International Government RSS Feeds

Thanks again, Law Librarian Blog, for tipping me off to another cool on-line resource. Information Overlord is compiling a list of RSS feeds from various foreign governments. The list currently includes various European nations. Why is this cool? Well, information on foreign laws and governmental matters is not always so easy to find when you need it, but RSS can put that information in your feeder even BEFORE you need it. Nothing like getting the answer to your question before the question is even asked!

Axiom Is Practicing Law In The Modern Age

Interesting article over at CNN / Fortune about Axiom, a corporation that “practices law” via lawyers connected only by the internet. The New York-based company has a main office in San Francisco, but it is sparse and attorney-free. The company does have more than 200 attorney-employees, located throughout the United States and in London that labor in their own homes or at their clients’ sites. Their website serves to introduce clients to their services, as well as connect their attorneys in a social networking kind of way – affording them the opportunity to interact on-line rather than at the water cooler. What is the hook? Well, try legal fees at 50% of the cost of more traditional firms that expensively house their attorneys in firm offices. Axiom’s mode of doing business resonates with today’s high tech corporation that have adopted similar working arrangements, with employees spread far and wide connected only by laptop and smartphone. How is it working? Check this quote from the article:

Both attorneys and clients seem to be happy with the way it’s working out so far. The proof is that even in this dismal economy, Axiom, which claims to be profitable, continues to grow revenue at about 40% to 50% annually – 2008 revenue is about $60 million.

Call it a win-win situation for the firm paring costs, the client receiving top notch service at half the price and the attorneys controlling their work environment and quality of life.

A Video Is Worth A Thousand Words

Need more reason to believe in the power of Twitter to propel your professional pursuits? Don’t just take it from me, head on over to Practicing Law in the 21st Century and veteran expert lawyer and legal writer Nicole Black for a short video on the why of it. While you are over there, check out her great video explanation of Gen Y, The Recession and Obama – Changing the Legal Landscape and that lawyers will need to evolve to meet these new media opportunities and challenges.

Great job, Nicole, in bringing home these crucial points in a personal way!

Texas On The Cutting Edge Of Legal Social Networking

The Society for New Communications Research has just awarded the State Bar of Texas with a 2008 Excellence in New Communications Award. The on-line social and professional network is the first of its kind among bar associations. The awards program seeks to recognize organizations that are pushing forward by utilizing “social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities, virtual worlds, and collaborative technologies in the areas of media, marketing, public relations, advertising, entertainment, education, politics and social initiatives.” Why is the State Bar of Texas using this platform? Well, for all the same reasons we all are using such sites! Reconnecting with old colleagues and classmates, pursuing business networking and sharing knowledge are some of the obvious perks.

Congratulations to the State Bar of Texas for leading the way in helping lawyers to connect in ways they never before dreamed of!

Smarten Up!

Looking to expand your intellectual repertoire in law and other topics? Marcelino 2.0 has a list of 100 Blogs That Will Make You Smarter. A couple of legal entries, such as Lessig, Concurring Opinions, The Becker-Posner Blog, Georgetown Law Faculty Blog, and Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog, caught my eye, but there are lots of other suggestions in topical areas ranging all over the map. There are selections in Politics, News, Higher Education, Technology, Sports, International Perspective, Art, Literature, Science and Do-It-Yourself. Whether you agree with the title or not, it is always nice to add some resources to your personal library and increase your knowledge base.

A Legal Reason To Buy A Kindle

I am always looking for good support to purchase one of these e-readers for business purposes. Here is one: A West treatise on Business Law. Called Business Law Today: The Essentials : Text & Summarized Cases–Legal, Ethical, Regulatory, and International Environment, the summary of content is as follows:

Product Description
This is a 22-chapter abbreviated version of Business Law Today: Text Summarized Cases Legal Ethical Regulatory and International Environment 4th offers summarized cases. Many features focus on the global political ethical social environmental and cultural context of business law. Two new features emphasize technology and the Internet. Key content changes include the integration of material on lease contracts and Article 2A throughout all sales chapters as well as the revision of negotiable instruments material to reflect law based on Revised Articles 3 and 4.

It is awesome to see this type of content on the cutting edge reader. Still waiting for Couch on Insurance, though.

New Career Here – Heading Off To MIT Now

Thanks to Law Librarian Blog, I sauntered over to Typealyzer, a name ominously similar to Breathalyzer, to analyze the personality type of my blog. The Swedish site apparently applies the Meyers – Briggs Personality typology to blog entries in order to suss out the writer’s personality type.

I entered my blog URL into the box and hesitated briefly, fingers poised over enter button, wondering whether I would pass the test.

