Saturday, March 17, 2018

LexBlog as a SaaS solution?

LexBlog, via the law bloggers it supports worldwide, has become one the largest legal news and information publishers.

We support these bloggers with a digital design and publishing platform we have developed on a WordPress core.

Developing the platform was the only way we could scale our offering. Without the platform, we could not provide each blogger/publication regular upgrades and feature enhancements, let alone support all of these publishers.

Our platform is not limited to a blog site user interface. The platform can present interfaces for websites, mini-sites, magazines, content portals and what have you.

Knowing this, organizations have approached LexBlog asking if they could license our platform for their members and customers. We’re in the process of doing so.

In discussions with these folks, I started thinking that LexBlog was basically offering a SaaS solution for digital design and publishing. Organizations, or end publishers directly via a do it yourself (DIY) blog, website etc, receive web design and publishing software cloud hosted and supported by LexBlog.

Pulling up the Wikipedia definition of a SaaS solution, what are doing seemed pretty close.

Software as a service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software”, and was formerly referred to as “software plus services” by Microsoft. SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via a web browser. SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, including office software, messaging software, payroll processing software, DBMS software, management software, CAD software, development software, gamification, virtualization, accounting, collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), Management Information Systems (MIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), invoicing, human resource management (HRM), talent acquisition, learning management systems, content management (CM), and service desk management. SaaS has been incorporated into the strategy of nearly all leading enterprise software companies.

The term “Software as a Service” (SaaS) is considered to be part of the nomenclature of cloud computing, along with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS), managed software as a service (MSaaS), mobile backend as a service (MBaaS), and information technology management as a service (ITMaaS).

Wow, that’s a mouthful, but you get the point.

Calling things “as a service” can be helpful to understand an offering.

LexBlog’s entire team is in WeWork, which has been characterized as “offices as a service.” Rather than rent and set up offices with everything you need, WeWork provides you everything you need, and more, in a hosted environment for a monthly subscription.

What do you think? Is it helpful to describe LexBlog’s offering as a SaaS solution for digital design and publishing? Does it matter?

LexBlog as a SaaS solution? posted first on

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Citizen Journalism Replaces Newspapers in School Walkout

The Denver Post announced the layoff of 30 reporters and editors this afternoon. The layoff represents a third of the Post’s staff and the fourth major layoff in three plus years.

It’s going to be impossible for the Post to continue covering what they have.

It’s not merely a question of being able to cover what you have in the past, there’s a real question of whether newspapers as large as the Denver Post will survive at all.

Seattle’s second paper, the Post Intelligencer is long gone – and so are any number of other major metro’s. Newspaper circulation, on a steep decline, is approaching circulation levels of the 1930’s.

The closing of newspapers does not mean the end of meaningful news. The news may even be better.

News is really what someone tells us – that’s it.

When the means of capturing and reporting the news was in the hands of the few — newspapers, radio, television — we got our news from a few sources.

That’s changed with smartphones, laptops, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and more.

If you’re over 65 you may watch news on television and read it in newspapers. Not those thirty or forty and younger. In fact, they’re capturing and reporting the news on a smartphone in addition to watching it on a smartphone.

Look at today’s National School Walkout, covered, reported and viewed by millions on Twitter — including the only student who walked out his school, a young black man, whose Twitter video has been viewed by 3.1 million people and counting.

Facebook was used by parents and students throughout today to share news of the wakout in their town. The news was shared on Facebook pages and across Facebook groups for schools, towns and cities. It’s a safe bet more parents received reports of the walkout from Facebook than local television or newspapers.

Little question the news today spread faster with more detail and emotion than newspapers and television stations could equal. National and local news will even call on citizen journalist’s tweets for pictures and video footage of the walkout to include in their own coverage.

Yes, newspapers are on the decline — and yes, we’ll lose something if they all but disappear. But citizen journalism may provide us with something better.

Citizen Journalism Replaces Newspapers in School Walkout posted first on

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The internet is not ruined just because there are a few assholes on it

The internet is not ruined just because there are a few assholes on it.

This from author, journalism professor, media consultant and long time blogger, Jeff Jarvis,  discussing the progress he sees with the open Internet, digital journalism, Internet advertising and social media platforms.

