Yeah, and Like Try to Stop March Madness
CIO Insight creates interesting daily slide shows, and today's couldn't be more appropos after the University of Connecticut's dramatic capture of the NCAA men's title last night.
(I'm sobbing because even though I was the ONLY member of our pool to pick UConn to take it all, I did so miserably in earlier rounds I was STILL toast. And congrats to the Women Huskies who made it all the way to the final four!)
ANYWAY, back to CIO Insight: today's slide show tries to argue that March Madness is "The Great Productivity Killer," with 8.4 million hours are spent by U.S. workers watching the games from their offices. (Have these Scrooges ever heard of lunch hours and morale building?) A survey by Challenger, Gray, and Christmas (hmmm... Scrooge metaphor seems appropriate!) says those hours translate to $192 million if you factor in average hourly earnings of $22.75 for private sector worker bees. Last year, 8.3 million people streamed games from the web, and spent a total of 11.7 million hours viewing online — about 1.4 hours per person, the survey reports.
Harumph! They further estimate that $1.8 billion was paid "in 2010 to people who didn't perform their work because they were watching games in the office." Jeeez, I wonder how many of those same folks take work home, come in early, stay late, etc. etc. etc.
CBS Sports provided free mobile apps this year; the consultants predict total viewership increased to 14 million (20% hike from 2010).
Ohhhh bury the lead: Guess what — despite all that, the hours lost "account for less than one-tenth of one percent (about 0.07%) of the total hours worked. Yeah? So you really are suggesting that organizations:
1. Block sites that stream the games.
2. Prohibit use of NCAA apps.
3. "Keep a close eye on employee activity to see if anyone is breaking the rules."
Let's get real. The last option is the most appropriate:
4. "Conversely, you can go ahead and let everyone have their fun, with the understanding that it's back-to-business once March Madness ends."
Um, yeah. These folks must be from Antartica, because if they think March Madness is a distraction, they never experienced New Orleans when the Saints won the Super Bowl, or the "disruption" in San Francisco last October.
O.K. I've had my 10-minute break. Back to work :)
Image courtesy of CIO Insight.
May the year's end bring you a respite of unexpected music, enough quiet, sweet companionship, a good book (via paper, Kindle, iPad, or nook), the time to actually play with your favorite app (my current obsession is Angry Birds), the company of an enthusiastic four-year-old, the comfort of a dog at your feet and a cat in your lap, corduroy, the smell of Peet's coffee and cinammon rolls on a cold morning, an afternoon with a steady friend, laughing so hard your teeth hurt, enjoying Handel's "Messiah" no matter how you define faith, a twilight walk through fresh snow, the opportunity to sleep without an alarm clock, and of course, peppermint ice cream.
Why We Changed Our Headline Style
OK, this qualifies as almost TMI, but just in case you noticed that we've changed our post headline styles from all caps to initial caps -- we'll tell you why: because we are now linking the Scold to Twitter (@commonscold) -- and the all caps on Twitter "shouts" and is impolite!
I'm slowly updating the Scold to remove stale links, etc. etc. It will take a while, but hopefully it will make it even better! Thanks for your patience!
One Thing iPads Cannot Do
My colleague Anthony Paonita forwards this advice about how not to use new iPads. There are some functions that print newspapers simply do better than any other media, warns Newsday about its new iPad app.
Sorry for the temporary blackout of the video. Apparently, Apple whined about it to YouTube. Here's another version.
GREEN GRASS, BLUE SKY
Headed to LegalTech West Coast next week in Los Angeles? You'll face a smorgasbord of choices to help you stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends and products.
Among the highlights, Erick Andersen, of Microsoft's legal team, will present the 6/24 keynote about how legal organizations can effectively use unified communications systems to reduce costs and improve collaboration among colleagues and clients.
Microsoft was just chosen by our colleagues at Corporate Counsel as the 2010 Law Department of the Year. A key factor was how general counsel Brad Smith helped engineer a "personality shift" for the software giant, from contentious to cooperative, in resolving international disputes.
The LegalTech seminars will be packed with expert panels on everything from project management, to social media, to cloud computing, to e-discovery; and the vendors at the exhibit hall will welcome the chance to show you product demonstration.
But just when you feel like your brain may just about explode from too much information, Friday, June 25, presents an opportunity to get outside and network in the famous California sun! ALM's inaugural Lawyer Invitational will be held at Trump National Golf Club, an opportunity for the proverbial "quality time" and networking.
Among the technology companies who are sponsoring the event are LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, Kroll, and First Advantage. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. For more information, visit www.thelawyerinvitational.com.
HERE COMES TROUBLE
Three days of briefings with Twin Cities legal technology teams have increased my perception that compliance is looming large over our industry. I suspect, once it settles in, that it will make e-discovery look easy.
Tuesday's lead story on the Star Tribune's business page was how Piper Jaffray & Co., a 115-year old Minneapolis-based investment bank, had just agreed to cough up a $700K fine for failing to retain e-mails required by securities laws and regulations; and for failing to inform regulators that they had discovered the problem while investigating an ex-employee, reports Dan Browning.
"You might think [the bank] would have known better," writes Browning. It already paid a $1.65 million fine in 2002 for failing to preserve e-mails.
The story prompted Minnesota consultant George Socha to check in to remind us about The Information Management Reference Model that is under development from his EDRM gang. Its mission: "to provide a common, practical, flexible framework to help organizations develop and implement effective and actionable information management programs,"
On a much lighter note, the same issue of the Strib featured a hilarious review by Jon Bream, a frequent contributor to Law Technology News, of the band Nickelback, which he says is veering very close to Spinal Tap. Bream says frontman Chad Kroeger "dropped enough F-bombs to upset your grandmother, made enough pot references to give you the munchies, and babbled on longer than the president's State of the Union."
BUYING O' THE GREEN
In the spirit of all things green on Parade Day in New York City, here a few kewl gadgets that you might rationalize buying as honoring St. Patrick. We took a quick visit to ThinkGeek and found the gems below.
