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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Pirate's Dilemma

The delightful Connie Crosby of Crosby Group Consulting gave me this book on her recent trip to Boston. Matt Mason traces the current web 2.0 movement back to the 1970's punk rock culture. He starts with focus on a quote from punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue with a diagram showing three finger positions on the neck of a guitar with the caption:
"Here's one chord, here's two more, now form your own band."
In a 2.0 world, doing-it-yourself does not seem that radical anymore. Anyone can be published author on the web. You can jump onto Blogger and in a few minutes have a powerful web publishing platform up and running in a few minutes.

Mason looks to some early punk bands who played for themselves and your buddies. Then maybe a few friends come along. If other people come then great, but it does not matter that much because you are doing for yourself and few people close to you. Mason focuses mostly on music, but in the background I was thinking more about blogging and enterprise 2.0. It does not make much sense to put together and a print a book that only a few hundred people will read. That is a big deployment of capital with an improbable return on investment. With web 2.0 the capital for distribution and publishing is minimal. A blog with only a few hundred readers is successful.

It goes back to my post on Why Blog? It is about me capturing my ideas and sharing them with myself and sharing them with some friends and colleagues.
"Here's one post, here's two more, now form your own blog."
I also see the pirates taking over knowledge management. Knowledge management was about capturing the best documents and the best practice, vetting them and packaging them for distribution. There is a big hierarchy of command and control over what information gets published and who gets to see it.

Enterprise 2.0 breaks down that hierarchy. Essentially, anyone can publish information, comment on information and link pieces of information together. The 2.0 movement goes a long way to one of the challenges of knowledge management by making it easier to turn tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. Turn it over to the pirates. Let them find, collect and distribute information inside the enterprise in the way that works best for them.

The knowledge management 2.0 movement is about reducing the "management" and enlarging the knowledge base. KM professionals should look to ways to reduce the hierarchy and the barriers to contribution. Hand KM over to the pirates.

You can read more of my take on the book at - Book Review: The Pirate's Dilemma.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Legal OnRamp and the Wired GC

I sat in a webinar from John Wallbillich's Wired GC: Collaborate to Win. The webinar featured Paul Lippe talking about social nature of the law, lawyers and law firms. In large part, Paul pitched the benefits of Legal OnRamp for law departments.

Legal OnRamp has about 6,000 members. Paul does not feel that Legal OnRamp has reached the tipping point yet, but that it is fast approaching.

Paul thinks that lawyers will come from last to first in using collaborative media. He points out that the practice of law is inherently social and very collaborative. The common law is socially constructed. (Most of the primary law materials are in the public domain. After all, judges and regulators are paid with our tax dollars. It is the interpretation and application of that primary law that lawyers do.)

Paul highlighted how law departments using Legal OnRamp could reduce costs and have better collaboration within the department and with external counsel.

Paul went through these benefits of using Legal OnRamp:
  1. Peer-to-peer discussion. Most problems have been addressed before. It is better to leverage others' prior knowledge.
  2. Firms share resources on Legal OnRamp. (It is a great accumulation of legal information on lots of topics from lots of law firms).
  3. FAQs. Individual lawyers prepare quick answers on specific topics.
  4. Share recommendations to find the best lawyers. Most lawyers are hired from informal recommendations.
  5. Help Desk. There are free answers from experts inside law firms.
  6. Marketplace. A place to ask for lawyers interested in the business. This allows it to be more competitively sourced.
  7. Create and Share Documents. You can use a wiki to publish a document, get comments and allow others to edit it.
  8. Free or Low Cost Tools. There are some subscriber based tools. Legal OnRamp is a platform for deploying legal information. Paul showed an application called Baseline NDA. You can import an NDA and compare it to a template for compliance.
  9. Private Ramp. The platform can be an out-sourced IT tool.
  10. Department and Department/Firm Collaboration. You can use the platform's wiki tool to manage your internal information or a place to work with outside counsel.
It was interesting to hear Paul's take on Legal OnRamp from the in-house perspective. Maybe I just paid less attention to the in-house side since I was in a law firm. I am hearing lots of new things through my new in-house lens.

If you are a lawyer getting laid off, Legal OnRamp is offering some benefits to you:
"At Legal OnRamp, we're concerned about the recent layoffs of associates in large firms, but also optimistic that this will give those lawyers an opportunity to adapt to the world that's emerging. As such, even though Legal OnRamp is primarily for inhouse lawyers, we are inviting associates who are being laid off to join.  We are putting together a career center with a variety of resources, we have a number of job listings, and will support various networking and skills development activities. We have extended that offer directly to the firms and welcome individuals to contact us as well.  Just indicate which firm you are being laid off from when you request an invitation at"

Monday, November 24, 2008

A View From the Other Side - Law Firm Newsletters

It has been a month since I have turned from a provider of legal services at a big law firm to a consumer of legal services from big law firms. I thought I would share some of the things I have found.

First, I was surprised that the firm I left did not do anything to bridge the gap of information flow. Law firms should think about getting their departing lawyers set up with relevant newsletters to be sent to their new jobs. I have been getting more alerts (and more information) from other law firms than the law firm with which I have the closest bond.

