"Must Read" Blog Posts for 2009 (So, far...)

Last December we had a great response when I asked some of my closest Twitter Friends to help me compile a list of blog posts that they thought were "must reads". I've decided to compile another list of "must reads" for the first half of 2009 using the same idea. I've gone back to my Twitter mates to ask them to submit some of the blogs that they either wrote or read that they believe others would also enjoy reading. Although most of the posts are things that got a lot of traffic when they were originally published, my favorites in this list are the "hidden gems." Those are the posts that didn't get a lot of traffic the first time around, but someone felt that everyone should have a second look at the post because they feel there is something relevant in them that didn't get caught the first time around.
WARNING: This list is LONG! Back in December I was probably following about 800+ people on Twitter. This time around, I'm up around 2400+ and found that 85% are still active (meaning posting a least a few times a month.) In order for this list to remain about the same size as the December list, I'm capping it to about 150 "legal topic" posts this time (although, we've stretched the term "legal" in some of these posts).
In doing this, I'm integrating an unique math formula:
(T + Q(dm)) / ∑(150) = OL T = Length of Time You've Followed Me on Twitter
Q(dm) = Quickness of Your Direct Message Back to me
∑(150) = First 150 Direct Messages
OL = On the List!!
In other words, I went from my oldest to newest followers and sent a Direct Message via Twitter to them in that order. When I got to 150, I stopped. I'll probably follow up at a later date with any that came in after the 150 mark. In December, we'll do this all over again and list the best of '09 part two!
Just like before, the list is in order from oldest to newest blog post. There were a few non-2009 posts that people liked. I placed those at the bottom of the list so that we could see the 2009 posts first. Surprisingly, there were no blog posts was only one post (Bill Marler's Obama Eats a Burger) that got recognized twice (which did happen a few times on the previous list.) However, there was one blog that got a lot of people mentioning individual posts. Jordan Furlong of Law21.ca is Mr. Popular when it comes to writing good blog posts!
I'm linking to the blog post and noting the Twitter name of the person that suggested the post. If you're not following the person on Twitter, you should! Hey, if they are following me, and I'm following them, they must be okay!!
Drum-roll please.... I now present the first half of 2009's Must Read Blog Posts as submitted by the best folks on Twitter:
  1. Overcapacity? What Overcapacity? Chuck Newton Rides the Third Wave January 1, 2009 Submitted by @chucknewton
  2. How I began my Solo Practice Ohio Employment, Labor and Worker's Compensation Law January 1, 2009 Submitted by @cjcochranjr
  3. An Unusual Criminal Proceeding With A Question About Eye Witness Testimony Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP Blog January 1, 2009 Submitted by @bschuelke
  4. Cultivating a Writing Habit ChrisBrogan January 4, 2009 Submitted by @kathryncobb
  5. WHAT’S IN A NAME CHANGE? Myrland Marketing Minutes - Plan To Grow January 5, 2009 Submitted by @nancymyrland
  6. Back to First Principles for Knowledge Management Dr Fuzzy's Weblog January 5, 2009 Submitted by @pennyedwards
  7. The Single Secret to Making 2009 Your Best Year Ever Zenhabits - Simple Productivity January 5, 2009 Submitted by @ElizabethPW
  8. Trends that will affect enterprise collaboration anecdote - Putting stories to work January 7, 2009 Submitted by @jkhogan
  9. “Marketing Me” with a Plan and a Purpose The Legal Watercooler January 11, 2009 Submitted by @heathermilligan
  10. PR’s Impact on the Professional Services Sales Cycle Earned Relevance January 12, 2009 Submitted by @3rddeadline
  11. Crimes Against Hypertext SitePoint January 13, 2009 Submitted by @kbladow
  12. Do you value your social capital? HeadShift Blog January 14, 2009 Submitted by @pennyedwards
  13. 5 Web Folk I Admire - Something I don’t do easily Enquiring Mimes January 16, 2009 Submitted by @wckdgfy
  14. Legal Billing - Differences between Germany and the US (Part 1) Saskia's Spin January 18, 2009 Submitted by @sioslo
  15. Do the benefits of using Twitter include better writing for lawyers? No. The Complex Litigator January 19, 2009 Submitted by @hsleviant
  16. Forgiveness and Irony: What makes the West strong City Journal January 19, 2009 Submitted by @MarkH_Houston
  17. The Trouble With Carfax Louis M. Green, Attorney at Law January 23, 2009 Submitted by @louismgreen
  18. How to Get an E-Discovery Protocol Rolling Law.com LegalTechnology January 27, 2009 Submitted by @HaleyOdom
  19. Law Firms on Twitter - An Update LawyerKM January 31, 2009 Submitted by @LawyerKM
