Dennis Kennedy: Leaning into Technology

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Dennis Kennedy discuss:

  • The intersection of the legal system and technology.
  • Utilizing technology in ways that enhance the customer experience.
  • Recognizing where you can free up time to do higher-level legal work.
  • Why every lawyer should have a good, well-utilized CRM.

Key Takeaways:

  • Using technology for things like scheduling meetings, paying invoices, receiving payments, and other things not specific to the legal field is a great place to start if you’re unsure of where to begin.
  • There are technology applications that can make your life easier and free up time to do the creative legal work that you want to do.
  • Legal students and younger lawyers are used to using more technology and when they start working, at many law firms, it feels like taking a step back in their use of technology.
  • Don’t let the fear of the unknown around technology stop you from leaning into and using it.

“Figure out some problem that you have – something or some way you’d like to make your life easier that you think a technology might be to help you – then decide that you’re not going to learn all of the technology, you’re just going to learn one thing.” —  Dennis Kennedy

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Episode References: 

About Dennis Kennedy: Dennis Kennedy is the Director of the Center for Law, Technology & Innovation at Michigan State University and a widely-known expert on law and technology. He teaches AI and the Law and other technology and innovation classes at MSU, and also teaches a legal technology literacy class at the University of Michigan Law School. Dennis has co-hosted The KennedyMighell Report podcast since 2006, wrote the book Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law and many other publications, and, before joining MSU, retired as Senior Counsel at Mastercard, where he focused on technology law.

Connect with Dennis Kennedy: 

Website: https://www.denniskennedy.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dennismkennedy

Blog: https://denniskennedy.blog/

Podcast: https://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/kennedy-mighell-report/

Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

Instagram: @fretzinsteve

Facebook: Fretzin, Inc.

Website: Fretzin.com

Email: Steve@Fretzin.com

Book: Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science and more!

YouTube: Steve Fretzin

Call Steve directly at 847-602-6911

Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] Steve Fretzin: Hello, my Be That Lawyer friends. Before we dive in today’s show, I have a small favor to ask. My mission in the legal industry is to help legal professionals like you take law practice growth seriously. I hope you’re finding value in this podcast and it’s aiding you in growing your law practice. Now, it only takes a moment to make a positive impact on someone’s life.

[00:00:19] Steve Fretzin: If you’re enjoying the show, please help us spread the word. A kind review or five star rating would go a long way in helping us reach more of your amazing colleagues. Thank you for your support and now let’s get on to the show.

[00:00:34] Narrator: You’re listening to Be That Lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author and lawyer coach, Steve Fretzin, will take a deeper dive Helping you grow your law practice in less time with Well, 

[00:00:57] Steve Fretzin: Hey everybody, welcome back to the Be That Lawyer with Fretzin podcast.

[00:01:01] Steve Fretzin: I am Steve Fretzin. I’m happy you’re here. We are going to have a heck of a show for you to hell heck. Both are okay, right? With Dennis, we can do hell or heck. Yeah. We can say shit, we can do whatever we want, right? This is my show. 

[00:01:14] Dennis Kennedy: The president swears all the time, so I think it’s okay for everybody. So 

[00:01:17] Steve Fretzin: yeah, I don’t have a potty mouth like him, but you know.

[00:01:21] Steve Fretzin: You know, what did it for me was having a son. And my wife and I like didn’t swear for like 10 years and then he started swearing and then the floodgates open and it’s been a swear fest ever since there’s no looking back and now every time I see that little some bitch and I’d say, Hey, you know, we have a good time together anyway But really great.

[00:01:41] Steve Fretzin: It’s so happy that you’re on the show. And I’m just I think we got introduced through through our mutual friend Chukio by Abio, who’s an amazing friend and a friend of mine, a friend of the show over at a better price, but fantastic, man. Let’s start off with our quote of the show. And I, I, I’ve read this now five times, and I just want to get your take on it because I’m not really sure what it means.