One law firm asked me to set up a password-protected account to subscribe to alerts. But someone decided it need to be a complicated password with an uppercase letter, lowercase letter and a number/symbol. For a newsletter?!? That password is more complicated than the password for my bank account. I did not bother completing that subscription.

The general counsel forwarded me an law firm interesting newsletter: Privacy and Security Alert. Unfortunately when I went to that firm's website to subscribe, it was not one of the choices. I have noticed this with a few other law firms. If a law firm is going to label a newsletter, that label should be one of the subscription options.

All firms seem to break their publications into different chunks that make no sense to me. What is the difference between a publication, a newsletter and an alert?

JD Supra Expands Its Reach to Facebook and Twitter

I was one of the founding contributors to JD Supra. I was intrigued by the idea of a collective repository of legal documents. Intrigued enough that I was also a top ten contributor for a while.

One of criticisms was that a mere online repository of documents is not that compelling. Why should I publish to JD Supra? They started showing some value [See my post: JD Supra Revisited about how I was contacted to write a story based on my publications in JD Supra.] Now there are two new reasons.

One is their new connectivity with Facebook. You can "fan" JD Supra on their Facebook page:

Even better, your publications in JD Supra can show up in your Facebook news and profile. JD Supra created a new application that ties your publications to your Facebook profile.

Below you can see the three documents I published last week. They go into my update stream, so my "friends" in Facebook can see my publications.
There is also a "box" on my Facebook profile that accesses all of my documents in JD Supra through Facebook.

Second, JD Supra is tying the publication of documents in JD Supra to some Twitter stream. I noticed my Blogging / Social Internet Policy go into the twitter stream last week.

It looks like JD Supra is using these Twitter handles to re-publish alerts:
I am a huge fan of the connectivity between online communities. It creates much more value by republishing information in different ways so people can access and find the information they need in a way that works for them.

See some other takes on the new feature of JD Supra:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Blog?

Mary Abraham of the Above and Beyond KM blog asked me: How do I decide how/what/when to blog?

To answer these questions, I need to go back to when I first started blogging. My former law firm had used Microsoft's Sharepoint as the backbone of their intranet for years. The 2007 upgrade of Sharepoint included these things called blogs and wikis. I was not sure what they were, but they sounded interesting.

I quickly discovered that two people I knew had blogs: Ron Friedmann's Strategic Legal Technology and Joy London's Excited Utterances. I thought they were just websites. (Does it really matter anymore?)

I did a little research and decided to try it out. I would set aside an afternoon and set up a blog. Google claimed their Blogspot platform was easy to set up and free. It took all of ten minutes to set up of which five minutes was figuring out a name and four minutes was spent choosing colors. That left a lot of time that afternoon to think about the implications of what I had done. I also had to figure out what to do with it.

The name of this blog came from my split between knowledge management and real estate. ("KM" for knowledge management and "space" for real estate.) Initially, I thought the blog would be all-encompassing. But I quickly found the knowledge management posts and real estate posts were jarringly different.

Eventually, I spun off the real estate posts into a different blog: Real Estate Space. There I could organize my thoughts on real estate law. At this point I was also beginning to see the marketing value of a blog. I saw my blog posts coming back very high in Google search results. I even did some tests by publishing some of The Firm's alerts in my blog and comparing search results. My blog posts consistently out-performed The Firm's website.

I managed to convince my colleague David Hobbie to try out blogging. He set up Caselines to talk about litigation knowledge management.

Knowledge management had a lot more vibrant discussions happening than real estate, so KM Space was my focal point, with Real Estate Space as more of side project. Real estate law does not change very much. As a lawyer, it did not seem appropriate to write about the real estate market conditions.

For me, blogging was always about personal knowledge management. I put up posts to memorialize interesting things I find. I put up posts to help me focus my thoughts more coherently. Blogging is part of my learning process.

With my new position, I am using a blog as a learning tool. I set up a blog to help me capture the statues, regulations, articles and ideas that I need to learn about compliance. That translates into 143 posts over the past month. This blog is dark now, but I hope to bring it public in the future.

During my time off between positions, I set up a blog to chronicle my paddling adventures: Paddling Space. I wanted to keep track of my experiences and map my routes.

Along with knowledge management, blogs act as a lightweight content management tool. I recently converted into a Wordpress blog. I have found it so much easier to use that using FrontPage and uploading files.

I think the common theme for all these blogs is using the blogging platform to put my thoughts and ideas into a searchable place. I happy that anyone takes the time to read any of my blogs, but I think I am the biggest consumer of my blog material.

To get back to Mary's original questions...

HOW I blog is easy. I post from just about anywhere: the work computer, the home computer, my blackberry or my iPhone. The web-based publishing of my blog platforms make the how part very easy. Although KM Space and Real Estate Space use the Blogspot/Blogger platform, I have decided that I like the Wordpress platform better. Paddling Space uses uses the self-hosted version of Wordpress. (It was very easy to set up and gives me great control over the look and feel.) Compliance Space is currently on, but I will migrate that to a self-hosted site before it goes public.

