Q&A: Meet Dennis Kennedy, Class of 2014
Dennis Kennedy has been at the forefront of legal technology for more than 30 years — speaking, writing, and thinking about technology innovations for lawyers long before many of us understood the subject. Dennis has used many means and vehicles to educate lawyers on how to best use technology in a law practice: whether writing as the technology columnist for the ABA Journal, winning awards as a TechnoLawyer contributor, or co-hosting a nationally-syndicated podcast on legal technology. He also contributes tremendously to the body of knowledge provided by the ABA’s Law Practice Management Division, helping to deliver high-quality practice management resources to lawyers as an organizer, speaker, and author, including books on LinkedIn and Facebook that are best-sellers in the legal community. He is able to view the future of legal technology and explain it to us with a practicality that is firmly grounded in the present.
Vice President, Senior Counsel
Where were you born and raised?
Garrett, Indiana, a small town of 5,000 people in northeastern Indiana.
What’s your favorite thing to do away from work?
As those who follow me on social media will guess, I really enjoy cycling. A lot.
What achievement outside of work makes you most proud?
My portfolio of writing, including books and articles, being one of the early lawyer bloggers and being one of the first lawyers with a web page (back in 1995).
Did you choose your career or did it choose you?
I’d say that my career evolved, with elements of both. Now, it looks likes there was more pattern and method than there seemed to be at the time. At a pivotal point in my career, I worked with a career counselor and that played a huge role in reaching the point in my career I am at today. However, the story is not finished.
Who was your mentor and what made him or her so influential?
Bert Stern, an English professor at Wabash College, first recognized my writing abilities, challenged my ways of thinking and influenced me greatly over the years. Bill Hobson was my most important law mentor, teaching me both technical and human elements of the practice, practice habits that I still find myself using today, and the essential role that good judgment plays in law practice and in life.
What is the most vivid moment or experience in your career?
There are too many to name just one, but one I like to tell involves my decision to start a web page in 1995. I decided to take a day off work and attend the St. Louis Windows 95 announcement event. Afterward, I became convinced that the Internet was the most important development of my lifetime and that I had completely missed it. I drove home in a funk and decided that, even though I was so late to the party, I had to post a web page right then. I did and much of what has happened for me since follows directly from that decision.
Of the law-related projects or initiatives you’ve worked on in the past year or so, what has you the most excited or shows the most promise?
My wife likes to say that I might as well work for the CIA because everything I work on is so confidential. That means that I’ll answer this question by mentioning the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center, of which I’m a member of the board. LTRC has great promise and energy, and offers a way to build the kind of resources to promote the use of technology by lawyers that I’ve long advocated.
What is the most engaging law-related thing you’re doing right now?
The best things I’m doing now are currently confidential. At MasterCard, I’ve recently moved over to our Emerging Payments legal team, which covers MasterCard’s newest efforts in payment technologies. I’m very excited about what I work on daily. Stay tuned to that space.
Get to know the rest of the Fellows by visiting the Recent Inductees page and by browsing the Fellows Directory.