As we come to the 18-month mark of this pandemic, Dennis and Tom feel it’s time to take a look at how legal tech has progressed throughout this crazy time. They welcome returning guest Debbie Foster to get her real-world perspective on how law firms have—or haven’t—adapted their practices to embrace technology.
Later, on “Hot or Not?”, Dennis, Tom, and Debbie offer competing views on whether Salesforce is a good platform for law firms.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
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.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Colonial Surety Company, ServeNow, and Nota.
Intro: 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 294 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 Nota powered by M&T bank. Nota is banking built for lawyers and provide smart no-cost IOLTA account management. Visit trustnota.com/legal to learn more. Terms and conditions may apply.
Dennis Kennedy: Next, we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast, whatever Court buying you need get a quote and purchase online at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: And we’d like to thank ServeNow a nationwide network of trusted pre-screen process servers work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit servenow.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: And with so many podcasts and I’ve seen a few more announcing their very first podcast these days as we on this podcast rapidly approach our 300th, we occasion like to mention at 15 years and counting. This is the longest continuously running legal tech podcast out there. In our last episode, we discussed why it’s a good time to take another hard look at document automation. In this episode, we wanted to give you a better sense of what is actually happening on the ground in legal tech as we reach the 18-month milestone in the pandemic. We thought there would be no better way to do that than to get the observations, insights, and perspectives of our friend and super fan of the podcast Debbie Foster of Affinity Consulting. Tom, what’s on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well, Dennis in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell report we will indeed be talking with super friend of the show Debbie Foster about what’s happening in the real world of legal tech, in our second segment we are going to take a look into the world of Salesforce and take its temperature hot or not. And as usual, we’ll finish up with our parting shots that one tip website or observation that you can start to use a second that this podcast is over, but first up, we are so thrilled to bring back as our guest Debbie Foster of Affinity Consulting. I talk about constantly how I spend too long away from the world of legal tech and I love it when Debbie can join us to talk about legal tech. Debbie is doing so many things with lawyers and technology these days. I thought about giving her an introduction but I think that it would be incomplete. So, Debbie for those few listeners out there who don’t already know who you are. Can you tell us who you are? And what you do? What you up to these days?
Debbie Foster: Absolutely. Thanks Tom and Dennis for having me on the show again. One of my favorite things to do being a guest on your podcast. I’m Debbie Foster with Affinity Consulting like Tom said and I work with law firms, lawyers, legal departments all over the country and I like to say now that I really helped them solve their biggest, ugliest, scariest challenges. Sometimes those are around technology. Sometimes those are around how people get their work done. Sometimes it’s around the culture of their firm, but it’s always really looking holistically at how they’re doing all the things that they’re doing and helping them come up with ways to maybe see things differently, change operationally and help them best use the technology they have or help them choose technology — new technology that they need to get their work done in a better way.
Dennis Kennedy: We always love having you here. So, I’m going to start within a big old soft ball question at the beginning which is, how are things looking out there? What are things looking like in the firms and lawyers that you’re working with these days?
Debbie Foster: You know it’s been an interesting year and a half and I was just talking to a colleague of mine saying that some days I feel like I have whiplash. I have all kinds of hope and I think that law firms are out there doing amazing things and then I get on a call with someone and I think how have they gotten here and all of the scenarios that you can imagine in between. I think that you know, we were all hoping that we would truly be on the other side of the craziness of COVID by now, but we’re really not and my experience with working with law firms all over the country, one of the things that has become really evident is kind of depends what state they’re in as far as how are things looking right now and who’s back to work and who’s not back to work and who’s trying to figure out what the new version of normal looks like, which I hate that phrase.
And who’s trying to pretend like they never did anything different than the way they’ve always done things. So, it’s really interesting some firms during this time have done amazing things and have really taken the opportunity to embrace this period of time that was completely unexpected but the opportunity to really think about doing things differently and others have just been kind of standing on the sidelines waiting until they can start doing it like they used to do it for all of those years again. So, in some ways, there’s a little bit for me. There’s a little bit of discouraging you know, news to report. And in other ways, I am really optimistic about people really taking some time to think like let’s not just go back to the way we were doing things before, so it’s a little bit of a mix.
