Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The Telegraph is reporting that two-thirds of London firm's are blocking access to Facebook and similar sites: Facebook banned by City firms. The Metropolitan Police is reporting that "access to some websites is blocked as there is no business need for employees to access them. Facebook is one of them."

Maybe the Metropolitan Police should take a look at what the police of Belmar, New Jersey are doing: Cops May be Watching Your Party Blog. The Belmar police are monitoring social network sites and blogs to keep a lid on rowdy group rentals.

There is an application in Facebook that posts the releases from the Toronto Police. There are Facebook groups for Applicants for University of Maryland Police, the British Transport Police, the Delaware State Police Cadets, and the St. Andrew's Police Department. [Facebook registration required].

I posted back in May that the London firm Allen & overy had to lift their ban on Facebook because of staff complaints. [Facebook at Law Firms: Cannot be Banned]. That firm stated that there was a business purpose for Facebook.

Maybe the Metropolitan Police need to rethink their position.

Thanks to Stephen Collins at AcidLabs for pointing out the Telegraph story.

How Knowledge Management is like Golf

Dale Arseneault seems to bee enjoying his summer since he is using golf to compare knowledge management: How Knowledge Management is like Golf

Monday, July 30, 2007

BlawgWorld 2007

TechnoLawyer put together BlawgWorld 2007. It is also combined with the Technolawyer Problem/Solution Guide.

BlawgWorld is 77 blog posts from 77 legal bloggers. The Problem/Solution Guide matches up vendors and their products based on the problem presented.

Ways to Use Facebook Professionally

Judi Sohn posted on Web Worker Daily: 12 Ways to Use Facebook Professionally.

Facebook is one of those technologies that is incredibly interesting, but I am not sure how useful it is. After reading through the twelve ways, I did not find any that would warrant use of Facebook in a business setting. These are more about being more professional in Facebook.

I still question where Facebook is headed. Its strong tie-in with college students indicates that Facebook's users are going to be poring into the business community in the next few years as they graduate. But will Facebook crumble under the weight of bad social behavior like MySpace or dominate as a communications platform? If it is going to crumble, we can ignore it. BUT, if it becomes a dominate communications platform we cannot ignore it.

Looking back many years to the adoption of email, businesses ignored it for awhile. Eventually, they had to adopt it in order to communicate efficiently. Now, college-age students use Facebook to communicate; they use email sparingly. Facebook has become the new email for the college-age crowd. Will it become a new communications tool for business?

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Survey On the Use of Social Networks

With the summer associates getting ready to finish up their program, I thought it would useful to get their take on the use of social network sites. The summer associates consist largely of law students who will be graduating from law school in 2008 and starting at the firm as attorneys in the fall of 2008.

I am still gathering data from the survey, but I though I would put up some preliminary information.
  • More than 80% have a Facebook account
  • Of those, 2/3 check Facebook at least once a day
  • Only 25% have a LinkedIn account
  • Of those, only 10% check LinkedIn once a week, with the rest answering rarely
  • Only 20% have a MySpace account
  • Of those, 1/4 check it once a week, with the rest answering rarely

FeedBurner Integration for Blogspot Blogs

One of the questions I always have with a blog is whether anyone is reading it.

As I posted earlier [Why Blog? My Reasons] I use this blog as a personal knowledge management tool. I put links to articles that I want to refer to later, along with my reaction to the article. I post to gather my thoughts on a subject. I find this blog to be a great technology tool to help me gather, organize and search my information and my thoughts.

Shortly after I started the blog, I noticed that people were reading it. Then curiosity got the better of me and I started tracking site visits. As a devoted fan of RSS, I realized that tracking site visits did not capture those who were reading posts through a feedreader.

Several weeks ago Google purchased the FeedBurner. The first sign of the companies integrating came out: FeedBurner Integration for Blogspot Blogs. Since this blog is based on Blogger, I made the switch to see if I could could get a better sense of the number of subscribers. The changed resulted in a tenfold increase of the number of subscribers.

I did not realize there was so many of you. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tour de France

I starting watching the Tour de France several years ago. My wife had knee surgery in June of 2001 and was laid up on the couch all summer. She got sick of watching talkshows and stumpled across the coverage of the Tour de France on the Outdoor Life Network (now called Versus).

She got hooked and got me hooked. I never realized how much strategy goes into the race. Since then, I have always looked forward to the voices of Paul Sherwen and Phil Ligget during July.

For those first five years, we were watching Lance Armstrong dominate the race. (Sure, my watching was captured by having such a recognizable American win the race.)

I was even more intrigued last year, when the field should have been wide open without the dominance of Armstrong. It was huge disappointment when many of the top contenders did not participate in the race because of the blood doping found during Operation Puerto. Knocking out Basso, Botero, Sevilla and the Astana team. We thought it would result in a clean Tour. But the amazing comeback by Floyd Landis was marred by his testing positive for testosterone.

