Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lawyers and the Social Internet

Kevin O'Keefe, of Real Lawyers Have Blogs, put together his thoughts on what are the best social internet places for a lawyer or law firm to spend their resources: Lawyers and Social Media - It the Big Three. Kevin picks Blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn.

As usual, I agree with Kevin.

View Doug Cornelius's profile on LinkedInEvery professional should have a profile on LinkedIn. Lawyers may rely on their law firm website, but lawyers do not stay at the same law firm for their entire career any more. I was at The Firm for 13 years, but everyone else I keep in touch with from law school had moved to a new place. I was the last person who was still at the same place. LinkedIn is great at keeping track of your job history. LinkedIn is the place to answer the question: How Ddo I know you? When I am planning to meet someone I always run a Google search and a LinkedIn search.

I have found this blog to be a wonderful networking tool. I have created and maintain many relationships through this blog. There is no better way to stay connected, develop your expertise and showcase your abilities than through a blog. It has been tough for me to give up on this blog since moving from knowledge management to compliance. (And obviously unsuccessful.) Compliance Space will come out of the dark in the near future. Although most of you will not be interested in it.

Follow Doug on TwitterTwitter has exploded as a idea tool. As with most people, I was skeptical of what to do with a 140 character messaging system. But the open design has produced remarkable results for me.The micro-blogging aspect allows me communicate with people in a quick and easy way. Bigger thoughts end up in the blog. Lots of the background communication happens in Twitter.

I also use Twitter for research. Several times a day I search for "compliance", "FCPA", "CFIUS," "Ethics", and lots of other compliance terms. These tweets connect me with people, news, thoughts, thought-leaders and a plethora of information that helps me with my new role as Chief Compliance Officer.

One of the challenges of taking the new position, in this new area was the great network I had developed in the knowledge management and enterprise 2.0 areas. LinkedIn, blogs and Twitter are helping me to rapidly build a new network in the compliance area.

Facebook is great aggregator of information. I use it largely by having Facebook applications pull posts from blogs, my twitter updates and other sources rather than using Facebook as the primary creation point.

Unlike Kevin, I am still trying out new social internet sites. I still think Legal OnRamp has a bright future. Martindale-Hubble Connected has huge information repository that could create an incredibly powerful tool.

I try others to see what may develop. Eighteen months ago, I thought LinkedIn was boring and would not amount to much. I was wrong. It took a while for Twitter to catch on. I jump on others just to grab my name and to see what may happen. Usually I just waste 10 minutes to create profile (unfortunately, much longer for ABA's LegallyMinded), see who else is there and explore the feature set. I have long list of bookmarks for dead social internet sites.

As with Kevin, I spend the vast majority of my time with the big three. You should too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Professor Bainbridge Reflects on Twenty Years of Law Teaching

On April 16, 2008, Professor Bainbridge received the UCLA School of Law's Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching. This essay consists of a revised and extended version of the remarks he gave on that occasion. In it, he addresses his progression from frustrated Socratic teacher to happy lecturer and his aspirations for incorporating new technologies into his teaching.

One point of contention was whether to block internet access in the law school classrooms. They felt the students were distracted and multi-tasking. Professor Bainbridge made this quote about law firms embracing technology:
Law firms doubtless will resist these trends. Law firms are incredibly slow in adopting both new technologies and new approaches to human resources. Just as Chicago is trying to perpetuate the Kingsfieldian style of legal education, big law firms are trying to perpetuate the 1980s Wall Street model of lawyering. Just as Canute was unable to keep the sea from rolling in, however, these institutions will find that the tides keep coming. They’ll need to adapt or die.
J. Robert Brown over at the Race to the Bottom, notes:
The most interesting insight is his view on technology in the classroom.  Luddites at Chicago have proposed that Internet access in the class room be cut off.  Some professors likewise suggested that computers be banned from the classroom.  As Bainbridge notes, the potential distraction provided by comptuers and the Internet are merely an "up-to-date version of an age-old issue."