[00:02:03] Steve Fretzin: The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed. All right. All right. So yeah, help me with that. 

[00:02:09] Dennis Kennedy: So this comes from the science fiction author, William Gibson. And the idea is that we, we sort of are looking out for the future to kind of come back to us, you know, like it’s out there and, you know, we’ll eventually get there.

[00:02:25] Dennis Kennedy: His notion is that the future already exists in various forms around us. But it’s just not everywhere yet. And so it’s kind of a really interesting way to think about the future. So you can say, you can apply it to like the early adopters versus late adopters, other things like that. And you say, well, this technology is out there, right?

[00:02:48] Dennis Kennedy: The AI is out there. But my experience of AI, my experience of the internet, my experience of these things is one thing. And it’s different than, than what everyone else has. And so you can say, like, I don’t have to wait on the future. I can kind of say there’s, there’s these sort of future oriented things.

[00:03:06] Dennis Kennedy: And I think this comes up in the context of of your subject matter as well. If I see things out there where there are potential. And your clients, others who are doing future oriented things. I don’t have to wait for that to happen. And somebody to say, okay, the future’s here. I can, I can go to that.

[00:03:24] Steve Fretzin: Well, so here’s my question to you. How far into the future is the world compared to legal?

[00:03:32] Dennis Kennedy: It’s funny. Like when I talk to people in the other professions, they will say like, Oh, we’re so far behind. We’re so far behind. You’re like, and So they think legal is like a little further along than I sometimes think, but I think that the legal system is under a lot of strain, right? Because it is a system and like many systems, it’s systems are under a lot of stress, especially complex systems.

[00:03:59] Dennis Kennedy: And we try to make these little point solutions and they cause unintended consequences. So I think that, that law has to react to things. And I think by its nature, because we’re more historical, we look backwards, we look to the precedent, you know, all those sorts of things. It tends to be a very reactive profession and especially in the litigation area obviously.

[00:04:22] Dennis Kennedy: So I think that. I hear more people these days saying I’m hoping I just kind of make it to retirement or before this AI thing happens, or maybe I can go a few little longer before this AI stuff happens. So I don’t know that we’re that far behind compared to other things. The place I really feel that law is far behind is compared to my experience with the medical profession lately, which is that if I go, if I have a question for my doctor or, you know, need a prescription refill or anything, I go to a portal.

[00:05:01] Dennis Kennedy: And I can leave a note. I can get refills. I can schedule appointments, all those things. And that’s just a natural thing. But if you say I go to the law firm then is there a portal? No, there actually isn’t. I had some legal work done by a pretty large firm and they, they sent me a bill. By email the invoice.

[00:05:24] Dennis Kennedy: And I was like, oh, great, I’ll just like click on the link and go ahead and pay that by credit card today. I wasn’t able to do that. Right. It wasn’t set up, so I needed to do a check. Right. And mail that check. Yeah. So what happened was, I’m like, oh, I gotta dig out a checkbook. I do, I have stamps, do I, do I even have an envelope?

[00:05:43] Dennis Kennedy: . And so, so basically a month or so rolls by and I got the, the second. You know, like the second invoice on a bill that I was perfectly prepared to pay on the same day. Yeah. So I think it’s like the little places where technology is here and is being used in other places where lawyers have sort of that, that notion of, you know, that law is so unique.

[00:06:08] Dennis Kennedy: That what we do is so different, you go like, no, we’re just talking about getting paid. We’re talking about getting messages out to people, you know, it has nothing 

[00:06:15] Steve Fretzin: to do with the law. And that’s like getting paid and it has to do about scheduling meetings. And like, how do we get efficient with our, with our stuff?

[00:06:23] Steve Fretzin: For those of you guys who are already enjoying, you know, the first five minutes, we’ve got Dennis Kennedy here. He’s the director of the center for law technology and innovation at Michigan state universities, widely known expert on law and technologies, the author of successful innovation outcomes in law.