• JuiceBar Portable Solar Charger: No, it's not "the newest health drink franchise trend sweeping the country," says ThinkGeek. This one is "full of electronic gadget juice," and provides you extra battery zip. Its internal lithium-ion battery can be recharged via USB connection or built-in solar panel (a penny under $50).
• Dr. Timmy's Micro Hand-cranked LED Torch: A bit bigger than a quarter, this flashlight could (seriously) save your life in a disaster where there's no electricity anywhere (under $5).
• Coffee Cup Power Inverter: Tired of loose wires getting in the way of your car's shifter? This sits in your beverage holder, and provides two 120-volt AC outlets ($29.99).
• Kill-A-Watt: Connect your appliances to this device (about the size of a PDA) and determine how energy-efficient they are. It might be time to replace them with Energy Star upgrades ($24.99).
• Dissolving Travel Toiletries: Packets of shampoo, body wash, and hand soap sheets that aren't liquid so you don't have to hassle with TSA, and they dissolve instantly to provide their stated use ($4.99 to $12.99).
• Finally, the piece de resistance: you can hide your cables in the Grassy Lawn Charging Station. No, I am not making this up — but alas, this is temporarily out of stock, so patience is golden (hmmm, I think that is silence ... whatever).
Anyway, it "provides you with realistic artificial grass to cushion your gadgets while they charge," says ThinkGeek. "A compartment underneath hides all of the power adapters and cables." The box is 11" x 7" x 4.35".
I want to go to there!
LET IT SNOW
I've been based in New York City for
12 years now, but I'm still a California girl at heart. So I'm acting like a kid today because — for the first time since I moved here — ALM has declared a Snow Day for its NYC offices.
When I lived in San Francisco, we had "appointment" snow -- weekend trips to Tahoe, with the joy of driving over the Donner Summit and experiencing the Sierras' sheer majesty. Snow was never spontaneous in the City by the Bay.
But it has a mind of its own in New York. Snow here shows up at annoying times -- like opening week at Yankee Stadium; or when I really want to get in the car and head north but I have the good sense to postpone travel -- because I am still that California woman who knows that I don't have enough Malcolm Gladwell blink experience behind the wheel when ice is involved. (My five years in Minnesota are way too long ago, and besides, back then I was a fearless 20-something, need I say more?)
So I am savoring my first-ever Snow Day. My tiny Manhattan patio is frosted with about seven inches of white. Later today, I'll take my dog across the street to Carl Schurz park; she absolutely loves snow, but like me, walks more carefully than when we were both young.
And I'm enjoying one of the best (or possibly worst) things about snow days: Thanks to technology, I'll probably get even more work done today than in the office, with all the meetings, appointments, interruptions. I brought home my MacBook; I'm plugged into the VPN; I can create a winter wonderland playlist on my iPod, I've got WNBC on the TV keeping me company with weather updates; and I'll take my digital camera with me to the park to capture the day.
Snow days are mother nature's way of saying "Hey! Stop what you are doing!" Enjoy the mysteries of this little blue ball circling the sun. Do silly things. Let the crystals melt on the warmth of your hands.
A good lesson for all of us. Enjoy your day.
Is it really possible that 2009 is just about over? Doesn't it feel like we were just welcoming this year? We've certainly been on an interesting journey over the last 12 months. (As in the Chinese curse, "May you lead an interesting life.")
But we move forward, hopefully with a dash of courage and gusto. So on behalf of our entire Law Technology News and Law.com team, and our mothership ALM, let me extend our warmest wishes to you for the holiday season.
May the remaining days of 2009 nurture spirits, refresh enthusiasm, enhance vision, inspire experiments, mute distress, challenge boundaries, generate relationships, temper irritations, magnify flavors, provide noise and quiet, and accelerate joy.
Jon Bream is in town, the first East Coast stop on the tour for his latest book, Neil Diamond is Forever. His timing is impeccable -- he's in NYC just in time to join me tonight for game 1 of the playoffs. It's especially sweet, because -- after one of the most amazing games ever played (for me, topped only by the Aaron Boone 2003 ALDS game) -- the Yankees are facing the Twins.
Bream has been the music critic at the Mpls. Star-Tribune for more than 30 years -- the longest tenure of any daily newspaper music critic other than Joel Selvin at the SF Chron, (and technically, Selvin has retired .) Bream also contributes to Law Technology News (his next article, "Greening Greene Espel" will appear in our November issue).
JB and I go back to our cub days at the Minnesota Daily, where he hired me to be the first "girl" to cover rock and roll at the 43,000-circ newspaper. It was heady times -- our editor was Paul Brainerd, who went on to found Aldus Pagemaker, coin the term "desktop publishing," and become a close friend-of-Bill (not Clinton).
Late last night, JB taped a segment for the Joey Reynolds show on WOR710 radio. Before he headed over to the studio, we watched the tiebreaker game at the Mudville 9 Saloon, a funky, friendly sports bar. The cordial staff warmly welcomed us all the way through the 12th inning walk-off climax. (Not many NYC restaurants would let you occupy a table for 3-1/2 hours over a $40 dinner!) It was a blast, and a suitable substitute for being in the Dome -- with enthusiastic constituents of both Twins and Tigers camps.
Bream's last tome was a coffee table extravaganza, Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin, and his first was Prince: Inside the Purple Reign. The 160-page Diamond book is a feast for the singer's fans, and chronicles his career from early struggles to sold-out arenas. Jon draws heavily from his many interviews with Diamond since 1976, and the books is crammed full of photos of memorabilia, such as concert programs, posters, backstage passes, etc.
Red Sox fans may be surprised to learn that "Sweet Caroline," the anthem of Fenway 8th innings, "was inspired by a photo of 11-year-old Caroline Kennedy." It has become the singer's most covered song, Bream says -- with Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Ray Coniff and Waylon Jennings among those who have recorded the very annoying ditty. (Go Yankees).