WHEN I blog is whenever the information hits me. I am a big fan of using a blog to capture my notes during a conference, webinar or presentation. Some presenters seem to be annoyed at the typing. They clearly have not been to a law school classroom lately.

I tend to pre-publish blog post lately to smooth out the flow. Any of the blog post you see with a 9:00 AM publish time (including this one) were pre-scheduled to publish.

HOW OFTEN I blog is related to WHEN. I am not a magazine publisher. I do not keep a schedule. When the information comes to me, I blog. I will often look at the blog and see that I have not posted lately and use that as indicator that I have not been thinking about my job or learning enough lately. Looking back at the number of blog posts over the past year, it looks like I have been learning a lot. KM Space 316 posts, Real Estate Space: 60 posts, and Compliance Space: 143 posts.

WHAT I blog about is helped by the separation of my thoughts into the different blogs. The other blogs are more repositories. This blog is also about having a conversation. Sure it tends to be more about yelling back and forth from mountaintops than a watercooler-like conversation. Twitter is a much more conversational platform.

I am also intrigued by Matt Simpson and Luis Suarez (also of ) over at with their podcast about the conversational side of social media. That truly is a conversation about the conversation.

This blog is about allowing me to communicate with other interested and interesting people. It allows a place to capture my thoughts and share them with you (and myself).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Unwanted Messages - Filtering Information

Have you noticed fewer spam messages over the past few days? According to the Washington Post, a web-hosting firm was shut down that was a major center for spam activity: Host of Internet Spam Groups is Cut Off. Email security firm IronPort report a 66% drop in spam levels on Tuesday night after the host was shut down. reported a 75% drop in spam e-mails per second.

It got me thinking about all of the unwanted messages we receive each day. Email is just one medium. Since I moved to my new job, I have a new email address. The spammers have not tracked me down yet. Inevitably they will.

Of course when I get home, I have the same problem with other communication tools.  The few important pieces of mail are overwhelmed by the credit card offers, catalogs and junk mail. I get more phone calls from telemarketers than friends.

The difference is one of cost. The incremental cost of sending out 10 million emails instead of 10 thousand emails is almost zero. It takes more time and money to make a phone call or send an item in the mail. Of course, that is what makes email so attractive for business use. It is fast and inexpensive.

Then there is also the advertisements in South Station, on the subway, and on the bus. There are the Google ads alongside my search results. There are the ads on the radio and television. There are the fundraisers on National Public Radio. There is the loud guy on the cell phone behind me.

We are in the information age and we are flooded with information. We need ways to filter the information so we can separate the information we need and care about from the unwanted messages.

Spam filters do a great job of blocking the spam. Caller ID lets me filter unwanted phone calls. Tivo lets me filter out unwanted television ads. Email rules filter the law firm alerts and updates out of my email inbox and into a place for later consumption.

The problem is not that there is too much information. The problem is that there are too few filters. We need to do a better job of filtering the incoming flow of information.

We also need to do a better job of controlling the outgoing flow of information. Do we really need to reply all? Do we really need to send that email out at 11:00 pm or can it wait until the morning? Does the message need to go by email or would be better handled through a phone call or other communication medium?

Friday, November 7, 2008

LinkedIn Events versus Upcoming

LinkedIn launched the LinkedIn Events module: Announcing LinkedIn Events. You get event recommendations, you can indicate if you are going and you can see who else is going. Once you mark an event, it shows up on your LinkedIn profile.

This is a great feature, but not a new idea. I have been a fan of Upcoming for while: [Doug on Upcoming]. The site is classic example of Metcalfe's law. It gets more useful as more people use it.

LinkedIn provides a bigger user base of connections to tie into. I have 323 "connections" on LinkedIn, but only 23 "friends" in Upcoming.

Upcoming is a more open platform. In particular, Upcoming supplies lots of RSS feeds giving you notifications of new events that your "friends" are attending and new events added to groups that you join. It also ties into Facebook and other aggregators like FriendFeed.

With all these new applications, LinkedIn is starting to move closer to the Facebook model of aggregating information. It will interesting to see how the events and other application features evolve.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Essential Blog Elements

Kevin O'Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs  put together some key elements to have on your blog: Essential law blog pages needed to promote yourself.

I have read too many blogs, for lawyers and others, that do not tell you what the blog is about or who is writing it. Evey blog (including my blogs) wander a bit. You need to pull together a summary of what you are trying to say and where people can find more information about you.

If you are sitting on blogger like me, don't use the standard About link. Create a blog post with the information. Backdate it to keep it out of the feed. Here is my about page: About this Blog and Doug Cornelius. To prove its importance, my tracking numbers show the "About" page to be one of the five most visited posts on this blog.