  20. Information alone is not valuable - targeted information is KM Librarian February 3, 2009 Submitted by @Linda_Moore
  21. Alternative Fee Arrangements Gain Traction LAWDABLE February 3, 2009 Submitted by @jeffrey_brandt
  22. Living Proof Home Office Lawyering Works Build a Solo Practice, LLC February 4, 2009 Submitted by @johnsirman
  23. The Octuplet Mess a fertile life February 4, 2009 Submitted by @surrogacylawyer
  24. B2B Social Media Marketing: Why should you start? Ad Your Comment Here February 5, 2009 Submitted by @just_kate
  25. Investigative Interviewing: Tips From an Ex-FBI Special Agent Forensic Accounting Today February 9, 2009 Submitted by @jemoore
  26. Evaluating websites exercise Ch-Ch-Ch Changing Librarian February 12, 2009 Submitted by @amylibrarian
  27. How to Build a Hellhole, Lesson I Pharmaceutical & Toxic Tort Defense February 13, 2009 Submitted by @debdobson
  28. We feel your pain.... HumanRacehorses February 13, 2009 Submitted by @HumanRacehorses
  29. What if Google billed by the hour? The Client Revolution February 13, 2009 Submitted by @glambert
  30. Twenty Theses for Government 2.0, Cluetrain Style Social Media Strategery February 15, 2009 Submitted by @CherylMcKinnon
  31. First 10 things you should do to your new BlackBerry The Legal Hokey-Pokey February 16, 2009 Submitted by @jeffrey_brandt
  32. Social Media “Teaches” Legal Marketers to Promote Themselves the Right Way Karasma Media by Kara Smith February 17, 2009 Submitted by @leahcdaniels
  33. 8 Step Cycle of Search Engine Optimization with Blogging gerry heidenreich February 18, 2009 Submitted by @gHeidenreich
  34. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to New York (Or: Pillsbury associates, brace yourselves.) Above The Law February 19, 2009 Submitted by @davidlat
  35. Non-Compete Enforcement Tips Smooth Transitions February 20, 2009 Submitted by @robradcliff
  36. Reality: The Enemy of Innovation? Creative Class February 20, 2009 Submitted by @pennyedwards
  37. An Interview with Amy Derby a/k/a/ The Law Firm Blogger Construction Law Musings - Richmond, VA February 20, 2009 Submitted by @constructionlaw
  38. With Scant Apologies to the Pay Apologists TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog February 24, 2009 Submitted by @brocromanek
  39. Court of Appeal gets out its blue pencil: Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court (Benson) The UCL Practitioner March 2, 2009 Submitted by @hsleviant
  40. Wanted: Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Customs Law March 3, 2009 Submitted by @customslawblog
  41. Lawyer Up, Boys The Epicurean Dealmaker March 4, 2009 Submitted by @bigtkirk
  42. Wyeth v. Levine - First Real Thoughts Drug and Device Law March 4, 2009 Submitted by @ageorgialawyer
  43. Top 10 Ways To Get Fired By Your Lawyer BlawgIT March 4, 2009 Submitted by @BrettTrout
  44. Lawyers Should Consider Producing Their Own iPhone Apps Bentley Tolk's Marketing for Attorneys, Marketing for Law Firms, and Marketing for Lawyers March 5, 2009 Submitted by @bentleytolk
  45. What’s My Line? Above and Beyond KM March 6, 2009 Submitted by @HeatherColman
  46. Now that Mom's on Facebook... idealware March 9, 2009 Submitted by @kbladow
  47. This is Not a Drill Law21.ca March 10, 2009 Submitted by @ronfriedmann
  48. Decentralized and Personalized KM caselines March 11, 2009 Submitted by @KMHobbie
  49. A twitterable Twitter policy Gruntled Employees March 11, 2009 Submitted by @jeffrey_brandt
  50. The Virtues of Half-Assed Legal Work Corporate Tool March 12, 2009 Submitted by @joshuamking
  51. To friend or Not to Friend – Social Media for Lawyers Part 4: Twitter for Lawyers The Legal Intelligencer Blog March 12, 2009 Submitted by @GinaRubel
  53. Microblogging Will Marginalize Corporate Email I'm Not Actually a Geek March 13, 2009 Submitted by @jeffrey_brandt
  54. How A Transformative Recession Affects Law Practice and Legal Education MauledAgain March 16, 2009 Submitted @jordan_law21
  55. “Reciprocal Link Cloaking”, SEO “Experts” and why you need to be very careful Avvo Blog March 16, 2009 Submitted by @ConradSaam
  56. Some Thoughts on Working from Home - One Year Later The Simple Dollar March 16, 2009 Submitted by @alisonlaw
  57. Blawg Review #203 Geeklawyer Blog March 16, 2009 Submitted by @montserratlj
  58. The Button-Down Mafia: How the Public Accounting Firms Run a Racket on Investors and Thrive While Their Clients Fail The Huffington Post March 16, 2009 Submitted by @retheauditors
  59. 5 website mistakes you can and should avoid Grow My Company March 17, 2009 Submitted by @ChristinePilch
  60. A World Without Fathers and Husbands Massachusetts Divorce & Wills Lawyer March 17, 2009 Submitted by @GabrielCheong
  61. Dan Ariely: Why People Cheat Mental Floss March 18, 2009 Submitted by @shucha
  62. Got My Pitchfork: Get Me a Job at AIG! TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog March 18, 2009 Submitted by @retheauditors
