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Thank You Steve

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TechnoLawyer would not exist without your inspiration.

Topics: TechnoLawyer | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Editorial

The NeXT Steve Jobs Exists and He's Already Working at Apple

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, September 5, 2011

On August 25, 2011, I wrote a special edition of TL NewsWire entitled TechnoLawyer Exists Because of Steve Jobs. Several people have asked me to publish it on the Web, but it's a personal essay about my childhood and entrepreneurial idol that I wanted to share only with TechnoLawyer subscribers (I'd be happy to send Steve Jobs a copy).

In this more public article, I'd like to comment on Apple's succession plan even though it's not a typical TechnoLawyer topic because to my knowledge no one has yet discussed it beyond the immediate future. It's an important topic because Apple has become an important company not just to me, but to the entire legal profession.

As any Apple watcher knows, the company thinks about 5-10 years out when planning its product roadmap (for example, it recently pivoted from the digital hub to iCloud after a 10 or so year run by the former). I suspect the same is true of its succession plan.

In January 2011, Robert X. Cringely published No White Smoke Yet in Cupertino in which he wrote: "It is my guess the next Apple CEO won't be Tim Cook, not because Tim isn't a good executive but because he isn't Steve's creation."

Oops. Cringely erred because he failed to think 5-10 years out like Apple. However, he's correct about Tim Cook not being Steve Jobs' creation.

With Apple's roadmap set for at least five years, the company doesn't need another Steve Jobs at the helm for a while. Instead, Apple needs a Steve Jobs waiting in the wings for its next pivot when it redefines computing … again.

Apple's recent award to new CEO Tim Cook of one million shares of restricted stock, half of which vests in five years and the other half in 10 years, has set the stage for a new Apple CEO in 5-10 years.

Talk about burying the lede. Okay, so who will take over from Tim Cook? Obviously, it's impossible to predict the future, but if I had to make a wager I'd bet on Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall.

Forstall is a Steve Jobs creation — perhaps more so than anyone else at Apple (whom we know about). He's also young. Shortly after graduating from Stanford in the early 1990s, he worked at NeXT, one of the two companies Jobs ran while exiled from Apple. When Apple acquired NeXT, Forstall followed Jobs to Apple.

Simply put, Forstall hit the jackpot, having had Jobs as his mentor for virtually his entire career. Not only has he reported directly to Jobs for several years, but Jobs bestowed upon him the stewardship of Apple's crown jewel — iOS.

Watch Forstall introduce iOS 5's Newsstand app (which I'm excited about) in the short video clip above (click here if you don't see it above). Does he have Steve Jobs' charisma and leadership skills? Perhaps not yet, but give him 10 years.

In 2021 when Tim Cook becomes Chairman and Scott Forstall becomes CEO, remember you heard it here first.

How to Receive TechnoEditorials
A TechnoEditorial is the vehicle through which we opine and provide tips of interest to lawyers, law office administrators, and others in the legal profession. We link to each new TechnoEditorial and dozens of other articles on the legal Web each week in our BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Editorial

LitigationWorld: Tips From the Forefront of Today's Litigation Practice

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, January 10, 2011

Today we launch our ninth email newsletter — LitigationWorld!

What Will Each Issue of LitigationWorld Cover?

Many of the best litigation tips are buried in lengthy articles, or worse, inside the minds of top litigators and consultants who share them only with paying clients.

LitigationWorld will unearth these tips. Every Monday, you'll receive a brief but useful tip relating to electronic discovery, litigation strategy, or litigation technology.

In addition, each issue will contain links to the most important litigation articles published on the Web during the previous week so that you won't miss anything important.

Who Is LitigationWorld's Editor?

Kimberlee (Kim) L. Gunning serves as the editor of LitigationWorld. She is a member of Terrell Marshall & Daudt PLLC in Seattle, Washington.

Kim concentrates her practice on complex civil litigation and appeals, with a focus on consumer class actions, employment law, business torts and commercial litigation. She has a special interest in the emerging law of eDiscovery and is a self-confessed civil procedure geek.

Who Should Subscribe to LitigationWorld?

Corporate counsel who manage litigation matters, litigators, paralegals, litigation support managers, litigation consultants, and others in the litigation field. Like all of our newsletters, LitigationWorld is free. Please subscribe to LitigationWorld now.

Not a litigator? Check our our eight other newsletters.

Topics: Litigation/Discovery/Trials | LitigationWorld | TL Editorial

Happy New Year From Lower Manhattan! Best Wishes for 2011!