Dennis Kennedy: You know, I want to dive a little bit deeper into that, from a slightly different perspective. So, I’ve lately had the feeling they’re kind of three worlds in law practice these days so and I think it does very by regions of the country to a large extent, but when where people seem to have never left the office? When where they’ve never gone back to the office and something that’s kind of a hybrid in between that? And so, it’s almost if we look at where we are right now, is that how you also see the landscape and instead of fair assessment of how its dividing out especially geographically?
Debbie Foster: Absolutely, and I’m from Florida. I was at a firm a couple of weeks ago. They never one day worked from home. Not even one day through the entire pandemic. Not even one day.
Tom Mighell: How big is the firm quite curious?
Debbie Foster: 25, 28 something like that. I was shocked. It was the first one that I heard had never worked from home. I heard plenty of people who work from home for a week or two weeks or three weeks but first, what I’ve heard they literally never went home and compare that to California, they’re people who weren’t in their offices for a year. So, I think that you’re right. It is a little bit all over the map but I do think that there are some firms that have recognized that something that they never ever thought would be possible was possible. And some of them in a really healthy way are trying to figure out how to make that, what their strategic hybrid workplace looks like and others are reverting back to “Let’s get them all back in the office again.”; and that’s actually one of the things that I’m probably most surprised about in August of 2021 is the number of firms who are saying we’re going to bring everybody back. But a lot of them were bringing everyone back after Labor Day. That was the kind of line drawn in the sand and the thing that I heard most often. Many people have gone back on that outside of Florida of course but have gone back on that just because of the latest with the pandemic, but it’s really been surprising to me how many want to go back. It is also been really interesting as I was talking to an HR Director at a firm in St. Louis the other day and they did the we’re all coming back into the office, and they have so far lost four quality people who found jobs in other places where they were going to give them the flexibility to work from home, part or full-time. And I think we’re going to see a lot of that when the mandates to come back to the office start coming back in.
Dennis Kennedy: So, this next question is actually a little bit of a repeat for what you just talked about. But I’m going to ask in a different way because the way the original question was phrased was, has the infrastructure for remote work largely been put in place at this point or is there still a lot to be done? I’m going to –based on your last answer, I’m going to say sounds to me like there’s a lot of firms out there who don’t even plan on putting a remote. I mean, an infrastructure for remote work. It feels like to me that the last year and a half was a great experiment to try that out and to see what’s working and what works and what doesn’t but based on what you’re telling me, there’s a lot of firms who aren’t even going to make that an option for anybody whether it’s hybrid or anything. It’s just remote work is not a possibility.
Debbie Foster: Yeah, and I think that is very geographic. I really think in the south; in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas I think that’s really true. There’s a lot of firms who are just going to go back to the way that they did it before. Maybe occasional work from home, but I think you know, part of what I think is important about that question is there are some firms who have figured out this concept of remote access, you’re somewhere else, you need to access here.
There are other firms who have really taken that to a different level, this whole access from anywhere. It’s not just a, “You can have remote access into our systems.” It’s, “How do we — get our systems into a place where it’s not just the old remote desktop?” I have a desktop here, I have a desktop there. Everything’s confusing, but they’ve really invested in their technology. So, it isn’t a band aid temporary solution. It’s actually something that they have thought out in a way that allows them to give people the flexibility where it’s not a different user experience when I work from home than it is when I’m in the office. And I think that was the first thing that we experienced in March or April or May when people were trying to figure it out. It was like thorough a band aid. How do we just get them, so they can access the stuff that they need?
Some firms really have taken that next step and said, “It can’t just be about this clunky way to access it. It has to be that your experience is the same at home as it is at work,” and that’s really my personal opinion, the only way that a firm is going to be successful at Hybrid is if their experience is the same.”