  63. 20 things law firms need to have in their social media guidelines. VMO - Virtual Marketing Officer March 19, 2009 Submitted by @jaynenavarre
  64. The C-TPAT Bait and Switch Customs Law March 19, 2009 Submitted by @customslawblog
  65. Graduating into a recession Law21.ca May 19, 2009 Submitted by @halosecretarial
  66. A Response to Lev Grossman’s “Quitting Twitter” Ad Your Comment Here March 22, 2009 Submitted by @just_kate
  67. The Sun, the Cave, Enterprise 2.0 and the "A-HA" Moment Candy and Aspirin March 22, 2009 Submitted by @CherylMcKinnon
  68. How To Solve The Legal Employment Crisis Law21.ca March 23, 2009 Submitted by @gerkmana
  69. Technology Strikes--Oblivious Attorneys Stunned Sui Generis -- A New York law blog March 23, 2009 Submitted by @nikiblack
  70. Joy Points The Nocturnal Gardener March 23, 2009 Submitted by @mary_siceloff
  71. Compliance and Recommendations on Social Networking Sites Compliance Building March 24, 2009 Submitted by @DougCornelius
  72. On Tactics Leading Geeks March 26, 2009 Submitted by @JennSteele
  73. Why I Do What I Do Hattiesburg Divorce Lawyer March 27, 2009 Submitted by @timothyevans
  74. Take the client and run Circumlocutions April 1, 2009 Submitted by @mglickman
  75. BigLaw Lawyers and Paralegals To Get Kindle 2 - Loaded with National Reporter Sets and US Code 3 Geeks and a Law Blog April 1, 2009 Submitted by @montserratlj
  76. A Reminder Of What Constitutes Nursing Home Neglect Nursing Homes Abuse Blog April 4, 2009 Submitted by @rosenfeld575
  77. Extranets for Law Firm and Client Collaboration – Moving Beyond Email Compliance Building April 5, 2009 Submitted by @DougCornelius
  78. State of the Enterprise Market: Slow and Unsteady Read Write Web April 6, 2009 Submitted by @ITSinsider
  79. Do You Use a Feed Reader? technola April 8, 2009 Submitted by @kbladow
  80. The Three Types of Collaboration Law21.ca April 9, 2009 Submitted by @halveramy
  81. Pricing Against the Market - How To 3 Geeks and a Law Blog April 9, 2009 Submitted by @gnawledge
  82. Free as in "Me" 43 Folders April 10, 2009 Submitted by @cyberlaw
  83. Contract Drafting for the 21st Century: A Conversation Between Ken Adams and Ron Friedmann Prism Legal April 12 2009 Submitted by @jordan_law21
  84. Cloud computing requires savvy elegal April 13, 2009 Submitted by @DavidCanton
  85. Blawg Review #207 Law21.ca April 13, 2009 Submitted by @DougCornelius
  86. Open Letter to Law Firms: Control The Message Marketing Strategy and the Law April 14, 2009 Submitted by @jonlin98
  87. Knowledge Management, Bacteria Style Green Chameleon April 15, 2009 Submitted by @pennyedwards
  88. Lessons From the Domino’s Pizza Video: Part I Social Media North Carolina Law Life April 16, 2009 Submitted by @DonnaChmura
  89. The Worthlessness of American Legal Education The Legal Satyricon April 17, 2009 Submitted by @jordan_law21
  90. Why Ask Why: Building Law Firm Web Sites 3 Geeks and a Law Blog April 17, 2009 Submitted by @sioslo
  91. The "Dirty Little Secret of Patents" is that Most are Worthless to Their Owners. Here is Why. IP Asset Maximizer Blog April 17, 2009 Submitted by @IPStrategist
  92. Does Web 2.0 Dilute a Presenter's Message? 3 Geeks and a Law Blog April 20, 2009 Submitted by @JennSteele
  93. Top rate of income tax could be 60%, not 50% The Baillieu Blog April 22, 2009 Submitted By @danversbaillieu
  94. Lawyer Twitter Practices: 29 Do’s and Don’ts slaw.ca April 25, 2009 Submitted by @jordan_law21
  95. The Sky Is The Limit – Up Close & Personal With SkyGrid Advocate's Studio April 27, 2009 Submitted by @advocatesstudio
  96. Lockstep Compensation – Fair or Foul? Corcoran's Business of Law Blog April 28, 2009 Submitted by @jordan_law21
  97. Online social networking at work Work Matters April 28, 2009 Submitted by @johnsirman
  98. Nine Legal Technology Trends for 2009 - The Year of Hunkering Down DennisKennedy.com April 29, 2009 Submitted by @jordan_law21
  99. Enterprise 2.0 marketing score card: solid ‘C’ Pretzel Logic April 29, 2009 Submitted by @lehawes
  100. Managing how your friends experience your Facebook page Grow My Company April 30, 2009 Submitted by @ChristinePilch
  101. My Mom is on Twitter IT Pro Marketer April 30, 2009 Submitted by @Rex7
  102. A Sick Situation Domestic Disturbances April 30, 2009 Submitted by @molecule18
  103. The May 2009 Carnival of Trust Settle It Now - Negotiation Blog May 1, 2009 Submitted by @vpynchon
  104. Want to Be a Guest Blogger? technola May 4, 2009 Submitted by @kbladow
  105. Less Time on Twitter, More Time Exercising Law Firm and Attorney SEO and Internet Marketing May 5, 2009 Submitted by @george_murphy
  106. 5 Simple Ways to Use Linkedin to Market Your Firm The Nutmeg Lawyer May 5, 2009 Submitted by @brettowens
  107. The Great De-Leveraging Adam Smith, Esq. May 6, 2009 Submitted by @jordan_law21
  108. Using Social Media vs. Using a Social Media Strategy I am Jen and this is my Blog May 6, 2009 Submitted by @jenz036
