Things Are Looking Up

From: Jerry Lawson
Date: Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 8:21 AM
To: [Redacted]
Subject: Re: This is sedition…

I’m feeling more optimistic this morning than I have in some time.

The nuts have finally gone too far. A sense of revulsion has overtaken many Americans. 

There is evidence supporting this: 

Most important, the 180 degree reversals by key Republican leaders, including McConnell, Pence and Graham. They are savvy politicians who know which way the wind is blowing and are moving rapidly to try to salvage their careers. 

A couple of years ago I talked privately with a friend of mine, a high-powered lobbyist who has the best political instincts I know. He works for [redacted], but I don’t want to mention his name. His firm represents both Democrats and Republicans, and he doesn’t like to talk publicly about his personal political views. 

I told him my sense was that most Republican senators despised Trump and I thought it was inevitable that they would turn against him eventually. He responded:

“They will be for him until a half hour before they are against him.”

Looks like my friend’s assessment was correct.

Jerry 

P.S. I’m sending blind CC’s to selected friends.

From: [Redacted]
Date: Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 2:47 PM
To: Lawsonhome <zzlaws@gmail.com>
Subject: This is sedition…

As I watch the events today, I am outraged and angry and sad.  Just when I though it could not get any lower the moron takes into a 3rd world banana republic.  Sad…

But I a thinking this is what we need, this should wake up those moderate Rs and independents to realize these wacked out right-wing nuts of the Rs have to go!!!

Someone is going to get hurt and possibly die…

This is not over yet.

Draft Book Preface: Frieda Riley


Miss Freida Riley
I dedicated my first book, The Complete Internet Handbook for Lawyers, to the best teachers I had in high school, college, law school and two mentors I encountered later who influenced me greatly. Of these, the most important was probably my high school teacher, Freida Riley.The preface to a new book I am writing about knowledge management for law firms uses things Freida Riley taught me to make a point about efficiency and lawyers:PREFACEI first learned about the joy of efficiency from my high school Geometry teacher, Miss Frieda Riley. On submitting a proof for her approval, her usual reaction would be: “It’s OK. Can you do better?” What she meant was make it simpler, more streamlined, more efficient. If better insights came to me, I would hear words every student yearns to hear: “That’s good, Jerry. That’s what we are looking for.” Miss Riley prized efficiency, what mathematicians call “elegance.” She showed me what poet Edna St. Vincent had in mind when she wrote: “Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.” Freida RileyValedictorian of her high school and college classes, Frieda Riley could have been a star teacher at virtually any school in the country. She chose to return to her home in the southern West Virginia coal fields. She blessed the students of Big Creek High School with new insights, better ways of thinking and approaching problems.Fried Riley died of Hodgkin’s Disease at age 31. Today she is honored in the National Museum of Education, but her most important legacy is the countless students she inspired–and equipped–to meet challenges.October Sky MovieHomer Hickam was one of these students. He escaped the coal fields to become a NASA engineer. Miss Riley played a prominent role in his memoir, “Rocket Boys.” It was later made into the 1999 movie named “October Sky.” Laura Dern played the Miss Riley role. Dern did a great job, but the real Miss Riley was oh so much better.My Miss Riley-inspired yearning for efficiency accompanied me to many places, including a private law firm and later several federal agencies. I observed many attempts at knowledge management, good and bad. Efficiency was a rare commodity in most knowledge management efforts, effectiveness even more so. The main feature most had in common was a failure to meet expectations. Many were complete failures.By this point the more impatient reader will be asking, “What does one man’s idiosyncratic fetish for efficient knowledge management have to do with me and my law firm?” The answer is simple:Improved, more efficient knowledge management is probably the most promising way for most law firms to become more effective, to improve their bottom line.The grail of knowledge management is elusive. There are more potential pitfalls than easy shortcuts. In this book I have done my best to provide tools that can help you find the best approaches, the ones most adaptable to you and your law firm. We hope you enjoy the adventure and find it rewarding. Our challenge to you is: “Can you do better?”Jerry LawsonShare this:

Twitter

Facebook

MoreCustomize buttonsLike this:https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=46797350&post_id=469&origin=netlawtools.com&obj_id=46797350-469-5fdf98aa42802Author jlawsonPosted on Categories KMOff the ClockEdit”Draft KM Book Preface: Freida Riley”Leave a Reply Logged in as jlawsonLog out?COMMENT Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Post navigationPREVIOUSPrevious post:Lawson ResumeNEXTNext post:FeedbackBLOG TOPICSBlog Topics  Select Category  About  (3)  Blogs for Lawyers  (6)  COVID-19  (3)  KM  (4)  Marketing  (11)  Miscellaneous  (1)  Off the Clock  (4)  On The Horizon  (3)  Presentation Tips  (16)  Productivity Tips  (18)  Research Skills  (1)  Security  (22)  Social Media for Lawyers  (3) ARCHIVESArchives  Select Month   November 2020  (1)   October 2020  (6)   September 2020  (4)   August 2020  (15)   July 2020  (5)   June 2020  (3)   May 2020  (2)   April 2020  (11)   March 2020  (2)   February 2020  (4)   January 2020  (6)   December 2019  (6)   November 2019  (8)   October 2019  (6)  Search for:ARCHFOLLOW US

Twitter

LinkedInFacebookSUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAILEnter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.Email Address SUBSCRIBE My Tweets

Presentation Tip 15: Are “Pitches” Different?

Guy Kawasaki believes most slide shows used as a “pitch” have too many slides, last too long and use too small a font.

His 10/20/30 rule is that a “pitch” (i.e., one designed to reach an agreement, like make a sale or raise capita) should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and use no slide smaller than 30 points. He explains further:

  • Ten slides. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business.
  • Twenty minutes. You should complete discussion of your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.
  • Thirty-point font. The majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.

There is some wisdom here. “Pitch” presentations have unique needs. It’s most effective if you make your points quickly, and Kawasaki’s recommendations are great for this purpose.

Just don’t let them be a Procrustean bed that prevents you from being more flexible when another approach would work better, as when teaching a complex CL topic, for example.

Ann Walsh Long on Core Legal Research Skills

Prof. Ann Walsh Long shares her thoughts on the core legal research skills law students should master in a guest post at the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.

Ann is the author of a fine new book, A Short & Happy Guide to Advanced Legal Research. This book was originally written for academic audiences, but I have found it to be very useful in my own practice. I am working on a considered review, which should be published soon.

Outsourcing to India

My 1999 book, The Complete Internet Handbook for Lawyers, contained many predictions. I missed on a few, but was right on target for many. I am proud of one prediction in particular:

Legal work, including work normally performed by lawyers, will be outsourced to countries like India.

Outsourcing to India for non-legal work is not particularly controversial. For example, Galaxy Web Links (Twitter contact Erica Sadler) has developed many lawyer websites. They have a U.S. office, but most of the work is performed in India. More about Galaxy Web Links later.

On the other hand, my prediction about outsourcing legal work was quite controversial. It provoked widespread skepticism at the time, even ridicule, but it has been well vindicated.

Ron Friedmann

Legal tech guru Ron Friedmann noted that by 2005 (6 years after my prediction), U.S law firms and law departments were indeed outsourcing legal work to India. Friedmann maintains an extensive list of law firms outsourcing work to India at his Strategic Legal Technology blog. This includes the following types of work:

  • Document drafting by lawyers
  • Legal research
  • IP legal work, substantive or administrative
  • Review of discovery documents
  • Paralegal services
  • Administrative and secretarial support services, excluding digital dictation

We’ll be discussing the implications of this trend in future posts.

Global Law Firm Victim of Ransomware

The Seyfarth law firm has reported it was the victim of a ransomware attack. If it can happen to them, this is a concern for all law firms. 

Catherine Reach has some advice for avoiding phishing scams, probably the most common vector for such attacks.

Hipster Antitrust Movement: What Is the Purpose of Antitrust Law?

Should companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google be free from antitrust scrutiny merely because their business practices cannot be shown to result in higher prices for consumers?

The Bradley Law Firm‘s award-winning Declassified blog, a premier source of information about class actions, recently examined this conflict in an article by Charles Elder entitled “Hipster Antitrust” Movement Takes Center Stage in Congress.

The article focuses on a recent Judiciary Committee hearing in which representatives questioned CEOs from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google about allegedly anticompetitive business practices. The hearing was prompted by a 2017 Yale Law Journal article by Lina Khan, which gave rise to what became known informally as the “hipster antitrust” movement:

Since the Reagan administration, the development of antitrust law has focused on consumer welfare – typically indicated by low prices – to determine whether competition had been harmed unlawfully. This development was based on then-professor (and later judge) Robert Bork’s influential book, The Antitrust Paradox, and the libertarian “Chicago school” of economics. If prices stay low and customers are happy, then courts are typically reluctant to find any antitrust violation. If the complaining party was a competitor whose business was harmed, it is often met with the response that the antitrust laws exist to protect competition, not individual competitors.