The one thing Kevin left out is a disclaimer. There is still some uncharted territory with blogs. Bar counsel has barely figured out what to do with Web 1.0. You should label your blog as legal advertising and disclaim any possible attorney-client privilege. I have a disclaimer in About this Blog and Doug Cornelius. Over at the Real Estate Space blog, I was more cautious and put a link to the disclaimer in every post. Since lots of blog content is read through RSS feeds, readers may not see the disclaimer.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Blogging / Social Internet Policy for a Law Firm

I would appreciate your thoughts on this policy focused. It is written from an agnostic policy perspective, neither prohibiting nor promoting blogs or social media. I plan to use this as a starting point at the New Company.

When employees create their own blogs, comment on a blog, create a LinkedIn profile, use Facebook and/or contribute to or through any of the other online media (i.e., Wikis, blogs, chat rooms, Internet forums, electronic mailing lists, etc.) they are impacting their personal image and potentially impacting the firm. If your profile online indicates that you work at the firm, then that activity is associated with the firm.

When it comes to expressing opinions about anything having to do with the law, law firm employees are in a special position and have some limitation that other industries do not have. Statements in public forums may inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship, and may also violate the rules prohibiting law firm advertising.

Follow these guidelines when creating and/or publishing legal or non-legal content online:

· Maintain Client Confidentiality. Work for clients and the identities of our clients must be held in confidence to the extent appropriate for that client and client relationship. You must comply with the firm’s Client Confidentiality Policy.

· Be mindful of creating an attorney-client relationship. It is recommended that you not advise any course of action with respect to a particular set of facts. There can be a fine line between supplying legal information and supplying legal advice. Focus on new and interesting things happen in your area of expertise. Be careful asking specific questions.

· Think first. Remember you are publishing in a public forum, so don’t publish anything that you wouldn’t want to be viewed by your family, colleagues or the general public. Since content is easily transferred and replicated across the internet, it is nearly impossible to delete content once it has been published.

· Identify yourself. If you are commenting or publishing on topics related to your job, identify yourself as a lawyer or an employee of the firm. If you are an attorney, you may link to your bio on our public website.

· Disclaimers. You should make it clear that you are expressing views that are your own and not those of the firm.

· Be careful about jeopardizing firm-client relationships. If you are commenting on a legal matter, consider whether the position you take may be adverse or offensive to any of our clients. In case of any doubt, check with the head of the relevant Practice Area.

· Be respectful. Rumors and gossip spread like wildfire on the Internet. Be respectful of your colleagues, the firm, and our competitors.

· Follow the law. This should be obvious. In particular, be cautious of securities law violation and copyright violation. You must be familiar with and comply with the Copyright Policy.

· Use of firm logos or service marks. The firm logo or service mark cannot be used.

· Anonymous Contributions. The same cautions and restrictions on communications apply to supposedly "anonymous" blogs, comments, posts or other content. There almost nothing is truly anonymous on the internet. You should not use anonymity as a shield for malicious or wrongful content.

  • Registration: If you have a blog that is related to your job (for example a lawyer with a law-related blog), it must be registered with ______. 
  • Media: Media inquiries related to your blog should be handled like any other media inquiry.
  • Disclaimer: There should be a prominent disclaimer or link to a disclaimer on the main page, as well as in the “About” portion of your blog. See _______ for an appropriate disclaimer.
  • Name of Blog: Neither the title of the blog nor the URL of the blog may include the firm name.
  • Comments: Bloggers may allow others to comment on their posts. Comments may be attributable to the blogger so you should be prepared to moderate comments and delete offensive comments.
  • Content: Do you have questions about what is appropriate to discuss on your blog? Ask the head of your Practice Area or the head of the relevant Practice Area.

Commenting on Blogs

You should treat the comments you make on another blog the same as you would treat posts on your own blog


LinkedIn is a powerful professional online networking tool. For attorneys, LinkedIn is a relatively new tool and state bar regulators have not ruled on what is appropriate.
  • Avoid answering legal questions. It is very easy to inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship. The line between supplying legal information and legal advice is very gray.
  •  Recommendations are particularly problematic. In some jurisdictions they can be viewed as testimonials and attorney advertising. Attorneys should avoid providing recommendations to other attorneys for that reason. If you receive a recommendation, please have it promptly reviewed by ________. Non-attorney staff members may recommend other non-attorneys if they otherwise comply with the above guidelines.

Facebook/MySpace/Other Social Network Sites

Although these are largely social tools, if you are a member of the firm’s network or list the firm in your work information then your activity in these types of sites impacts the firm as well as your personal image. The guidelines are applicable to your use of these sites.

Legal OnRamp

This site is a knowledge platform for attorneys matched with some features of social networking sites. Unlike some other online sites, this one is well-populated with in-house counsel of clients and potential clients. Please contact _____ with any questions about the use of this site.


Any edits you make to wikipedia while using a firm computer can potentially be tied back to the firm. Even an anonymous edit marks the editor with its Internet Protocol address. This IP address can easily be tied back to the firm.


Twitter is a type of blogging, limited to 140 characters per post.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I love carving pumpkins on Halloween. Here is the one I did last night:
You can see the rest over at

Thursday, October 30, 2008


As I walk down the path of compliance and ethics, I continue to find lots of similarities with the themes behind knowledge management and social networks. One thing I have talked about in the past is the important of transparency. Being more open makes your work life and personal life more enriching. Networking is about what you put into the network. the more you put in, the more you get back. Transparency makes a network function better. A law firm and any business is a network.