[00:06:38] Steve Fretzin: And we had like a wonderful conversation. I don’t know, it was last week or something like that, or a week or two ago. And I was thrilled to get you on the show and really pick your brain on legal tech because I’ve interviewed a number, a number of people, but you’ve been doing this a long, long time and not to, you know, show your age or anything, but, but your experiences, if you will.

[00:06:58] Steve Fretzin: I mean, I really would love to get your take on like the brief reader’s digest history of like legal tech, like how did it come about? And then kind of like, how has it developed and grown and what areas and how do we get our checks paid and, you know, reaching back into this, into the last couple of minutes.

[00:07:14] Steve Fretzin: Thanks. 

[00:07:15] Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I mean, it’s sort of interesting because it is like the William Gibson you know, notion legal tech was sort of there, but it’s not evenly distributed. And so people said, could I do something that is maybe like legal research? Could I do something that where I look at information I have, can I see, like, can I track time?

[00:07:34] Dennis Kennedy: Can I do word processing? Can I do these things? And then. What’s going on in technology that could be really useful that would apply to, to what I’m doing. So if you look at my history, I sometimes say back in 1990 that I. Developed a, and, and the technology is pretty primitive every time, but it was an amazing application.

[00:07:57] Dennis Kennedy: I created a. Document assembly program or application, I guess is the better way to describe it. Took the drafting of complex estate planning documents that I was doing at the firm I was at a large firm and took it from being a six hour process to basically answering a few questions and generating that sort of.

[00:08:23] Dennis Kennedy: Editable. You know, really good first draft of documents down to like five minutes. And I was so excited when I accomplished that. And I said, Oh, I, I kind of have this billable hours issue now, because, because what’s going to happen, I would like to capture like some of the value. Of what I did, but so it’s interesting because then I had to say, okay, what can I do this kind of higher level?

[00:08:48] Dennis Kennedy: And there’s this notion these days where it’s phrase. I really like that. Lawyers want to practice at the top of the license. And so I sometimes look at it. Can a technology help me do that? So what are the things I’m doing that it doesn’t make sense for me to do that computers could do? Yeah. Better, you know, than I can and free up time for me to do higher level stuff.

[00:09:11] Dennis Kennedy: So when people ask me like, oh, I’m not sure what technology to apply or what would be the use of AI? I would say, let’s make it really basic. Take a look at what you’re doing that you don’t like doing. They either write off the time for, or you don’t bill clients for it because they won’t pay you and see if there are possible applications in there.

[00:09:32] Dennis Kennedy: That could work. So I first heard about generative AI and I’m teaching now and I’m not practicing. Oh my God, the killer app is cover letters and cover emails, right? So all I do is like clients don’t want it. They don’t, you know, read these complex letters, but I could do, I could use AI and they don’t want to pay me.

[00:09:50] Dennis Kennedy: Right. You know, to write this cover letter or to do a summary, I can have the AI generate it, I can have it generated in friendly language that’s suited to them, and they’re basically become really happy with me because they go, I got this really great summary and I understand what’s going on, and my lawyer didn’t even charge me for it.

[00:10:08] Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. And so that’s sometimes how I like to look at technology and probably what makes me different in my approach to technology is, is I’m like, okay, this is a tool, what can I use it for? And, you know, I’m not calling myself lazy, but I, you know, I say like, how can this make things easier for me and give me more time to do that sort of higher level creative work that I would like to do.

[00:10:34] Steve Fretzin: I mean, you’re, you know, teaching the kids in school these days and how were they handling not only what’s going on in law school, but legal tech. Like, what are they teaching us about legal tech? 

[00:10:45] Dennis Kennedy: Well, I think the tricky thing for students and they, they play it close to the vest, right? Cause they don’t want to hurt their chances to be hired.

