Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Welcome to Canada David Whelan!

As mentioned over at Slaw, David Whelan has started as the Manager of Legal Information for the Great Library & the Law Society of Upper Canada.

David brings a wealth of legal technology experience, and he's also a law blogger! Of which, you can read on the web here, or in your RSS Reader here.

Welcome to Canada David!

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Friday, August 24, 2007

JD Supra, Why I'm Signing On

[Cross-posted to my law firm web strategy blog]

One of the intended effects of starting this business was to force me to focus. You see, I've always been this multi-discipline kind of guy -- web marketer, KM practitioner, coder developer, law librarian, etc. (you can check my profile, if you don't know me) -- lots of interests and lots of hats, but always with a web-information delivery bent, and always within the legal market.

I've also tried to recognize that it was those varying interests that tied me together; gave me my perspective. And while I'm appreciative of my time working in law firms, it was the opportunity to roll those skills into a single focus that drove me to the Stem concept.

Beyond worrying about the company's financial viability [Note to concerned friends: it's going better than expected! stop worrying...], my biggest concern coming out the gate has been the possibility of losing my connection to the things that interest me, like Knowledge Management. And so, even in the earliest stages of my business plan, I made myself this promise: Along the way, I reserve the right to work on projects that I believe in.

That doesn't mean I want to be a KM consultant. Trust me, there's only one Ron Friedmann. [that's a plug btw, in case you missed it. ;-) ]

It just so happens that I love the KM literature -- the puzzle of how to codify knowledge & expertise, and what that information tells us. I also believe there's a strong link from internal KM collections to the development of online marketing product. But that's another post...

So, Day 1 of operation, I come down to my new office. Out of the HSBC building in downtown Vancouver, and into my newly retooled office, a.k.a. my basement. :-) My voice mail is flashing, and the person on the other end is Aviva Cuyler, a lawyer in the San Francisco bay area. Cool, a great way to start!

Well, she wasn't inquiring for her firm, but I found the call no less interesting. We talked for a good hour. About her new website - JD Supra. About lawyer work product, and what it can tell about an individual's expertise - especially within niche areas of the law. How research and filings and court successes can qualify a lawyer's knowledge & experience. And how in a world where everyone 'says' they're an expert, this new website has the chance to 'prove', or at least validate, that a lawyer can execute what they've said they can.

Now she's got my KM interest - a qualification tool that would tie work product to professional profile. A tool that would give credit to the lawyers and firms that contribute, including logos and links back to their firm website. Perhaps a future that includes some Community 2.0 tools? collaboration? networking opportunities? My mind is now working overtime.

So there it is. I'm sold. If there's a better fit for all those varying interests of mine, I'm not sure what it would be. Aviva Cuyler's vision is unique, and yet well aligned to the type of product I would conceive of myself. I think JD Supra is set to become an important web 2.0 offering for the legal industry. And that's why I'm signing on.

I'll say more soon, and sorry about the month-early tease (launch is slated for late September 2007). If you're a legal researcher, writer, or gatekeeper for in-house precedents, there is an early bird opportunity for those willing to contribute. You can sign up on the JD Supra homepage or email Aviva directly to get involved.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lawyers Are Rats? Really?

I've been taking in the Maclean's article brouhaha from afar. And today, on my 10 year wedding anniversary to one of 'dem 'dar vermin, I'd like to offer a little advice to lawyers - it's time to turn the other cheek.

Every profession has its image problems. Trust me, in some people's minds we Librarians will forever be linked to books, shushing, and hair buns. And when I say turn the other cheek, let's face it - I've been suckered into responding a few times.

Let's be realistic here. Philip Slayton has a new book, and is willingly working the attention economy. Plain and simple. Macleans? Well, their journalism standards should be higher. Taking a shot at lawyers these days may sell magazines, but it's easy & cheap. And a sad reflection on a once great Canadian publication. Enough said.