This year, it was once again a wide open field. Sadly, it has fallen apart again. Vinokourov, who won two stages, was booted out of the race for doping. Yesterday, the wearer of the yellow jersey (the race leader) Michael Rasmussen was kicked out for failing to report for drug testing prior to the race.

It was great watching Rasmussen, Contador, Evans, Leipheimer and the other contenders battle for victory in the Pyrenees. I am sad that the brave battle by Rasmussen on the slopes of the Pyrenees and his spectacular defense in the time trial is tainted by doping.

I am happy that the Tour is catching the cheaters. I thought last year's crack down would have made the riders realize that they can't get away with cheating. Perhaps next year the riders will realize that they will be caught if they cheat and therefore won't cheat.

Why Blog: Student Blogging May Be Ticket to a Job

The national Law Journal has an article on how law students landed jobs by blogging: Blogging may be ticket to a job (subscription may be required).

For students, it allows potential employers to see their writing ability and knowledge about a subject. It also shows that the student is "motivated, innovative and takes initiative."

Calm in the E-Mail Storm

Law.com - Legal Technology has an a new article: KM Attorneys Seek Calm in the E-Mail Storm.

I like Michael Mills statement of what a knowledge management lawyer does: "Our job is meta-lawyering instead of lawyering. It's taking one step back to think about advanced technology and organizing information based on the culture of the firm, and how we serve our clients."

Increasing SharePoint Value with RSS

Forrester Research and NewsGator are putting on a webinar: Increasing SharePoint Value with RSS: "Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is getting lots of buzz because it’s a one-stop portal, collaboration, content management, search and business process environment. To get the most of SharePoint team sites, you need to make the experience as rich as possible for employees and ensure that content is accessible when they are away from the portal. "

Using the RSS feeds and an enterprise based RSS reader can turn SharePoint from a repository of information into a much more powerful communications tool. SharePoint produces RSS feeds for its blogs and wikis (no surprise). It also has RSS feeds for searches, changes to lists and many other objects in the SharePoint platform.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Myth of the Fold - Will Users Scroll?

Milissa Tarquini posted a story on web design: Blasting the Myth of the Fold.

We are currently re-designing out intranet and are wrestling with the issue of screen space. Everyone wants a link to their site or information on the home page and in a top-most location on the home page.

Milissa points out that it is hard to find out where the fold is located. The combination of users settings of different screen sizes, text sizes and resolution ends up putting the fold in a different places for different people.

Her point is to use visual clues like cut-off images and to provide compelling content. People will scroll if they think there is something to find.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Does anyone know _________?: CRM vs. LinkedIn vs. Facebook

One of the most common requests that comes across my firm's email system is "Does anyone know ______?" Lately, I have been thinking about how our CRM system compares against LinkedIn and Facebook to answer this question and the type of information each provides to answer the question.

The question of "does anyone know ___? is really looking for one of two things: (1) Can anyone introduce me to the person? or (2) Does anyone know anything about this person?

First up is InterAction, our internal Customer Relationship Management software. It shows the typical contact information, as well as being able to show employment history, marketing activities and matters the person has been involved in. It ties into Outlook so that Outlook and InterAction are synced together. If a person is in your Outlook Contacts and you have shared the contact as public, you are shown as knowing the person.

InterAction is a great source for answering the question, "Does anyone know ____?" It works better for establishing the first level of introduction, where someone is looking for another to introduce them to a third party. Although, InterAction can hold information about the person, it generally does not have much information beyond contact information and who knows the person. It is easy to find a person’s information and add them to your contacts.

The problem is that most contacts only have basic contact information. Most users do not populate the additional relationship and information fields available in InterAction. The other problem is convincing users to make their contacts public to the firm. Without this step, the relationship is not shown.

I am marked as knowing 1,300 contacts in InterAction.

LinkedIn is great tool for finding people and setting up a "connection." Here, the contact information is totally controlled by the contact themselves. For some contacts, there is a wealth information. The information can be great, but it depends on the person setting up the account in LinkedIn and adding the information. The background information is much more textual and descriptive than the spreadsheet-like InterAction information.

LinkedIn is focused on the ability to answer the question of "Can anyone introduce me to ____?" LinkedIn wraps a network around you and the people you know. The first level is the connections with the people you know. It creates a second network of the connections to your connections. Then, it creates a the third network of the connections to the connections to your connections.

For my network, I have 62 people in my first level of contacts. At the second level, those 62 people have 2,200+ connections. Then at the third level, it results in 188,600+ connections. If someone is in my network (but not one of my 62 contacts), I can ask for an introduction from one of my 62 contacts, who would in turn pass it along through the connection chain.