[00:10:52] Dennis Kennedy: But typically what they will say is, I was really surprised that when I went to work at a law firm, you know, typically for a summer, like what a big step backwards I had to take in technology. And I had to do things that weren’t very efficient that were hard to do and didn’t use tools that I’m used to doing.

[00:11:12] Dennis Kennedy: Right. Right. Are used to using. So you see some of that. And then also the, the, what I would say, they didn’t call it social media, but sort of like the communication collaboration layer of technology. They’re just so much more familiar with that. And, you know, how do I reach out to people? How do I use these different tools?

[00:11:31] Dennis Kennedy: If I have a question, can I just, you know, reach out to people who are experts in the field through LinkedIn or otherwise, you know, how can I do those things If, you know, my firm says they want me to do three days of training on Windows, which, as we all know, if you do three days of training on Windows, by the time you actually have a question come up, you’ve totally forgotten it all because you couldn’t pay attention during that.

[00:11:53] Dennis Kennedy: And they’re like, well, if I have a question, I just go to YouTube or I go to chat GPT and it and it tells me how to do exactly what I’m doing. So they’re sort of more hands on. They see the use of technology, but they’re a little bit intimidated by lawyers who say we don’t know what to do with technology.

[00:12:14] Dennis Kennedy: So we’re going to keep you, you know, you younger lawyers and students from using this stuff until you kind of prove to us what the benefit is. And so I think it makes it more hesitant, which is interesting because it is I think the one thing we can agree on that this this newer generation of, of lawyers is way more entrepreneurial than probably any, any that’s been around for, for a long time.

[00:12:40] Dennis Kennedy: And so they would also say, well, maybe it’s, I’m better off to start my own thing.Like is the apprentice thing, the apprenticeship notion, is it really going to work if I don’t feel like I’m learning the things that I would need to represent clients or the, I’m at a firm where they say you can’t use AI or we’re not going to touch, you know, anything, blockchain, NFTs, crypto cannabis, what, whatever, like all these high growth areas in law practice.

[00:13:08] Steve Fretzin: Well, and I think that that hits on the mentorship is, is maybe down from where it used to be based on COVID and virtual, you know, a part time, you know, in person and virtual work. And then on top of that, if the technology is enough to speed, that means that maybe their communication’s behind. So there’s a number of factors going into how difficult it is now for younger people to really get acclimated to a law firm versus in the past.

[00:13:31] Dennis Kennedy: Right. And it all takes work. And I think that that’s, that’s, that becomes the tricky thing where you say, like, we do have these technologies that could help us. And, you know, the remote work could help us in some ways. And, but we’re concerned about mentoring. So but we need to address that directly. To me, it’s like, yeah.

[00:13:51] Dennis Kennedy: If you say come into the office on these days, because, you know, in person and mentoring is so important. And I say, you know what, I come in and the partners and especially the managing partners aren’t in there either aren’t aren’t in what’s the point, right? Like, why, why would I want to do that? And why aren’t we doing things that are structured?

[00:14:12] Dennis Kennedy: So we take advantage of that. So I had a group of students in my the class I teach it in Michigan. And we did a simulation where they were the innovation committee of, of a firm, and they needed to come up with an idea of how to use AI as an, as a tool. It’s an application and the idea they came up with that are one of them that was really interesting was to use a I to kind of gather the mentoring type information and so that a new associate could.

[00:14:48] Dennis Kennedy: Could sort of in private asked all the dumb questions and get an answer, you know, and to me, like the perfect, the perfect thing that you never know, culturally at a firm is that you want to ask. You don’t know who to ask is what exactly does business casual mean?So there are a bunch of things like that.

[00:15:08] Dennis Kennedy: You go like, well, if I could like, try the AI thing or to say like, oh, I’m doing this for this partner. And it says like, oh, here’s how they prefer their memos. Right. It has to be single space, blah, blah, blah. Those are the things that you’re likely to get wrong or you’ll be afraid to ask you know, if you can even track down the partner to ask them that.