Dennis Kennedy: So, I want to take a look at some of the priorities out there these days and what they were at the beginning a year and a half ago and now. And I sort of see all these tensions starting to happen. So, if you talk to employees, they’re really interested in flexibility. A lot of firms as you said or talked about get your butt back in the office and more micromanagement. You got courts and judges who want to see serious changes in the way things that are done and litigators especially rubbing their hands to go back to normal and just sewing people and running up the hours. And clients want a lot of changes and don’t understand why you have to go back to doing things the old way. So, what’s your sense now that if you looked across the firms that you talked to or the managing partners are getting together, how are they setting priorities today and what are some of those priorities that you’re seeing?
Debbie Foster: So, I think that there are some client focused priorities that I think are steps in the right direction about how we interacted with our clients, how we delivered the services that we would have normally delivered when they were sitting here across the conference table from us. I think there are still priorities there about making sure that the client experience that the relationship and the connection that lawyers have with their clients when they were in person is replicated as best as it can be in the world that we’re in right now. I think that is definitely something that it’s been impressive to see that the amount of focus that has gone on that. But I do think that there is the priority of survival that was the overarching priority, that the uncertainty and still to some degree some uncertainty now depending on your practice area. Some firms have done really, really well in the last 18 months, really well and some firms have not done really well. And lights at the end of the tunnel could still be a train kind of thing. There still are some firms who are really just prioritizing staying alive and surviving to the other side of this.
I think that the other priority that maybe is on the list priority but it maybe hasn’t happened fully yet, is what does the next investment in technology look like? We saw lawyers learn how to do things that they never would have learned how to do had it not been for COVID, whether it’s learning how to compare documents or how to PDF something or how to redact something. We saw them learn things and I think that there are questions circulating like, “What is next?” If we were able to do something that we never would’ve believed we could do, what will we be able to do next and how do we think about that from the standpoint of prioritizing, almost leapfrogging past where we were when we were all in the office and then taking those new skills we learn and looking at what’s next is I think a big priority on the horizon for firms.
Dennis Kennedy: So, speaking of new skills and going back to the last question that I asked you when you said that one of the goals of remote work is to make the experience the same as if you’re in the office.
How do you view the move to the Cloud? Do you find and I will just say at the outset, I’ve been somewhat surprised that Dennis telling me that the results of the Annual Law Technology Resource Center Survey doesn’t seem to indicate the move to the Cloud the way that we would have expected over the last year? What are you seeing in the real world? Is that a change that people are making? Because I would imagine that would be a part of making the experience as similar as possible as the same as a work in the office experience.
Debbie Foster: Yeah, I think that most people recognize that that is the future, but figuring out how to get there is the challenge. We have these amazing SAS products out there that are Cleo, Centerbase, Zola, (00:15:57). They’re great products, but it doesn’t solve the whole problem and many firms go into buying a program like that and thinking, “That is the answer.” What about your documents? And even if you’re not a management, your billing and your accounting and your documents could get you 75% or 80% of the way there, there’s still that 20% that’s a question mark for people. And I think that that is what takes some lawyers maybe think about this or people running law firms think about this as a simple solution. We just need to move from this On-Prem product to the SAS product, but they don’t think about all of these utility products that they’re using, these practice area specific products that are still server based.
It’s hard to get away from that local infrastructure completely without a complete forklift toasted infrastructure move everything to the Cloud. And even when they figure out all of that, you then throw on who’s going to manage your local computers. Because you think about the traditional manage services provider business, those companies make money off of managing servers and they don’t like any money and the biggest pains in their rear ends is managing work stations. If you take the servers out of a law firm and you say, “Hi, manage services company, would you like to come and help these 30 legal professionals use their printers and their scanners and blue screens of death? And their monitor won’t connect and like all of those, “Hi, I can’t get my computer to do whatever.” Nobody wants that work. So, it’s a really struggle to get a firm who is in this position where everything is On-Prem or maybe they use a couple of Cloud products and they’re ready to go fully into the Cloud, we start to talk to them about what that looks like. It’s just not as simple as it seems.
Dennis Kennedy: What you described is a lot, because the legal tech market is so fragmented and that there are so many point solutions that don’t fit together, that don’t talk to each other and that’s a large part of the problem you’re discussing and you’re describing I think.