…[L]et’s please remember that the internet is not ruined just because there are a few assholes on it. This, too, is why I insist on not seeing the net as a medium. It is Times Square. On Times Square, you can find pickpockets and bad Elmos and idiots, to be sure. But you also find many more nice tourists from Missoula and Mexico City and New Yorkers trying to dodge them on their way to work.

Let’s bring some perspective to the media narrative about the net today. Please go take a look at your Facebook or Twitter or Instagram feeds or any Google search. I bet you will not find them infested with nazis and Russians and trolls, oh, my. I will bet you still find, on the whole, decent people like you and me. I fear that if we get carried away by moral panic we will end up not with a bustling Times Square of an internet but with China or Singapore or Iran as the model for a controlled digital future.

Too many lawyers, law professors, legal technology entrepreneurs, access to justice leaders and other legal professionals stay away from social media and even blogging because of their belief that the Internet is over run with noise and crazies.

Very few law schools incorporate social learning into their teaching as a means of getting students to learn, collaborate and network across social media channels. Law professors and deans, who shy away from the net out of ignorance, don’t see the potential.

A business colleague stays away from social media, in part, because of the Russians meddling in our election and businesses possibly violating people’s privacy.

A consultant who helps law firms build more profitable and efficient practice through the use of technology questioned my second guessing the majority of law firms’ failure to use social media strategically, wanting empirical evidence that social media could be worthwhile for lawyers.

I am not against social media but I do think it tends to be an echo chamber where those who do use it talk a lot about it to others who use it, while most of my atty friends & clients see it as the time suck it can be.

I suppose hanging out with and engaging those discussing only the subject of social media could be a time suck. But ask any appellate lawyer, general counsel or legal entrepreneur using social media to learn, network and grow business if that’s who they’re hanging out with on social media.

Things are far from perfect on the Internet, per Jarvis, and it’s going to take a global effort to solve some of its challenges.

First let’s be clear: No one — not platforms, not ad agencies and networks, not brands, not media companies, not government, not users — can stand back and say that disinformation, hate, and incivility are someone else’s problem to solve.

But I’m with Jarvis, “The net is good.”

Good for lawyers, legal journalists, access to justice leaders, legal technology entrepreneurs, law students and legal association leaders.

Staying away from the Internet because you see it being ruined by a few assholes is dumb.

The internet is not ruined just because there are a few assholes on it posted first on

The transition to the new world is in the hands of the old

The transition to a new world is the hands of the old.

This from author, consultant and speaker, Euan Semple addressing the biggest challenge to digital transformation.

Those who can bring themselves to use the phrase “Digital Transformation” are invariably those who least understand, or would like, its implications.

The true transformation of a digital culture is in behaviours and interactions between people. It is in the ability to more directly connect with each other in the workplace, to reduce unnecessary steps and overheads, and to be able to adapt and respond to challenges more quickly. All of this threatens the status quo and the authority of many of the gatekeepers who have, until now, been deemed necessary.

Reading Juan’s post, I couldn’t help but think of the roadblock to the adoption of legal technology and innovation across the legal industry. Whether it’s law firms, bar associations, or even legal technology associations, the transformation to digital, the use of technology, social media, and efficient solutions is often in the hands of the old guard.

Law firms can’t do this or that when it comes to the use of the Internet for networking to build trust, learn and engage people.

  • We cannot have a lawyer post blog posts without them being reviewed by someone senior.
  • We cannot have lawyers post their posts directly to the publishing platform directly, marketing needs to do that for them.
  • We cannot have lawyers using their personal Facebook accounts to engage clients, referral sources, business colleagues and others.
  • We don’t have lawyers posting their blog posts to the lawyer’s LinkedIn accounts so as to engage those who may comment on or like the post, our marketing people control that.
  • We don’t have lawyers with personal Twitter accounts for following news, engaging influencers or sharing posts, we have one account for the blog on which a lawyer is an author.

If not directly mandated by the old guard, such limitations come because the old guard does not understand how the Internet works for learning, engaging people, building trust and for business development. Those below fear taking a stand.

The vast majority of people in this country have no access to legal services. Yet bar associations adopt ethics rules to stifle innovation and efficiency brought by legal technology companies to improve access to legal services in the name that consumers need to be protected.

