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November 2006
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January 2007

"Legal Tech Expert E-Mails His Wish List to Santa"

And what a smart wish list this is. I also think those paralegals already familiar with this stuff are smart:

"Dear Santa,

"I've been a good boy this year. I spent all my time helping lawyers and judges with electronic data discovery (EDD) and studying really, really hard about electronically stored information (ESI) [PDF], data harvest, spoliation, de-duplication [scroll down], meet-and-confer [PowerPoint download], search tools, forms of production and computer forensics.

"I didn't use the word 'solution' in a single column.

"Please leave the following presents under my tree:

[snip]

"3. May I have information technology training courses designed expressly for lawyers and litigation support, offering real depth and serious accountability for mastering the subject matter?"

Author Craig Ball, a member of the editorial advisory boards of both Law Technology News & Law.com Legal Technology, is a litigator & computer forensics/EDD special master.


NYC online job demand survey

This survey news comes from Monster & includes info about legal jobs:

"Online job demand in New York was unchanged in November, as an increase in security and production job postings were offset by fewer education and military-related positions, according to a survey by Monster Worldwide Inc.

[snip]

"Legal positions, including lawyers, paralegals and support staff also showed strong demand, rising three points to 100. However, on a year-over-year basis, demand was flat."


Illinois Paralegal Association Asks Firms Not to Outsource

Don't know, at this point, if it's possible to turn the rushing tide toward outsourcing of legal work. But I applaud the IPA's attempt:

"Ruby Prasad’s legal research and briefs regularly find their way into courts across the United States despite the fact her workstation is located 8,000 miles away in India.

"Prasad is among the 200 lawyers working for Chicago-based Mindcrest Inc., which has an outsourcing facility in Mumbai.

"Mindcrest and other legal outsourcing firms are experiencing explosive growth. Mindcrest is 10 times the size it was two years ago.

[snip]

"Forrester Research projects legal outsourcing will be a $4 billion industry by 2015, creating 79,000 jobs in India alone.

[snip]

"But the trend has caused some concern for the Illinois Paralegal Association.

"The 1,500-member organization’s board of directors distributed a letter [PDF] to 300 Chicago area companies asking them to use paralegals instead. The letter stated that work done by paralegals is quality controlled and cost efficient. It added that experienced paralegals perform high-level substantive work under direct supervision of an attorney at lower billing rates than attorneys."


"Knowledge Management and Technology: Finding a Balance"

So, have you gotten into KM yet? Is yours one of the 'progressive firms' discussed in this article?

"An increasing number of law firms have invested in knowledge management (KM) programs, which they define as including "know-how" (aka, precedents and form banks), professional development, current awareness (keeping legal professionals current on changes in the law), finding experts inside and outside the firm, and research and reference services.

"To support these services, many firms have established varying degrees of infrastructure, including formal KM organization and staff, processes for content creation and management, a portfolio of KM-enabling technologies and leadership support.

"So what are the next frontiers for firms that have embraced these KM basics? Let's look at areas of KM expansion that some progressive firms are pursuing.

[snip]

"What is the right role for a KM organization? In a law firm, as a knowledge-intensive business, KM should remain the decentralized responsibility of every lawyer, practice group and administrative department in the firm. Centralizing knowledge work in a single KM department sends a potentially fatal signal that KM can and should be done by someone else, the KM department, rather than by every individual and group."

BTW, the Legal Assistant Today article (Jan-Feb 2005 issue) linked in the first sentence of this post has a great quote:

"Paralegals are in a unique position to assist in and even direct the development and implementation of a formal KM program. Because paralegals have an understanding of legal principles and practices, as well as the extraordinary organizational skills necessary to handle the logistics of a massive document production, they often are the best staff members to launch and sustain a successful KM initiative."


"Gadgets Put the Holiday Spirit in Your PC"

Yay, more presents for me! Well, not me exactly:

"With the holiday season in full swing, it's time to consider some gifts for your computer. Nothing tells your PC that you care about its happiness more than a few high-tech gadgets to make its life a little more exciting. Of course, if those gadgets also help you out as well, then everyone's happy.