Debbie Foster: Absolutely, it’s a large part of it and so many of the products out there are trying to be that or trying to get to the place where they can be that, be everything to everyone, but it still doesn’t solve the problem. The device that I’m using has to be managed and who’s going to manage it? So, I think that we’re getting there and I can’t tell you the last time I spoke to someone who said, “Can you take a look at this proposal I have to add three new servers in my office?” And I used to do that all the time. That has not happened in a long time. So, I do think that we’re getting there. I just think it’s a little harder than what it may seem to be.
Tom Mighell: I just want to dig in to the Cloud a little bit, because I’ve looked at the stats from the last year’s ABA survey on Cloud technology and I was actually not just surprised, I was shocked by the lack of movement there. In my role as now a law professor, I see students who’ve lived in the Cloud almost their whole lives and they’re really used to working in those ways. And so, they really feel like they’re taking steps backward when they go to work at law firms. And courts I think see the Cloud as something that they need to look at in a very fundamental way. So, I think there’s a lot of pressure. So, two parts of this question. So, one is I initially thought that probably more than remote work even that billing invoicing and payments would try firms to the Cloud especially after I heard people talking about sending their secretaries in to pick up checks in the office in the early days of the pandemic.
It also taught the practice management tools would happen there. So I don’t know whether that’s a traditional path or what’s a traditional path in, and then in our podcast, Tom and I, I would say maybe at least a fourth or more of the episodes we’ve been have been about kind of moving behind the Cloud to creator economy, tools that can create products, ways to generate revenue in different ways and a lot of them do things that are out there. So, sort of what is the initial path in that people use in the Cloud and are they moving to things like productization and other ways to generate revenue through some of the newer Cloud approaches you see in other professions.
Debbie Foster: You know, Dennis, your point is really interesting and I wish I would have really thought through this and gotten some actual stats but I’ll give you my gut feel. We are a technology company and we only work with law firms. And we probably send out 500 invoices a month, and I bet we get 400 checks in the mail a month. And I bet 25 of them are written with a pen, and these are firms that are willing. You know, we’re not the least expensive consulting firm out there. These are firms that are willing to invest in technology, and yet still, they have the ability to pay online. Some do, but a large percentage of our clients still put a check in the mail. In fact, sometimes — at least once or twice a month — the FedEx guy shows up and there’s a check in the overnight FedEx envelope for $87.50 or $493.25. I’m not sure that that’s — It’s interesting to me that that to you was something that would be a driving force there.
Dennis Kennedy: Well remember that I worked for — you know, many years — at MasterCard, so —
Debbie Foster: Right.
Dennis Kennedy: And I also felt — I see — When I talk to my students about entrepreneurial learning and some of those things, I look at payment and using card payments as a solution to the cash flow issues that a lot of firms have. And there were definitely firms having cash flow issues at — you know, in March of 2020 and throughout the year and using — And so that’s where I really saw all these things start to come together, and I think we were talking before the podcast about, you know, some of the consolidation we see in the legal tech world does seem to be driven by the payment side of things, online payments.
Debbie Foster: I will say from a billing perspective that even though some firms figured out way to still print their pre-bills, get them delivered however courier, whatever to lawyers’ houses so they could pull pens out and write on them and send them back for the edits to be made. Some firms did that, but I will say that that probably — the pre-bill process, the pre-bill review edits and sending out bills electronically — that probably was revolutionary and people were surprised that they were able to get from everything being paper to electronic in such a short period of time. I think that definitely was a change that we saw.
Tom Mighell: All right, we’re down to the last two questions, Dennis. We’re running out of time in the segment so ask your last question and then I’ll ask mine.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay, well I want to — I’m going to do a twofer as you knew I would, Tom, but the — I do want to just (00:23:43) talked about it if there was anything truly new and innovative she was seeing. And the other thing that I think has become a big concern for the whole world and not just law firms is cyber security and especially law firms as the weak link in cyber security. So maybe if you talk just briefly about innovation and then maybe dig in to what you’re seeing law firms do on cyber security.