  109. When Star Wars Geeks Marry This is What Happens just a guy thing May 6, 2009 Submitted by @JoshCamson
  110. On Human Sustainability reconnectwithsimmons. May 7, 2009 Submitted by @JennSteele
  111. Obama Eating A Burger - A "Teachable Moment" in Food Safety Marler Blog May 7, 2009 Submitted by @mary_siceloff & @bmarler
  112. Supreme Court's Plenary Docket--Part Two Balkinization May 8, 2009 Submitted by @Collinudell
  113. Blackberry Bold vs. iPhone Social Media Law Student May 7, 2009 Submitted by @Rex7
  114. David Armano - The Twitter 20 Interview on Visual Thinking and Social Business Convince & Convert May 7, 2009 Submitted by @elizabethsosnow
  115. Crowdsourcing – The Live Experiment 3 Geeks and a Law Blog May 7, 2009 Submitted by @glambert
  116. The Road Not Taken Above and Beyond KM May 8, 2009 Submitted by @HeatherColman
  117. The Twenty-First Century Mom Lawyer: A Life Without Seams MyShingle.com May 10, 2009 Submitted by @nikiblack
  118. HOW DAVID BEATS GOLIATH The New Yorker May 11, 2009 Submitted by @jasnwilsn
  119. FAQ: Is an Internet Contract Enforceable? E-Commerce law May 11, 2009 Submitted by @JonathanFrieden
  120. 10 Ways To Put Your Content In Front Of More People Smashing Magazine May 12, 2009 Submitted by @3rddeadline
  121. Attorney Advertising and Lawyer Marketing Blog AttorneySync May 12, 2009 Submitted by @JeffTBerman
  122. Do foreigners now file FBAR disclosures? Hodgen Law Group PC May 12, 2009 Submitted by @philiphodgen
  123. Self-Identification and Status Updates: Personal Entrypoints to Museum Experiences Museum 2.0 May 14, 2009 Submitted by @elloyd74
  124. Why Not Apply A Three Strikes Rule To Everything? Techdirt May 14, 2009 Submitted by @DavidCanton
  125. Letter to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo RE: Craigslist Waking Vixen May 14, 2009 Submitted by @glambert
  126. Of project management, the lawyer doth protest too much, methinks. Legal Project Management May 15, 2009 Submitted by @paulceaston
  127. Now is NOT the Time for Blind Faith. It is a Time for Thoughtful Action Build a Solo Practice @ SPU May 18, 2009 Submitted by @halosecretarial
  128. Icky Iqbal LAW PROF on the LOOSE May 19, 2009 Submitted by @lbergus
  129. 11 Striking Findings From an Eye Tracking Study ProBlogger May 20, 2009 Submitted by @jaynenavarre
  130. Proudest Day In My Professional Life In-House ACCess May 20, 2009 Submitted by @LauraAWalters
  131. BPAI Shuts Down Dissent in Favor of Efficiency PatentlyO May 21, 2009 Submitted by @ColoradoPatent
  132. Dig the Suits Out of Your Closet Counselor Chicago IP Litigation Blog May 22, 2009 Submitted by @rdd
  133. Did ICBC Snoop In My Private Records When I Was Called For Jury Duty? ICBC Law Blog May 22, 2009 Submitted by @erikmagraken
  134. Steve Baird Thinks the Washington Redskins Need a Re-Branding The TTABlog May 22, 2009 Submitted by @asilverstein
  135. Black Liquor Sparks New Trade Feud and Old Controversies slaw.ca May 24, 2009 Submitted by @OmarHaRedeye
  136. 54 Tips For Writers, From Writers Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online May 24, 2009 Submitted by @Marelisa
  137. The Case for Working With Your Hands The New York Times May 24, 2009 Submitted by @paulgregorylang
  138. Legal Information Organized by Subject: Announcing JD Supra Law Centers JD Scoop May 26, 2009 Submitted by @JDTwitt
  139. In Strauss, et al. v. Horton, as State Registrar of Vital Statistics, et al., the California Supreme Court denied original writs of mandate challenging Proposition 8 (constitutionally definining valid "marriage" as being between a man and a woman) The Complex Litigator May 26, 2009 Submitted by @hsleviant AND SOME GREATS FROM '08
  140. A book publisher’s manifesto for the 21st century the digitalist May 13, 2008 Submitted by @Linda_Moore
  141. Social Media and Your Summer Job Social Media Law Student May 25, 2009 Submitted by @JoshCamson
  142. How David beat Goliath Law21.ca August 26, 2008 Submitted by @jasnwilsn
  143. Sorry to Burst Your Bubble Lex Fortis September 18, 2008 Submitted by @lexfortis
  144. The Future of Law Firm Branding Law21.ca October 3, 2008 Submitted by @lsuttell
  145. Off Topic: SHIRLEY NAGEL may be the hottest woman alive!!! Gabe's Guide to the e-Discovery Universe November 2, 2008 Submitted by @GabeAcevedo
  146. Now Here is How You Raise a Brand Community.... Buzz Canuck November 6, 2008 Submitted by @leahcdaniels
  147. Off Topic: Blago, American Hero Gabe's Guide to the e-Discovery Universe December 10, 2008 Submitted by @GabeAcevedo
  148. December 16, 1773: Boston Tea Party RHAPSODYINBOOKS’S WEBLOG December 16, 2008 Submitted by @RKaiser
  149. Why I Support Sex Worker's Rights: Part I My Introduction to "Patty" That Lawyer Dude December 17, 2008 Submitted by @ThatLawyerDude
  150. 2008: The Best and Worst of Legal Marketing Avvo blog December 30, 2008 Submitted by @ConradSaam

