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.