Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Looks at Road Rash

Perhaps because its name seems vaguely comedic or less than serious, many people do not understand just how awful a road rash injury can be. Even some of the definitions you might come across online don’t do justice to the pain and suffering it can cause, referring to it as a result of “grazing against […]
Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Looks at Road Rash posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Saturday, July 7, 2018

AI applied to secondary law to follow AI’s current use in primary law

Secondary law AI machine learning

Machines today are presenting lawyers with law they should see without the lawyers even searching or looking for the law.

When I practiced, when I wanted the see the law I needed to search for it, and not via a computer but in books, lots of them. The closest I came to machines and AI was an annotation to a code section or a case which told me there was an American Law Review article on point.

Today legal tech and legal research companies deploying AI (machine learning) are white hot and so is investment in them ($200 million invested in legal tech in the last couple months, mostly in AI).

My friend and colleague, Bob Ambrogi, wrote this week about the World Economic Forum recognizing 61 early-stage companies as tecnology pioneers for their design, development and deployment of potentially world-changing innovations and technologies.

Only one was a legal tech company, Casetext, which has been a key player in pioneering the use of artificial intelligence to enhance legal research.

From Economic Forum on Casetext:

Casetext provides free, unlimited access to the law and charges for access to premium technologies that attorneys can use to make their research more thorough and more efficient. It is the novel application of artificial intelligence (AI) to the law that allows attorneys to use the context of what they are working on to jumpstart their research.

I may be off a touch, but Casetext technology enables lawyers to share with a machine what they are working on, ie a brief of their’s or the other side’s and AI will indentify for the lawyer cases they should look at.

Imagine casting that across everything a lawyer is working on. Transactional documents, pleadings, memorandums, correspondence, you name it.

You key or talk somnething in and AI tells you, without a search, that you should look at this or that. Better knowleldge and at a small fraction of the cost of lawyers searching. Pretty neat.

Neat enough that the Economic Forum recognized AI in the law in the same context with previous companies recognized, the likes oif which included Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Scribd, Spotify, Twitter and Wikimedia.

But there’s a gap in the law which AI is presenting lawyers. Secondary law. The insight and commentary of lawyers with expertise in niche areas of the law.

Secondary law should not be discounted. It’s regularly cited for persuasion at the trial and appellate court level. Secondary law is used by lawyers to guide them in transactional and litigation matters.

And secondary law is better than it’s ever been. Historically the province of legal academia, much commentary came from lawyers who never practiced. With the democratization of publishing with blogs and the Internet, the number of niches and the amount of content is greater than ever.

Beyond just reading the secondary insight, you’ll be able to reach out to the lawyer immediately, subscribe to their RSS feeds in your reader or engage them via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

The key will be aggregating blogs – nation and world-wide – and deploying the curated insight via AI. This way lawyers will discover information and sources they never knew they were looking for.

Aggregation is beginning, the AI part is probably coming faster than we think.


AI applied to secondary law to follow AI’s current use in primary law posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

LexBlog aggregation and syndication platform coming this month

Syndication and aggregation law blogs

LexBlog is launching a new aggregation and syndication platform this month that will power the LexBlog site.

Earlier this year, LexBlog’s new editor-in-chief and publisher, Bob Ambrogi both set forth the future of LexBlog and challenged our team in stating:

We want to make the LexBlog network valuable for both publishers and readers of legal blogs. For publishers, we want to help them extend their reach to a global audience. For readers, we want to offer as wide a range of content as possible, but curated to make it useful a reader’s specific interests.”

LexBlog’s mission was now to aggregate all legal blogs, worldwide, and syndicate them in which the blogs and bloggers could be discovered and read. The technology that ran LexBlog was equipped to aggregate and syndicate, thus the build of the new platform.

As with any platform, it’s impossible to know where we’ll end up going with new features, new technology and new products that will emanate from the platform. 

Core to the platform’s evolution though will be publishing. How to shine a light on the authors? How do we provide a good experience for the authors (one they don’t pay for)? And most importantly, how do we provide a good experience for readers?

When LexBlog, then known as LXBN for the “LexBlog Network” was developed seven or eight years all of the blog posts were merely excerpts. When you clicked on a brief excerpt of the post, not enough to even get the gist of post, readers were taken to the blog site to read the post.

I am not sure we could have done it any other way. Law firms would have freaked had we displayed their content in entirety on LXBN, to be read there.

Today’s a new age. Users need to have a simple, eloquent and fast reading experience – particularly on mobile.

For that reason, like any publication, LexBog will have the full posts for easy reading. And unlike eight years ago, law firms and lawyers are not freaked out about it. They like the exposure and influence LexBlog can give them. Syndicating content, just as a TV show is syndicated makes good sense.