I ran across a transcript from LRN  of a presentation by Dov Seidman at the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University: The Power of How: Achieving Enduring Success Through Ethics.
"Basically, in a world in which nothing stays hidden, you have to act as if you have nothing to hide. But before you can act as though you have nothing to hide, in fact, you must have nothing to hide. There is an opportunity to literally out-behave your competition."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LinkedIn Has Added Applications

One of my earlier concerns about LinkedIn was that it was very static and was little more than an online rolodex. They just launched a new applications feature that could dramatically changed LinkedIn.

These applications allow you to pull content from other sources into your LinkedIn profile, making it much more dynamic. Just a few minutes ago I added the Blog Link Application. Now it is pulling in blog posts from the three listed on my profile: this blog, Real Estate Space and

One of the reasons I liked Facebook was its ability to aggregate content about you from multiple sources. Now LinkedIn can do the same thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Knowledge Management in a 2.0 World

My latest article has been published in National, the magazine of the Canadian Bar Association: Knowledge Management in a 2.0 World.(.pdf)
It’s never been more important for lawyers and law firms to be able to organize and access all their knowledge. And thanks to the emergence of Web 2.0 tools like blogs and wikis, it’s also never been easier. Welcome to the next generation of KM.
I take no credit for the French translation of the article. My french is not that good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Google Earth on the iPhone

With the few days in between jobs, I gave back The Firm's Blackberry and switched over to the iPhone. I love the rich screen and graphics. I love the rich development of applications for the iPhone.

Yesterday, Google released the Google Earth for the iPhone. For those of you who have not used Google Earth, it is a more robust use of the information you access in Google Maps.

For a real estate person like me, the ability to image locations and put an individual property in the context of a larger community is very powerful. One of the reasons I went into real estate two decades ago was the tangible quality of real estate. I am drawn by the relationship of individual pieces of property and how they relate to the other properties and activities around them.

Below is the introductory YouTube video from Google about Google Earth for the iPhone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Firm Directories and Privacy

The Human Resources group at your firm has lots information about you. They probably publish a portion of that information to your internal photo-directory. Have they just violated some privacy laws? Can a 2.0 directory avoid the violation.

The European Union has much stricter limits on privacy than the United States. [See 31995L0046 EU Directive 95/46/EC] The EU prohibits the publication of an electronic directory with any "personal data" which is broadly defined as any reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.

The big exception is when the data is published after the "data subject's consent." There is much thought that a request by an employer to an employee is inherently coersive. (Are you afraid of losing your job if you do not submit the information.)

It seems that a wiki-like directory could solve the consent issue. You could publish the directory with just basics, name and phone number. The employee can then add whatever information they want. There is consent, because the employee voluntarily took the time to add the information.The stored history of the wiki page can show who added the information.

There are a few prohibited areas under the EU Directive: revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, and data concerning health or sex life. You would want those excluded from a company directory in anyhow.

Maybe you should rethink your company directory? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Large law Firms and LinkedIn Groups

Greg Lambert over at the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog did a study of large law firm usage using LinkedIn Groups.

He ranked the firms by number of members in the group. Skadden, Arps came in first place with 839 members in the Skadden Alumni LinkedIn group. Goodwin Procter came in 16th place for the Goodwin Procter LinkedIn group with 40 members.

What really surprised Greg was that the majority of members were attorneys. He expected more adminstrative profiles. "[i]t is apparent that they are doing a lot of things outside the confines of the Marketing Departments."

You can see that my LinkedIn Profile has changed recently: Doug Cornelius in LinkedIn.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Paddling 2.0

I want to say that I have continued to think about knowledge management, enterprise 2.0 and social networking during my time off between The Firm and the New Company.

But I can't.

I spent most of the week exploring the Charles River in my old yellow kayak. I did want to get a little 2.0, so I blogged about my trips at Paddling Space:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seeking a Speaker on Law Firm KM 2.0

Given my recent departure from The Firm, I have canceled an upcoming speaking engagement in London on November 12. Let me know if you are interested in taking my place as the speaker. Here is the blurb on my presentation:
  • Examining and reviewing new techniques and tools:
    • Social software, wikis and blogs
    • Document management platforms and collaborative workspaces
    • Automatic RSS feeds
    • Live meetings
  • Connecting with the “Facebook generation” and understanding how communication, expectations and attitudes are changing
  • How will these tools change the law, legal practice and how we manage knowledge?
The session is part of the ARK Group's Knowledge Capture and Retention in Law Firms conference. Of course you get to attend the entire conference if you speak. [Brochure for the conference]

There is some limited financial support for travel expenses.

Contact me at if you are  interested in taking my place.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A New Chapter for Me

Yesterday was my last day at The Firm.

It was hard to walk out the door after 13 great years. Andy Sucoff extended me an offer to join the real estate group during the summer of 1995.  It has been great working with one of the best group of real estate lawyers in the country. I was able to work on interesting and complex real estate transactions. I will miss the practice and my clients.

