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August 2006
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October 2006

"Yours, Mine and Ours: What You Need to Know About IP"

Sounds like a very informative (& fun!) roundtable discussion:

"This summer, an employee of the Coca-Cola Co. made news when she -- along with two others -- allegedly attempted to steal trade secrets from Coke and sell them to PepsiCo Inc. It's not every day that a company goes public when someone tries to loot its intellectual property, but Coke's decision to do so garnered national attention and illustrates the deservedly high value companies place on their intellectual assets.

"When it comes to safeguarding your company's intellectual property, what you don't know can hurt you. To ease that (potential) pain, GC South asked several Atlanta-area attorneys to talk about what every in-house counsel needs to know about intellectual property. The panel's wide-ranging discussion covered cybersquatting, assignment of rights -- and one IP lawyer's adaptation of comedian Jeff Foxworthy's 'You might be a redneck' monologue as a means to help identify patent trolls.


"Ontario Paralegals Say NO to Regulation by Lawyers!"

Very strong press release from Ontario paralegals:

"The Ontario Justice Committee hearings regarding Bill 14 (Access to Justice Act) are coming to a close at Queen's Park. One thing is very certain . . . Independent paralegals in Ontario are in a David and Goliath fight for the very survival of their profession!!

"If Schedule C to Bill 14 is enacted, without amendment, Ontario paralegals will be regulated by lawyers. What this really means is that Ontario lawyers will be handed the opportunity, on a silver platter, to get rid of their competition. The public will then have no choice but to retain a lawyer and pay exorbitantly higher legal fees to incorporate a simple corporation, register a sole proprietorship or process a simple uncontested divorce. Paralegals will no longer be able to help the public with these services."


"OnSite E-Discovery Ranked As Top Ten Provider"

And the company says that the jump to top ten ranking in one year validates its customer-centric focus:

"OnSite E-Discovery, a global e-discovery and forensics firm serving law firms and corporations, recently received notable recognition as a Top 10 electronic discovery service provider in the 2006 Socha-Gelbmann E-Discovery Survey. The survey, published by independent technology consultants George Socha and Tom Gelbmann, focuses on the state of electronic discovery in 2005 and gives out rankings for excellence in the field of e-discovery. Their top ranking in the Socha-Gelbmann Survey comes just months after OnSite E-Discovery was voted #1 for Litigation Support Services by the AMLAW 200."


"Adobe Acrobat Updates Likely to Lure Lawyers"

Okay, these changes sound very helpful!

"Another chapter in the history of Adobe Acrobat opened Monday, and this one includes some juicy plot points that might tantalize the legal industry.

[snip]

"Acrobat 8 now devotes a whole toolbar to redaction features allowing you to mark, apply and 'Search & Redact.' You can use different colors to delineate why you redacted certain portions (red for privilege, black for personal information, etc.). After you mark the sections for redaction and hit Apply, Acrobat doublechecks the document for metadata and hidden text related to your original redactions, such as the title and author of the document. Then the text behind your redactions is really gone. That means if you need to keep a copy of the original, you better do a 'save as.'

"Next up is built-in Bates numbering. Lawyers who've been using Acrobat for a while have used all sorts of tools to apply Bates stamps to documents, such as the IntelliPDF BATES Stamp [link in article] and the add-on [link in article] from CaseSoft for CaseMap. Instead of partnering with a third party, Adobe decided to develop its Bates stamper in-house. From what I've seen so far, it looks nice. You can add a header and footer, as well as other pertinent information, and direct Acrobat where to place the stamp on the document."

Brett Burney is the legal practice support coordinator at Thompson Hine in Cleveland. His e-mail address is Brett.Burney@ThompsonHine.com [links in article].


"Lycoming County Paralegal Association Establishes Scholarship"

Good for the association & the person this scholarship honors:

"The Lycoming County Paralegal Association is honoring one of its members by establishing a scholarship fund for legal assistant/paralegal students at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

"The Maxine Stiffler/Lycoming County Paralegal Associate Scholarship Fund will provide an annual award of $250 to a student in the third or fourth year of Penn College’s bachelor-degree major in legal assistant/paralegal studies.

[snip]

"Maxine L. Stiffler is a 1996 graduate of Penn College’s associate-degree major in legal assistant/paralegal studies. She continued studies toward the bachelor’s degree, but health problems have thus far prevented her from finishing."