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, December 27, 2010

TechnoEditorial-New-Year-2011

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center gets all the attention, but I prefer the above Christmas tree at the New York Stock Exchange — not far from our office in TriBeCa.

You probably have your own favorite sign of the season. In the spirit of favorites and the season, we would like to take this moment to thank our favorite people, all of whom collectively helped make 2010 our most successful year ever:
  • Our subscribers — thank you for reading our newsletters, sending us feedback, and keeping us on our toes.

  • Our columnists, feature writers, and other contributors — thank you for sharing your first-hand experiences, insights, and knowledge.

  • Our clients (advertisers) — thank you for supporting our newsletters so that our subscribers can receive them for free.
We wish all of you good health, personal happiness, and financial success in 2011!

Not yet a Technolawyer subscriber? Sign up now for one of our free newsletters — Answers to Questions, BigLaw, BlawgWorld, Fat Friday, SmallLaw, TechnoFeature, Technolawyer NewsWire, or TechnoRelease. Upon joining, you'll also gain access to the TechnoLawyer Library, a growing collection of free, helpful reports on practice management.

Photo taken on December 27, 2010 at 12:38:38 pm EST with a 32 GB iPhone 3GS.

Topics: TechnoLawyer | TL Editorial

TechnoLawyer's Endorsements for the ABA Journal Blawg 100

By Neil J. Squillante | Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TechnoEditorial 12-06-10

Although TechnoLawyer won the ABA Journal's Blawg 100 contest in the Legal Technology category in 2008 and 2009 (we received the second highest number of votes overall among the 100 nominated blogs in 2008 and the third highest in 2009) and continues to publish influential content that regularly goes viral, the ABA Journal mysteriously omitted us this year.

With no need to get out the vote on our own behalf, we endorse the following blogs based on publishing frequency, content quality, influence, and style:

Vote in the ABA Journal Blawg 100.

How to Receive TechnoEditorials
A TechnoEditorial is the vehicle through which we opine and provide tips of interest to lawyers, law office administrators, and others in the legal profession. We link to each new TechnoEditorial and dozens of other articles on the legal Web each week in our BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

Topics: TechnoLawyer | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Editorial

TechnoLawyer Festa 2010

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, February 3, 2010

TLFesta2010-450

We would like to thank everyone who attended TechnoLawyer Festa 2010 on January 31, 2010 at A Voce Columbus Circle. You helped make it our best party yet. Check out the photos from the party.

Topics: TechnoLawyer | TL Editorial

How Your Law Firm Can Get Started With Twitter Risk Free

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, November 23, 2009

TechnoEditorial 10-26-09-450-T

If a car jumps the median into your lane, you need to act instantly to avoid a life-threatening collision.

Many legal marketing gurus would have you believe that you must act just as quickly to embrace Twitter, the leading micro-blogging platform. Don't believe them. Your law firm won't disappear tomorrow if you don't start tweeting today.

While I don't recommend taking a few years to think about how to incorporate Twitter into your marketing plan, giving it some serious thought before diving in will benefit rather than hurt you.

Below you'll find three ways to get started with Twitter, none of which require a serious investment of time or pose any risk. I also point out a few pitfalls to avoid.

1. Search for Real-Time Competitive Intelligence (Spying)

People can't help themselves — especially those who grew up with instant messaging (IM). Twitter is a lot like IM except that it's public (you can create a private account but most people don't).

Before you read another sentence, bookmark Twitter Search.

Start searching it on behalf of yourself and your clients to monitor people, companies, and other keywords you care about. At the very least, you'll find it interesting plus you may hit the jackpot and learn about a competitor's strategies or possible legal work for existing clients (e.g., infringement). You may even find someone seeking legal services in your field. Using Twitter Search for spying monitoring keywords doesn't require an account.

Unfortunately, Twitter does not make its complete archive searchable. In fact, it only goes back a day or so. However, Google archives Twitter — sort of. If you save your Twitter searches as RSS feeds, and then place those feeds in Google Reader, you can build your own archive of tweets that never disappear.

If you start tweeting someday, don't make the same mistake many others do. Think twice before tweeting about your personal life or your law firm's finances, strategic planning, etc.

2. Start Tweeting With Direct (Private) Messages

When you start searching Twitter, you'll find a lot of "replies to nowhere." Much like that famous bridge to nowhere, which stood to benefit just a few dozen people, these replies are essentially directed at one person or at most a small group of people so they don't make much sense to anyone else. It's like hearing the punch line of a joke without hearing the setup.

