’ll mention a 2020 legal tech buzzword and categorize it as underused, overused or rightly used. Tom, buzz away on the first topic.
Tom Mighell: All right. So, the first topic is AI machine learning and RPA, the trifecta.
Debbie Foster: I’m going to go — my word is underused. I think we should be talking about it more however I struggle sometimes because I watch our clients struggle with things like formatting a word document and I think the next topic should be AI machine learning and RPA that just seems a little crazy but I do think we should be talking about it more. Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: I also think it’s underused. I think that RPA is probably the most underused one that actually in the environment we currently have and what I see happening is with the courts during COVID, we’re going to have gigantic backlogs and lots of things going on and it’s going to force some automation. So, this robotic process automation is one approach that will help us do this. I think we also need to talk a lot about AI and machine learning because typically the data sets that we’re training to help us in these tools tend to look at the data we already have and we’re going to have 2020 as this incredibly anomalous year or at least we hope it will be and that’s going to have an impact on all of those tools. So, I expect actually a lot more discussion of all of these areas than the people who say it’s tired and worn out, want to think it’s going to happen.
Tom Mighell: So, here’s the deal. I agree that terms like machine learning that RPA are probably underused in the context that you all are talking about. I will say though that AI is so overused to the extent that people use it in a sentence for whatever they want to talk about and when they say here’s our new tool now with AI. I mean there’s a domain name that’s dot AI that all of these tools are now having, my tool dot AI and I think we are becoming totally just numb to the idea of AI. I completely agree with the fact that we should know more about it but I think that we are that people start to take for granted that something has AI in it without actually really knowing what it means and what does that mean when you say it now comes with AI. I think that there is a need to learn about it. I think that it is too much of a buzzword and not enough education around it.
Debbie Foster: So, our next word. Is Zooming, Dennis, you’re up first.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay. I can’t use Zooming enough. I feel like I coined the term Zoominar earlier this year, it’s just amazing how it’s just become one of these words like band-aid that’s just kind of taken over and I read this tweet recently where somebody’s talking about their elderly parents were just talking about doing an online call and they just called it as Zoom. They just thought that was the word for it. So, just so many possibilities with just using Zoom to create new words off of of, it’s a great opportunity.
Tom Mighell: Oh my gosh. This word is so overused. I cannot get through the day without hearing.
I am going to Zoom this and I’m going to Zoom that and I suppose that part of this is because I’m a Microsoft teams fan and I can’t really say that I’ve been teamsing all day or anything like that it doesn’t really make a lot of sense but I guess it’s okay but my gosh do we have to keep saying that word.
Debbie Foster: I say it’s rightly used. I love it. I am a happy, happy, Zoom user and when I have to do use a team’s meeting, I’m not as happy as when I’m in a Zoom meeting. So, I’m a big Zoom fan, I say rightly used.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay. And our last one. The famous getting back to the office.
Tom Mighell: So, who’s saying this? I say that because in my business, I have none of my clients, the companies that I work with are not talking about going back to the office, they are entrenched. They’re like we have made a practice of working from home and being successful at it and there’s not any discussion about that. So, I would say that in the world that I’m living in, it is underused it’s not being used that often because people are reacting to the reality of what’s going on and are acting accordingly.
Debbie Foster: So, for me, I think it’s sometimes overused, sometimes underused you all know I’m in Florida and we live in the state where there is not a single solitary COVID restriction right now and the majority of our clients in Florida are back in the office and many of them actually never left. The law firms were essential and never left. In other areas, our clients are not talking about going back to the office and are talking about what they’re going to do about real estate, how they’re going to reconfigure their offices, there’s a lot of really interesting conversations going on about how people will utilize office space but a lot of it is just it depends where they are, it depends who’s running the show and who’s making the decisions but I’m definitely still hearing when we get back to the office or now that we’re back in the office. I’m still hearing that all the time.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So, you both make great points. So, where I hear this most — I mean, heard a lot in the context of big law firms early in the summer and they did a lot of work on it and then to their surprise what they found was that only 25% of people wanted to come back to the office and the partners typically did not want to come back and then you see it depending on the part of the country and all those things will also play a part in it. So, I think it’s way overused because I think we’re all thinking that the COVID is going to be gone in fairly short order and I think that’s highly optimistic. So, I think the getting back to the office is overused but I think was underused is defining what office means in the future.
Tom Mighell: And this just in. I won again and that’s no buzzword. All right. It’s on to the big finish. We’re ready to go. We’re going to answer six questions in 60 seconds that’s 10 seconds of question folks. All right. Debbie, here’s number one for you. Debbie, what’s your best tech decision of 2020?
Debbie Foster: Tom, this is going to burn your ears but it was my iPhone switching from android to an iPhone.
Tom Mighell: That’s just heresy.
Debbie Foster: All right. Dennis, your favorite new tech tool?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, there’s part of me wants to say I’ve discovered these black wing pencils with these two-hole sharpeners but I don’t know whether that comes as a tech tool but I got to go with Zoom, I think. Tom, of course I’m going to ask you this. What is the best Google product of 2021?
Tom Mighell: And what’s funny is that I didn’t plan this based on Debbie’s answer but I will say that my favorite Google product this year is my Pixel 5 which didn’t get the best reviews but I will tell you it’s like it knows me. I open it up and it knows which app I want, it knows what to do for me, it gives me the right news, it just knows who I am. Can your Apple, iPhone really say the same thing? All right, Debbie. 60 seconds.
Dennis Kennedy: Google has strip mined your whole – all of your life of course it knows what you want.
Tom Mighell: All right. What tech do you most want your lawyer clients to explore in 2021?
Debbie Foster: We have a really big initiative around getting our clients off of what we call the antique roadshow software all that old, old, old stuff that so many of them are still using. The ones you had to put a CD-ROM drive and click next, next, finish. They’re still using some of those programs. So, that’s actually our big push in 2021. Dennis, best new tech you saw in 2020 that people will be talking about in 2021?
Dennis Kennedy: This has been around for a while. I think the new generation is mind-blowing and Tom and I have talked at length about this. We both have the oculus quest too and I just think virtual reality is amazing. Tom, your best tip all around for 2021?
Tom Mighell: We added that all around word. So, but I’m still going to give my tip and this is a preview of upcoming podcasts and what I think we’re really going to do but in the area of personal knowledge management, try out notion, notion is a fabulous tool, we think you’ll love it, we’re going to tell you more about it in our upcoming podcast but that’s my best tip for 2021.
Dennis Kennedy: So, that was 2020, a year like no other, we hope and we’re all ready to move on to 2021 with a bunch of great new topics, ideas to share with you and guests. Thank you, Debbie for joining us again and Debbie tell our listeners how best to reach you.
Debbie Foster: You can get me on LinkedIn, linkedin.com/debbiefoster. My email address is [email protected]. Would love to hear from you.
Tom Mighell: And 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 on the Legal Talk Network’s page for this show. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous shows along with transcripts. If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can always reach out to us on LinkedIn or leave us a voicemail. Remember, for our b segments, we love to answer questions. That number is (720) 441-6820. So, until the next podcast. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy and you’ve been listening to the Kennedy-Mighell report, a podcast on legal technology with an internet focus. If you like what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcast and we’ll see you next time for another episode 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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