Facebook is easily the least "professional" of these systems. Like LinkedIn, it requires a contact to set up an account and add information. The information can be incredibly robust and cover both professional and personal life. With its birth on college campus, much of the Facebook platform is focused on personal activities. But with the new applications available, there is an increasingly ability to provide professional information.

It is easy to create a “friend.” Just click “Add to Friends” and the contact gets a message asking to be your “friend,” which they can approve or deny. Once a person is a friend, you get to jump right into all of the their information.

I have 8 "friends" in Facebook. [Add me as a friend.]

Obviously comparing the three platforms is like comparing, apples, oranges and potatoes. They do different things. But they are all focused on creating, displaying and exploiting the relationships among people.

The power of each system is based on the power of the network theory. The more people that use the network, the more useful it becomes. InterAction is the most useful tool within the enterprise because so many people use it. Assuming that I am representative of the attorneys in the firm, there is a sharp drop off in the utility of LinkedIn and even sharper drop to Facebook.

Comparing the 8 friends in Facebook to the 62 connections in LinkedIn is a reflection of the user demographic. I loaded my list of contacts from InterAction into both. It just turns out that only 62 of my 1,300 contacts are in LinkedIn and almost none of them are in Facebook.
These social tools have a great ability to set up connections and give you background information on people. But they still suffer from a lack of users.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter

Yes, I picked up my copy of Hatter Patter today and have started turning pages. After reading the first six, I just have to see how it ends. I am sure the plot will start leaking out by Monday morning and I do not want my reading experience spoiled.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Email on Law Firm Websites - Still Problems

I posted earlier about the ethics opinion from the Massachusetts Bar that caused a stir about making an attorney's email publicly available without some disclaimers.

To follow-up there is an article in this month's ABA Journal on the topic: The Too Much Information Age: Authorities seek clarity on unsolicited information from prospective clients.

It highlights some of the worst-case scenarios of why law firms should be putting disclaimers on their websites. A "California lawyer received an e-mail from a woman seeking a divorce lawyer—who revealed information about her secret extramarital affair. . . . The [California State Bar's Ethics] committee noted that a disclaimer stating, “I un­der­stand and agree that law firm will have no duty to keep confidential the information I am now transmitting to law firm,” would have eliminated any reasonable expectation of confidentiality, allowing the lawyer to represent the husband in spite of the wife’s admissions of adultery."

Monday, July 16, 2007

ILTA Conference

I just signed up for the International Legal Technology Association's Educational Conference. As I have found with most conference websites, there is lots of information but it is hard to piece together. In particular, I found it hard to plan my itinerary for which sessions I wanted to attend.

As I devoted user of Google Calendars, I went ahead and set up a calendar for the conference tracks. I first set up one calendar with all the sessions, but I found that it was too full and hard to view. Instead I set up a separate calendar for each track. That way it is easy to add and subtract sessions. Also, each track gets a separate color designation. These should all be public so feel free to add them to your Google Calendar.

Interwoven Peer Group

Applications Track

Business Strategy Track

Communications and Collaboration Tools Track

Social Events

InterAction Peer Group Details

Knowledge Management Track

So far, I have only set up calendars for the tracks that interest me. I will add others over the course of the next few days.

Friday, July 13, 2007

15 Productive Uses for a Wiki

Leo Babuta, of Web Worker Daily, put together his list of 15 Productive Uses for a Wiki .

We recently established a wiki for our KM team to see if would be a better way to collaborate and share information.

Each member of the team was keeping their own meeting notes and project notes. We would email links to test projects and news. As a result, each team member has their own silos of information. At meetings we would spend a fair amount of time going back over the same information. With the wiki, that information is getting centralized and shared.

The hard part is de-siloing the information. My collections of emails and stacks of paper need to be synthesized and the information put into the wiki. Rather than going about it in any sort of methodical way, I am just adding information as I turn to work on projects.

It is transformative process and is taking time to build. But, I can quickly find the information I am looking for (quicker than trying to sort through email chains.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Steps to Learning about Enterprise 2.0

School Library Learning 2.0 put together their list of the 23 Things program to learn about Web 2.0.

We are in the beginning stages of upgrading our intranet platform from an older version of SharePoint to the new version with blogs, wikis and other Enterprise 2.0 technologies. I thought the 23 things program would be interesting to try out with our Knowledge Management team here at the firm. That way we could try out these technologies and in the process look for ways to utilize them on our intranet.

After looking at the list of 23 things, I thought it need to be revised to better focus on Enterprise 2.0 rather than Web 2.0.

My first step was to set up a wiki using an external vendor. I chose PBWiki. It was free and had a lot of features. Plus, I was familiar with PBWiki because I had already been using a PBWiki that a colleague set up to plan an event.

I also created a del.icio.us account for the KM Team.

