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    Don’t Be a Definite Maybe
    Monday, May 6th, 2013

    ♫ Be prepared for indecision
    It might make me disappear
    But then again, my addiction
    To indecision keeps me here…

    Lyrics  and music by: Stephen Duffy and Steven Page, recorded by Stephen Page.





    This is another guest post from Beth Flynn of the  Ohio State University Leadership Center.

    To be a successful leader-manager, you have to be decisive. Probably the most frustrating thing to employees is working for a leader who can’t make a decision. The phrase “don’t be a definite maybe” is well known. The problem is that no one believes he or she is a definite maybe. The term itself is demeaning by what it implies. We all think we make decisions in a prompt or decisive manner, but I wonder if that is true and if it is what our employees think. I found that most leaders could make decisions about things quite easily. It’s making decisions about people that is difficult. In many cases, middle managers can’t make people decisions, or they will vacillate over them. When it becomes apparent to people in the organization that they are working for a definite maybe, they begin to lose confidence in that person’s leadership completely (Monastero, 2010, p. 75).

    From: Monastero, S. (2010). Winning at leadership: how to become an effective leader. Bloomington, IN: IUNIVERSE, Inc. Winning at Leadership is available from the OSU Leadership Center.  Click here to borrow this resource.

    Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world at http://leadershipcenter.osu.edu 

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    Thanks Beth for another great leadership post on how all of us can move towards being a better leader by leaving our addiction to indecision behind!

    Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Dave's Top 10 Lists, Fraud and theft, I'm a Mac, personal focus and renewal, Technology | Permalink | No Comments »
    Top 10 Legal Tech Predictions for 2011!
    Friday, December 31st, 2010

    ♬ Crystal ball
    There’s so many things I need to know
    Crystal ball
    There’s so many things I’ve got to know
    Crystal ball…♬

    Music and lyrics by: Tommy Shaw, recorded by Styx.

    I wanted to end off this year by gazing into the crystal ball and make a list of the top 10 legal technologies that I see influencing 2011. There is always a danger in making predictions but it is also a bit of fun too. So without further ado here is Dave’s Top 10 List of Legal Technologies for 2011: (more…)

    Posted in Change Management, Dave's Top 10 Lists, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Technology, Trends | Permalink | 3 Comments »
    Dave’s Top 10 List about WestlawNext
    Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

    ♫ Baby lovin’ you
    Is how it’s meant to be
    It’s something that is oh so natural to me

    Lyrics and music by: Cathy Dennis and A. Todd, recorded by S Club 7.

    WestlawNext is about to be released. Courtesy of Thomson Reuters, I was given a sneak peak at this new legal research offering. So without further ado, here is Dave’s Top 10 list on WestlawNext:

  • 10: You no longer have to select a database. Choose your jurisdiction (say California or Alabama) and the search engine under the hood will pull together relevant hits from all of West’s legal databases that are relevant to your search criteria. Considering that Westlaw has over 40,000 databases, this is a marked improvement. Furthermore, you get to see the results of all the hits in the Westlaw system and not just in the databases that you traditionally searched.
  • 9: You do not need to know Westlaw syntax or use boolean search logic (‘search terms and connectors’). Natural language searching is just fine. Of course you can use boolean search terms if you wish
  • 8: That search engine under the hood has been considerably enhanced. You do not need to spend time considering the precise language in framing your search. You can search by factual description (“right to trim tree when tree debris falls on neighbor’s property”), by legal concept (“res ipsa loquitur”) or statute terminology to retrieve your search inquiry.
  • 7: Your search term does not need to appear in the hit to be listed. For example, “DWI” is only one way of classifying driving under the influence. Behind the scenes, the search engine recognizes the variations and pulls up cases, statutes and relevant secondary materials related to the concept rather than the actual wording. This ensures that your searches are more effective than under the traditional way of searching.
  • 6: You can customize the search to display cases, statutes or briefs etc as your preferred search result.
  • 5: It provides you with “related topics” to your search which may assist in understanding your search query to lead you to resources that you may not have considered. This allows you to understand and comprehend the wider context of your query.
  • 4: WestlawNext has on-line folders in which you can store your search documents and results. Here the added benefit is that if any new materials are added to Westlaw, your online folder will contain the new items. Furthermore, other than the cost of subscribing to WestlawNext, there is no cost to searching all the databases in Westlaw. If a document in your hit list is part of your existing Westlaw plan, then you don’t pay anything to view that document (or place it in your folder). If the document is outside of your Westlaw plan, then you only pay if you choose to view the document. This way you can use the search power of WestlawNext and only pay for what you wish to see. When you place a document in your online folders, there is no additional charge to go back and view it. However, someone with whom you are collaborating may have to pay to view that document, depending on their Westlaw plan.
  • 3: Collaboration and workflow tools have been added. You can now share research with others in your firm.
  • 2: When you view a case, your case results are automatically KeyCited with that information displayed at the top of the screen. Case warnings are prominently displayed.
  • 1: Along with your preferred search result (cases, statutes etc) a panel on the right side of the screen brings up secondary materials related to your search. This way you can expand your research without having to do the search again, this time selecting another database.
  • WestlawNext has been designed under the hood to use the power of the West Key Number system along with other search algorithm improvements combined with human tweaks on how to improve search results. Not all improvements are in how WestlawNext functions. The way that WestlawNext displays its search results has also been tweaked based on customer insights, log analysis, eye tracking, design reviews, performance testing, usability testing, workflow observations and focus groups.

    The people at Thompson Reuters state that WestlawNext works best using Google’s Chrome browser. If you don’t use Chrome, users are advised to upgrade to the latest versions of their browsers to attain the best results.

    I do like the fact that all searches in WestlawNext are included in your existing plan; only viewing results comes at a charge. This feature that allows you to see the full extend of the resources available to you is a significant improvement, in my opinion.

    WestlawNext is clearly aimed at those lawyers who are more familiar with a Google search than a traditional Westlaw search. The appeal of WestlawNext to me would be the efficiency/effectiveness gains in using WestlawNext as compared to traditional legal research. Another appeal would be WestlawNext’s ease of use.

    In order to gain market share, a user would have to gain confidence that the results in WestlawNext are not just as good as, but in fact superior to, a traditional search; the people at Thomson Reuters confidently assured us that this is in fact the case.

    Given Google Scholar, Westlaw has to raise the bar to beat the competition and justify their value-added services. It looks like they have a winner on their hands.

    My only question is when is this coming to Canada? I am told it will be the last quarter of 2010 or the first quarter of 2011. Like most new technologies, those of us in the frozen white north will have to wait a bit before we see this in Westlaw Canada.

    It is something that is oh so natural to me; it will be worth waiting for.

    Posted in Dave's Top 10 Lists, Law Firm Strategy | Permalink | 4 Comments »