Very few law firms have adopted technology solutions and processes in the delivery of legal services. The old guard, understandably, wants to use billable hours in charging for services, charges that would be eroded by improving the delivery of legal services.

Bar associations, legal technology associations and legal technology conferences are often led by executive directors and boards that do not use the most powerful tool they have at their disposal – the Internet – to engage their constituents, the influencers of their audience, the public and the media.

Rather than use the Twitter, Facebook and blogging to listen, to connect and lead change, these folks wear it as a badge of honor that they have no time for such interaction, let alone learn what’s about.

  • I wish I had the time that the associate general counsel of a $100 billion company, a law school dean and a practicing lawyer has to use twitter, but I have a full time job.
  • It’s not up to me as executive director of a bar association to use social media to connect with members who are leaving my association in spades.
  • I don’t feel comfortable using Facebook like managing partners, other law firm executives, and legal company CEO’s do.
  • It’s not my responsibility as a board member of a legal technology association “leading change” and running conferences to stay abreast of relevant online discussion or to engage constituents through the net.

Sure law firms, bar associations, legal technology associations and traditional legal publishers will talk technology and innovation. Publications and conferences are abuzz with the topics. But do they want transformation.

…[M]ost organisations want tinkering rather than transformation. They would rather rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic than face the true challenges of “Digital”. They find it easier to digitise their dysfunctions than to face up to them.

This is human nature.

The brave will try harder

Well said, Euan.

The transition to the new world is in the hands of the old posted first on

Friday, March 2, 2018

Way too many law firms use social media to broadcast rather than be social

“Way too many journalists use social media to broadcast rather than being social,” Joy Mayer, a veteran journalist and director of Trusting News, a project that helps journalists earn the trust of their communities, tells Christine Schmidt for a story in Nieman Lab.

It’s not so much about gaming Facebook’s algorithm or working with the Facebook changes as much as it is taking advantage of Facebook as a truly social platform.


Being social involves listening, responding, and adjusting what you’re doing based on the feedback you’re getting…The biggest way newsrooms in this project are having success on Facebook is by participating in the conversations that happen there and using every interaction as an opportunity to explain their credibility.

Journalists are learning to be social online because of trust — people don’t trust journalists.

With two-thirds of respondents to an international survey citing concerns of bias, spin, and hidden agendas as reasons why they often don’t trust news outlets, national outlets like The Washington Post have taken steps to increase understanding. Local news has a wee bit of an edge over national news in (still-low) trust polls, and Trusting News primarily works with local news organizations, which often drive audience members’ first personal interactions with journalists.
Sounds a lot like lawyers – both as to the trust factor and the use of social media to broadcast rather than being social.
People, the vast majority of whom use social media, don’t trust lawyers. Using social as a broadcast medium to grab attention or to seek traffic to your website only breeds distrust.

Mayer’s advice to the media applies equally to lawyers. “It has to be on us to rebuild that relationship rather than just hoping that if we continue to do good work, they’ll notice it.”

Too many legal marketers are advising lawyers that the Internet is all about getting eyeballs.

One advertising agency was telling a good law firm this week that the firm should put all their blogs inside their website. Why? Traffic to the website, despite the fact the blogs were establishing trust and authority by lawyers “coming out” and away of the firm’s advertising — their website.

Rather than engaging the firm’s target audience by listening to what they were saying or what was being said about them and engaging in that discussion via their own blog posts so as to build trust, the agency’s advice was to broadcast.

Other law firms have been concerned of late that Facebook’s algorithm changes may reduce the eyeballs on content the firm is sharing.

The firms’ lawyers don’t participate on Facebook as a way to engage clients, referral sources, business colleagues, the media and bloggers. The firms look at Facebook as a distrbution channel.

Then there’s the “auto-share” to social media. Write a piece of content or a blog post and it’s automatically blasted at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, regardless of whether the author participates on these social media.

Good lawyers get their work because they’re trusted and reliable authorities in specific areas of the law. Social media builds trust, so long as you are social.

Lawyers put a lot of time into penning blog posts and articles. Take a page out of the 30 newspapers who are already working with Mayer’s “Trusting News” project to increase readership by having reporters being social on social media.

Way too many law firms use social media to broadcast rather than be social. Don’t be one of them.

Way too many law firms use social media to broadcast rather than be social posted first on

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Twitter as a news feed versus following everyone following you

I am beginning to use Twitter more and more as a source of news and information from people and organizations I trust.