Debbie Foster: Yeah, so innovation. I think that something that I have noticed especially in the last maybe year or so, that is a trend, is this concept of relationship-based support dying. You know, I hadn’t really thought about it this way before I started working with a few firms who were thinking about changing their support model. We have this crisis of succession planning in law firms, baby boomers, you know, 50-something percent of lawyers are over 55. This is a really big challenge for law firms. But the challenge that’s not spoken about as often is the support staff aging out and retiring and the legal secretary that you had that you worked one-on-one with or the legal assistant, they don’t make them like that anymore.
The job isn’t the same as it was 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. And so, this concept of pod-based support, right — We have a document production team. So, when you need something, you email this one email address, or you have a workflow tool where you submit your work request and the person who is most qualified to do it is the one who does it. And you aren’t — I think about it like the HP All-In-One Printer, you know? If you were a support person and you’re expected to print and scan and copy and — what’s the other thing? — print, scan, copy, fax.
Tom Mighell: Fax.
Debbie Foster: Fax. If you’re expected to do all of those things and you’re constantly task-switching, you’re nowhere near as efficient as if you’re just the printing person. And so, that is something that I think is innovative from a technology perspective because it gives people the ability to take advantage of some of these tools like BigHand Now. And we’re talking to several firms who are looking at implementing ServiceNow for those kinds of requests. It’s really — That, I think, there is a real opportunity for innovation there and thinking differently about how work is done. On the cyber security thing, you know, I am still shocked. There’s the people that it’s happened to, and those people are aware and maybe more concerned, and there’s the people that it hasn’t happened to, and I still think there is a 10-feet-tall bulletproof, it hasn’t happened to me, I have this unwavering trust in my IT person that it isn’t going to happen. You know, I never literally never hear firms talking about cyber security testing and maybe a little bit about training but not the testing that I think is so important with all the scams that are out there. I think we’re going to see more scary, scary stories from law firms around data breaches and things like that before it gets any better.
Tom Mighell: Okay, so let’s close it out. I started with a broad question, I’m going to end kind of with a broad question, which is, what is your best advice for law firms on what to do next now that we’re sort of almost getting there to pull out of the pandemic but not quite. What do you think law firms should be focusing on now?
Debbie Foster: You know, I think that they need to start paying attention to the future. And I know we’ve all said that for a really long time, but things are changing rapidly, and some of the experiments that are going on around legal services being provided by non-lawyers, the access to justice issues that are driving some of that, the non-lawyer ownership of law firms. Sometimes I feel bad saying this in a room of lawyers, but when the business people start running the law firms, you better watch out. When the business people have a “best of interest” and stake in the profitability of the firm and how the work gets done, there are going to be things that change. I think that the competition — the competitive landscape of legal is absolutely changing. And if law firms don’t start thinking before they’re forced to because right now, they’re still not being forced to. There are plenty of people who are willing to do business the old way. But if they don’t start thinking before they have to, about the way they deliver legal services and how they’re going to create a sustainable, profitable practice in the future, you’re going to be left behind. And I know this is a little like “Boy Who Cried Wolf” in that because we have been saying that. Like, “The billable hour is dead, change how you get your work done or you’re going to get left behind.” But this is the time for people to start educating themselves on what is happening in the legal market and what is changing and where are the opportunities that they have to stay in that competitive place and build a firm that is ready for the future.
Tom Mighell: And with that, Debbie Foster, thank you so much. We’re not done yet, but thank you so much. We always look forward to talk in with you about the state of LegalTech and how law firms are using it. We still have a lot more to talk about, but before we do that, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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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 with our special guest, Debbie Foster of Affinity Consulting who will stay with us for the next two segments. And it’s time for our new segment we call, Hot or Not. We pick something people are talking about and argue whether we think it is Hot or Not. We might I agree, but odds are that we want. So, let’s get started. We’re seeing an uptick of interest in the legal world in the use of salesforce.com. So, let’s have Debbie lead us of Salesforce. What is it and is it Hot or Not?