Inevitably, you'll come across a tweet and want to reply to the author. Try replying to these tweets privately rather than publicly to prevent cluttering up your stream with replies to nowhere, especially if you have not yet started publicly tweeting or if your reply is unrelated to the topics you typically tweet about.

To contact someone privately, use a Direct Message as opposed to a public @reply. However, you can only send a direct message to someone who follows you — a spam prevention measure that creates a catch-22.

But don't despair. Unless you're trying to contact a celebrity, if you follow the person you want to contact they will usually return the favor and follow you, after which you can direct message them. If they don't reciprocate, try searching Google, LinkedIn, etc. for their email address. If all else fails, you can use an @reply, and later delete it once you've established a dialogue.

3. Tweet Your Blog Posts and Retweet Related Tweets

Because the foregoing activities don't involve public tweets, they pose no risk. If you want to start posting publicly so that you can attract followers and network on a larger scale, the tips below will safely get you started.

If your firm publishes a blog, you can start tweeting immediately. Most blog platforms integrate with Twitter (see, e.g., TypePad, which we use). Once configured, every time you publish a new article in your blog, you can automatically post the title and corresponding link to your Twitter stream. In other words, you can tweet and generate traffic to your blog with zero effort.

You should also consider Retweets — reprinting relevant tweets by other Twitter users. Originally created by Twitter users through a simple copy and paste preceded by the letters RT and the original author's Twitter name, retweeting has become such a phenomenon that Twitter recently unveiled its official retweeting tool.

Retweeting dovetails nicely with searching Twitter for keywords, and tends to attract followers. For example, suppose you want to focus on trademark issues. Every day, you search Twitter for "trademark" and other related keywords. Invariably, you'll find some interesting tweets, perhaps pointing an article somewhere on the Web. Rather than tweet about that same article yourself, you could quickly retweet it instead.

Publishers such as AllTop and Huffington Post have amassed large audiences aggregating the related content of others into one convenient location. Aggregation works just as well on Twitter

Twitter has not (yet) addressed the copyright issues surrounding retweets in its terms of service, but given that an official tool now exists, I suspect Twitter will require all users to permit retweets (Twitter enables you to block the retweets of those you follow, but you cannot prevent people from retweeting your tweets).

Beyond these two starting points, treat your Twitter stream as you would any publication — stick to a theme. This disciplined approach will not only attract a larger audience than a random stream of non-sequiturs, but also attract the kind of people with whom you want to connect. Also, you can still have fun and showcase your personality. Most topics have their lighter side, plus your tweets will hopefully spark some lively debates. Just stay away from listing what you ate for dinner. Few people care about that stuff — unless perhaps you dined with Jennifer Aniston and Ashton Kutcher at Per Se.

Follow Up

You now know a lot more about Twitter than you did a few minutes ago — enough to get started. You may also want to read Twitter 101, Twitter's guide for businesses. Just one more thing. While we welcome you to follow us, we encourage you to join us.

Originally published October 26, 2009. Updated to include Twitter's new retweet tool.

About TechnoEditorials
A TechnoEditorial is the vehicle through which we opine and provide tips of interest to lawyers, law office administrators, and others in the legal profession. We link to each new TechnoEditorial and much more in our BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Online/Cloud | TL Editorial

Why State Bars Should Steal MLB's Web Site Strategy

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, September 28, 2009

TechnoEditorial 09-28-09 450

A decade ago, the Web sites of Major League Baseball (MLB) teams mirrored the standings. Wealthy teams like the Yankees had the best sites. Recognizing this disparity and the growing importance of the Web, MLB persuaded the teams to dismantle their individual sites, and join forces under the mlb.com domain name. Nowadays, the team sites share a similar layout, features, and navigation. MLB and the teams have enjoyed enormous financial success as a result of this collective effort.

The Web sites of today's state bars resemble the MLB team sites of yesteryear. Some offer a better design and better content than others. Although the state bars do not belong to a centralized organization like MLB, they should consider teaming up on the Web under a shared domain name.

Notwithstanding the differences among state bars, they more or less perform the same functions, resulting in considerable overlap among their online needs — similar to baseball teams. Consider the benefits of an MLB-style network of state bar Web sites:

  • Lower Costs: By splitting the cost of the underlying infrastructure and the people require to manage it, state bars would save money and have a better Web site than they could afford on their own.

  • More Content: Shared technology would also enable state bars to spend more time and money on content, resulting in greater loyalty among their members and more search engine traffic.