More on Bream's book tour:
Pastemagazine.com article by C. Lee.
BC (Blog Critics) review by J. Gardner.
TESTING THE KITCHEN
We're all counting the days
We're all counting the daysuntil The Capital Grille officially opens in our building (120 Broadway). I'm particularly excited because I often need to take visitors to lunch, and have yet to find many quiet, reasonably-priced places to conduct business lunches in our downtown neighborhood.
(Delmonico's is too pricey for most lunches, Les Halles too crowded, and a few of our other nearby options are frankly awful.)
I have no clue how I got on the roster (perhaps because I just rejoined the Met museum) but I rec'd an invite to the "2009 Guggenheim Director's Luncheon," and my colleague Anthony Paonita, editor-in-chief of Corporate Counsel magazine was kind enough to join me.
The folks at the restaurant acknowledged that the event was a way for them to test drive the new restaurant which is scheduled to open on the 28th. We were joined at our table by two architects from Perkins Eastman: Eric Brodfuehrer and Ty Kaul, who proved to be terrific company.
The food was excellent -- Anthony and I both had the salmon, which was crisp and savory, with sides of creamed spinach (superb), really good "Sam's Mashed Potatoes," and baby squash. (The architects both opted for the Roasted Tenderloin with Cipolini onions and wild mushrooms). A flourless chocolate express cake hit the mark for dessert.
"It was fun to see that the professional lunch crowd is alive and well," observed Paonita, of the guest list that was clearly dominated by Guggenheim supporters. "The friendly staff tried really hard to make us feel wanted."
The aspect of the restaurant I liked the best -- the acoustics allow you to easily hear your companions -- proved to be the factor that made the Armstrong/Gehry dialogue disappointing. The two speakers were not visible via the naked eye -- the discussion was played on flat screens with marginal audio. Unfortunately, the content was also marginal: the conversation was rambling not terribly enlightening.
It was a great idea, but the restaurant's nooks and crannies (which make it great for meals) undermined the attempt to offer an effective program. So thumbs up for the meal, thumbs down for the "Actor's Studio"-style interview session.
CATCH PHRASE PLEASE!
Michael Kay's got his "SEE YA!"
• John Sterling, well he's just way too theatrical for me with all that A-bomb from A-Rod and vibrato chest thumbing "The Yannnnnkeeees winnnnn" nonsense.
• SNL Weekend Update has it gooey "Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow."
• Edward R. Murrow had "Good Night, and Good Luck."
• Cronkite had "And that's the way it is."
• Probst has "The tribe has spoken."
• Then there's "Let's be careful out there" from Hill Street Blues.
You get the picture. (Hat tip to TVland).
So I need your help. I'm truly stumped. I need a catch phrase to end each episode of my Law Technology Now podcasts. And no, I don't want, "That's the Bay view" or similar thangs, and I kinda suspect people would not be enchanted by "Let's Go Yankees!"
Ideas???? Post a comment below, or e-mail me: email@example.com.
Winner gets a $25 iTunes card!
Update: Suggestions have been flying in!
So far, my favorite is from Avvo's Mark Britton: "Remember, 'technology' is Latin for profitability." Keep 'em comin'
From Rick Georges: There is not crying in baseball -- or technology. (love it)
From: John Jablonski: “Best tech, best talk”
“Talk is cheap: legal tech talk is priceless”
All tech, all the time, on demand: Legal Technology Now
The voice of legal technology
MO' MAILBAG #052009
JoAnna Forshee checks in to let folks know that it will provide 10 scholarships to unemployed attorneys who are job hunting, to attend its "Get a Life" Conference that is presented by the Total Practice Management Association. It is a two-day workshop on marketing and practice management and social networking that will be held in Chicago on May 27 & 28. Deadline to apply, 5/22, 5 p.m. CST. 411 here.
• Brent Bourque has replaced long-time director of marketing Connie Moser at Los Angeles-based Elite. She's a tough act to follow! Bourque, based in New Orleans, has been with Elite for 12 years, starting in sales. His title is senior director, strategic marketing and business intelligence, and he can be reached here.
• Charlie Haas, who went to University of California Santa Cruz, along with lawyer/marketer Louise Rosen Byer et moi, is embarking on a book tour for his latest novel, The Enthusiast (Harper Perennial). Check out his book readings:
Tuesday, June 2, 7:00 pm - Books Inc. at Opera Plaza, San Francisco.
Thursday, June 4, 7:00 PM - A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland (Montclair district).
Monday, June 8, 7:00 PM - Barnes & Noble, Jack London Square, Oakland.
Friday, June 12, 7:30 PM - Barnes & Noble, 396 Avenue of the Americas (at 8th St.), New York, N.Y.
Thursday, June 18, 7:30 PM - Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.
I'm planning to attend the NYC reading -- after all, the main character's name is Henry Bay!
Charlie also wrote the sequel (Gremlins 2) to one of my all-time favorite movies Gremlins. (Whenever I'm in a funk I just remember the scene with all the critters singing "Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off to work I go" with popcorn bucket hats!)
• Stephanie Hall wants you to know about her Relay for Life -- the American Cancer Society fundraiser she participates in every year to honor her mother, who she lost to cancer almost five years ago. Any donation helps.
• And our LTN colleague Theodora Blanchfield is also participating in a project, to benefit the Cancer Survivorship Initiative at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in N.Y. She's running to hnor her grandfather, Herbert Blanchfield, who died of mesothelioma in 2000.
• Steve Schwartz reports that certain LSAT PrepTests (past administered LSAT exams) are available only to students who take prep courses, not those who self-study. Check it out on his LSAT Blog.
DREAM YOUR DREAM
My friend Linda Lake just sent me this, and wow oh wow, you simply must check it out.
Susan Boyle offers an astounding reminder about why we should never, ever, ever underestimate or judge someone just because he or she is "plain."
From Britains Got Talent (Never mind the bad punctuation.) And yes, that's Simon Cowell on the judges' panel.