Enron task force receives top award

Good news -- paralegals serving on that task force are included:

"U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this week bestowed his office's top annual award to federal prosecutors, FBI agents and paralegals who have served on the Justice Department's Enron Task Force, including those involved in this year's fraud and conspiracy trial of former Enron chairman Ken Lay and former CEO Jeff Skilling."


More Paralegal Bios/Profiles!

Love seeing these acknowledgements of paralegal contributions:

Vermont's Paul, Frank & Collins (too bad only attorney profiles include photos): Melanie F. Black, Heather A. Moreau, Robert L. Scott, & Carie A. Tarte

Missouri's Hazelwood & Weber LLC: Louise Pratt, Renee Avis, Cynthia M. Brooks, Terrah E. Stallcup

Indiana's May Oberfell Lorber: Deborah L. Denman, Pamela S. Hartman, Victoria E. Hyland, Melissa L. Kelly, Allyson A. King, Janet L. Peterson, Kari A. Watterson

Washington state's Vandeberg Johnson & Gandara: Roni S.Hale, Molly Regimbal, Ginny Tucker, Kris Walls

Does your firm or company include paralegal bios/profiles on its website? If not, do you know why?


Why attorneys (& paralegals?) quit

This survey focused on lawyers, but wouldn't paralegals say the same things?

"What causes good attorneys to jump ship? The answer: A bigger title and more money are the chief reasons.

"Twenty-six percent of attorneys polled recently said they would leave their current jobs for opportunities to advance professionally. Twenty-one percent of said a pay increase would be their primary motivation.

"'Attorneys are ambitious by nature, having competed for admission to top law schools and posts with the best law firms,' says Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal, which paid for the survey. 'Learning doesn't stop with graduation -- legal professionals need ongoing challenge and opportunities to grow.'"


"Law Departments Join Firms and Nonprofits in Pro Bono Efforts"

Good news! More pro bono activity usually means more work for paralegals:

"In 2000, the Pro Bono Institute formed the Corporate Pro Bono Organization in collaboration with the Association of Corporate Counsel to advocate for and promote corporate pro bono efforts. At that time, 'corporate pro bono was an oxymoron,' said Esther Lardent, president of PBI. 'People looked at you like it was ludicrous to suggest corporate pro bono. It was not widely known and there was no buzz about it,' she said. The political, social and business climate was right for the venture.

"'In the waning days of the Clinton administration, the president had an initiative called Lawyers for One America,' she said. The goal of that directive was both to increase diversity in the legal profession and expand pro bono representation of 'persons and communities of color,' Lardent said. It also happens that both PBI and ACC were receiving inquiries from corporate legal departments nationwide seeking information about initiating pro bono programs. But, she said, 'We didn't have the information or the resources to really offer thoughtful, reliable help.'"


Historically Important Watches at Christie’s

Not that I shop at Christie's fabulous auctions all the time. but this news certainly drew my attention:

"The season commences with a selection of rare watches, including two historically important pieces from Patek Philippe, each appearing for the first time on the market.

[snip]

"Also of historical importance is the Patek Philippe reference 2499 from the Estate of H. Lee Turner, an exceptionally rare example of Patek Philippe’s perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch (image right, estimate: $250,000-300,000). This wristwatch has an extremely uncommon feature: a transitional dial with applied Arabic numerals.

"The rarity of this wristwatch’s dial and the elegant fluidity of the piece’s design not only attest to the innovations of Patek Philippe, but also to the connoisseurship of its original owner, H. Lee Turner, a very successful lawyer and founder of the paralegal movement. This exquisite timepiece, with its freshness to the market, unbroken provenance and original box and papers, provides collectors with a historical and virtually unique example of Patek Philippe’s ground-breaking complicated wristwatch production."

Actually, Mr. Turner shared the credit with his wife, Betsy (PDF link]:

"Well, the trial work I’ve enjoyed enormously. In conjunction with Betsy we developed a new career for people, primarily women, called paralegal, and of course that was Betsy’s idea – she was Phi Beta Kappa in business – and it took me two or three years to give it a try, but when we did, we found they were an enormous asset to us. We hired almost exclusively women with college degrees who were A students who were housewives, ministers’ wives, doctors’ wives, you name it. We would train them in procedures that we had established and after two or three months the cobwebs kind of disappeared and they became a tremendous asset to us. In 1969, the American Bar heard how we used them, came out, investigated and decided to go with a national program. I was chairman of that I think it was seven or twelve years, I forget which. During that time I lectured all over the United States on the subject of paralegals."