[00:15:29] Steve Fretzin: But it’s so brilliant. So like, I’m not a huge Facebook fan and I don’t really like Facebook at all, but I’m part of a Deerfield, I’m in Deerfield, Illinois, Deerfield Dad’s group. And people are saying, Hey, does anybody have a roofer? Does anybody who they use to do the solar panels on your home? Or does anybody have a cat sitter or like, or they, or they have you guys tried this new restaurant?

[00:15:49] Steve Fretzin: Like whatever the point is like. There’s not a question you can add. I mean, I don’t want to say too dumb. There probably is something too dumb. I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to be that person, but like there’s questions and you decide if you want to respond or not. Not everybody has to respond, but typically 3 to 20 people will respond and the information that you’re getting is so valuable to the decisions that you make to save time, money and energy on having to research it yourself.

[00:16:16] Steve Fretzin: You’re getting people that are typically, you know, highly recommended. That’s it. And I’m like thinking, Oh my God, that just that one idea alone within a firm where there could be a central, you know, question, answer, depository of information could be so useful or videos, things like that. And maybe that exists in some, but I don’t think it does.

[00:16:34] Steve Fretzin: It 

[00:16:35] Dennis Kennedy: is, it’s more rare than you, you would expect. And, and then I would go even more basic. So I say what people want is exactly what you’re talking about. I call it the expert locator. Right. So you just want to go like, okay, I’m at a firm or, you know, and I know there has to be somebody in the firm who is interested in this or know something about it.

[00:16:56] Dennis Kennedy: I would just like to be able to surface them. So I was at MasterCard, big global company. Right. And, you know, there were a number of occasions where there were like three different groups around the world, essentially working on the same project but not knowing the other ones existed. Or you would say, here’s somebody who’s working on this legal matter, and they don’t know anything about it, and they don’t know who to ask, and you’d be like, well, why don’t you ask so and so, and so people would come to me because I had good networks, but I’m like, no, we need this expert locator thing that says, let’s use the technology Get the information we have and just like surface this thing to say, like, here are some people who may know something about it.

[00:17:35] Dennis Kennedy: And, and if you have, it’s like LinkedIn, right? So if you have some kind of connection to them, then you say, well, maybe I’m comfortable asking that person, but it gets, it advances the cause a little bit. 

[00:17:46] Steve Fretzin: Yeah.

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[00:20:13] Steve Fretzin: I mean, I want to ask you about the future and just get your take on it, but let’s just talk up to today. What do you think are the top three best innovations or changes that have occurred in legal tech?Or, or your favorite or your favorite, like we don’t have, I mean, I just, the 

[00:20:27] Dennis Kennedy: one thing I alluded to, I, I think just addressing the payments issue, right? Okay. So, you know, payment by credit cards, Jackie, anything you know, whether it’s your small, medium or large firm. And then I don’t think we’ve gotten where we wanted to get with knowledge management or with document automation.

[00:20:47] Dennis Kennedy: But I think there’s progress in those ranges and then the patient portal notion or, you know, client portal, another, another big thing that I think has worked. And then I think the whole, you know, meeting by zoom. So if I’m a client, so when I was in St. Louis and doing estate planning much earlier in my career, we reached this point where our wealthiest clients did not want to come to downtown St.

[00:21:13] Dennis Kennedy: Louis and they lived out in the suburbs. And so we would have to go out there, right? And we right off that time, obviously, because, and if you’re witnessing something, then you have like, You know, a couple of partners, a couple of associates going out to witness something time gets written on. So now you say we offer the zoom thing, which people are used to.

[00:21:35] Dennis Kennedy: So even elderly clients, cause they do use it with their, their grandchildren and great grandchildren. And you’ve made things easier, more efficient, and you’re able to, you just take out that whole thing of like, do I charge for travel time? Right. No, I got stuck in traffic. Do I charge? Took me an hour and a half.