As Bainbridge notes, its more than just a battle with technology (or even behavior).  Its a refusal to find a way to integrate technology into the classroom.  In my securities/corporate law classes, power point slides are augmented by routine use of the Internet.  In securities, it's to go to the SEC web page and examine relevant SEC filings.  Sometimes it involves a trip to the NYSE web site to look over the company's definition of independent director.  Bainbridge notes that he has experimented with the use of blogs and is considering requiring students to construct wikis.
Clearly lawyers need to do a better job embracing technology to practice law, learn their craft and deliver their services.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Intel's Social Media Guidelines

Intel has published their Social Media Guidelines.

I like their approach of giving users guidelines for they should and should not do. The context is to place the responsibility on the individual. It is that person who is creating the content. They are responsible for the content and the consequences. I think it is a great balance of encouraging people to interact with responsible behavior.

These guidelines are actually a great starting point for a law firm. You just need to add in a section about not creating attorney client relationships and a section about attorney advertising disclaimers.

Intel could have added some specific recommendations for some high profile sites. Of course the sites are changing so often that it might be hard to keep the policy up-to-date.

I also like how Intel integrate these guidelines with other policies like the Intel Code of Conduct (.pdf) and the Intel Privacy Policy. (That may be the new compliance side of me revealing himself.)  This modularity avoids duplication and inconsitencies.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Intranet 2.0 in Ten (Not-So-Easy) Steps

Chris McGrath of Thought Farmer presented a great session on the new wave of intranets.

1. Blow up your old intranet. It probably has become a document dumping group. (I  think of it as a roach motel. Documents go in, but they never come out.)

2. Turn Users into Authors. Turn readers into writers. Let people edit documents. Put a big "EDIT" button on each page. Seek information and knowledge. Graymont, a mining company, pushes intranet editing out to everyone, including blue collar workers. The truck drivers have access to and can edit the intranet.

3. Expose the Social Context of the Content. You need to see who created the information, who edited and who commented. Then also what other information they have created and who they report to. (More important as the size of the company grows.) A particular point of information source is the employee directory. There you can aggregate the reporting structure, background and other information creation.

4. Make Things Findable. If they can't find stuff then the intranet is a failure (An intranet is all about supplying information to the enterprise.) Provide multiple ways to find. Search by words, browse, tags. Chris also mentioned a "work-stream": a time based view of changes to the intranet. This is a bit more serendipitous. Show recent changes.

5. Add Signals. When something changes, you should signal those who are interested in it. An email notice or an RSS feed accomplish this goal. The key result of signal is that it turns the intranet into a communications platform.

6. Provide Scaffolding.
When you do a physical building project, you put up scaffolding then pull it off when the building is father along. It is easier to edit than to create. It is easier to copy than to create. Do not present people with a blank page. Set an initial structure for the intranet like the top level. For example: people, offices, projects. Chris recommended a card-sorting execrise as a way to determine the initial structure. Chris recommended getting an information architect. He also suggested as a tool for card-sorting.

7. Hold a Barnraising. A way to create an initial block of good content. Migrate exisitng content or create new content. Get a bunch a people into a room. Set up a page for each employee in the company.

8. Make Them Use It Once. Most people are intimidated by learning something new. peopel need to try it once to see how easy it is to use. Get people in a room with a short training exercise. A great first step is having everyone add some information to their employee page. Then have them comment on a page and have them create a page.

9. Lead By Example. The more senior people ou get involved the more likely the intranet will be successful. CEO comments and pages tend to be the most popular. The CEO's blog will be the most read blog.

10. Get the Intranet "in the flow."  Most intranets store the artifact of information instead of the acting as the agent to create the information. You can also hijack the flow. Grab an email and have it published onto the intranet (respecting security of course).

Bob Buckman's ultimate idea-sharing system:

  • one transfer step
  • all employees have access
  • all employees can contribute
  • available anywhere
  • available at anytime
  • indexes every word
  • users contribute in their native language
Bob proposed this in the 1980's (before the internet and intranets).

