Monthly Archives: January 2010

Kindle, Moleskine and the iTablet

A couple of funny things happened earlier this week.

Firstly I was asked for my vote on whether our family law team at Mogers should switch to online resources for our law journals and periodicals.

For all my enthusiasm for all things tech I realised that in this context I would much prefer the printed material.

Why?

I don’t have strong views on the quality of print on screen – although the Kindle and it’s like leave me completely disinterested.

No. My decision was based on the ease of use. I still find the existing online resources, with their labyrinthine processes, forms, paranoid protections and processes to be nothing less than repulsive.

They push me away rather than welcoming me in and offering an enjoyable, or at least comprehensible, experience.

I was over-ruled being the only luddite who voted for print.

The next surprise was that I found myself indulging in the bizarre cult of Moleskine. Please, nobody tell my wife, but I invested (yes, they really are that expensive) tentatively.

My toe in the Moleskine water was a purchase of the 3 pack of exercise books.  Why?

No doubt about it, Moleskine are doing wonderful work in creating a brand that adds value in the eyes of its customers.  They then shout loudly about the product, which is just a notebook, so that the curious, and perhaps the gullible, buy one to suck it and see.

I have been asked to write blogs professionally for a couple of client firms and my thinking is to have a book for each so that I can jot down ideas in graphical format, such as mindmapping, that I cannot currently do on Evernote.  See my previous post.

So, my latent ludditism resurfaces once again.  Printed text for research and the written notebook.  Whatever next…

…oh hang on.  Just seen this leak on the iTablet … Scrap everything I just said…

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Filed under General Technology, Law, Lawyers and Social Media, Leisure, Uncategorized

Great tool for lawyers on the move…

As I continue my journey through this world of tech it is always exciting to find new products. My most recent find is Evernote.

Evernote is like a bunch of virtual post-it notes. Got a burning idea, or just had a fleeting memory of a defence you’ve to got to file within the week?

Evernote enables you to capture those thoughts and file them for you to revisit and follow up on at a later date.

I suspect the breadth of potential application of Evernote’s functions could be immense. I am only just scratching the surface of it but new uses are presenting themselves already. This blog post is a good example. I am writing this on Evernote on my HTC Hero mobile while I sup coffee in a cafe. I take a picture and also save that to Evernote…

Great blogging coffee from Urban Espresso, Keynsham, Bristol

In a moment I will save it to my hosted account. When I have a moment, later in the day, I will cut and paste it, add a photo within WordPress and appropriate links and then post.

The result? Spontaneous blogging just the way it is supposed to be.

Have a look at Evernote and let me know what you think. If you are already using it, how do you use yours?

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Progress sacrificed at the altar of prudence

“Don’t tell your lawyer. They are trained to say no”

So said one of the presenters at Dell’s b2b (business to business) huddle last December.  He was answering a question (not mine) about involving your legal team when creating policy and strategy.

“There is something inherent within lawyers, within their very composition, that drives them to say no.” the speaker continued.

Now, I was with a few good friends, namely corporate communications expert Diana Railton and the seemingly inexhaustible Richard Hill of Innovantage and E-CRM.

Bear in mind that I was there to learn more about b2b social media and not in my capacity as lawyer. I was ‘undercover.’

When this comment was made my colleagues turned to me to see my reaction – and no doubt to make sure I had registered the point being made! I had, and it’s a point that disappoints and intrigues me.

The disappointment stems from the message that lawyers are seen as inhibitors of innovation. That, to me is wretched and contrary to so much of what drives me personally.

The impression is not entirely unfounded either. There are individuals and wings of the profession who revel in their conservatism. Check out the letter pages of the Law Society Gazette and there you will find them.

And it leaves me wondering, to what extent are lawyers still seen as self appointed high-priests overseeing the sacrifice of progress at the altar of prudence.

Forgive the purple prose.  Got a bit carried away there but you get the point. Normal service shall resume shortly!

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Society doesn’t need law firms. What we need is…?

Apologies and thanks to Clay Shirky for providing the thought that kicks off this post.  Clay wrote here about the malaise affecting the newspaper market in the face of new emerging technology.

There is a vibrant discussion over at linkedin (possibly subscription required) instigated by James Dunning of GeoTrupes wondering whether law is facing a similar crisis.  I could not see however that that discussion had yet been linked to Clay’s debate.

Clay wrote in his very comprehensive post that “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.”

I feel that this is a wonderful provocation.  If we, within law, were to challenge ourselves with the question  “Society doesn’t need law firms. What we need is…?” then what answers or insights might we come up with?

I think that we, as lawyers, need to be having this debate.  I am frequently reminded of Susskind’s very pithy observation that “Google wasn’t invented by librarians”

If we are not prepared to engage in this debate, then there are plenty of other commentators and service providers who will. 

To close, consider this further excerpt from Clay Shirky’s argument, again transposing references to newspapers and journalism to law firms and law. 

“And so it is today. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.”

Chilling, isn’t it?

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Filed under General Technology, Law, Lawyers and Social Media, The Changing Legal Market

Wow. The things we could do… but how?

One of the things I love about the current revolution taking place in social media and online services is the array of free utility software that enables the curious and the creative to make and do.

I have had great fun experimenting with Youtube, itself a free way of getting profile and communicating your message. But how were they made?

You can find my various videos at Mogers TV on Youtube. All of those videos were created for nothing other than a bit of time, application and initiative.

The Collaborative law video was prepared by narrating the audio into free sound recording software called Audacity. It is very easy to download. Once you have it, get stuck in and find your way around. I’m happy to help with questions.

I recorded the video using my sony handycam and then spliced the two together using Microsoft Windows Movie Maker – a surprisingly capable bit of bundled software.

The newer videos exploring how to apply for a divorce are done using Audacity once again to record the narrative but this time using free to download and use software called CamStudio to record the video.

The video is comprised of action recorded live from my computer screen. CamStudio is a bit clumsy in some of its implementation but after a couple of hours I was able to find ways to work around its limitations. Again, I’m happy to give more information or answer questions, but for now I would encourage anyone to give Audacity, Youtube, CamStudio and your existing video equipment and see what you could create.

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Early Leaders for the Divorce Day Cup

Just before Christmas I was pondering who would herald in the New Year with shouts of “Divorce enquiries UP!”

Well, having been under starter’s orders for a while now, they’re off.

We had an early disqualification for Vanessa Lloyd-Platt for jumping the gun with her December press release proclaiming that her company were flogging divorce vouchers for Christmas.  It was reported in The Lawyer here . It is useful to use that source as a link as it demonstrates that lawyers as a profession do not all think like that. Read the comments;

Cheap stunt. A quick look at the website confirms this. Big on trashy self-publicity. Very short on class.” comments Dayglo Dave, presumably not his real name.

So, which of the remaining horses have taken up the early running?

How about this press release ?

“Business is booming” …”bracing the company for the busiest January ever.”

“the general divorce rate will rocket in 2010…” and also, strangely, from the same press release…

“2010 will also be see the company celebrate its tenth birthday having launched in May 2000.” (sic).

Remember though, we have a whole month ahead of us.  Please do send links to stories in your local or national press about “Divorce enquiries up in January”, or that phrase, “Divorce Day.”

I think then we might get some new insight, new perspective and please, please, please, some new copy.  Families who are going through break-up already know where the lawyers are.  Point out where other support and assistance is.

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