[00:21:56] Dennis Kennedy: Do I charge the client an hour and a half because there’s a big traffic jam? Do I like, no, it was a zoom call. It was, well, wait a second. It depends where you’re 

[00:22:03] Steve Fretzin: in traffic thinking about thinking about the client’s case, right? Because then you’re on to something. Then you’re on to something. By the way, Dennis, I want to mention one thing.

[00:22:12] Steve Fretzin: It’s this is, I don’t know if this is ironic or funny or interesting to anybody. I, you know, Lawmatics is one of my sponsors. I love Lawmatics and I use it. I was a non lawyer. I’m using it every day, like all day and every single client that I work with is on auto debit. They all have filled out my contract.

[00:22:30] Steve Fretzin: They all have filled in their, their, their ACH information. So I take no checks in a month. I take zero checks. Except for one and it’s lawmatics. They send me a check every month. No one else is sending me checks. I think that’s sort of funny, but they have made my life so much better through the automations that they’ve put forth.

[00:22:51] Steve Fretzin: So that I can, I can, you know, get contracts out, get them back. I’m, I’m, I’ve got automations for how I’m keeping in touch. I think that’s a big thing. Like business development, client retention, how are you staying top of mind and in front of your clients in front of your network on a regular basis?

[00:23:09] Steve Fretzin: Most lawyers don’t, they just forget. And it goes into the rear view mirror. Lawmatics allows you to actually go in and, and, and set up automations to reach out every month, every quarter, whatever you want with different messages and different giveaways or whatever you’re doing. So I just want to give a shout out to them because I use that.

[00:23:26] Steve Fretzin: I really enjoy them. It’s things like that, that I think people, people aren’t doing enough of. 

[00:23:32] Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. The first, you just remind me, like one of the first presentations on legal technology I did at ABA tech show, you know, back in the previous century, I believe was that was on customer relationship management software, that, and taking like a standard tool.

[00:23:51] Dennis Kennedy: And, you know, it’s not built into all the practice, you know, in matter management tools, but using it as a tool to help you in exactly those things. Let’s, let’s gather the information about this client. Let’s put it in there when we last talked to him, let’s have our notes, let’s have the birthdays, let’s have like all this stuff and like even names.

[00:24:10] Dennis Kennedy: And it was, I was young then, so it wasn’t as important now that I’m older, it’s like, Oh, it’s so great that I could jump on, you know, I could talk to somebody and say, Hey, It’s like click a mouse and go like, how is your wife feeling name, you know, and then they’re like, you’re up on it and like, oh, you’re, how’s your daughter doing at, you know, university of Michigan, you know, that, that kind of thing.

[00:24:33] Dennis Kennedy: And it’s just like one of those simple things where. You’re thinking about this is a great tool and we don’t have to call it like legal tech. It’s just, you know, we have this thing where we need to keep in touch with clients and the fact that you have reminders and you know, the biggest thing with clients is they, they get upset because you don’t talk to them.

[00:24:52] Dennis Kennedy: Right. Or you don’t, you don’t let them know what’s going on. If you just like have this reminder thing that says, Oh, it’s been a month. Do you want to just Tell your client how things are going, how things are proceeding, then your client is, is really happy with you, 

[00:25:07] Steve Fretzin: but think about, you know, if, if it’s all about relationships, right?

[00:25:11] Steve Fretzin: And you have a way of not only remembering things that. You normally wouldn’t remember because your, your CRM your, I use a a remarkable two pad. Do you know about those? Right? And I’ve gotten a dozen people onto these remarkable two pads. This all backs up to Dropbox, which then I can put into my Lomatics.

[00:25:31] Steve Fretzin: Like there’s so many uses for it so that I’m keeping track of everybody and, and, you know, that they, you know, my, my client has a two year old. And the two year old just got through potty training and it’s like diaper free, which is amazing. And so, you know, great. But now. It’s the ability to remember things that normally your brain isn’t going to hold and how you bring it back or how you keep in touch.