Law firms, large and small, are signing up to have their blogs in LexBlog – at no cost – in large numbers.

We’re not going to index their content on Google, their blogs and posts on their blog siwill be indexed. We want the bloggers and the blogs to get featured on search. 

But for a good reader experience and ease of syndication, both benefiting the the authors, we’ll have the full post for reading on LexBlog.

Make sense?


LexBlog aggregation and syndication platform coming this month posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Monday, July 2, 2018

Inefficiencies of bar association digital publishing

bar association digital publishing

Whether it’s a bar association website, a monthly lawyer magazine or a blog, they are all publishing — and today, digital publishing running on software.

There are fifty state bar associations and, I assume, about fifty or seventy metro/county bar associations with websites. Maybe more.

Strange thing is that as I look around the net and talk to bar professionals, I find that the bars are mostly operating on different publishing platforms. The core software, for example, WordPress, may be the same, but custom development, custom design, custom hosting architecture and custom support rules the day..

Why wouldn’t bar associations use the same website software for their digital publishing? Better yet, a SaaS based solution so that the bar staff or people/companies on behalf of the bar could run the design, set up and changes, as often as they wanted and to the extent they wanted.

Designs and lay out would be different, but the core software, development, hosting architecture and regular upgrades and feature enhancements would be the same across the board. Better, faster and cheaper would be the outcome.

When do bar associations receive regularly upgrades and feature enhancements at no cost now? They wait years until a new site or publication is done — most often with budget problems. The result is an insecure and underperforming platform for years on end.

In addition to cost savings, readers get a better experience. Last year I saw that many state bars were publishing their monthly magazine on a “pdf-like’ interface which gave instructions on how to use the interface for reading when you opened it up. That’s embarrassing and has to make lawyers wonder about their bar’s tech aptitude..

I’ve been told that using a common publishing solution is totally doable. The problem is committee politics and member requirements for specific items.

Nice. Committee members, mostly lawyers, who are unskilled in web development, software and usability making uniformed decisions.

As far we need to have this and we need to have this because we saw it some place, that’s absolutely crazy. Makes as much sense as asking for a custom designed car as you don’t like the one’s available. Or a custom designed and custom developed practice management platform because the major players don’t provide every single thing you want.

Invariably, the dedicated bar association staff and lawyers feel resource constrained when it comes to web development and site maintenance. They don’t get what they want to start with as they are spending for custom work that’s not needed. Necessary upgrades and feature enhancements do not get made.

More than one savvy bar professionals have shared with me that the publishing software is only part of the web development challenge – and maybe the smaller part of it. Association membership, e-commerce and other software platforms play a big part — and drive custom work.

Maybe I am dumb, but the publishing software and other software could be integrated without developing custom solutions. It’s getting data going back and forth – not trivial, but something that need not require custom platform development.

It can be tough to all come together on something, but I’m just talking web publishing, with the focus on presenting information, articles and other content.

What do you think?


Inefficiencies of bar association digital publishing posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Accepting Facebook friend requests differs from LinkedIn connection requests

LinkedIn Facebook

Unlike LinkedIn, where I accept requests to connect from people with similar interests and a common professional background, on Facebook I accept friend requests from people who regularly share items of value to me. 

If they’re not regularly sharing items of value to me, I’ll delete their friend request. How else can I receive information/news from someone I trust or get to know someone better?

Value could be posts of a personal or news/professional nature. For example, personal items are of great value in getting to know people I want to get know better. Relationships grow by seeing a family’s vacation or a collegue’s speaking engagement across the world.

News items could come from people who follow niche subjects and share items with their commentary or stories from main stream reporters and bloggers who are Facebook friends.

Facebook relationships/connections blossom based on what is shared. On LinkedIn, though people share from time to time,  connections are largely based on each other’s “rolodex.”

So when looking to be-friend people on Facebook, you probably should be sharing regularly – personal or professional/news items.

People are not necessarily looking to befriend people on Facebook just because they know them already when will not get to know them any better or see items of value posted by them.

Facebook is all about relationships, relatonships grown through sharing and engagement.


Accepting Facebook friend requests differs from LinkedIn connection requests posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Syndication of law blogs a real plus for bloggers

Syndication as we’ve come to known it is akin to the TV show Seinfeld. When the show ended in 1998, folks like me saw it for the first time in reruns on various stations other than NBC, where it originally ran.

In a nice piece on content syndication and blogs, Brendan Barron explains the basics, basics largely applied by LexBlog as we build a legal news and information network by curating/syndicating legal blogs world-wide.

[S]omeone makes a copy of content that was originally published elsewhere and then uses it on their own WordPress website. So, for your purposes, content syndication could mean that you import someone else’s content into your site (which is probably what most of you will do). It also means that you could loan out your own content to others.

