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March 2006
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May 2006

"...while paralegals go high-tech,...

...the number of legal secretaries is dwindling." Excellent article!

[snip]

"Not only are work opportunities for paralegals growing but their work is increasingly sophisticated. Always in demand, paralegals have become the technology-proficient information managers often called upon to go to court alongside the attorney.

"'Paralegals today are much more relied upon,' Steefel, Levitt & Weiss' Chief Financial Officer Stephen Wahle said. The 80-lawyer firm employs about a dozen paralegals and counts on them to keep up with the technologies used in information management and litigation. 'Somebody has to be educated in the tech side of things,' he said. 'The lawyers don't have the time.'

"Andrea Hunolt, division director of Robert Half Legal, said facility in database and information management and knowledge of software programs and legal technology is much sought after.

"'The best thing a paralegal can do today to further their career is to become very technically savvy,' she said. 'And once you get into a law firm, raise your hand to get involved in more advanced work.'

"Hunolt said law firms also use paralegals as a cost-cutting measure as clients grow more price-sensitive. Paralegals work at $100 to $150 an hour. An attorney might bill two to three times more. "Clients are looking more at the cost of the project than the hourly cost of an attorney," Hunolt said.

"Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's San Francisco human resources manager, Jackie Hughes, agreed. "The client is demanding it," she said, adding that clients typically want to meet not just the attorneys but the paralegals before hiring the firm.

"Paralegals have more room to grow, and faster. The need for firms to operate more effectively has opened doors to leadership positions, and the use of director-level managers of paralegal teams [PDF link] is growing."


Veteran Litigation Service Providers Forge National Co.

Wonder how well this idea will work:

"Twelve regional litigation service firms have joined forces to launch CausaFirma, LLC, the first national company to offer standardized and integrated support services from discovery through trial presentation.

"The partners, selected for their leadership roles in their own markets, have developed a process for delivering consistently high quality litigation support services that are uniform in appearance and functionality.

"Launched at the ABA Tech Show [PDF link], April 20-21 in Chicago, CausaFirma provides high-end trial technologies, court reporting, video technologies, online case management and a wide range of new media services, including graphics, multimedia, interactive white boards, animation and simulations.

[snip]

"The partners include: G & M Court Reporters, Boston; Legal Video Services, Inc., Chicago; Rennillo Court Reporting, Records & Media, Cleveland; Legal Video Services, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Pirozzi Computerized Reporting, New York; James DeCrescenzo Reporting, LLC, Philadelphia; Trial Technologies, Inc., Philadelphia; Streski Reporting and Video, Pittsburgh; Case Strategies, San Diego; VideoTrack LLC, San Diego; ProMotion Legal Solutions, Seattle; and Kriegshauser Reporting & Video, St. Louis."


Uganda Paralegals Fighting for Children's Rights

"Uganda: Arua Tops in Domestic Violence" -- NOT good!

"CHILD abuse and domestic violence have increased in most rural parts of Arua district, the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers has said.

"Ms. Hellen Edimu, the national programme officer for Fida - Uganda, said on Monday that their branch office in Arua was overwhelmed with cases of child neglect, child labour, wife-battering and inheritance wrangles.

"'From the cases we handle, the reality is that there is simply too much child abuse in the district including early marriages,' Edimu said.

"In response, Fida on Monday started training 25 paralegals drawn from 12 sub-counties of Arua's six counties of Terego, Maracha, Madi-Okollo, Vurra, Ayivu and the Municipality."


International Legalization Handbook Published

New publication from a leading market research & newsletter company:

"Research and Markets has announced the addition of 'The International Legalization Handbook' to their offering.

"The International Legalization Handbook deals with the increasingly common problem of how to have official and private documents authenticated for use in other countries. This perennial need has been fuelled in recent years by an increase in the number of independent states in Eastern Europe, and by the growth in international business.

[snip]

"The guide is intended to provide consulate officials, bankers, accountants, lawyers, paralegals and other professionals with a quick, easily accessible, and reliable reference source that offers them a pathway through the legalization labyrinth."


"Solos' First Step: Converting Contacts Into Clients"

Very helpful advice from The Connecticut Law Tribune:

"Office space? Check. A computer and other requisite technology? Check. Clients?

"For attorneys venturing out on their own, that's not only the hardest ingredient to come by, it's also the most vital.

"Depending on their legal niche, or how desperate they are for business, solo practitioners can spend as much time marketing themselves as they do racking up billable hours. Without the safety net of an existing clientele, everyone they meet is a potential client and/or referral source.

"'If you want to go out on your own, personality is the key,' insisted attorney Matthew Lloyd Brovender, who graduated from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2003.

[snip]

"Laura Flynn Baldini benefits from a wide referral network for her 3-year-old Farmington, Conn., practice that includes insurance defense, personal injury and commercial law. After she left a large Hartford firm, one of her first projects was to create a presence on the Web to connect with clients, especially those from out of state. 'It's another way for them to get to know me,' Baldini said. 'Being a good businessperson is as important as being a good lawyer."


"States rush to remove data on residents from websites"

Well, this is good news for protecting privacy:

"States across the USA are furiously removing sensitive data from official websites.

"The task highlights challenges facing states with sites full of personal information on residents, from Social Security numbers to bank account numbers.

"Such data is available in Florida, Ohio and at least a dozen others, say privacy experts who provided USA TODAY with links to public websites. Many state laws require property records be posted online in the interest of open government.

"Once, the data was confined to books in state offices, says Daniel Solove, a privacy law professor at George Washington University. 'As data is made available online, it becomes a privacy concern,' he says."


"Got Kids? These Clients Don't Care"

Well, all I can say to this is "ouch!"

"So much for sisterhood.

"Women juggling kids and careers in private practice might expect some sympathy, maybe even a little slack, from female clients. After all, the thinking goes, they can relate.

"Or not.

"Last week, a panel of in-house counsel [PDF link] at a National Association of Women Lawyers event in Los Angeles told the crowd to keep their personal lives out of the equation: Clients should come first.

"'If there's a family crisis or something with the kids or other clients, we don't care about it -- get the job done,' Linda Louie, general counsel for the National Hot Rod Association, told an audience of about 100 women Wednesday. 'You are a commodity to us -- show me how you can solve a problem.'"


New Chair of National Patent Litigation Practice

Big moves in Washington, D.C. IP practice:

"Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP today announced that Alexander J. Hadjis and Richard G. Green have joined the law firm as partners in its Washington, D.C. office, where Hadjis will be the national chair of the patent litigation practice. Hadjis and Green come to Sonnenschein from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where Hadjis was head of that firm's patent litigation practice in Washington, D.C. Ten other professionals, including six additional attorneys, with extensive patent litigation experience are also joining Sonnenschein from Weil.

"'Alex is considered to be an outstanding patent trial lawyer and has an amazing track record of successful patent litigations,' said Amy Bess, managing partner of Sonnenschein's Washington, D.C. office. 'He and Rick have worked together on numerous important cases and they will play a key role in solidifying Sonnenschein's position as a leader in patent litigation. Their knowledge and dynamic experience will benefit our growing roster of patent litigation clients.'

[snip]

"Green's practice focuses on intellectual property litigation, including proceedings before U.S. District Courts and the USITC in Section 337 proceedings. Before law school, he was a research associate in the biotechnology field."