Don Oppenheimer transformed my practice by introducing me to knowledge management about 8 years ago. The Firm was very forward-thinking in trying to maximize the collective intelligence of its attorneys and staff. And still is. We have experienced tremendous success through the knowledge management program. It has been growing even more with The Firm's adoption of enterprise 2.0 tools as part of the knowledge management program.

I had a great time and learned a great deal during those two chapters of my career. But, a great opportunity presented itself and I had trouble ignoring it. So, now I start a new chapter.

I am taking a few days off to relax. I have some biking trips and kayaking trips lined up. Of course, you cannot rely on New England weather.

Later this month, I join Beacon Capital Partners as their Chief Compliance Officer. It is a big change in career. But I am looking forward to new challenges and opportunities.

As for KM space?

It will live on. At least for a little while longer.  Knowledge management, social networking and enterprise 2.0 are ingrained in my blood. So I will continue to think and write about them. I suspect my output will decrease eventually. But stay tuned.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Social Networking for Lawyers and Legal IT

I had the pleasure of hosting a lunch meeting for the International Legal Technology Association to talk about Social Networking for Lawyers and Legal IT.

I was joined by Jenn Steele and Bob Ambrogi in talking about Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, Twitter, Legal OnRamp and Martindale Connected. We looked at the ways we each use these tools and how the audience used the tools. We also talked a bit about policy and rules for using these sites.

Here is the slide deck we used. You can also get the slides with our notes on JD Supra: Social Networking for Lawyers and Legal IT.

Social Networking
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: social km)
(We deleted the slides on LegalOnRamp and Martindale Connected because we "borrowed" them from another presentation.)

Jenn Steele is the Director of Information Technology at Morrison Mahoney LLP.  She holds an MBA from the Simmons School of Management and a B.S. in Biology from MIT, with a minor in Expository Writing.  Prior to Morrison Mahoney, she was the Director of Information Technology at Donovan Hatem LLP from 2002-2007, and the Senior Applications Specialist at Burns & Levinson LLP from 2000-2002.  She has also held positions in the health and human services industry.  She is the author of Leading Geeks, a blog focusing on best practices for leading technologists (

Robert Ambrogi is an internationally known legal journalist and a leading authority on law and the Web.  He represents clients at the intersection of law, media and technology and is also established professional in alternative dispute resolution.  Robert is a Massachusetts lawyer, writer and media consultant and is author of the book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web.  He also writes the blog Media Law, co-writes Legal Blog Watch and cohosts the legal affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

SocialText 3.0 and Their Social Software Platform

I watched a preview of SocialText 3.0 through a webinar.

Ross Mayfield kicked it off by addressing the problems with email and also with using just wikis. With wikis you get the content, but not the person. The goal is to move from conversations to colleagues. You can discover the social context of the content. In effect you can use the social network as a filter.

The product allows great interlinking of content with people using SocialText People.  It allows you to easily organize into groups, gather people and gather their thoughts. When seeing a comment or an edit from a person, you can click on their name or picture and be taken to their full profile.

The profile information has the basics like name, phone number, etc. It also shows you some of the hierarchy, such as who the person reports to. You can use information from a corporate directory as a starting point. You can see the communities that the person is a member. You can also see the person's blog. Blogs are an integral part of the platform. There is an updates that pull of the stuff the person has been working on lately.

You can also create a list of people you follow. You get the formal structure of the corporate directory, plus the social directory of who this person really works with.

The platform allows you to tag information. Those tags show up on your profile.

Pulling all of this information creates a great repository of expertise that is easier to find and leverage. It also should create stronger relationships within the organization. By pulling that content into one place about a person, you get a search-able page that can be indexed. You do not just find experts, but experts who share. If you are blogging and tagging information on a subject, that is a great indicator of expertise.

SocialText also allows for dashboards that allow you to drop widgets onto a page using SocialText Dashboard. Widgets allow for videos, blog feeds and other useful information from other sites or re-purposes information from other places in the platform. SocialText supports the Google OpenSocial standard for their widgets. This should allow for greater integration with the product.

SocialText People can also be deployed externally on an extranet. 

The product is supposed to be released later this month to all hosted customers. The "SocialText People" module is a separate add-on. They offer both a hosted solution and an appliance deployment.

SocialText wants to drive productivity through social networking. SocialText wants it to be simple and easy to use.

Here is Ross Mayfield's summary of the new features: Hello Socialtext 3.0! and video of SocialText 3.0 in 60 seconds:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Knowledge Management and the Paperless Practice Toolkit

I presented on knowledge management as part of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program: The Paperless Practice Toolkit: Taming the Technology Tiger

The panel was me and the two former attorneys at Goodwin Procter: James J. Berriman, Esq., of Evidox Corporation and Mark R. Mansoor, Esq.,
    I focused on search tools, wikis and cloud computing.  The audience was expecting the talk about search, but I think I really caught them off guard with my presentation on wikis and cloud computing. I fit those topics in by pointing out that if you are going paperless that means you are going digital. If you are going digital, there are new and better ways to create your documents and to store them.