Are lawyers rats? Please. Lawyers are people with every element of the human condition. Even in the biggest law firms. The article paints with a broad stroke, and unfortunately, any response must also be done with a similar blanket statement.

Can I take my own advice the next time that someone writes that 'libraries are dead' article? Who knows, probably not. Rising above when it's something you care about is no easy task. So I won't critique the CBA for giving them both barrels. Both Slayton and Macleans deserve it. At the very least for being intellectually dishonest.

So let me leave you with this. Librarians (painting with a broad stroke here) usually rate pretty high on the trust factor. And let me tell you, lawyers are not rats. Would I be married to one for past 10 years if they were?

[No. wait. Crap. Can't say that. Confidentiality clause in the non-compete premarital something or another contract...] Sorry dear. Happy anniversary, flowers are on the way! ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Google Finance Canada Now Live

Google Finance Canada is now officially launched. As noted by
  • Top financial news from Canadian sources
  • Search with a preference for Canadian companies
  • Front-page high level economic data from the Bank of Canada
  • Portfolios in Canadian currency (or the currency of your choice)
  • Equity data from the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, and Canadian mutual funds"
And from the comments, it seems that stock prices are still in US dollars, not Canadian, but I'm sure Dion will have that corrected shortly. Right Dion? :-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Steve Matthews on Twitter

Time to see what this micro-content movement is all about, from the inside... If you're on Twitter already, please look me up:

Ernest Svenson: Franchise lawyer

How long has Ernie the Attorney been blogging? And how many times has he profiled his legal services? The answers: a long time, and it's pretty rare.

So when a law blogging pioneer tells us that he's a Franchise lawyer practicing in New Orleans, Louisiana, you throw him a little link love, right? No problem with that concept here. I'd love to see the modest guy who calls his blog 'Ernie the Attorney' rank No.1 in Google for 'franchise lawyer'.

Certainly he's put the time in. Thanks for sharing these many years, Ernest Svenson: Franchise lawyer. We're glad you did. :-)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good Luck to David Bilinsky

A very warm welcome to legal management guru David Bilinsky and his new blog titled Thoughtful Legal Management. David's a Vancouver local, but his history & friends in the legal community run all around the world. Still, it's nice to see another west coaster land upon the Canadian law blog scene.

I won't relay David's very impressive list of credentials as other friends have, but will note that David is the longtime founder of the Pacific Legal Technology conference, getting set to run once again this October 10th in Vancouver. Please do mark your calendars!

So David, be diligent on that blog. We all know you have a lot to offer. :-)


UofA Libraries Introduce Facebook App!

From the homepage of the University of Alberta Libraries:
Library Services Available Through Facebook
We are pleased to announce the University of Alberta Libraries Facebook application. This new application allows access to our library catalogue, Ask Us Services, RefWorks and Get It Citation linker from within the Facebook platform.
Read more here.

Congrats to Lorcan Dempsey & Co for some fantastic Canadian Library innovation!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Biggest Law Firm Website?

I can now tell you that DLA Piper has the largest law firm website in the world. Or at the very least, has a site ten times larger than its closest competitor among Global 100 law firms.

How do I know this? How big is number 2? Number 94? .... I am happy to announce that I spent this past Sunday measuring the total number of web pages indexed by the search engines for each of the Global 100 law firm websites. You can check out the entire list here.



Thursday, August 02, 2007

Nina Platt, Librarian Leader & New Law Blogger

The value of law blogs can only increase when thought leaders like Nina Platt and her new blog Strategic Librarian come online. Over the years, Nina's writing has become very well known and respected by law librarians and KM professionals alike. And if you look at the quality of Nina's first posts, it seems we're all about to benefit from her smaller and more regular contributions.

For those of you with an RSS reader, I'd expect you'll be interested in this. Right? :-)

I also can't help but feel a bit of kinship here. Similar to my own situation, after many years of working in law firms, Nina's now exposing her skill set to the rest of the legal market with her new company Nina Platt Consulting, Inc. I wish her the best of luck, and reserve the right to update this post when her new company website comes online.

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