Update: The response to Boyle has been positively stunning. As of Thursday morning, the YouTubepost has had more than 17 million hits. Here's a very clever tribute to Ms. Boyle (a "speed drawing) by Cleveland's Jan LeCompte. And here's a news update from U.K.'s Channel Five. See #Susan_Boyle on Twitter.
Terrific article from The Guardian by Tanya Gold. Hat tip to @sumares.
Further updates: Boyle ain't a one-note wonder, she's still in the contest. Her handlers have done a very nice job with makeup and good choice of outfit, too:
NEW IS OLD AGAIN
Sorry, Baltimore, we got Tex & we ain't givin' him back. Even if he got jussssst a little bit spooked by the "welcome" booooos he got on opening day at Camden.
Now usually when the Yanks meet up with the O's in Maryland, there's about 65% Yankee fans in the stands
(I suspect most from New Jersey because it's so easy to get to from the Garden State, and Camden is so economical and family friendly.)
But not on Opening Day. It was more like 10%. To be honest, it's the first time I've felt juuuuussst a little intimidated in the friendly confines of Camden. The hostility to our newbie Tex rivaled that of the pissed off Yankee fans chanting "Who's Your Daddy" to Pedro Martinez in 2004 postgames, the noise level so intense that the Stadium literally shook.
But anyway..... it was big fun, even tho we got clobbered. My colleague Jai Wallace and I are sending huge thanks to our guests, the delightful Mary Ellen Belusci, Yankees fan Joe Zanta, and Scott Bogash of Needles; and Yvonne Dornic of eSentio Technologies and her finace Jim Rhodes, and Red Sox fan David Horrigan of Covington & Burling. Yvonne and Jim helped me recover from the trauma with a nightcap at their amazing restaurant, Ze Mean Bean in Fells Point.
I'm hoping tonight's game has a much happier ending for the New Yorkers. Should be interesting, as my O's rep Matt Dougherty notes: It's the Far East match-up, with Taiwan's Chien Ming Wang facing the O's new addition, Koji Uehara -- former ace of the Yomiuri Giants-- in his major league debut. And Thursday I get the pleasure of spending time with Cataphora's fascinating Susannah Smith, and Kelly Klyn, litigation technology specialist for Goodwin Procter. Can't wait!
I'm also LOVING the brand new Baltimore Hilton -- Check out the view from my room! It is literally yards from Camden, and gorgeous. But I must admit has a kinda odd color palette -- but it works: tangerine, gold, cobalt blue and lime green. So much better than 2008's obsession with chocolate and aqua (Yes, yes, yes, I watch way too much HGTV.)
Tuesday was an off day so we headed down to DC to visit with Robert Erich Jr. of Select Associates. We had a terrific conversation about how the economy is affecting the time/billing/acctg vendors -- Erich noted that his company's star* collect product has seen quite a spike in sales in recent months. Select Associates, says Erich, specializes in a variety of add-on software that integrates with Elite, Aderant, and other T&B/A software that targets the top AmLaw firms, he explained, including data warehousing and business intelligence tools. One of the newest offerings star* targetCash which helps firms project cash flow.
I suspect that interest in these types of products will most definitely continue to jump as purse strings tighten throughout the legal industry.
Tuesday night, we had the pleasure of joining Sally Gonzalez (Baker Robbins & Co.) and Stan Wasylyk (Michael Farrell Group) for a boisterous dinner at the Hard Times Cafe in Alexandria. Years and years ago, when I was vice-chair of the ABA's Law Student Division, we had a ton of meetings in D.C. and made regular pilgrimages to the HTC. It's a lot of fun, and it was great to return, although I probably ate more carbs in one sitting than I normally eat in a month.
Sally and I can bore anyone to death when you get us talking about our adventures on United Airlines. Sally's in the coveted rareified air of Global Services -- so elite that they don't even publicize it or tell you what the membership requirements are -- but it pretty much boils down to flying overseas a lot. Sally was based in London for a long stint, and also frequently visits clients in Switzerland, so she has that elusive BLACK Mileage Plus card that the rest of us mere mortals drool over. I hope we didn't drive our companions toooo nuts but we sure had a good time comparing road warrior stories.
(Btw: this could be a very interesting year for road warriors because so many of us will probably drop at last one level in the elite tiers because so many firms/companies are reducing travel.)
So... two more days in the wonderful Inner Harbor before I head back to NYC. Of course I save the best for last.... thanks to a dear friend who is a Cubs season ticket holder I actually got tix for last Saturday's Cubs/Yanks Exhibition game at the New Stadium.
OMG, it totally takes your breath away. It's just magnificent. But the strangest thing about it is that once you are inside, in your seats, it's almost Twilight Zone Deja Vu -- because it FEELS like the old Stadium. Even the FTI ad is in its proper place. The new video screen is awesome, and the Batter's Eye is now a restaurant, but the subway still screams right by the Short Porch, the Bleacher Creatures still do roll call, and it just feels great. Only the courthouse is missing from the tableau, because of the slight change in real estate.
And making the day even more touching: the first pitch was thrown out by Captain Sully, and the USAir 1549 skyboat crew! (He was joined by the first officer Jeff Skiles and chief flight attendant Doreen Welsh.)
Saturday, Cano christened the Stadium with its first home run, and Tex got back-to-back homers! (Jeter got the Stadium's first hit Friday night.) Joining me at the day game was the fabulous consultant Brad Blickstein, of Chicago's The Blickstein Group (above left), who took most of the photos on this page, and two terrific marketing dudes from Deloitte: Alan Numsuwan and Michael Rachlin. (We had a great conversation about off-shoring e-discovery and the impact of the economy on outsourcing.)
Two things da Yankees gotta do: 1) Get Sweet Lou (who got a standing ovation from the crowd during the Saturday game) to give us another one of his bats to sit on top of the center field flag pole, so we can see the wind direction (Mattingly took the original from the old stadium) and 2) they HAVE to install those nylon rope bank-line things to control the concessions line from blocking traffic all the way across the huge broad concourse.