    The PowerPoint slide deck is below. After you play PowerPoint karaoke, you can view the slides with my notes over JD supra and see what I was talking about with the various images: The Paperless Practice Toolkit: Knowledge Management.

    Knowledge Management Blogs

    The folks at Pumacy Technologies put together a list of knowledge management blogs. This a great resource for finding thought leaders in the area.

    After initially being missed by the authors, I ended up number three on the list. The ranking is based on the number of posts in August. I met their four criteria: at least 10 blogs posts (I had 35 in August), 10 comments (I had 15), a Google PageRank of at least 5 (I am a 5) or an Alexa Ranking under a million (I am 774,585)

    Thanks to Jack Vinson for pointing out the list: A Study of KM Bloggers.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    The Demise of Heller

    Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith Esq. put together a post of lessons to be learned from the demise of Heller Ehrman (1890-2008).  He proposes that one of the reasons for the demise was the fragility of law firms.
    "Our assets go down in the elevator every night." Take that bromide seriously.

    You must give people a persuasive reason to come back "home" every Monday morning.
    Make them believe in the ongoing vision of a vibrant institution, a living firm where they can make a contribution in their own way, where they have a voice, where they can matter, where they are part of a team, where there are new mountains to conquer and new clients to be won, new legal innovations to be created with your firm's imprimatur on them, new dimensions of professional development which you can create and with which you can inspire and energize your associates, new, heartfelt, admirable and groundbreaking commitments to pro bono, new, clear-eyed and profound commitments to client service and client relationships, new and innovative uses of technology to deliver cost-effective services clients increasingly will demand while at the same time sparing your associates scut-work. New, new, new.

    Those are the things that will inspire people to come back on Monday.
    Take a look a your role in your firm and see if you can inspire people to come back on Monday.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Real World SharePoint Experiences

    I attended a breakfast meeting sponsored by Knowledge Management Associates, Inc. about all things SharePoint.

    There were four presentations:
    I will be putting my notes to each of the presentations in a separate blog post.

    In the interest of full disclosure Knowledge Management Associates, Inc. is a client of The Firm and they did give me a copy of MS Office 2007 as a prize in the raffle.

    Microsoft's SharePoint Investment Areas

    Tara Seppa from Microsoft spent some time at the Real World SharePoint Experiences conference to give us some idea about what direction Microsoft is taking SharePoint.

    . . . . Omitted at the request of Microsoft. Apparently the information was not ready for disclosure.

    Lastly, Tara pitched the the SharePoint team blog as place for information on Sharepoint as it goes through the development process.

    SharePoint Best Practices Conference Recap

    Tim Farrell and Marcel Meth of Knowledge Management Associates presented some of their notes from the recent SharePoint Best Practices Conference.

    Tim and Marcel attended the SharePoint Best Practices conference in DC Sept 14-17.

    Marcel is seeing a trend where extranets and intranets are collapsing. He is seeing companies deploy in a secure site outside the firewall. Internally, Microsoft's SharePoint deployment has 14 Terabytes of data. They keep each database under 200GB.

    Microsoft expects support of non-window browsers within 2 years.

    There is also a new SharePoint online. You do not need to install SharePoint. Your information just lives in the cloud.

    Intranet search and enterprise search are different. The intranet search of SharePoint is mature and works well, but it is not an enterprise search.

    Workflow is not quite ready for prime time. There are lots of subtleties and you will need some expertise to use it.

    Tim spoke about governance and taxonomy. You should have a governance team of about 10 people even for a big company. Chose a pilot program that can build grass roots support. See how it grows and emerges. Start with just the one pilot. (He seems to like the concept of emergent collaboration.)

    Tim also focused on tiered levels of control.  At the top, with the highest degree of control and the lowest degree of innovation and change are the enterprise wide taxonomy. At the opposite extreme are MySites that have the lowest degree of control and highest degree of innovation and change.

    Tim's best practices for document management in SharePoint:
    • Support a single source of the truth
    • Consistent taxonomy
    • Centralize management of taxonomy
    • Updateable taxonomy as the organization changes
    • User can enhance core tax and enhance with own particular needs
    • Changes shared with rest of business to avoid duplication
    Tim's top ten pitfalls for a SharePoint implementation
    1. MOSS as replacement for a network drive
    2. We know that we need, just set up a default site
    3. Failure of capacity planning
    4. Just set up a site, Joe user will love it - you need some user testing
    5. Oh, while we are at it - adding other upgrades at the same time
    6. Upgrading SQL and line of business applications during portal implementation
    7. Letting front office administration manage SharePoint - they need training and defined roles for Governance
    8. Designing every site before rolling out SharePoint - think in terms of phases.  Do function first
    9. Over-engineered security - use AD as much as you can.
    10. Converting all of the code to web parts - some stuff may just run better not being in

    Training Approaches to Drive SharePoint Adoption

    Pam Conway, Vice President at  CompuWorks gave this presentation at the Real World SharePoint Experiences seminar.

