Previous month:
November 2006
Next month:
January 2007

Paralegal Opening: Immigrants' Rights Project

Found what sounds like a challenging open position using Google's blog search:

"The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU), a national non-profit public interest organization, seeks applicants for a full-time Paralegal position with the Immigrants' Rights Project (IRP) in the ACLU’s National Headquarters in New York City. The IRP works to defend the civil and constitutional rights of immigrants through a comprehensive program of impact litigation and public education.

"The IRP conducts the largest litigation program in the country dedicated to enforcing and defending the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against non-citizens. The IRP maintains offices in New York and California with a combined staff of fifteen, plus interns and volunteers. Current cases and priorities include lawsuits against military commanders for torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan; litigation challenging unconstitutional detention of immigrants; preserving the right to habeas corpus and access to the courts; challenging unconstitutional city and local ordinances targeting immigrants; enforcing anti-discrimination laws; compelling disclosure of government documents under the Freedom of Information Act; and ensuring due process for immigrants under the immigration laws.

[snip]

"Applicants are encouraged to apply immediately."

Here are 3 links to bios for the ACLU's current IRP staff:

Sarah Weiss -- Paralegal, New York
Pauline Nguyen -- Legal Assistant, New York
Isaac Menashe -- Paralegal, California
Derrick Wortes -- Paralegal, California


Searching for paralegal job openings

Found openings just by searching the Web for "openings OR careers AND paralegals":

WilmerHale, a international law firm, has paralegal opportunities in 3 different cities.

Mintz Levin, "a recognized leader in the use of information technology," posts openings for paralegals & points to opportunities for project analysts (a position that sounds fascinating to me!).

Miami Dade Public Defender has openings for Mitigation Specialist & Paralegal-Interviewer.

Houston's Porter & Hedges currently lists 2 openings for paralegals on its website.

Geenebaum Doll & McDonald, a business-focused firm, also has 2 current openings

Lots of openings for legal assistants & other staff for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

With 8 offices, Cooley Godward Kronish "continually seek[s] qualified & experienced candidates." Here are their current openings for paralegals & staff.

Finally, a paralegal/contracts manager opening with FAST, a growing search technology company. They've asked for "result-oriented resume" to apply for this position.


"A Mouse on a Mission in the Document Maze"

Just what I've wanted: a computer mouse that smartly finds what I want in a mountain of documents:

"The new mouse does all the work of a standard model, while also letting the user skim rapidly through lengthy documents to reach a desired spot in seconds. It does this with an unusual scroll wheel that can be flicked with a forefinger; the text on the computer screen immediately starts flying past, but stops on a dime when the wheel is tapped. The speed is adjustable to let users see exactly where they are in the document.

"The mouse, called the MX Revolution, is made by Logitech, a Swiss manufacturer of game mice and other computer-input devices. Within the mouse is a heavy, finely balanced wheel that spins through distances that would normally require many scrolling motions and many minutes."

[snip]

"Erik Khoobyarian, a lawyer in Sacramento who reviewed the mouse for Logitech before its release in August, now always has the MX at hand. 'It’s a small change, but it’s made me more efficient,' he said of the mouse’s ability to scan quickly."


Corporate Counsel trailblazer makes her mark in EDD

All I have to say about this trailblazer is "You go, girl!" Electronic discovery is not that easy for non-techies to grasp:

"It was June 2000, and Laura Kibbe, then an associate at Kaye Scholer's New York office, had to deal with e-discovery for the first time. Her client, Pfizer Inc., had just acquired a company whose diabetes drug had been pulled off the market and was being attacked in civil suits. Kibbe, confronting her first mass tort case, had no formal tech background. She recalls that 'the plaintiffs were already into discovery, making requests for e-mail and databases. I had to figure out how to get [that to them] and what to do with it. And I didn't even know the language.'

"Kibbe, 38, has come a long way from barely knowing a megabyte from an overbite. Seconded to Pfizer for 2004, she worked on the mass tort case as well as other e-discovery demands. The New York-based pharmaceutical giant liked her work so much that it hired her in January 2005 as full-time senior counsel to create the company's own e-discovery system. In the last 22 months, Kibbe has put together the technology and people to form a nationally recognized e-discovery program [PDF]. It includes her own handpicked discovery response team [PDF] of lawyers, paralegals and tech experts."