[00:25:52] Steve Fretzin: I mean, there’s just, there’s just so much that can be done when, when you lean into technology versus trying to do it on your own. 

[00:25:57] Dennis Kennedy: Right. And that is the case where if you, if you talk to somebody, even though they’re aware that the clock is running and you’re asking them something personal that shows you’re interested in them, it’s not like you’re talking about the weather and the football game and this and that, where they’re going like, Oh, great.

[00:26:13] Dennis Kennedy: I just spent 300, like. You know talking about the football game. 

[00:26:19] Steve Fretzin: Well, by the way, as an aside, be careful to charge, don’t charge people for the, for the relationship talk, if you can help. I had a lawyer do that to me. People have heard me talk about this. Like he, he’s like, how’s your son? How’s your, he went on for 15 minutes and then he charged me and I was like, The next time I got him on the phone, I was like, Hey, let’s get down to it.

[00:26:35] Steve Fretzin: What do you got for me? How’s the contract? Like, I didn’t want to, don’t ask me anything about my family. Cause I’m paying, I’m paying. I just spent a hundred dollars to hear a beer and answer questions. So careful with that. But let’s sort of wrap things up with your take on, you know, kind of where it is today and where you see it in the future and, you know, AI and all that.

[00:26:54] Steve Fretzin: How do you see it impacting the legal industry as a whole? 

[00:26:59] Dennis Kennedy: So my crystal ball right now is like very muddy because it’s, it’s difficult to, to know. And it’s not, there’s a bit that’s the technology itself. But there’s a lot about the regulation and what we’re going to do about the technology. So there are legitimate concerns on AI because of what the big tech companies are doing with it.

[00:27:22] Dennis Kennedy: There’s a legitimate concerns about whether the big tech companies are going to be broken up now. And what are the implications of that? There’s a huge amount of consolidation in legal tech. And I think that it’s easy to at the same time, there’s a huge amount of investment as well. So it’s, I think it’s easy to at the same time, there’s a huge amount of investment as well.

[00:27:41] Dennis Kennedy: You kind of think about it as I, I love this Clayton Christian notion of jobs to be done theory. So I’m like, what is the job that I actually want this technology to do? And I think we’re sort of focused on shiny object and what is the technology that, that I need, you know, and why do I need this technology?

[00:28:01] Dennis Kennedy: If I’m just, if everything is just going on, you know swimmingly for me and nobody’s complaining. Right. So I think it’s really tricky, but I think it’s a time of great opportunity at the same time. So I don’t have a great answer. I sort of say like. As I always like to say figure out some problem that you have something, some way you’d like to make your life easier that you think a technology might be able to help you decide that you’re not going to learn all of technology.

[00:28:33] Dennis Kennedy: You’re just going to learn one thing. So like this summer, I’m. Focused on AI, right? I mean, I teach an AI and law class, so that’s part of it. But AI has just become a really interesting tool for me. And I’m using it in ways that not many other people are and it’s just become sort of a fun thing. And I sort of see it as a long, a long standing thing.

[00:28:55] Dennis Kennedy: You know, they could, you know, unless, unless it all melts down and we regulate it out of the existence. I see something as, you know, when I retire, I could still be doing AI stuff.I mean, I think it’s, but it’s, 

[00:29:07] Steve Fretzin: I think, don’t you think that it’s, it’s, it’s going to probably take away some jobs, but it’s probably going to be the lower functioning lawyer jobs, the, the con, you know, the contracts that get done over and over that are repetitive, that’s already happening.

[00:29:18] Steve Fretzin: So I think that’s really what I’m seeing is it’s that the big brain work that lawyers need to do in transactional litigation, the problem solving that’s, that’s in the creativity that’s involved in. In lawyering. I don’t think that’s necessarily gonna get solved, but I think it’s a lot of the humdrum stuff that they might be doing.