As part of doing so, I am whittling down the number of people I follow on Twitter to a more manageable number. By manageable I mean being able to open up my Twitter homepage and scroll thru the feed in a fashion in which I can find value.

Value, for me, is getting news and learning things, being able to share items I think of value to my followers (retweet or share with my comments) or being able to engage those sharing items.

I have taken down those I am following to about 550. At one time I was following close to 10,000 and I took that down to less than a 1,000 a number of years ago. But 1,000 followers was still too much for a worthwhile feed on the Twitter home page.

Following 1,000 I never used the Twitter home page for news and information. It was too much of a fire hose. Sure, I shared items on Twitter, engaged people who engaged my tweets, occasionally looked at my Twitter lists and did searches, but I never used Twitter as a news and information feed.

Twitter’s homepage works as a news and information feed when following 550.

Whether on my iPhone or iPad, more preferable than my MacBook for reading Twitter, I see some good stuff from some good people. I engaged a couple New York Times’ reporters this afternoon, a law school, a law firm and other individuals — all by following the Twitter home page for a bit. I picked up some good stuff to share and comment upon for my Twitter followers.

I see people with tens of thousands of followers and an equal number of people and organizations they are following.  I know some folks that use or have used software that generates followers for the sake of followers and follows back in return. Some follow in the hope of getting followed back.

Assuming you’re not so vain, what’s the point? You cannot use Twitter for news and information when following a ton of people.

I get that you want to be nice to the people you know who are following you. It’s been tough unfollowing people I know who follow me. But if what they are sharing is not of enough value, what should I do? I can still stay connected and get to them in other ways – Facebook, LinkedIn, face to face and when they engage me on Twitter by liking or retweeting items I share.

Looking at Twitter as a news and information feed, the news and information from my friends and colleagues may be very valuable to others, but not too me. Though Comcast gives me 800 channels I don’t watch them all.

When Twitter was new, people asked “Should I follow back everyone who follows me? Isn’t it the polite things to do.” Not if you have a ton of followers and following them back means an unreadable “fire hose.”

Traditionally, I got my news and information primarily from my news aggregator, Feedly. By following sources and subjects that I selected and organized into folders I stayed abreast of items like you would via a newspaper (tailored in this case) and had plenty to share with my Twitter followers.

I am looking forward to now also getting news and information from Twitter, the people’s network – for knowing what’s happening and what everyone is talking about, right now.

Twitter as a news feed versus following everyone following you posted first on

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Institute for the Future of Law Practice Steps in Where Law Schools Struggle

Leave it to legal tech innovator and law professor, Bill Henderson to be part of a new nonprofit, the Institute for the Future of Law Practice, that will coordinate the entry level law school market around an updated and modernized curriculum.

Traditional legal service models are breaking down. Law students are graduating from law school unprepared for the demands of the consumers of legal services, assuming even law firms are.

Law schools, like many law firms, are debating the need for change without the necessary action. They’re often paralyzed by traditional bureaucracy.

A core group of lawyers, legal educators, allied professionals and corporate legal leaders (Shell, Cisco, Archer Daniels Midland)  — many of whom I know well via common beliefs on innovation and tech —  believe that the best way forward is to create an independent organization that can coordinate the interests of law students, law schools, law firms, corporate legal departments, NewLaw service providers, and legal technology companies.

The Institute will provide both training programs for law students and a talent pipeline for the legal industry’s most advanced and sophisticated legal employers.

Through internships companies get the unique opportunity to access a pre-screened pool of specially trained candidates. Students get real-world experience, while learning from professionals in leading organizations.

The Institute has already made good progress in its pilot.

  • The Institute has worked with over 80 students. Students completed an academic program and worked at leading companies.
  • The Institute is working with 20 leading companies that offer students real-world experience.
  • For the 2018 application cycle, the Institute is partnering with the law schools at Colorado, Indiana, Northwestern, and Osgoode Hall (Toronto).

Boot Camps

Clients have for years been complaining about their lawyers’ inability to understand the business climate in which they operate, to manage processes, projects and risks, and to cost and price effectively and in a manner that equates price and value.

Institute for the Future of Law Practice Steps in Where Law Schools Struggle posted first on