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The False Argument: Social Media tools are either Marketing "Wins" or "Losses"

I am not a Law Firm Marketer... I don't play one on TV (or via Social Media). I do, however, recognize a weak argument when I read one. There's a certain consultant out there that has raised the hackles of a lot of Twitter fans by writing that "Twitter Not Effective for Legal Marketing." Immediately, there were rebuttal blogs being posted.
I thought I'd chime in with my non-marketing, but still somewhat knowledgeable take on this whole thing, and how it shouldn't be painted with a broad brush.
I was discussing these arguments with a good friend and she said:
I'll tell ya, I'm pretty fed up with all of these law firm marketers (especially the consultants!) who are self-proclaimed social media "experts" but who contribute little value, if any, to the community and the conversation. My CMO asked me "I don't understand twitter, what's the ROI?" and I could only answer, "Just your time. You get what you put in." And I think that's exactly what some people get. Nothin. No, you cannot make a quick buck doing this stuff - blogging, twittering, etc - but you can establish yourself as an expert, you can learn and share information, and, yes, you can connect with your clients. Is it an overnight, magic-bullet? No. Does it still work? Absolutely.
Let's be honest -- Twitter can be a time suck, and can be ineffective as a marketing tool. But, so can anything else -- whether it is traditional marketing or a social media effort. How much time and money have firms spent on traditional marketing effort that got zero or little ROI?? Probably more times than we'd like to admit. But, we learn, we adjust, and we move on to the next project. Trying to argue that Social Media tools are either "Wins" or "Losses" just seems to me to be a false argument.
It reminds me of a joke I was told a long time ago about how sometimes it is easier for some consultants to tell you what they "know" rather than them taking the time to learn something new and then tell you what you "can do."