  • More Revenue: State bars have ceded revenue opportunities to startups such as Avvo (lawyer ratings) and LegalMatch (client prospecting). With an advanced technology platform, state bars could collectively compete for this revenue with offerings of their own. In fact, it's shocking that state bars don't dominate the lawyer ratings and search marketplace given their natural advantages such as mandatory membership.

  • CLE Partnerships: It's unlikely that every state bar would agree to the same CLE rules, but if they could agree on what an online CLE course should entail, they could pool online CLE courses and share revenue. For example, if a Florida lawyer takes a CLE course created by the State Bar of Texas, the Florida Bar might receive a 15% commission.

  • Autonomy: I don't find it confusing when I visit the Yankees site at newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Similarly, each state bar association would retain its identity as an independent organization thanks to their own sub-domain and tools to publish state-specific content such as ethics rules, a live events calendar, the staff address book, etc.

A Long Shot But Not Impossible. What About Voluntary Bar Associations?

We've worked with several state bars over the years. Although some state bar executives have the authority to close deals, others must receive approval from committees that don't meet frequently.

Therefore, such an initiative would face an uphill battle. But such collaborations have occurred in other industries. For example, the movie studios created the MPAA for film ratings and other functions. Also, most state bar executives already know one another — it's a small world.

A coalition of state bars with a common Web presence would likely pose a threat to voluntary bar associations. However, there's no reason why voluntary bar associations can't create a network of sites as well. In fact, many local bar associations struggle with their Web sites given their small size and budget. Their need to share Web development resources is even more pressing than that of the state bars.

With baby boomers about to start retiring, the majority of lawyers will inevitably demand better online resources from their state bars and especially from voluntary bar associations. MLB has hit a home run with its network of team Web sites. State bars and their voluntary counterparts should take note and steal this strategy while they still have time to win the online game.

About TechnoEditorials
A TechnoEditorial is the vehicle through which we opine and provide tips of interest to lawyers, law office administrators, and others in the legal profession. We link to each new TechnoEditorial and much more in our BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

Topics: CLE/News/References | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Editorial

Why Avvo's Top Legal Blogs List Is a Joke and How to Fix It

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, May 18, 2009

Squillante-Avvo-TE 05-18-09

Avvo's Top Legal Blogs list (TLB) — a ranking of the top legal blogs (blawgs) — is a textbook example of smart marketing. It provides interesting information and attracts inbound links (especially from the featured blogs).

I applaud the list in the abstract, but deplore its implementation. It strikes me as a lazy effort designed purely for marketing purposes with little to no regard for accuracy — strange for a company whose mission revolves around providing actionable information about lawyers.

Avvo's TLB has two major problems — sample pool and data source. A list by its very nature depends entirely on these two components. In other words, TLB is unreliable. It's also a slap in the face to legal bloggers, most of whom frankly need a slap in the face, just not of this variety (I'd like to see legal bloggers debate each other more often and also criticize lists like TLB).

Avvo's Sample (Kiddie) Pool

Many a blogger has no doubt wondered why their blog does not appear on TLB considering that as of today 15 blogs on the TLB have such a miniscule audience that scant data exists. And then they see the reason:

"[W]e could not include every blog we would have liked to (no subdomains or folders on non-blog sites), but we are working to change that. In the mean time [sic], if you wish to inquire about adding your blog to the list, please send an email to ..."

As you can see, Avvo admits that it does not include any blogs which exist as part of larger sites, eliminating many of the top blogs in one fell swoop.

But what about a blog such as Jonathan Turley, which won the ABA's Blawg 100 contest earlier this year in the Professors category? It resides at its own domain name and has an Alexa ranking of 158,350 (see below) yet is absent from Avvo's TLB.

It seems like Avvo put together an initial list and has since relied on bloggers to let them know about the existence of their blog.

What's the point of a list that omits such a large chunk of the legal blogosphere? The result is a kiddie pool of data a mile wide and six inches deep.

Alexa = Garbage In, Garbage Out

I suspect if you got Jeff Bezos drunk, he would express deep pride in and enthusiasm about all of Amazon's services — except Alexa, which he would admit is useless.

Avvo uses Alexa as its data source for TLB.

Alexa collects data on Web site usage from people who install its toolbar in their Web browser.

Remember your college statistics class? No? Well, here's a quick refresher. You can rely on statistical data about a group in only two situations:

  1. When everyone in the group provides data (100% participation).

  2. When you obtain data from a random sample of the group that is representative of the whole group (a small margin of error applies to the results).

Data collected in any other manner might be entertaining, but it won't be reliable. Like Alexa.

Not every Internet user has the Alexa toolbar installed so participation is not 100%. And Alexa does not engage in random sampling. Instead, anyone can install the toolbar (self-selection).

