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May 2006
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July 2006

"Proceed With Caution When Deleting Data"

Good advice for paralegals, lawyers, & techies! "As dependence on electronic communication has grown, lawyers and their clients have faced new and significant issues relating to preservation of electronic information. "Electronically stored information is often recycled pursuant to a company's ordinary course of business, for example, through a computer system that automatically deletes e-mail older than 60 days unless archived; or through a document retrieval system that overwrites metadata (such as data about the history of the creation of a document) each time an electronic file is accessed. Once a duty to preserve evidence arises, companies must act to halt... Read more →

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Locals help Katrina-surviving paralegal & lawyer feel at home

Good news about Katrina's displaced for a change: "Sofia Lavidalie was not yet three years old when her parents, Jean and Dianna had to tell her that they could not go home to Louisiana because their house was wet. "The explanation was oversimplified but accurate in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the days immediately following the catastrophe, the young family of three sought refuge in a Florida hotel with only the clothes on their backs. 'We didn’t know what was going to happen,' Jean Lavidalie said. 'Even if we had a house I would not have a job.' "Jean,... Read more →

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"Celebrity Brockovich plaintiff in 2 suits"

We're in favor of legal assistants righting wrongs...& making big money: "Erin Brockovich, the resourceful legal assistant made famous by Hollywood's depiction of her epic fight against Pacific Gas & Electric, now is going after two of San Diego's largest hospital operators. "She is the plaintiff in a pair of lawsuits filed recently in San Diego Superior Court that claim Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare charged Medicare millions of dollars for fixing mistakes made by hospital staffers. "The suits allege that the federal government's health insurance program for the elderly wrongly paid for treating infections, injuries, botched operations and illnesses.... Read more →

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"SEC's EDGAR Now Fully Searchable"

More helpful news dug up by The Virtual Chase: "The Securities and Exchange Commission last week announced that documents in its EDGAR database now are fully searchable. The change in search access affects documents that are two years old or newer. In addition to company filings, researchers will find filings pertaining to mutual funds." Read more →

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"German Legal Assistant Wins Henri Dunant Award"

Excellent news! "Miss Wibke Timmermann -- a 30 year-old German legal assistant working in a defence team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) -- is to receive the Henri Dunant Award 2006 for her international law dissertation, specializing in hate speech and war propaganda. "She carried out this work after studying at the University Centre for International Humanitarian Law (CUDIH) in Geneva. The young German woman has been working for several weeks as a paralegal within the team representing Aloys Ntabakuze in the 'Military I' trial." Read more →

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"The rising profile of the [UK] paralegal"

About 500,000 paralegals work in the U.K. today. Many earn between £50,000 & £80,000 annually ($92,045 to $147,280). And with higher salaries comes a more professional standing: "Largely unnoticed, the paralegal profession has grown to 500,000 practitioners: 50,000 in the legal profession, the remainder spread throughout every other sector of the economy. "Paralegals do work that a decade ago solicitors would have done. This change reflects: increased wealth in society; the explosive growth of regulation; the wholesale emigration of solicitors from areas of practice no longer economically viable; and, at the lower end of the scale, the fact that virtually... Read more →

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"The Billable Hour's Staying Power"

One of my least favorite tasks -- & I'm sure others' as well -- billing time! "As Abraham Lincoln once said, "A lawyer's advice is his stock in trade." That short phrase has been repeated by attorneys throughout the years and is etched on brass plaques hanging in law firms worldwide. "Clearly, Abe knew the value of his expertise. He also was reportedly a stickler for collecting payment. If money was tight, clients might hand over a milk cow or plump hen as payment for his services. [snip] "Livestock aside, billing schemes have become more complex as years passed. Trends... Read more →

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"There's Always a First Time for Tech at Trial"

This case is a remarkably successful demonstration of how to use technology to win a case. Waiting until you absolutely NEED technology to LEARN how it works, however, is NOT recommended: "On May 24, 2001, Claire Duncan was driving on Route I-95 near Petersburg, Va., when a Winnebago made a sudden shift into her lane. The 26-year-old pharmacology Ph.D student swerved her 2000 Ford Explorer and hit the median, launching the boxy SUV into a sideways spin. It rolled five times before landing upright into oncoming traffic. [snip] In 2001, Scott Duncan sued Ford Motor Co., claiming that defects with... Read more →

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Toronto Bill 14 to Regulate Paralegals

Here's a letter from Margaret Louter in support of regulation to the Toronto Star: "Marshall Yarmus suggests in his letter that the Paralegal Society of Ontario disagrees with Bill 14 because it will increase the cost of legal services to the public and small businesses and will increase lawyers' monopoly on certain legal services. He suggests that every Ontarian should be opposed to it. I disagree. [snip] "As the past vice-president [PDF link] of a prominent paralegal association, I have had many consumers of paralegal services confide in me regarding how they have suffered monetary harm due to incompetent and... Read more →

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"Enron Defense Firm Stuck With the Tab"

I guess this shouldn't be surprising news to anyone who's followed the Enron mess: "To the list of employees, investors and businesses who suffered financial misfortune in Enron Corp.'s demise, add this one: the law firm defending former chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling. "Los Angeles-based O'Melveny & Myers LLP, which has represented Skilling on both civil and criminal charges since 2001, collected what in a typical case would be a fat payday: $23 million from its client and $17 million more from his insurance policies. "But, true to form, Enron is still destroying financial expectations. Even before the trial began... Read more →

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