All of the athletes of a Division 1 University took a "History of the Bible" course in the Fall semester of their Senior year. The course was pretty simple and the professor never took roll. But more importantly, the only grade in the class was from the final exam and the prof always gave the same question on the final exam. "Explain why Moses was chosen to lead Israel out of slavery and give them God's Law."

Unfortunately for a group of athletes, the professor decided to change the final exam this semester. This time the question was "Critique Jesus' Sermon on the Mount."

One very creative athlete found a way around this dilemma by giving the following answer:

"Who am I to criticize the Lord?? Therefore, let me explain why Moses was chosen to lead Israel out of slavery and give them God's law...."

Social Media Tools (blogs, FaceBook, Nings, etc) can be a good addition to your overall marketing resource kit. However, it can also be a drain on your resources if you're not careful. Now insert that same argument for all of those Law Firm Alerts that your firm sends out. (And, read this little article about what your clients think of those alerts.) As the old saying goes - "If your only tool is a hammer, then all problems look like a nail." You just can't have one tool in your marketing tool belt. Or, as Lisa puts it, "holistic marketing." The trick is to find understand how all of your marketing resources can help you achieve your goals. And, if you can't tell me what your marketing goal is, then using Social Media tools effectively isn't your only problem. (paraphrasing Dave Lorenzo.)

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The Fixed Fee Challenge

Geek Number 2 of the 3 Geeks and I were strategizing about our Crowdsourcing project over some adult beverages recently and got to philosophizing about alternative fees. Greg had posted a comment on my recent post about how things won't change with current thinking. We ended up talking about how GCs (even when they're insulted by the billable hour) always go back to the billable hour when evaluating firms' prices. I commented about the FMC Technologies' Value Challenge as an example, since that billing model is built on hours. Then it occurred to me. We need a Fixed Fee Challenge! I challenge clients to accept purely fixed fee bids for their work. In this challenge clients can't ask how many hours will be used or what are the underlying billing rates. It's been my experience on numerous alternative fee bids that clients always go to these issues. They're concerned that they will pay too much. I have even heard of clients asking if they have to pay the whole fixed fee if a firm delivers results sooner than expected. So this challenge would force a client to evaluate price based on the overall fee and not hours or rates. Of course 're-openers' will be allowed. These are events that are outside the scope of the work that bring a client and firm back to the fee table. This falls within the Challenge, since a fixed fee would be for a defined project. Needs outside that project would be addressed separately. This is like the auto mechanic who gives a fixed fee for replacing the radiator, but can charge another fee when he finds the water pump has gone bad too. I predict finding clients wiling to respond to a Fixed Fee Challenge will be more challenging than finding law firms willing to respond to a value challenge. For once though, it would be nice to be wrong.

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So No News Is News? Google Doesn't Do Anything

In the latest saga of the newspaper industry's drama, Google has announced it is NOT buying a newspaper. Well, what a relief! The Financial Times reports "potential targets are either too expensive or have too many liabilities." No! Shocking. In my mind, Google's daydreaming is only that: a fantasy. Plus, they really don't want to get into the newspaper business as it would expose them to too much liability. As it stands, under current federal laws they are basically immune from any kind of lawsuits involving content. Stand strong, Google. Don't be a writer. Just be a provider. Believe me, in the end, you will make more money ...

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Crowdsourcing Part 5 - Less Time + More Money = Better Quality?

Continuing our Crowdsourcing post from yesterday, here are the answers we got back for the final six:

Firm Name: Jackson Walker
Article Title: OIG gets enhanced funding for increased enforcement in health care
  • The Economic Stimulus bill gave the Office of the Inspector General nearly 30 billion dollars simply for increasing oversight over health service and care providers.
  • The stimulus plan also gives Inspector Generals the right to review any contracts or grants given through stimulus money.
  • The Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 is another piece of legislature aimed at increasing the independent authority of the inspector general and increasing the efficiency of the OIG in oversight over healthcare organizations.
  • OIG data shows that for every $1 the govt provides in funding, it recovers $17. The amount recovered in 2009 is already greater than the amount recovered in 2008. This means that we must expect increased OIG funding and oversight.