Apparently, I am INTJ – a scientist. Here is what the site had to say about this type:

The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it – often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring, but might be pshysically [sic] hesitant to try new things.
The Scientists enjoy theoretical work that allows them to use their strong minds and bold creativity. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communcating [sic] their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use conrete [sic] examples. Since they are extremly [sic] good at concentrating they often have no trouble working alone.

My mis-spent youth competing on the high school Chemistry team has finally come home. But that physically hesitant thing? Clearly they haven’t seen the Penalty Magnet play soccer.

Happy Birthday! More Twitter Apps

Stumbling around, I discovered a great page of Twitter Lo-Fi applications over at the lo-fi librarian blog. Some I knew, but most I didn’t, including Twitclicks, which shortens URLs and gives stats, FriendOrFollow, which tracks who is or is not following you back, Hip & Twendy and Twitter Patterns backgrounds and Twitly, which groups friends and followers. Pimp your Twitter experience with these tools and believe the Bunny!

Give Content. Get Noticed. Facebook Style.

As I spend time on the web involved in social networking and business development, I am noticing image certain truths and trends. We lawyers, actually all humans generally, are curious creatures faced with an explosion of information at our fingertips. I am learning that part of the attraction to the on-line connection is the opportunity to organize and share that information in new and increasingly efficient ways. The problem for us on-line marketers is managing that information, catching the attention of passers-by on the information superhighway and ensuring that they are glad that they stopped at the rest area for a bite to eat.

I first stumbled onto JD Supra early in my social networking trajectory and was impressed with the concept: “JD Supra is a repository of free legal information shared by the professionals who generate it.” Taken from their site:

• We give everyone access to a database of documents – court filings, decisions, forms, articles, alerts, newsletters – uploaded daily by lawyers & law firms, public interest & advocacy groups, law professors & their students, and numerous other members of the legal community.
• We give legal professionals a platform to publish top-quality work to a wide audience, maintain a profile online, and be credited for their experience, and expertise.

I book-marked the page with the intention of returning later to flesh out a profile and jump into mix with some sample work.

I recently had cause to revisit my interest: Adrian Lurssen at JD Supra asked if I would be willing to try out JD Supra’s new Facebook application prior to public press release. I eagerly agreed. I completed a profile on their web site, uploaded a couple of documents and switched over to Facebook to install the application. It loaded easily. I quickly was rewarded with a box in the sidebar showing my documents and a new tab at the top titled “My Docs”, which directed me to a schedule of my JD Supra docs. A click on the document opened a window showing the text. Easy peezy. Another tab accesses my profile highlighting my research and writing business. I returned to JD Supra and loaded another doc. A short while later, the doc showed up in my news feed for all to see.

Nearly instantly, I was able to provide a quick visual conduit to my work product to all of my Facebook friends, who might not otherwise think to visit JD Supra’s site. Unlike my Advantage Advocates Facebook page, which requires deep digging into my profile or a lucky search, JD Supra sits front and center on my profile with new additions popping up in the news feed.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Facebook. But until now I have told anyone willing to listen that LinkedIn appears to be for professional networking while Facebook is all about the “social.” Thanks to JD Supra, I am beginning to rethink my bias.

Check out how it looks: come on over to Facebook, search “Martha Sperry” and feel free to connect!

Writing Inside (The Very Small) Box

According to Joseph Addison, she who hesitates is lost. Or at least gets her ideas trumped in the blogosphere. I had been formulating a post about Twitter limits and their positive effect on my pre-writing thought-process when I came across this post by Jennifer Alvey, a recovering lawyer, writer and editor who loves new technology (gee, that sounds familiar, except for the “recovering” part).

Although Alvey has not yet joined the Twitterati, she praises the 140-character limit that forces unnatural discipline upon lawyers famous for excessively verbose wordiness.  Alvey also comments on Huffington Post’s Rachel Sklar’s love of the medium and her description of the “haiku-like restrictions” as great training for writers.

It is rare that I can slap down a Twitter entry without first paying attention to how best to formulate an idea that initially presents much larger than 140 characters. When writing an article or memorandum or even a blog post, I can casually skip this step because the consequences are not as dire: there is no little “box” that mercilessly cuts off the end of my sentence, often with a cruel mid-word amputation. In traditional writing, I can allow the words to flow free-form, later returning to my written product with the editor’s eye. In theory, there is nothing wrong with this traditional, time-honored process. However, in reality, constraints imposed by deadlines, a heavy workload and the reality that there are only 24 hours in a day may tempt the writer, o.k. ME, to shorten the editing process instead.

Twitter forces a different technique, one that, if properly mastered, will yield a more efficient writing experience. So, I guess I will stick to my Twitter-ing and feel good about all the positive work I am doing to improve my writing. And I will give myself a personal high-five every time I write the perfect thought while staying inside the box.