But no complaints. It's wonderful. It's awesome. Even the birds are already finding their niches. And yes, no question about it, Aura & Mystique and the other ghosts have cheerfully crossed the street. Welcome home.
CONNECTING BUSINESS & PLEASURE
Marc Osborn and the gang over at LexisNexis' Martindale Hubbell have now officially launched Martindale Hubbell Connect, which has been in beta for a while. Bob Ambrogi raved about it in his Web Watch column last September in Law Technology News.
As part of the launch celebrations, MHC invited six bloggers to do a mini-carnival from March 30-April 6. MHC asked us to pontificate on social networking for lawyers, and MHC is posting links to each of our blogs. I'm honored to be invited, and happy to participate — especially in such good company: LexisNexis' Kathleen Delaney started it all Monday; Rees Morrison (Law Dept. Management) had day 2; Law.com's tech editor Sean Doherty tackled April Fool's Day; Bob Ambrogi drew the straw for Thursday; I have the reins today, and then Larry Bodine closes it all out on Opening Day.
Speaking of Ambrogi, he's always hipper-than-hip, and I count on him to point the way to new, kewl tech stuff. In fact, Ambrogi and Incisive Media's CEO Bill Pollak (@wpollak) can be mildly annoying to this tech editor, because they always seem find the latest greatest tech tool (or toy) just slightly faster than I do — which I generally attribute to the fact that both of them are parents of young adults. I'm parent only to a dog and cat who somehow have not mastered the computer keyboard (give them time), but one of these days I'm determined to find something kewl before these two dudes. :)
Anyway, all three of us are now pretty damned obsessed with Twitter. Bob (@bobambrogi) has written two great columns in the last year: Tweet Sixteen -- in December, where he talked about 16 reasons why lawyers should take Twitter seriously, and Let Twitter Sing, in March, where he ID'd numerous 3rd-party tools to help addicts become efficient power-users.
Indeed, many Incisive folks have contracted Twitter fever, and others are at least testing the water. One of the latest folks to dive in is Aric Press (@aricpress), the editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer. And Incisive "entity" IDs are popping up like Spring daffodils: @AmLawDaily; @LegalTechShow; @LawTechNews; @EDDUpdate, so on and so forth.
Sean Doherty (@legaltechtrek) and I (@commonscold) are both on board, but the winner for first early adopter within Incisive is probably LTN's new associate editor, Theodora Blanchfield (@tblanchfield) -- who was twittering LONG before the I.M. Baby Boomers got wind of it -- she was singing a full year ago.
Anyway.... for me, at first, Twitter didn't make a whole lot of sense. I thought it was fun and interesting and arguably more productive than playing BubbleBreaker on my Samsung Saga when I needed a quick break from editing. But my Eureka moment came when a story crashed, and I needed a last minute replacement. I tweeted that I was looking for a security story. Within an hour, Vivian Tero pinged me expressing interest, and wrote an absolutely terrific article, "Dangerous Shadows," about why it's important to be careful when social networking because seemingly innocuous personal information can come back to haunt you.
I knew I was officially drinking the Kool-Aid when I moderated a panel at LegalTech New York, featuring Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe), Chris Winfield (@chriswinfield), and Matt Homann (@matthoman) -- with a cameo from Bob Ambrogi. They were awesome, and outlined even more ways to effectively use Twitter. The best takeaway was their instructions on how to use Twitter's search functions (www.search.twitter.com). My skills grew logarithmically after Guy Kawasaki's (@guykawasaki) intoxicating keynote at our Search Engine Strategies conference in March. (See Kawasaki's link for a huge list of 3rd-party apps).
One of Kawasaki's points was that companies can use Twitter to monitor complaints and accolades, and immediately respond to customers. Sure enough, I soon experienced that first-hand. After being stuck in Manhattan for three weeks with the Nor-eastern flu from hell, I ran into a leeeetle problem when my car battery died while I was loading up the aforementioned dog and cat to go to my upstate cottage. Of COURSE I was illegally parked (this is Manhattan!) and I went into a cold panic. I called AAA and they rescued me in 20-minutes with a battery boost, and offered such amazingly good service (they even called me back to be sure I was OK) that I tweeted about it. Sure enough, within minutes of my rave, I got a thank-you tweet from @AAAauto saying they were happy I was happy. Good customer service? You betcha.
So what's next? We're going to reprise the LTNY Twitter panel at LegalTech West Coast, June 25 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, at 2:15 p.m. Kevin O'Keefe and Matt Homann will be returning, joined by solo Denise Howell (@dhowell) and Baker & Hostetler associate Nina Goldberg (@Ninakat). Do join us. We've already set up a "hash tag"* for the LA show - #LTWC. (The New York panel #LTNY was widely live-Tweeted.)
Well, enough. Gotta go Twitter. I'm still looking for tix to the April 16 home opener at Yankee Stadium, and hoping that my Tweets and Facebook posts will help me find someone who wants to sell 2 tix for under $250. (No bleachers please). Sellers can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* a code so others can easily find tweets related to the topic.
IT'S APRIL FOOLS DAY
Kurt Leafstrand and his colleagues at Clearwell had JUST a little bit too much time on their hands yesterday: check out this "launch." I see Mr. Ball also caught this (below).
Ditto for Google, with "CADIE." Hat tip to Sally Gonzalez.
And Klingon & Porcine Latin review capabilities have been added to Orange Legal Technologies' portfolio.
And we hear that a BigLaw firm just got Kindle 2s for everybody.
Our quite wonderful and often over-caffeinated HR department tries to keep our spirits up not just by keeping us well-informed about benefits, opportunities, and resources -- but every once in a while throws out a light-hearted contest with a $25 gift card to various retailers as a prize.
Yesterday, Martin Buckingham asked us all what the best non-work-related cost-saving idea was that we had heard or tried. It was late in the day, and I was a bit tired of editing, so I took the bait and got on a roll. Here's what I sent him. I freely confess that my middle class roots show, and it may help to know that like most Boomer Mahattanites, I split my time between a postage-stamp-size apartment and a modest country cottage (mine's in NW Conn.)