Debbie Foster: I’m going to go hot, hot, hot. You guys know we just announced partnership with a Salesforce base platform called, Litify. It’s a product and a couple of other products that we’ve been watching for the last probably five or so years and we’ve considered multiple times during that time frame kind of jumping into the Salesforce game, and we never did it.
But now we are what these companies have been able to do, and I can’t speak for all of them. I spent a lot of time learning about Salesforce and what Litify has done, but this platform born in the Cloud nearly unlimited power that true access from anywhere Tom what you talked about before Point Solutions, being able to take this platform with this overlay. I mean, I’ve watched some of these demos and I’m thinking this is practically magic. Now, magic is expensive. So, there is that barrier from Salesforce perspective. It’s not the least expensive product out there on the market. These companies have been able to put these wrappers around Salesforce for matter management and billing and accounting, but then adding on to that some of the utility software, their HR platforms, employee recognition platforms. But the thing that I think the most jazzed about when it comes to bringing everything under one umbrella is the thing that law firms have needed forever and have never been able to figure out, and that is a true CRM. A matter management tool is not a client relationship management tool. People use it as that, but it’s just not. And the power behind Salesforce for CRM I think is going to give law firms an opportunity to understand and utilize marketing tools like they have never been able to do before and they’re going to need to do that with this ever-changing legal technology landscape. So, I am all in hot, hot, hot.
Tom Mighell: All right. So, for a competing view, and I’m speaking in the context of having worked in or about the corporate world for the past 12 years. I would say that Salesforce is yawningly not hot and that is to say the corporate world welcomes the legal industry to Salesforce. I mean, the product was created in 1999. And so, I guess 22 years for legal to start using it is on point for the legal industry. It feels like 22 years would makes a lot of sense. I think Salesforce is a terrific platform. The CRM I think is amazing. I have two concerns and one is I’m going to take an opposite position against what I said earlier about Point Solutions, which is I worry about Salesforce becoming jack of all trades and master of none. They are great at CRM, but now they have modules for sales, for customer support, for marketing, for e-commerce, to develop low code applications, to do employee experience, a learning platform. They just announced their own streaming video service, which I don’t even know what that means. That didn’t even make sense to me. They bought Slack last year, which to me for Slack was probably a good thing because Slack was getting eaten alive by Teams and I think Salesforce gives Slack a built-in customer base to use. So, that’s a good thing. I worried that on the one hand, Debbie could be right. It could be magic because they all work together and they’re good at all of these things, and this is the right umbrella to have it under.
But on the other hand, they could do some things that are just aren’t as good as some other Point Solution. That brings us back to original problem. I don’t have an answer for that.
So, here’s my other concern, and this is purely from my personal standpoint. Salesforce is an information governance nightmare and the reason is because guess what? If I am my CRM playing, if I have a word document that I will want to upload about a client, I can do it. If there’s a PDF file or an email and I want to attach to that client, I can do it. I can load all sorts of documents into Salesforce that make it amazingly useful. But it’s a discovery nightmare. If there is legal stuff about that client, guess what? You got to go into Salesforce and pull that stuff out because it’s all relevant information. I mean, that’s the problem with all structured systems and systems that allow you to upload files and documents. That’s just my personal little issue around Salesforce. Otherwise, I think it’s a great tool. All our clients who use it they love it, they use it, they’re all in on it. I think that legal industry, I agree it’s hot but I’m just so what. I’ve heard about it forever. Dennis, bring us back to hot.
Dennis Kennedy: Okay, so Debbie said hot, hot, hot. You said, yawningly not hot. I’m going give it a qualified double hot and the qualification comes because it really does make sense when you have large corporate clients especially global clients. But I think that’s where it becomes truly interesting, because if your legal applications are writing on Salesforce and Salesforce lets you create apps, then you as a law firm are catering to how your client works. You’re working with the systems they already have, and you’re showing a willingness to go the extra mile to work with your clients before they have to force you into those systems, which they may do because your custom approach, your unusual approach actually just makes it harder for the whole corporate internal systems to work. And there comes a point where it’s easier to just get rid of you and work with people who use that.