Firm Name: Kilpatrick Stockton LLP
Article Title: What must your healthcare organization do (if anything) to protect against patient identity theft?
  • Healthcare organizations must be in compliance with the Red Flag Rules of the Federal Trade Comission and are to create a Identity Theft Protection Program
  • Mandatory compliance with the Red Flag Rules is due in part because Healthcare organizations are both creditors and they have charged accounts, the two requirements under teh FTC to be under the Red Flag Rules.
  • By August 1, 2009, Healthcare organizations must have a Identity Theft Program in place in order to deal with issues such as payment transactions, consumer reports security as well instituional procedures to identify and reduce the chances of identity theft.
  • This Identity theft program will require the approval and involvment of the board of directors, will require that workers in the organization be trained in aspects of identity theft, and have transparent relations with outside service providers.

Firm Name: Dorsey & Whitney
Article Title: Take precautions now to prepare for Influenza A type H1N1 (formerly `swine flu`)
  • With the threat of a disease such as Influenza A type H1N1, businesses should have a plan in place in case it affects its employees.
  • A specific emergency plan should be put in place in case the disease strikes, focusing on such issues as chain-of-command.
  • It is important to have open communication with employees via non-traditional means to track any cases of the disease that are reported.
  • Attendance policies and sick-day procedures should also be reviewed so that employees who might be sick have options.
  • Perhaps the most important way to prevent the spread of Influenza A type H1N1 is through education; everyone should be well informed.

Firm Name: Finnegan Henderson
Article Title: Federal Circuit affirms award of attorneys` fees for litigation misconduct
  • Case is a medical device patent-infringement suit (spikes) between two medical supply companies, ICU and Alaris
  • ICU has repeatedly and variously claimed infringement in the use of specific spikes by Alaris, each time being rejected
  • Court found that ICU failed to disclose and specify between tubes and spikes in their cases
  • Court ruled against ICU and awarded attorney's fees for Alaris for those portions related to spike claims
  • Under The Supreme Court 9th Circuit precedent, the awards held up during a final appeal
  • [comment from MTurker] This was a very challenging one---I spent a good deal of time on it, and did my best. I hope it's good enough!

Firm Name: Fulbright & Jaworski
Article Title: FTC Delays Enforcement of Red Flags Rule Until August 1, 2009
  • Cutting Medicare spending will take a lot of "new offices and positions." I'll bet his "Office of Spending Oversight" will need 500 new expensive "experts."
  • Increasing a budget by $1.7 billion to find Medicare and Medicaid fraud abuse is abuse to the American public.
  • Allocating $311 billion to physicians over the next 10 years will not cut cost of services. Doctors are not going to make less money, so services will be cut.
  • Making subcontrators liable for fraud will not work. Once care is given good or bad, it is almost impossible to track who is responsible for what.
  • Work plans and every other Medicaid fraud prevention plant will only add more expense to the already over inflated budget.

Firm Name: King & Spalding
Article Title: Obama Budget Proposal Includes $309 Billion in Medicare Medicaid Spending Cuts; $1.7 Billion Increase for Fraud Control
  • The US 2010 fiscal budget will increase spending in health and human services by more than 7% upto 879 billion dollars.
  • There will be budget cuts in medicare and medicaid programs by 309 billion dollars in order to save for the healthcare reserve fund requirement of 634 billions dollars.
  • A large proporion of the money going into this fund will be coming from competitive medicare bidding between hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • The govt is also increasing the money it spents on identifying and preventing healthcare fraud, focusing 1.7 billion over the next five years in order to save 2.5 billion in fraud losses.
It tooks us from Saturday morning until Tuesday to get 10 articles reviewed. We'll probably need to re-run the test at a later time to see if it was the "weekend" or the "price" that caused such a slow turn around on the project. My initial feelings are that it is probably a combination of the two.
This sort of task requires the MTurker to put some thought into the process. I really didn't see a huge drop off in quality between the results that we got back at 25¢ versus the 50¢ results. But, there did seem to be an increase in the time it took to get the answers back. So, if you have more time, you can pay "less", if you need something done in a hurry, then you need to pay "more".
I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with the quality of the work. Regardless of if we paid 25 or 50 cents, the work was very good. I'm also stunned by the seriousness that the MTurkers seem to take with regards to the quality of the work. Take a look at the last bullet-point of the Finnegan Henderson article. A MTurker posted a comment saying that they had some difficulty with the article but hoped that their results were "good enough" for us. That really impressed me.
The more I test the MTurk idea, the more I see potential in crowdsourcing a number of projects that we'd love to do within the law firm setting, but generally don't have the staffing to help us complete the projects. We'll break down some of the other MTurk projects we tested over the past week and show you what we've found to be the pro's and con's of crowdsourcing.

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Crowdsourcing Part 4 - Time, Money and Quality

Toby and I had some left over money in our MTurk Crowdsourcing account, so we thought we run a few more tests to see what kind of results we could get from the vast amount of potential workers. In the process of blowing the remaining $14.00 we had in the account, we learned a thing or two and thought we'd share our new found knowledge with you.
We ran 3 tests where we asked the following:
Test 1: Bullet-Point Reviews
Review the following legal article and give a synopsis of the article 5 bullet point of approximately 15 words each.
Test 2: Paragraph Reviews
Review the following legal article and give a synopsis of the article in approximately 100 words.
Test 3: Copy & Paste Article Title, Date and Intro Paragraph
Open the following URL and copy the Title, Date, and First Paragraph of the legal article found at that site.
For tests one and two, we took the same 10 legal articles and submitted them on Saturday and offered to pay 25¢ for each correct answer. The articles that remained on Monday afternoon were resubmitted and we then offered 50¢ for each correct answer. For test number three, we submitted 30 URL's on Monday and offered 5¢ per answer.
Lessons Learned:
  1. Don't submit anything on a Saturday morning.
  2. Two-Bits can still buy some things
  3. The more "mechanical" the work, the better the results
  4. MTurkers are people... some of them pretty smart people! (we even had one comment on this blog about her experiences)
For this blog entry, I'm going to show all of the results of the "Bullet-Point" MTurk project and discuss the what we went through and learned in the process.
First of all, we took 10 Health Care articles that were written by large law firms as either client alerts or general publications. We submitted the MTurk project asking the workers the following:

Write 4-5 Bullet-Point Reviews of the Following Law Articles

  • Each Bullet-Point should be approximately 15 words in length.
  • Do not repeat the title of the article or the author name(s) in your summary.
  • Summary must be in your own words, do not cut-and-paste sentences from the article.
  • Try to mention approximately 4-7 keywords relating to the article topic.

Law Firm: [Law Firm Name]

Article Title: [Name of Article]

Website: [URL Link]

Bullet-Point 1:

Bullet-Point 2:

Bullet-Point 3:

Bullet-Point 4:

Bullet-Point 5:

Please provide any comments you may have below, we appreciate your input!

The instructions were pretty specific, and we submitted this on Saturday and paid 25¢ for each answer. By Monday, we had 4 of the 10 answered and decided to "kill" the project at that amount and resubmit the final six at 50¢ per answer. Here are the four answers we received at the lower 25¢ rate:

Firm Name: Holland & Hart
Article Title: Internet Medicine Part IV: `Health 2.0`
  • Health 2.0 represents a new paradigm in the relationship between doctors and their patients
  • Many websites are evolving into the role of information providers, acting as intermediaries between patients and their physicians and care providers
  • Websites are key information providing sources to patients because U.S, physicians don't receive compensation for providing medical advice to patients
  • Electronic medical records offer promise for an advertising-funded model for online information dissemination to patients
  • Privacy issues are highly likely to continue to be an impediment to personal health records online because of confidentiality concerns

Firm Name: Baker & Daniels
Article Title: EEOC issues reminder on ADA compliance when dealing with the H1N1 flu virus
  • Employers are limited in medical examination and disability information requests for current employees
  • Employers may not request disability requests or demands to prospective employees
  • Employers may inquire of new employees disability related inquiries, but these inquiries must be standard practice and may not segregate
  • Disability information acquired from employees must be carefully guarded and kept confidential
  • Recommends employers identify standard best practices related to medical outbreaks and emergencies, including options for telework, as long as these do not discriminate against those with disabilities

Firm Name: McDermott Will & Emery
Article Title: Senate Health Care Reform Policy Options: Medicare Advantage
  • There has been released of three particpated health reform option paper from the Senate which was voted April 29,2009.
  • With the new laws that have been passed enfornced the four most important things from the Medicare Advantage.
  • -
  • -
  • -

Firm Name: Dinsmore & Shohl
Article Title: Medicare DMEPOS competitive bidding program becomes effective April 18, 2009
  • Will affect DME suppliers in ten selected cities (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) and surrounding areas
  • Replaces existing fee for service model with bids for competitively priced items in ten product categories
  • No effect on current Durable Medical Equipment (DMEPOS) suppliers
  • Medicare is interested in input from DMEPOS suppliers impacted by the program
  • More information in presentation by Mark A. McAndrews at Ohio Pharmacists Association Annual Conference

When we saw that only 4 of the 10 were answered by Monday morning, we began to question our logic of starting a project like this on a Saturday. So, we decided to stop this project on Monday afternoon and resubmit the remaining six articles at 50¢. It still took us another 24+ hours to get the remaining six answered, even after doubling the amount we were paying.
Tomorrow's post will show the final six results and talk about whether more money + less time really equals better results.

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