1. I’ve stopped spending, period. I buy dog and cat food – everything else, forget about it.
2. Stopped using cabs -- except late night when safety is an issue.
3. Am considering cancelling my New York Times sub, but as a journalist, I can’t bear to not support my favorite newspaper.
4. Am questioning every single purchase like I did when i was 20.
5. If I go to the movies, I’m not going to dinner afterwards, or if I do, I order only an appetizer. I don't order wine ever. (Maybe I should order wine and no food, suggested my staff.) When I do go to movies, i look carefully to see if senior discount starts at 55 rather than 60. I have not yet lied about my age, but I was tempted. (Very soon I won't have to, sigh.)
6. Run our co-op board meetings (I’m prez) rather than go to movies. Usually more entertaining, even when annoying.
7. Why get pedicures anymore? I'm sure I must have boxes of Wite-out from 1983 down in my storage room. I'll just start a new fashion trend for white toes.
8. Shop upstate and avoid NYC grocery stores.
9. Lug laundry upstate so I don’t have to spend $10 to do it in my apt. building.
10. Hoard Diet Coke when it goes on sale (4 12-packs for $11).
11. Started bringing in Stop & Shop Instant Oatmeal to work rather than paying for bagel, orange juice etc. every morning.
12. Walk very carefully on ice because I can’t afford any more physical therapy co-pays or any more broken bones.
13. I would try street parking instead of my nice parking lot, but I'm not good at math and would never get Alternate Street Parking days right. And I really don't want to get my mirrors "customized" by trucks.
14. Scream at A-Rod’s latest bonehead move to distract me from the economic crisis.
15. I actually shop at Wal-mart now.
16. Ignoring expiration dates on food and medicine.
17. Constant anxiety attacks decrease my hunger so who needs to eat? (see #1 above)
Unfortunately, all but two of the above are true. OMG, I sound like a very old lady :)
Can the gift card be for Gristedes or Petco? :)
LED ZEPP - OFF TOPIC BUT BIG FUN
My pal Jon Bream -- veteran music critic of Minneapolis' Star Tribune -- has just finished up an east coast book tour for his brand new book, Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin: The Illustrated History of the Heaviest Band of All Time, published by Voyageur Press.
Says Bream: "The 288-page coffee-table book features interviews with all four Zep members, more than 500 photos of the band and memorabilia (posters, backstage passes, etc.), comments about Zep from more than 30 other music stars and contributions from two dozen journalists."
For more details, check out his website, www.jonbream.com. He also has one of the funniest bios I've read in years, here. And it's all true. Trust me.
JB hired me to be a rock critic for the Minnesota Daily way back when we were both kids at the U, and it's probably his fault that I'm still a journalist. I've been to a concert or two with him over the years -- probably the most memorable was backstage at that Last Waltz in San Francisco -- one of the all-time strangest nights of my life.
Nobody knows rock and roll better than Jon Bream. Go buy his book :)
A WONDERFUL TRADITION
What a fun evening last night (August 12) at the Dome in Mpls, for our SIXTH annual Twins/Yanks fest! Michael Medwig, Marnie Maroney & I hosted the event, which drew about 50 folks for a lively evening of beisbol and conversation!
We had a blast in section 222, with contingents from Thomson/Reuters/West, Kroll, Merrill, the EDD consultants gang, Teri "Jersey Girl" McCarron and her entourage, Amy Juers' Edge Legal Marketing crew, Dorsey, Parsinen Kaplan, et al. It was also delightful that LTN's former associate editor, Katie Montgomery and her mom could join us! What a great group.
It was great opportunity to see everybody, chat about the latest developments, and see a great game, with so many ups and downs that the fans of both teams were happy. (The Yanks won, but only after the Twins' Delmond Young hit a home run off Mariano Rivera to take the game into extra innings).
• Microsoft Corp. has announced a new Law Firm Diversity Program, aimed at increasing the number of women and minority attorneys within its outside counsel. It's putting money where its mouth is -- by changing its legal fee structure so that each of the company's 17 "Premier Preferred Provider" firms is now eligible for a 2% quarterly or annual bonus, based on whether it achieves "concrete diversity results." GC Brad Smith conceived the plan. "Microsoft is a global company and cannot be effective if it cannot understand and appreciate the interests and needs of the incredibly diverse array of individuals who make up its stakeholder groups," the company asserted in its announcement.
Despite "good intentions," the legal profession has a disappointing track record on attracting and keeping women and minorities, acknowledges Smith. Only 18% of partners at large firm are women, and only 5.4% are minorities, he says.
Internally, Microsoft says it is also holding senior execs accountable for the success of the program, tying 5% of Smith's (and other legal/corp affairs execs) bonus to diversity improvements of the PPP participants. It also pledged to increase fees to diversity firms by .5%, increase representation of women at more senior levels within its legal/corp affairs ranks by 1% and increase minorities in U.S. posts by .5%. It will also continue to host programs promoting diversity in the profession.
Pardon my cynicism, but those goals seem pretty tiny. I would have liked to have seen the goals be higher than .5% and 1%. But then, given Microsoft's scope and influence, hopefully the pressure will help. It really is shameful that in 2008, our profession has done so poorly in attracting and retaining women and minorities. But it's also not a simplistic issue, and it is loaded with subtleties (many women argue that they do not WANT BigFirmHaveNoLife jobs). But sexism and racism is alive and thriving in the real world, so even if the goals are modest, kudos to Brad Smith Redmond for spotlighting such an important cause. Let's hope his goals are exceeded by double digits!
• The delightful Tom Collins reports that his first mystery book, Mark Rollins' New Career & the Women's Health Club, is now available on Amazon.