[00:29:37] Steve Fretzin: That that, that if it goes away, they’re gonna lose some hours, but they’ll pick ’em up somewhere else. Let’s float though into our game changing book, and you’ve got one of, we’ve not brought up on the show before called Co Intelligence. What is that about? It’s Ethan. Is it Mulch? 

[00:29:52] Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. Ethan Malik has, has been the Wharton business professor, and he’s been writing about the practical uses of AI and prompting in education and in business, very practical.

[00:30:06] Dennis Kennedy: I liked the book and the book just came out on April 2nd, 2024. And, and so it’s new, it’s a really great. Plain language introduction to AI and where we’re at with and talking about its practical implications and where you might use it and you might not use it. I’m actually going to use this book as the foundational book to get my students up to speed in my AI and in the law class next year.

[00:30:33] Dennis Kennedy: I like the book because I agree with so much of it. But there are, though, we do have some, some different opinions, but I think it’s a great intro and he does give you some example prompts and it really kind of takes you through his thinking. And so if you’ve been hesitant about AI and You know, I think it’s a good place to start and say like, Hmm, this gives me something to think about that.

[00:30:58] Dennis Kennedy: I might try. 

[00:30:59] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. 

[00:31:01] Dennis Kennedy: And it’s, and it’s four hours. I think somebody, I think it’s like four hours as an audio book, either four or six hours. So you can run it at a, you know, one and a half to double speed, make it even a shorter time involvement. 

[00:31:13] Steve Fretzin: You know, that’s a, that’s a, for me, that’s a there and back from, you know, into the city of Chicago and out of the traffic, so avoid that at any cost.

[00:31:21] Steve Fretzin: Dennis, thanks so much. If we wrap up, we want to thank again, our sponsors, Lawmatics as I mentioned earlier, just crushing it for me and for the lawyers that engage in, in really wanting to automate the way your law practice runs and, and, and your marketing. And of course, Get Staffed Up, who’s helping, you know, law firms all over the country to to find those virtual assistants and, and marketing and administrative and getting, you know, all that open time available for you.

[00:31:47] Steve Fretzin: Dennis, if people want to reach out to you, they want to check out what you’re doing, your book, et cetera. Well, how, what are the best ways for them to find you? 

[00:31:54] Dennis Kennedy: I’m sort of Dennis Kennedy everywhere. So Dennis Kennedy on LinkedIn, Dennis Kennedy. com. My blog is called Dennis Kennedy dot blog. The podcast called the Kennedy mile report on the legal talk network.

[00:32:09] Dennis Kennedy: So it’s, it’s pretty easy to find me and I love helping people. So feel free to reach out to me and, and, you know, take a look at what we’re doing at, at, at Michigan state. I think it’s, we’re doing some cool things. And some of my students wrote really good papers and I’m after them to get them published.

[00:32:26] Dennis Kennedy: And one of them already has a paper published within a, like two weeks after two or three weeks after the semester ended, so. 

[00:32:33] Steve Fretzin: Wow, that’s really cool stuff. And I love that and just thanks again I appreciate you being on the show and you and I will keep in touch. I hope and Thank you everybody for spending time with dennis and I today on the be that lawyer with bretson podcast you know legal tech it’s it’s happening all around.

[00:32:48] Steve Fretzin: We just have to continue to go with it and Make sure we lean into it and and leverage it. I mean, that’s what it’s all about. Helping you to be that lawyer. Someone who’s confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker. Take care, everybody. Be safe. Be well. We’ll talk to you very soon.

[00:33:06] Narrator: Thanks for listening to Be That Lawyer. Life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Visit Steve’s website Fretzin. com for additional information and to stay up to date on the latest legal business development and marketing trends. For more information and important links about today’s episode, visit Fretzin.

[00:33:26] com. Check out today’s show notes