Don't believe me? Google executive Matt Cutts conducted a very simple experiment to demonstrate Alexa's flawed data.

Using Alexa to gauge the popularity of legal blogs is like using a group of lawyers hanging out in a trendy lounge to determine the country's best-selling beer. Your survey might conclude that it's Peak Organic Pale Ale when in fact the answer is Budweiser.

How Avvo Can Fix TLB and Make It Useful

I would not criticize TLB without offering a solution. In fact, many possible solutions exist, including:

  1. Forget about statistical rankings and instead provide editorial rankings. Avvo could take it a step further and invite people to vote for their favorite blogs from the pool it selected in a variety of categories. The only problem with this solution is that it already exists — the ABA Blawg 100.

  2. Drop Alexa as a data source and instead use Compete or a similar service. Like Alexa, Compete obtains data on Web usage from people who have installed a toolbar. Unlike Alexa, Compete controls the distribution of its toolbar so that it doesn't suffer from self-selection problems. While the data is not as reliable as that from a true random sample, it's about as good as the Nielsen system that networks and their advertisers use for TV ratings.

  3. Require legal blogs that wish to participate in TLB to install SiteMeter or some other free javascript-based Web analytics tool on their blogs and share the data with Avvo for ranking purposes. This method would provide the most reliable rankings thanks to data from 100% of the group — legal blogs that opt to participate. In this scenario, legal blogs absent from the list would have only themselves to blame.

Each of these methods would require Avvo to invest more resources into TLB. Because TLB seems to have little to no relation to Avvo's core business, Avvo may not want to make a significant investment. That's perfectly understandable, but Avvo cannot have it both ways. In its current incarnation, TLB does not, as Avvo claims, enable you to "[k]now who has the most popular legal blog [sic] based on objective, third-party data."

About TechnoEditorials
A TechnoEditorial is the vehicle through which we opine and provide tips of interest to lawyers, law office administrators, and others in the legal profession. We link to each new TechnoEditorial and much more in our BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Editorial

TechnoLawyer Wins ABA Blawg 100 Award (Harry Truman Style)

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, March 9, 2009

Blaw100Truman-450

On January 2nd at midnight central time voting for the ABA's Blawg 100 contest ended. The raw vote count didn't look good for us:

1,931: FutureLawyer
1,545: TechnoLawyer

Nonetheless, I still felt hopeful that justice would prevail because I knew that we was robbed.

On January 7th, the ABA declared TechnoLawyer the winner of its Blawg 100 contest for Best Technology Blog. Here's the final vote count in this category:

1,499: TechnoLawyer
295: Slaw
256: The MacLawyer
241: FutureLawyer
150: Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog
105: Real Lawyers Have Blogs
102: Ross Ipsa Loquitur Blog
93: Ernie the Attorney
82: DennisKennedy.com
64: Inter Alia

The winner changed in two other categories as well, which had many scratching their heads.

The ABA announced the results in an article euphemistically titled, Some People Love the Blawg 100 a Little Too Much.

The ABA wrote:

For a handful of blogs, multiple votes were cast from the same computer in quick succession. Some of those votes came from blog owners, but others were coming fast and furious from computers overseas that were apparently unconnected to the blogs for which they were voting. After voting closed on Jan. 2, we stripped those bogus votes out of the totals. The totals that now appear on each of the category pages include only votes that were legit.

Years ago, the ABA was behind the curve when it came to the Internet. That's no longer the case as evidenced by its sleuthing of the Blawg 100 results and by its ever-impressive Web site. Nice job ABA.

Thank You for Your Vote (Singular) ...

The ABA's fascinating explanation leaves several unanswered questions. I love a good mystery so over the past two months, I've developed a theory about what happened, especially the source of those overseas votes. But after much heated debate, my colleagues have persuaded me to drop my JFK-like musings and just announce our victory ...

I'm thrilled that TechnoLawyer won the ABA's Blawg 100 Award. I'm equally proud of the fact that we lost only 46 votes from the raw vote count because it means that you and your fellow TechnoLawyer subscribers followed the rules. You deserve a round of applause. We would like to thank everyone who voted for us once and only once.

Please look at the official results and visit all the excellent blogs in the technology category.

How to Receive TechnoEditorials
A TechnoEditorial is the vehicle through which we opine and provide tips of interest to lawyers, law office administrators, and others in the legal profession. We link to each new TechnoEditorial and dozens of other articles on the legal Web each week in our BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

Topics: TechnoLawyer | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Editorial
 
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