More recently, scholars such as Khan have argued that this historical view is too narrow, and they advocate for a broader focus on market structure and the power and influence large tech companies wield. They argue that, rather than merely analyzing whether corporate actions result in lower consumer prices, the law should recognize that the excessive concentration of economic power in a handful of large companies is inherently bad, because it exacerbates other ills, such as income inequality and labor abuses, and gives undue political influence to too few people. Khan’s article was specifically about Amazon, a company that famously offers low prices on a wide variety of consumer goods and that has for the most part been well-liked by customers, but which, she argued, exerts a dangerous amount of power to effectively control the online retail economy.

The answer to this question is critical to the future of the Internet. Elder concludes that it’s unlikely that the largest Internet companies will be broken up because they are popular with users.

I tend to agree, but at the same time I think it’s a mistake to underestimate the potential for change. The attacks on these Internet giants are motivated in large part by bipartisan displeasure at their power and how it impacts the national political scene.

Notes on Use of Lawyer Use of Blog Format

This article is a great illustration of how lawyers with little technical expertise can use blogs to promote themselves and their law practice.

Declassified also illustrates the benefits of a team approach. In addition to Elder’s excellent article, it featured recent high quality articles by Jeffrey R. BlackwoodKristina Allen RelifordJ. Thomas RichieDylan C. Black & Richard W.F. Swor.

Finally, the Bradley firm’s website illustrates one of the biggest blog advantages: They tend to attract backlinks, one of the best methods of improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In other words, backlinks tend to cause websites to rank higher in Google ratings.

After all, I would most likely never have seen this article, let alone written about it and linked to it, if it had not been published in the blog format.

Many vendors can provide blogs, some very inexpensively, but the legal industry focus of Lexblog (founded by the estimable Kevin O’Keefe, himself author of the Real Lawyers blog) makes it one of the best choices for lawyers.

Presentation Tip 14 Slide Shows & Audience Expectations 

While slide shows like MS Powerpoint have their pros and cons, there is a risk in not having any slide show to help your audiences.

Stephanie Everett‘s Lawyerist article Lawyer Public Speaking & Teaching addresses this and related issues in her great short summary of the topic. It’s all worth reading, and these points are particularly relevant:

Audiences almost always expect a slideshow when they attend a presentation. Without it, they may think you forgot or were just too lazy to put one together. …

The slides should be the starting point for a conversation. This will help frame your topic and remind people where you are. …

The audience is there to hear you and not to read the entirety of your presentation from slides. Keep the information on the slides limited, and make sure you are the one giving the lesson, not the slides.

Finally, have a backup plan. Computers crash. Flash drives get corrupted. Your presentation may not work. That means you need to be ready to roll without the aid of a PowerPoint slideshow.

Self-Publishing by Lawyers

Disintermediation, or cutting out the middleman, is a key effect of the Internet, a disaster for some, an opportunity for others. Uber inserts itself between prospective passengers and conventional cabs. “Cordcutters” bundle antennas and streaming services to avoid TV cable companies. Some lawyers are considering cutting the cord from traditional legal research services.

Dennis Kennedy is showing lawyer/authors a new, possibly lucrative form of disintermediation: Bypassing conventional publishers.

I’m finishing a (laudatory) review of Dennis Kennedy’s new book Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations. I was impressed by the fact that Dennis does not merely talk innovation: He does innovation.

Rather than go with a conventional book publisher, Kennedy self-published the book, working through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (includes option for on-demand paperback publishing as well as eBook).

I used to think of “vanity press” condescendingly, as primarily for authors whose work was not good enough to interest a “real” publisher. This book has changed my attitude. There are multiple advantages to self-publishing, including speedier development and reducing the cost to purchasers.

Kennedy is in a better position to self-publish than most authors. Having a respected third party (in this case, an established conventional publisher) select a book for publication serves a sort of credentialing function, “validating” the book for potential readers. Kennedy’s track record as a recognized expert and author allows him to “self-validate.”

Dennis found the results of self-publishing so beneficial that he explained in an interview posted at his podcast, the Kennedy-Mighell Report that the odds are 95% that he will self-publish his next book. 

Self-publishing looks like an increasingly attractive option for lawyer authors.