On the frontpage of the wiki. I laid out a list of some our KM projects and a list naming each member of the KM Team.

I created a new wiki page with the steps below.


1. Read the wiki's introductory materials on the Help page and learn the basics on how to use a wiki.

2. Create your wiki page from the text on the FrontPage and add information to your wiki page.

3. Update one of the project pages on the wiki or add a new wiki page for a project not on the site.

4. Add a link to a document from our document management system on your wiki page and describe what the document is about.

RSS Feeds

5. Sign up for Google Reader (or another feedreader if you have a preference. I use bloglines on the web and Attensa in Outlook)

6. Add the RSS feed from this wiki as one of your feeds. (The feed is on the bottom right corner of the page.)

7. Subscribe to each of the blogs on the KM Learning page in your feed reader.

8. Check your feedreader for new items at least once a day.

9. Add an RSS feed from your online newsource of choice. (Boston.com and WSJ.com each have an extensive list of RSS feeds.)


10. Setup a blog on blogger.com. You can keep it private (there is setting for that.) If it is private, add each member of the KM team as a reader.

11. Add a link to your blog on your wiki page.

12. Subscribe to the RSS feed from your blog.

13. Subscribe to the RSS feed from each of the KM team member's blogs

14. Write a post on your blog.

15. Clip a news article using the "Send to Blogger" button on the Google toolbar.

16. Write at least one post or clip one article each day for five days.

17. Write at least one comment each of the KM team blogs.


18. Set up an account on del.icio.us.

19. Install the del.icio.us toolbar buttons.

20. Tag some websites in del.icio.us.

21. Add the KM Team Account to your network

22. Share some tags with KM Team Account.

Social Software

23. Set up an account on LinkedIn.

24. Fill in as much profile information as you are comfortable with adding.

25. Add each of the KM Team Members as a connection.

26. Search for other contacts in LinkedIn and add connections.

27. If you use a web email system, check to see if any of those contacts are in LinkedIn.

Feed Update

I had changed my feed from the full posting to an abbreviated feed. I thought some of the postings were longer than most people would want to read in a feed aggregator.

I was wrong. After receiving many requests to go back, I changed the blog setting back to the full feed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Filer versus Piler

Anne Zelenka posted on the Web Worker Daily: Are You a Filer or a Piler? In particular she references: Surviving the Information Explosion: How People Find Their Electronic Information (pdf) by Christine Alvarado, Jaime Teevan, Mark S. Ackerman and David Karger.

I used to think that email pilers were just lazy. Why couldn't they spend the extra few seconds to drag the email into a folder? My work was client/matter related. With an email folder for each matter, it was easy to figure out that an email for a particular matter should go in the email folder for that matter.

When I set up my Gmail account, I was stunned to find that there were no folders to file emails. Just one long inbox. Clearly it was designed by those lazy pilers.

As I continued to spend more time in the knowledge management department, my km emails became harder to pigeonhole into a single folder. I even found that I was inadvertently creating a new folder in the hierarchy that I had already created somewhere else.

So I came around to see that piling is a legitimate practice. (I still think many pilers are just lazy.)

Best Efforts vs. Reasonable Efforts

Ken Adams, author of A Manual of style for Contract Drafting, published this article in The Practical Lawyer: Understanding Best Efforts and Its Variants.

I particularly liked his chart of the different "effort" phrases used in contracts filed with the SEC in 2004:

Monday, July 9, 2007

Expertise Management

Arjun Thomas, of Gridlock, put together a list of processes for a basic expertise management system in Expertise Management:

  • Identify the experts

  • Describe the expertise of the expert

  • Provide an expert matching mechanism

  • Enable users to communicate with the experts

  • Provide a feedback mechanism

  • Manage the process

The problem I run into is getting the description of the expertise. If you rely on the users to supply their own expertise, you end up mostly with missing information and exaggerations.

Automated systems, like Microsoft's Knowledge Network, seem to work better for the oddball items. The automation has trouble distinguishing among the types of expertise within the organization. It is much easier for me to find some one with information on "arms dealing" than it is to find the best person to talk about "securities litigation."

My ideal expertise system would start with an automated system, that layers in the persons marketing bio, and a manual control on top to enhance and clarify the expertise. I just have not seen a system that does this.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

55 Essential Articles Every Serious Blogger Should Read | Entrepreneurial Blog of Matt Huggins

Matt Huggins put together his list of 55 Essential Articles Every Serious Blogger Should Read .

Consider the list to be some weekend reading for you bloggers or bloggers-to-be.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Social Networking in Plain English

Common Craft is at again with a new video: Social Networking in Plain English. This is a great introduction for those of you wondering what Facebook and LinkedIn are all about.

The Common Craft Show also has great videos on wikis and RSS feeds.