"The first item you might consider is Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista. Vista contains many new features, is more stable and secure than its predecessors, XP or Windows 2000. However, be prepared to upgrade various components on your machine."


"Five IT Blind Spots That Shut Lawyers Out"

Oh boy, doesn't this sound like an all-too-familiar story?

"In a world where even the most senior of partners can now be found typing away on a laptop, an observer could mistakenly believe that personal computing is as straightforward as using the average toaster. Unfortunately for attorneys, computer software is mostly designed or implemented by computer people for computer people and not for legal professionals.

"What exacerbates the problem: IT's steadfast adherence to flawed beliefs we'll call 'The Five Grand Assumptions.' In order to transform your technology department from good to great, eliminate these five blind spots and open up the door to a better relationship with your users."

Author Tom Ranalli is technology services manager at the Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis. BTW, the firm curently has some legal assistant openings.


"Paralegals, not lawyers, introduce technology into law offices"

Yeah, this press release sounds right:

"'What we've discovered is that paralegals, not lawyers, are the people introducing technology into law offices,' said Tom Goldman, AAfPE Chairman, Technology Task Force. 'At AAfPE's annual meeting in October [PDF], I delivered a presentation on SmartDraw's capabilities. Afterwards, over half of the attendees requested copies of the software, so clearly SmartDraw is filling a graphics need in the paralegal community.'

"SmartDraw 2007 Legal Edition includes a rich library of graphics and symbols specifically designed to help attorneys, law students and professors, investigators and law enforcement personnel create charts, diagrams and timelines for courtroom exhibits, accident reconstruction diagrams, crime scenes, mediation charts and more. Unlike more complicated graphics programs written for a technical audience, SmartDraw is designed for ordinary computer users - allowing them to produce professional quality graphics with no prior training."


"Sheppard Mullin Launches Fashion & Apparel Practice Group"

This sounds like a very interesting group! Hmm, wonder if they need any paralegals?

"Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton is stepping onto the runway with the launch of its new practice group: fashion and apparel.

"From negotiating contracts for TV reality show 'Project Runway' to fending off UGG boot knock-offs, the new group is marketing itself as the go-to firm for Los Angeles and New York's booming fashion industries.

[snip]

"The firm's debut seminar during this year's New York fashion week advertised: 'Get the skinny on FAT [Fashion Apparel Team] law,' and displayed a sketch of a lanky model. The event featured talks on topics such as celebrity licensing agreements and modeling contracts."


NFPA Launches 1st National Legal Technology Conference Specifically for Paralegals

Well, this sure sounds like a conference you should try to attend!

"The NFPA\\2007:\\Tech.Institute\\: is the place for paralegals, attorneys and other legal professionals to gain knowledge, perspective and insight into the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of legal technology.  Learn about major trends and technological innovations that will affect your career, your profession, and your organization now and in the years ahead.

"July 19th\\20th, 2007, NFPA launches its first Tech Institute at the elegant Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.  300 participants are expected to attend and take advantage of 21 educational seminars, as well as a vendor track offering demonstrations of new software, product information, and related services.  Technology products and services will also be featured in an interactive trade show."


"I’ve decided to take PACE – now what do I do?"

Wow, excellent post on the IPA blog where you'll find lots of helpful guidance from the Indiana Paralegal Association:

"The PACE Study Manual is a necessity as it sets out a blueprint that has been followed for PACE with the five domains weighted as follows:

"Administration of Client Matters 23%
Development of Client Legal Matters 30%
Factual and Legal Research 22%
Factual and Legal Writing 20.5%
Office Administration 4.5%

"Interspersed throughout these five 'domains' are questions that also cover ethics and technology. The PACE Study Manual also contains a bibliography of materials used in preparing the manual. Some of the test questions on PACE may be found in the resources set out in the bibliography and not specifically set out in the Study Manual. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with those resources."

Read the full post to find much more advice & info about the “IPA Cares – PACE Candidate Survival Kit”!