When Seinfeld gives Seattle’s Channel 11 permission to run his shows in syndication, there’s no copyright infringement. Same for blogs.

When someone willingly grants permission for others to use their blog posts in syndication, and proper attribution is provided to the original author and source, there shouldn’t be any problems with violating copyright law.

For bloggers, Barron says content syndication is greatly beneficial.

  • Their content now has the opportunity to be introduced to a new audience.
  • They’re receiving free promotion of content on another platform that requires zero work on their part.
  • They receive a a new backlink to to their blog from a highly influential source, growing the influence of their blog and improving its seach performance. [last point on search added by me]

In the case of LexBlog, add delivering the blog posts to legal research services such as Facebook and further syndicating posts via email newsletters and social media.

What about duplicate content confusing the search engines and possibly causing your blog to rank lower than the syndication source?

No question syndicated content is duplicate content, it’s content indentical to something that already exists online and is already indexed by the search engines.

There’s a good reason search engines hate duplicate content, per Barron,

To put it plainly, it’s because duplicate content is usually a sign of unwarranted use of someone else’s work (i.e. plagiarism). In this case, however, that clearly is not your intention as you’re publishing content with a direct attribution back to the original writer and source. That said, Google’s bots aren’t smart enough to know that an arrangement was made.

What’s the answer?

[Y]ou need to somehow communicate to search engines that the duplicate content is not to be indexed or ranked (since that privilege belongs to the source). After all, you don’t need to rank for this page.

As Barron explains, You can communicate to search engines in a couple different ways.

1. Add a Canonical Tag. A canonical tag is one you place in the header of the syndicated content page. It tells search bots, “Hey, I don’t deserve any of this praise. Can you guys please just give it all to this person over here?”

2. Update the robots.txt. If you simply want to keep the search engines away from this page, you can instead use the robots.txt file in the root directory.

LexBlog will use the Canonical approach. Our goal is to shine a light on bloggers and their commentary. Let people world-wide discover them and their insight – but always to recognize the power of a citizen journalist having their own publication.

Key for law bloggers, I’d think, is the syndication be done through a credible publisher, that the content be open and free to readers, that as the original publisher you need not have to pay for syndication, that there be links back to the original content and authors and that there be continuing constribution in the form of blog and blogger profiles.

Who knew? Law blogs and Seinfeld.


Syndication of law blogs a real plus for bloggers posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Study of legal tech company marketing omits online networking

Is it possible that ninety-seven percent of legal tech companies have no firm grasp of their go-to-market strategy or, at best, a scattered one, and that the vast majority lack an understanding of their products positioning and customers as reported by legal PR and marketing Baretz+Brunelle in their Legal Tech Go-to-Market Report?

LexBlog’s editor-in-chief and widely recognized legal tech reporter, Bob Ambrogi doesn’t think so. From his piece in Above the Law:

My impression of this survey is that its conclusions are overbroad. I have no doubt that many legal tech companies lack a cogent go-to-market strategy. But I strongly doubt that it is anywhere near 97 percent. I likewise have no doubt that many companies are confused about their product and customers, but again, I doubt that it is as endemic as this survey suggests. The fact is that many legal tech companies are highly strategic and successful in their sales and marketing.

Though Baretz is a widely respected organization, Ambrogi added another kicker.

Of course, given that this survey comes from a PR and marketing firm, there is also a subliminal message to be found between its lines: Hire us and we’ll help you sharpen your strategy.

What the the report really misses is the large amount of networking through the Internet being done by legal tech companies for branding, product positioning and selling. It’s being done to strategically nuture relationships with buyers, consultants, and influencers in order to develop business.

I regularly engage legal tech company founders, executives, financiers and the influencers of those reporting and leading the discussion on legal tech companies via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging.

It’s a real, authentic and vibrant discussion – person to person, as opposed to company marketing and communications.

Though there are many legal tech companies participating in networking through the Internet, person to person, admittedly the number doing so is less than half.

Of those legal tech companies not networking authentically, person to person, most attempt to network through the net via their company brands. The results are sketchy at best as those they are trying to reach see through the awkwardness of their approach.

Maybe I miss the point of the study, which admittedly is brief and limited in scope. But wouldn’t networking through the Internet even be acknowledged? Wouldn’t the large amount networking through the Internet by legal tech companies be seen in advance of the study? After all, networking online is a marketing method uniquely suited for technology companies.

Maybe the use of the Internet, as it pertains to the study, is just a tactic within a strategy, or the lack of a strategy. Admittedly other tactics were not addressed.

But to miss the online marketing taking place and skip the strategy altogether?


Study of legal tech company marketing omits online networking posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com