    Pam talks about the purpose of training.  Sure, it is about acquiring skills.  But that is only one piece of the puzzle. Pam's seven points for training:
    • Acquire skills
    • Improve skills
    • Inform
    • Communicate
    • Sell
    • Connect
    • Reassure
    You want to use training to inform users so they know how they should be using the tool.  Training can also be used to communicate and explain why they should be using the tool.  Communication is two way, trainers should be listing and bringing feedback from the users.  You should use training to sell the tool.  You need to sell the users on why they should be using the tool.  You need to show them what is in it for them.  Training can also be used to connect individuals within a group or across groups to discuss how they could use the tool.  It is also time to reassure the users.  You should be prepared to hold their hands to let them know that support is there for them.

    Training is essential for SharePoint.  If you build it, will they come?  NO.  You need to pull them in.  There are lots of change management issues associated with SharePoint.  Training can help and should be part of the change management process.  You should identify the hurdles in advance so you can address them as part of the training.  Training is just start of the process. You need plan for before, during and after deployment.

    For before, you need to generate buy-in.  The trainers should have cases ready that show how current problems can be solved by the adoption of SharePoint.  The trainers should use a real use case in the training sessions.  You also want to show the top-down push for SharePoint.  You need to show what's in it for me to the users. You need to show how it is going to make easier for the individual to be able to do their job.

    Pam pitched focusing training on the persons role in SharePoint:  are they a user, contributor, editor, administrator, etc.

    There is a learning kit from Microsoft.  It is an add-on from Microsoft download center. Office SharePoint Server 2007 Training

    Pam pitches the use of documentation, single page quick reference cards.  (I was surprised that she did not pitch having them in SharePoint, but using paper handouts).

    Dispatches from the Front Lines - Themes and Trends in SharePoint Use

    Sadie Van Buren of Knowledge Management Associates gave this presentation at the Real World SharePoint Experiences seminar.

    Sadie also blogs at A Matter of Degree, a Microsoft SharePoint / Information Architecture / Web Usability blog.

    Sadie showed some client reactions and surveys on their use and adoption of SharePoint.  The clients surveyed covered a broad spectrum of industries, size and revenue. It was a small sample set of only 19 companies.  Sadie compares SharePoint to a Swiss Army Knife.  It does lots of things but does not do them very well. There are lots of best of breed programs that do some of the things better.

    Some downsides to SharePoint:  it is not Blackberry-friendly, it is not a cross-platform platform, it does not produce reports, it is not good for a relational database and it is not good for transaction uses.

    Most people are using SharePoint for search and for their intranet.  Only one is using it for public facing web pages.  Sadie was surprised that about half of the clients were using blogs and wikis.  In part, because they did not ask for them.  They seemed to adopt blogs and wikis just because they were part of the platform.

    These are the trends she sees in customization:
    • Site collection creation process for extranets
    • Employee phone list from AD
    • Inserting staff photos into AD
    • Theme changer
    • Alerts refresh
    Sadie moved on to some of SharePoint's cultural challenges. Most of the challenges she presented for adoption of SharePoint are the same challenges we have in knowledge management.  People resist changing ways of doing things.  People are too busy to share or won't invest time, management won't assign ownership of content, governance and consistency are a low priority, and "my documents, not the company documents."

    Some things that Sadie found to be ingredients for success:
    • Bulletin boards, cafeteria menu and a picture of the day drive traffic
    • Buy-in from management
    • Sponsorship from key users
    • Right attitude: "We're not implementing SharePoint; We're implementing a new KM program."
    • Findability (People need to find things)
    • Integrate with other systems to avoid duplicate data entry

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Social Networking for Lawyers and Legal IT

    The International Legal Technology Association is holding a lunch presentation in Boston on Social Networking for Lawyers and Legal IT.
    Please join us for this exciting presentation and learn how the lawyers and IT staff at your firm can use Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs to capture knowledge and uncover expertise.


    Doug Cornelius
    is a senior attorney in Goodwin Procter's Real Estate Group helping clients invest in real estate through a variety of investment vehicles.  In addition to his real estate practice, Doug is a member of the firm's Knowledge Management Department.  In this role, he is responsible for developing and implementing tools and resources to identify, create, represent and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness and learning.  Doug is a frequent speaker and writer on the legal profession's use of knowledge management, enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0 and social networks.

    Jenn Steele is the Director of Information Technology at Morrison Mahoney LLP.  She holds an MBA from the Simmons School of Management and a B.S. in Biology from MIT, with a minor in Expository Writing.  Prior to Morrison Mahoney, she was the Director of Information Technology at Donovan Hatem LLP from 2002-2007, and the Senior Applications Specialist at Burns & Levinson LLP from 2000-2002.  She has also held positions in the health and human services industry.  She is the author of Leading Geeks, a blog focusing on best practices for leading technologists (

    Robert Ambrogi is an internationally known legal journalist and a leading authority on law and the Web.  He represents clients at the intersection of law, media and technology and is also established professional in alternative dispute resolution.  Robert is a Massachusetts lawyer, writer and media consultant and is author of the book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web.  He also writes the blog Media Law, co-writes Legal Blog Watch and cohosts the legal affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer.