Ross Kodner’s Call to Action – KatrinAid

Ross Kodner’s a legal technlogy consultant at Microlaw whose clients
include many small law firms and whose website and presentations have
offered resources and support to thousands of lawyers.   Now,
Ross is putting out a call to the legal and legal tech community
to help out those impacted in Katrina.  Here’s the text of his message (in blue) and contact information:

I’m sure that all of you are experiencing something similar when watching

the horrible images unfold on the news in Louisiana and Mississippi. I’m

finding it hard to keep my composure watching and feeling pretty powerless

to do anything. Sure, we can all donate money to the Red Cross and any other

agency, but as in the aftermath of 9/11 four years ago, I do think those of

us in the legal technology, bar association and the legal tech media world

may be able to offer more practical assistance. 

Here’s what I’m thinking – thousands of law practices have been disrupted,
physically damaged and/or completely destroyed. The basic ability to
communicate with employees likely no longer exists for many firms. Offices
are not accessible, or have been damaged. I’m sure that computer systems are either totally offline, or if they were up by some miracle, there is likely
little to no Internet connectivity (if they even have AC power at all).
Paper documents for many are likely a total loss. All the data backups in
the world aren’t going to help with business continuity issues if the media
is not accessible and there is nothing to restore it to anyway.

Insurers, stretched thin and strappd like everyone else involved in the
restoration efforts, are likely to focus on much more basic issues than
replacing computer systems for lawyers and funding business disaster
recovery – people, housing, etc. are going to come first.

What I think we can do is any of the following:

* The legal tech consultants I’ve included on this mailing (and any
others) could make themselves available as resources to be consulted with
free of charge on data recovery, data access, system re-designs, equipment
acquisition, PC rental resources, re-establishing communications  – anything
a law practice would need to know quickly (and get right the first time) in
trying to re-connect with employees, clients and resume operations

    * Build a centralized system for anyone to post useful, categorized
information about these topics as well as provide a communication network
where lawyers involved in helping can post "services available" notices and
those in need could find the information they need.

    * The ABA’s LTRC posted on Lawtech this morning that they are building a
list of links to resources – a great start – fragmentation of efforts will
only dilute the overall effectiveness and accessibility to this kind of
information.

    * I think a Wiki may be the ideal mechanism for dissemination of this
kind of information with full posting ability, categorization, etc. Opinions
from those more knowledgeable than me would be helpful, quickly.

    * Getting an online contact listing of all of us who are willing to
volunteer our time with contact info, services listings, etc. is imperative.

    * Getting the word out to the legal bloggers, Catherine Sanders-Reach at
the ABA LTRC, your own bar associations and members that any such resource
is available and can/should be linked to, referred to, etc. – and getting it
out to the listserves like Solosez and others that all of you participate in
to get the maximum reach to anyone who needs help. Solosez, for example, has
a number of New Orleans area lawyers who have been reporting on the
situation.

I propose we call this effort something easy to remember like "KatrinAID" or
something like that. We need a domain registerered, a Wiki (or blog or
whatever) built ASAP and volunteers coordinated. I am personally willing to
devote any time needed to this project immediately – I intend to explain to
my clients in other parts of the country that their projects may need to
wait a bit. I think that by the end of the Labor Day weekend, we can get
much of this work done, ready, in-place and announced.

Who is interested in helping with any aspect of this? Please say so and
indicate specifically what you can help with a "reply all" to this message.
I will try and act as a conduit/clearinghouse to get this initial
communication working. I thought of as many people as I could right off the
top of my head but I’m sure I overlooked some valuable people who could have something to offer – forward to anyone.

Immediate need –> Volunteers – a core group to rapidly brainstorm and then
put in the time to execute the basic online information structure and then
keep this organized. Again, a fragmented effort won’t help anyone
  We have an opportunity to do some significant good for people in serious immediate need.

If interested, send email Ross at rkodner@microlaw.com.  No doubt there’s many solos sinking out there; lets pitch in to do what we can to help out.