For a large company, the intranet should be rolled out in smaller groups. If the company is 200 or smaller, then roll it our across the entire organization. You take lessons from smaller groups and apply them up to the larger organization.

Chris thinks the "Turning Users into Authors" is the most important. Most companies do not succeed in "getting the intranet in the flow." Can your company operate without the intranet? Would anyone notice if the intranet went down?

There is a repeat of this webinar on Thursday December 11 at 1pm PST: Intranet 2.0 in 10 Not-So-Easy-Steps

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008 CLawBies Nominations

The Canadian Law Blog Awards are seeking nominations for this year's awards. Between now an Friday December 27th you can nominate a Canadian authored legal blog by writing blog post about three Canadian law blogs. (You can also send an email to Steve Matthews ( if you do not have a blog. He did not mention Twitter, but I bet he will take a nomination through twitter: @stevematthews)

One of my favorite legal blogs in Jordan Furlong's Law21. Jordan has a very insightful look into the practice of law and law firms.

Connie Crosby offers great insights into how lawyers can use social media. covers a broad range of topics with an all-star line up of contributors (including Jordan and Connie.)

The awards are grouped into categories, but the judges will take care of that. Just let Steve know which blogs are your favorite.

You may be wondering why a Bostonian like me is writing about Canadian law blogs. Last year I won a "Friend of the North" CLawBie for frequently reading, commenting and linking to Canadian Blogs.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Law Firms Banning Facebook, Twitter and Web 2.0

Add Doug Cornelius as a Friend in FacebookBack in June of 2007, I came across a story about Facebook at Law Firms. A Magic Circle firm had banned Facebook, then abruptly lifted the ban. The decision was made because Facebook has "business benefits as well as social uses."

In the 18 months since then, web 2.0 and the social internet have grown immensely. Twitter has come roaring onto the scenes. There are three attempts at creating social networking sites for lawyers: Legal OnRamp, Martindale Connected and the ABA's Legally Minded. The number of law firm blogs has nearly doubled in those 18 months.

Are any law firms still banning access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, YouTube or other web 2.0 sites? Let me know. You can leave an anonymous comment or drop me an email at kmspace@dougcornelius . com.

If you have been reading this blog, hopefully you have come to the conclusion that web 2.0 tools are great for lawyers, create lots of professional development and create business opportunities. Maybe there are some firms out that there that have not seen the light. Let me know.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Why I love Twitter

Tim O'Reilly wrote a great peice: Why I love Twitter.
  1. Twitter is simple.
  2. Twitter works like people do
  3. Twitter cooperates well with others
  4. Twitter transcends the web
  5. Twitter is user-extensible
  6. Twitter evolves quickly
Now that I have moved from The Firm to the New Company, I have been using Twitter much more. Since I have shifted my career from knowledge management to compliance, I am trying to grow my network of information flows and people in the compliance area. (There are lots of KM people using twitter; Very few compliance people.)

Twitter is great way to get news and information updates. There are mainstream news story publishers. New York Times (@nytimes), Wall Street Journal (@wsj), CNN (@cnnbrk) and BBC(@BBC and @BBCbreaking) all push out news stories through Twitter. On the legal side, the American Bar Association pushed law related news stories through @ABAjournal.  Individual journalists are also using Twitter to push out information. Some CNN anchors are using twitter during their broadcasts (@donlemoncnn). In local news, veteran new England news anchorman R.D. Sahl joined Twitter (@rdsahl) this week and has a new program on NECN.

I make extensive use of the Twitter Search (formerly Summize): I run a search on my name to pick up tweets with my handle. I run a search on "compliance" and other key words that interest me. That picks up both people and stories around the topic.

The one concern I have with Twitter is how it will survive. As far as I can tell Twitter has no revenue. There are no subscription fees and no advertising. Something will have to change for Twitter to survive.