So, I’m really intrigued by this. Every legal tech vendor that I’ve talked to are given advice. I always ask the question I asked them about APIs, and I ask them do they have a Salesforce app on their road map and if they answer yes to both of those, I’m really ready to listen to what they have to say. If they’re saying no, I have my doubts about the future of what they’re doing. Now, it’s time for parting shots at one tip website or observation that you can use the second as podcast and Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: So, I have been a fan lately of the website and specifically newsletter called techiwant.com, and I’m introducing this as an example but you can use the newsletter if you want to. But I want to point out that if you really want to figure out kind of the future of consumer technology, what’s cool and what’s hot, you really should be spending time on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and seeing what people are doing to try and bring new things out. And techiwant.com each week brings you a newsletter of some of the hottest new, brand new innovative tech tools that people are trying to bring to market on Kickstarter and it’s a great way to see kind of what people are thinking about. You may never want to do any of these products. They may be totally crazy for you. I am right now a backer of two different products. One is a set of earphones that actually are bone conduction ear things that just look amazing. They also have a hearing aid mode on it, too. For those people who have hearing problems, I will let you know that’s not coming out for a couple of months and I’m backing a company called Gravel, which I already have one of their toiletry kits for travel. Best toiletry kit that I’ve ever used in my life and they’re coming out with a new one. I really like using this as a place to discover new people, new vendors smaller ones that you wouldn’t ordinarily know about and techiwant.com is a good way to do it, Debbie?
Debbie Foster: So, I had started about a month ago using a web add on app called, Motion. The website is usemotion.com, and I am literally in love with this product. So, it does a bunch of things. I’m going to tell you about the two things that have completely revolutionized my life. The first one is my calendar is available from my browser with just a little hover. It immediately pops up. I can see my calendar, I can see other people’s calendars, I can schedule a meeting without opening up my Outlook calendar. It is amazing. But the other thing that is the coolest is there’s a scheduling tool. So, if I pick a day or a range of days that I want to give someone availability for meetings, it automatically based on the rules that I set says would any of these times work for you and it gives the day and the time and the time blocks that would work for me and it can include hyperlinks there so they can actually go to a special bookings page.
If those times don’t work, they can click on a bookings link. I can set my preferred time locks, and when they go to my booking link it says 2:00 is preferred. 2:30 is preferred, 3:00 is preferred, but the other times on the day do not show as preferred. So, it helps you take advantage of time blocking so your meetings aren’t scattered all over your calendar and it does some other really cool things with tabs in your browser that I haven’t used as much, but the calendar features have just been amazing for me. It’s usemotion.com.
Dennis Kennedy: So up here in Michigan, we had some big storms and big power outages. So, we had three days without power, and you can never draw too many lessons from that. I sort of feel you go back to a version of Maslow’s Pyramid or Hierarchy of Technology needs, but when you don’t have electricity, your fundamental technology becomes electricity and power then Internet, and then you kind of move up the pyramid from that. So, I found myself being an electrical — working electrical Outlook vampire. I actually went from Ann Harbor to Michigan State to my office just to charge up some things. But it just reminds me of the value of having chargers around, the portable phone chargers, your uninterrupted power supplies, those sorts of things. I have a number of phone chargers. The key thing is to keep them charged up, charge them if you know what storm is coming. So, you can never have too many of them, so anytime you can grab one, get one. But I’m also thinking about going to a more dedicated backup power source. And so, doing a little bit of research, I’m looking at the Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000 PD, which is $65 as a backup. Which is a reasonable amount to pay for your home and what impressed me was that it had just gargantuan numbers of reviews on Amazon, which I’m now starting to rely on the number of reviews as much as I am as the numerical value of the reviews. So portable phone chargers and UPS is definitely something to think about as we learned to navigate our shaky power grid in this country.
Tom Mighell: So that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. We want to thank our good friend Debbie Foster for being a guest again. You are welcome any time. Thanks to all of you for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode on the Legal Talk Networks page for the 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 podcast along with transcripts. If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can reach out to us all on Twitter or LinkedIn or leave us a voicemail. We still are waiting for that (b) segment. Please give us a (b) segment to talk about. 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 Lawyers 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.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com