Lemme give him the mic:
After selling Juris to Lexis/Nexis and turning over the reins of the blog MorePartnerIncome.com to others, I ventured into a new career as a mystery writer. [The book] is the first of what I expect to be a series of mysteries featuring Mark Rollins as an ex-software entrepreneur turned amateur sleuth.
We are not talking about the great American novel. This is the kind of book you buy for airports and travel. It is a fast read that pokes a little fun here and there, but the mystery is a serious one. I enjoyed writing it and believe you will find reading it equally enjoyable.
As for next adventure of Mark Rollins, I had started a second book involving attempts on the life of the rainmaker of a fictional law firm when the project was interrupted by a return of my colon cancer. I had surgery in May and will be dealing with radiation and chemo for the remainder of the year. In spite of this temporary setback, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker should be on internet bookshelves by 2009.
Here's to Tom, with our warmest wishes and thoughts for a SPEEDY recovery and many, many, many more adventures of Mr. Collins & Mr. Rollins.
• Michael Goldblatt checks in to let us know that his Computer Newsletter's August edition contains links to Chevron GC Charles James' keynote address at this summer's LegalTech West Coast. The newsletter targets Louisiana legal professionals, and includes product reviews, mobility tools, trial practice tips, marketing resources, and more. For more info, visit www.lawyerscomputergroup.com.
• Lana Schell, who is active in the Women in E-Discovery Philadelphia chapter, is participating in a Breast Cancer 3 Day event benefiting the Susan G. Koman for the Cure program. She'll walk 60 miles and would appreciate donations to help her exceed her $2,200 goal. 411 here.
* Bob Johnston, of the Executive Council in NYC, checks in to tell us that if you were unable to attend the recent (excellent) program about "Green IT" you can watch highlights online here.
I attended the program, and was especially impressed with Microsoft's chief environmental strategist, Robert Bernard. Also speaking: Dell Inc.'s Head of Environmental Affairs, Michael Murphy; 1E's CEO and CTO, Sumir Karayi; Weber Shandwick's EVP and Cleantech guru, Paul Jensen, and Brian Dumaine, discussing his new book, The Plot to Save the Planet - How Visionary Entrepreneurs and Corporate Titans are Creating Real Solutions to Global Warming."
* Change of the guard: Leah Bilotta has handed the marketing manager reins at RainMaker Software Inc. to Matthew Altemus, former Marketing Associate. Bilotta has accepted another position and is relocating to Saratoga Springs, New York. It's been a pleasure working with Leah, and we wish her well. Welcome, Matt.
* Michigan's Enrico Schaefer reports on a new website design for his firm, Traverse Legal, www.traverselegal.com. "Note that the blogs are fully-integrated into the remainder of the law firm website. There is no distinction in design, colors, logos, etc. between the nine distinct blogs which each capture a distinct practice area of the firm. Note that the homepage pulls in the last three posts from each blog, creating rotating dynamic content."
* Ari Kaplan notes that his new book, The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development, has been published by Thomson West.
* Lindsey Goodrich, of Chesapeake Interlink Ltd., checks in to tell us that there's a new website for Needles case management software. It offers a new look, an updated menu structure, additional features and information, with a more comprehensive organization of content areas. "We wanted pages that exhibited a high-tech, sophisticated, animated, engaging, and dynamic web presence," says marketing director Mary Ellen Bellusci.
* Whoppee! UAL's Ted is gone, and UAL is going Star Alliance with Continental. My mom found this article in USA Today by David Grossman about the great news that UAL has executed Ted -- it's discount program that tried to compete with the likes of Southwest. I hated Ted from the outset, and was always stuck on it when I traveled to Phoenix -- and always tried to manuveur my itinerary to avoid it, so I'm thrilled. I'm also thrilled that UAL had the good sense, when merger talks failed, to set up Star Alliance status with Continental, which has a superb reputation (and yes, is the official airline of the Yankees, for what that's worth, so I see a lot of their ads). It always drove me nuts when I was at Sky Harbor to have to walk right past the Continental nonstop Phx/Newark flight when I was headed to the Ted flights and a miserable 12 hour trip home with connections.
* Finally, Susannah Smith offers two gems: First, this link to Eco*Systems, which offers "green" trade show exhibits etc.
And this "BallGirl" video, which has many folks buzzing about whether it's real or faked: Download Ballgirl.wmv. Says Susannnah: "This is from my close friend Jack Rains who was chair of the Houston-Harris County Sports Authority when the (now) Minute Maid Stadium was built."
It's an absolute hoot!
LAWYERS ON AMERICAN IDOL?
Monica Phillips Jalil (director of mktg) and the gang at Washington, D.C.'s Ross, Dixon & Bell are pulling out the stops for their former partner Will Hopkins, who is one of 20 finalists in American Idol's Songwriter Contest. Let me turn over the mic:
If selected, his song, “When You Come From Nothing,” will be recorded and released as the first single by the winner of American Idol. The song is also performed on American Idol by the two finalists on the next-to-the-last show and then is performed by the winner immediately after claiming the crown. And the song goes on the American Idol's first album, which can sell millions of copies.
Cast your vote now! Go to the website, listen to the finalists, and rank the songs. The name of the song will pop up as you listen to each song, but the songwriters are not identified. The voting runs through April 23. (Wednesday)
How did Will Hopkins go from lawyer to
songwriter? In 2000, with no musical training whatsoever, [he] decided
to start composing songs. He had always written them in his head and he
finally decided to do something about it.
He woke up one morning and realized that “at my core, I’m a songwriter and when I die I want my tombstone to say ‘songwriter,’ ” Will said.
Just five months after writing his first song, he announced that he was leaving the practice of law to focus full-time on his songwriting career. In 2001, he did just that and for the last six years he has split his time between Washington, D.C. and Nashville. In the last two years, eight of Will’s songs have been recorded by independent artists, and he has won numerous honors and awards.
Will Hopkins is a songwriter on the verge of a really big breakthrough. As a finalist for the American Idol Songwriter Contest, this could be his big break. American Idol is truly a cultural phenomenon, with something like 30 million people watching each show. His song, “When You Come From Nothing,” was one of literally “tens of thousands” of entries to make it to the final twenty.