If you are looking for a great list of people in the legal field using twitter go to JD Scoop's list of 145 Lawyers and Legal Professionals) to Follow on Twitter. The list has grown to over 500 Twitterers.

Do you use Twitter? Feel free to follow me @dougcornelius.

If not, why not?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

State of AmLaw Blogosphere

There have been some great reports on law firm blogs recently.

Kevin O'Keefe published an update to regular reporting of law firm blogs: State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere, November 2008

Greg Lambert put together a list of Large Law Firm Officially Sanctioned Blogs and followed up with a Report Card on Whether The Law Firms Were Blog-Proud or Blog Tolerant. The report card credits those law firms that make it very easy to find their attorney blogs as being "blog-proud."

Kevin lists 159 blogs at 72 of the AmLaw 200 law firms. Greg lists 141 blogs at 56 firms. Kevin points out 37 blogs were not firm branded. Greg should add a third list of those firms that are "blog-intolerant."

The remarkable side of these stories is the tremendous growth. Kevin point out that in August 2007, only 39 firms were blogging with only 74 blogs. Over the past 15 months, those numbers have doubled. It looks like Kevin is single-handedly responsible for the growth with 79% of the firm branded blogs using Kevin's Lexblog platform.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

LegallyMinded - The ABA Tries To Get Social

The American Bar Association launched LegallyMinded, a social networking site targeted at lawyers, paralegals, law librarians, law students and anyone else in the legal market. Being a student of social networks for lawyers, I thought I would sign up.

I encountered my first problem when they asked me to have a username rather than my real name. The statement was to use your real name. But they do not allow spaces in the username.Someone else had already grabbed the "dougcornelius" username. I am stuck with dougcornelius1.

The next problem was the lengthy six step sign-up process. No other site makes you add so much information. I singed in with my ABA identification so I would expect they would carry over my ABA information. I was wrong.

The next challenge was trying to connect with people. They offer an interactive map showing people with similar interests closer to you. It seemed to make little sense to me. Right next to me was someone who runs a small rural practice. Not me.

The site shows people with their username instead of their real names so it is hard to figure out who is who. My first search was to find out who joined as dougcornelius. No luck in being able to search the site for people by name. Of course their real name is hidden anyhow.

I moved on to the group function. There were two dozen in place, none of which held much interest for me. Five were focused on law students or law schools and three were focused on geography. So I set up a group for compliance since I noted Bruce Carton from Securities Docket and Compliance Week was on the site. I could not find a way to invite him to the group.

They have a blog feature so I tried that out. I copied in some posts from my Compliance Space blog to try out that feature. The publishing and editing of the blog platform is really poor.

The ABA Journal published a piece in the December 2008 issue: The ABA Gets Social.
“We set out to do something different,” says Fred Faulkner, the ABA’s manager of interactive services in Chicago. “We looked at a lot of the professional and social networks, and the gap we found was that there truly wasn’t a good site that was a cross between professional and personal networking.”

“We’re filling that gap by offering the best features of sites like LinkedIn and Facebook and adding a bunch of content from the ABA and other high-quality content sources.”
I think they missed the mark with LegallyMinded.

Bob Ambrogi is trying to test it out, but he can't even log in: ABA Launches (Buggy) Networking Site

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Intersection of Knowledge Management and Compliance - Information Silos

One of the reasons for moving from knowledge management to compliance was the overlap in concepts and some issues. Sumner Blount summarized a lunch talk from Scott Mitchell of OCEG discussing the need for a unified approach to managing risk and compliance:
1. The high cost of information silos – siloed approaches to risk and compliance result in redundant activities and high total compliance costs.
2. The high costs of poor information quality – the lack of a “single source of truth” for risk and compliance information can reduce the effectiveness and quality of decision-making.
3. The high costs of getting it wrong – an ineffective risk and compliance program can, and does, result in loss of corporate reputation, increased business interruption, and reduced employee productivity.
Any of that sound familiar?

From More Thoughts on the OCEG Session at CA World