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April 2006
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June 2006

"We may be slow, but we're not stupid"

So said Patricia Glaser, a name partner at embattled Christensen Glaser when talking about a recent raise for associates:

"Two Los Angeles law firms recently raised their first-year associate salaries while facing key partner departures and a federal criminal probe into whether lawyers engaged in illegal wiretapping.

"Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger, whose top rainmaker, Bertram Fields, has said he is a subject of the criminal investigation, has agreed to raise salaries to $135,000. In the past month, the 90-attorney firm has lost about a dozen lawyers, including two members of its management committee.

"Separately, Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro boosted rates after seven associates left and as name partner Louis "Skip" Miller announced this month he would leave the firm. (The firm changed its name from Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro.)

Christensen Glaser's managing partner, Terry Christensen, is the only lawyer to be indicted in the wiretapping probe.

[snip]

"Patricia Glaser, a name partner at Christensen Glaser, said that the new salaries were effective in April, but she refused to draw a connection to the ongoing investigation or Miller's departure. 'A lot of other firms raised their base salaries,' she said. 'We may be slow, but we're not stupid.'

"But several former associates at Christensen Glaser said lawyers at the firm are sending out their resumes."


Paralegal Fights Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act

Gotta like it when people fight silly fees:

"Like most controversies, the debate over the much-despised FLREA or RAT Act, as named by its critics (short for Recreation Access Tax), has ended up in the courtroom. One hiker's refusal to pay a $5 fee to park along a road through a national forest could bring the entire national fee-charging program crashing down.

[snip]

"But that didn't stop the FS. On the road to Mount Lemmon, the agency kept the exact same fee program it had, only changed the name of the program by declaring the road a High Impact Recreation Area (HIRA). It's only 18,000 acres, but it lines the 28-mile highway corridor and allows the FS to charge access fees for most of a 240,000-acre area, including access to a hundred miles of popular hiking trails. To get around the prohibition of charging for simply walking through a national forest, the FS interpreted "walking through" as starting outside the area, walking complete through to the other side, and not using a toilet or picnic table or looking at a educational sign along the way, which logistically is nearly impossible, if not ridiculous.

"Then, along came Chris Wallace. Employed as a paralegal, she had some familiarity with the FLERA and she decided to fight it. In legal briefs filed in her case, which has been heard March 21 in federal court in Tucson, she articulates numerous reasons why the FS is illegally charging the fees. Primary among her arguments is powerful fact that Congress specifically prohibited the FS from doing it."


"Redacted Brief Leaks Sensitive Information"

Brief leaks into through bad redaction -- will people ever learn?

"Lawyers for AT&T accidentally released sensitive information while defending a lawsuit that accuses the company of facilitating a government wiretapping program, CNET News.com has learned.

"AT&T's attorneys this week filed a 25-page legal brief striped with thick black lines that were intended to obscure portions of three pages and render them unreadable.

"But the obscured text nevertheless can be copied and pasted inside some PDF readers, including Preview under Apple Computer's OS X and the xpdf utility used with X11."


"CaseSeeker Showcases at Paralegal SuperConference"

More reasons to go to Houston (never mind the heat, the Houstonian is fab!):

"Data Reign, the distributor of the data and document management software CaseSeeker, announced today it will showcase CaseSeeker to the public during the 'Paralegal SuperConference' in Houston.

"The Houston Paralegal SuperConference is a day-and-a-half event with over 35 workshops and sessions featuring speakers such as Malcolm Kushner, author of "The Light Touch: How to Use Humor in Business" and "Public Speaking for Dummies." This event takes place on June 15th & 16th, 2006 at The Houstonian Hotel in Houston, Texas."


"Professor wrote book on being a paralegal"

All we can say about this profile is "wow!"

"For 20 years Elms College students have learned from the words of legal studies professor Katherine Currier, and they are not alone.

"Currier's text, Introduction to Law for Paralegals: A Critical Thinking Approach, is used by more than 150 colleges and universities, and was released this year for its third edition.

"Currier served a five-year term as chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Paralegals Approval Commission. During her tenure as a member (1997-2000) and chair of the Approval Commission (2000-2005), she led the task of revising The American Bar Association Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs. She is credited as the driving force behind the major alterations implemented in September 2003."


Is Your E-Mail a Pain in the Net?

Conference addresses dangers lurking in cyberspace:

"Confidentiality breaches, identity theft, and loss of proprietary data online are among the biggest security threats today to law firms and their clients.

"According to Patricia Eyres, a Phoenix and Los Angeles based attorney, law firms suffer losses of intellectual property, privacy, and piracy through lack of consistently enforceable policies to protect client information, preserve firm assets, and safeguard sensitive employee records.

"'Every business -- including law offices -- must secure network integrity. Security is everybody's business,' she says. Eyres is a featured speaker at The Paralegal SuperConference in Houston sponsored by Estrin LegalEd on June 15-16th at The Houstonian Hotel."


Paralegals in Fiji!!

Another "who knew?" news article, this time from the Fiji Times:

"THIRTY-THREE community workers will learn about the Family Law Act and the newly established Family Court in a training program from May 22-26.

"The training program has been organised by the Fiji Women's Rights Movement and will be held at the Pacific Theological College in Suva.

"Movement director Virisila Buadromo said between 2000 and 2001 they had trained 23 community paralegals on human rights issues."


The Air Force employs paralegals!

Who knew? At just one Air Force base, 100 paralegals work as claims specialists:
"Air Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley recently re-designated the Air Force Legal Services Agency as the Air Force Legal Operations Agency.

"This and other changes in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps are part of a new business concept being implemented by Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne. Air Force Smart Operations 21 is 'a dedicated effort to maximize value and minimize waste in our operations,' Secretary Wynne wrote in his May 8 Letter to Airmen.

[snip]

"The secretary of the Air Force has approved the establishment of a claims service center near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The claims service center will be populated with about 100 paralegals that are now performing claims services throughout the Air Force."


"Milberg Weiss, Two Name Partners Indicted"

Well, this isn't good news:

"After a six-year investigation, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have indicted the New York securities class action firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman and two of its name partners.

"The charges against partners David Bershad and Steven Schulman of conspiring to make illegal payments to clients in class actions -- and to conceal those payments -- have been widely expected for months, and the two partners took a leave of absence from the firm last week.

"Yet it only became clear over the last few weeks that similar charges would be levied against the Milberg firm...."


SEC rules out Sarbanes-Oxley exemption for small firms

Wow, didn't see this coming!

"The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Wednesday announced that although it has decided to simplify the Sarbanes-Oxley law, it will not exempt smaller companies from the provisions of the law aimed at reducing fraud.

"The SEC mentioned that it will take steps to simplify compliance procedures, while making the regulatory process more efficient and cost effective. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed after investors lost huge funds due to accounting scandals in several companies, such as Enron Corp and WorldCom Inc."