Law firm partner turned American Idol songwriter? It could just happen for Will Hopkins and his song, “When You Come From Nothing.”
IT'S SPRING... FINALLY!
What a wonderful break from New York's winter weather... Five days in Tampa, with the good company of some of our legal tech denizens in Rays-ville. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's no longer the toothy, gritty DEVIL Rays, it's just plain bland Rays. Somebody ought to fire THAT marketer...)
Sunday, it was a road trip to the land o' the Pirates, in Brandenton - about an hour south of Tampa, over spectacular blue waters and a 5.5 mile gorgeous bridge, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which is very aptly named. (Here's the NY Times architecture review). According to wikipedia, it's the world's longest bridge with a cable-stayed main span. (Photo courtesy of Bridgeworld.net).
Anyway, trusty Garmin "Jill" kinda tilted once we got to Brandenton. She (nuvi 200) is good, but not perfect, and kept insisting on sending us to an area of town decidedly more devoted to chihuaha dogs and beer than to beisbol. It was an interesting scenic tour, but we quickly defaulted to the tried-and-true "ask a gas station dude" method, and with his directions, finally found the charming McKechnie Field at 1611 9th street WEST (not east, as Jill insisted on sending us).
Anyway -- the "we" in this case being the intrepid Teri "Jersey Girl" McCarron (of Minnesota's McCarron Advanced Computing Services Inc.) and her boyfriend Teddy Lindgren, who shows great bravery going out in public with us when Teri and I are bedecked in Yankees-wear.
We absolutely loved McKenchnie Field. Alan Byrd sums it up in his Florida Spring Training guidebook: 'Everything seems to be a little better here than at most Spring Training sites. The grass is greener, the people friendlier, the stadium prettier and the atmospher livelier." He says it's because just about everybody at the facility is a volunteer -- and baseball and the Pirates "are woven into the fabric of the town." The local boosters raised the bucks to renovate the stadium, and they run it. It's beyond charming.
Teri is so enthusiastic, she makes me look like a wall flower, and she soon was engaged to the Parrott, or was it Mike the Super Beer man (above)? Who knows! But EVERYBODY has fun when Teri's at a game. Even Doug Mientkiewicz waved at us from right field -- and then after the game, shook Jersey Girl's hand and signed my cap after we urged him to come back to the Bronx. (Cashman was with him and grinned at our suggestion).
It was a balmy, wonderful afternoon, and the perfect way to spend an Easter Sunday. Who cares that just about none of the superstars players were on the lineup card, and the boys lost, it was a complete hoot.
Monday, it was back to Legends Field, for a chilly night game that was a slug-fest win for the Yanks. Joining ALM's Mike Medwig (left) et moi was Denise Malivuk, (right) marketing manager, and her colleague Tracey McSheffrey, (middle) of Hudson Legal. Two delightful women, they updated us on the activities of their international company (with operations in the U.S., Europe and Asia). Hudson places attorneys, paralegals and legal support professionals, in both permanent and temp posts. It targets both corporate law departments and outside counsel -- and has been particularly active in the emerging area of e-discovery, specializing in large-scale lit matters, antitrust reviews, goverment investigations, and other matters that are document intensive.
Denise and I had a fascinating conversation about how EDD is changing the career terrain, especially for lit support folks. (I'll be speaking on that topic next month at ALM's Paralegal conference in NYC).
Tuesday, we wrapped up our 2008 adventure with a trip to Winter Haven, to Cleveland turf (although they probably are moving to Arizona next year) at the Chain of Lakes Park complex - about 70 minutes east of Tampa. Another charming stadium, (although we won't talk about how poorly organized and congested the parking situation was).
It was terrific to spend time with David Bailey, president of DocuLex (right) and Tim Nissen (left) the company's marketing czar. The company recently sold its Discovery Cracker product to CT (to the CT Summation unit), and has decided to focus on document management as its "core competency." We had a great time learning about its operation, until it was time to head back west. Oh yeah, they lost.
Now it's time to head north -- with my newly-autographed hat (The Parrott, the beerman, the bullpen catcher, and Dougie, who we want back in the Bronx), new and renewed friendships -- and just a hint of a sunburn. Spring Training has been great, but now it's time for the games that count.
Monday! Opening Day! Whoopeeee! Let's go YANKEES.
As always, click on images to enlarge. Photo album here.
Now, Rick is featured on the March cover of The ABA Journal -- he debates fellow lawyer Ben Stevens over Mac v. PC. (Rick is advocating for PCs.)
* New blog: John deCastro reports that Innotas has launched PPM Perspective. (Oh boy, another TLA (three letter acronym). This one stands for Project and Portfolio Management. Eight folks at the organization are listed as authors.
* My colleagues over at ALM Research have published the 2007 Billing Rates and Practices Survey. It covers solos to mid-sized firms across all 50 states, with about 5,000 respondents. Author: Margaret Daisley.
* Larry Bodine checks in to let us know that JD Supra has launched:
It is an online platform for lawyers in any practice to post court documents, filings, articles, client alerts and other content freely accessible to anyone doing legal research.
* Not too late to be early! Houston's the place to be Thursday and Friday... Many of the "usual suspects," including moi, will be on hand for Chere Estrin's Litigation Support Leaders SuperConference, at the Crowne Plaza. The who's who includes keynote speakers Mike Arkfeld and George Socha, along with LTN edit board members Brett Burney and Tom O'Connor. We'd love to see you.
It's a great crowd, with top firms and corporate legal departments, including Exxon, Shell, Chevron, Bingham McCutchen, Howrey, Thompson Hine, Ropes & Gray, et al. Come join us! The fun starts at noon Thursday!
Chere has kindly offered a FOF (friend o' faculty) discount of 10% -- so just tell them you saw it in The Common Scold to claim your not-really-early-bird discount. Pop her an e-mail at for details or visit the website.