"Electronic Evidence - Fear and Loathing in the Legal Profession"

Great post to the MassLawBlog! First, a great quote, followed by a daunting, yet very informative diagram of "client server architecture" [PDF]:

"The schematic displayed...is a simplified illustration of a corporate network which Microsoft provided to the Federal Rules Committee in connection with proceedings on electronic evidence. It was intended to illustrate a generic corporate computer network.

"If you are a lawyer and this seems like an alien concept that no lawyer should ever be required to understand, you’re not alone. Lets face it - like most stereotypes, the old joke that lawyers go to law school to avoid math and technology contains a large element of truth.

[snip]

"Nevertheless, every day emails and brochures arrive announcing seminars and warning that the era of electronic data discovery (EDD) has finally, truly arrived. Luddite lawyers are warned that...99% of all documents created today are in electronic form."

Hey, I think this quote might apply as well to paralegals:

"The best aspect of law school is the subordination of math." Anon


"How Web 2.0 Could Light Up Your Law Firm"

What is "Web 2.0" exactly? This article describes the key elements & possible law firm uses:

"Grappling with Web 2.0 can be a bit daunting in that it has become an amalgamation of disparate trends and ideas. Equal parts buzzword, technology standard, aesthetic ideal, business model and social movement, Web 2.0 may become a phrase we come to mock as 'so 2006.'

But this lack of an easy definition doesn't diminish the importance of what Web 2.0 seeks to describe. The evolution of how we use the Web and the technologies that drive that evolution are no less important for being saddled with such a jargony name.

"The Web's movement from an information repository to an application platform and global collaboration tool is full of great promise for changing business models and new methods of delivering services. But what are the drivers of this change? Here are a few key ingredients of what is being called Web 2.0.

[snip]

"Now take this sampling of Web 2.0 terms and technologies and imagine how your law firm might adopt them in the coming months.

  • An online directory where users roll over a name to find a co-worker's photo and key contact data: AJAX.
  • An intranet where everyone throughout an organization can post information about client preferences, process guidelines and vendors: Wiki.
  • A document management system that allows users to enter keywords on every file: Tagging/folksonomy.
  • Firmwide use of Web applications for everything from office software to voicemail management to CRM): Perpetual beta, AJAX.
  • Intranet page showing the latest local headlines, firmwide wiki entries, holiday party photos, weather forecast and who's in/out of the office at the moment: Mashup, RSS/ATOM."

Are these applications of interest to paralegals? Seems like a good career stretch to me...


"Google launches search engine for US patents"

This news from Google sure sounds smart to me. But will patent paralegals be impressed?

"Google was live [12/14/2006] with a service enabling Internet users to search through the more than seven million patents granted in the United States.

"The beta, or test, version of Google Patent Search lets people sift through patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office as long ago as 1790 by using inventors' names, filing dates, patent numbers or key words.

"Searches return information about the inventor and provide patent details online page-by-page."

I've never worked in this field, but was completely fascinated by the cool stuff I found!


TIME: Best Inventions 2006

Not really paralegal related, unless an article about the year's best inventions counts as learning about IP! (Well, there is that "Paralegal Hidden Camera" video...)

"Meet Peter. Peter is a 79-year-old English retiree. Back in WW II he served as a radar technician. He is now an international star.

"One year ago, this would not have been possible, but the world has changed. In the past 12 months, thousands of ordinary people have become famous. Famous people have been embarrassed. Huge sums of money have changed hands. Lots and lots of Mentos have been dropped into Diet Coke. The rules are different now, and one website changed them: YouTube."

Wow, this has been a great year for inventions! Don't forget to vote for the Gadget of the Year...


"Top Ten Tips for Effective Utilization of Paralegals"

Seems like a good article to put here....right after that "lawyers resolve paralegal priorities among yourselves" post:

"Paralegals have been part of the legal profession for roughly 30 years.  When utilized correctly [PDF], they are a significant benefit to a law firm or law department and its clients because they are able to handle both routine and sophisticated legal tasks that do not require a lawyer but cannot be performed by secretaries or other administrative personnel who lack the time, skills or education.

"Failure to utilize paralegals effectively results in a host of problems for a law firm or a law department - and for the paralegals themselves.  The results of a recent survey (August 2005) by the Committee on Paralegals of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association is consistent with the experience the author has had training and working with paralegals and in consulting with law firms and departments about how to improve paralegal utilization."


"Paralegals. Just say no."

Recent post from the UK's nearlylegal blog describes a familiar problem. Do you agree with this paralegal's solution?

"I currently have four solicitors giving me work. Regardless of what I explain about current workload, each insists that their work takes priority. Each then gets very annoyed when I do my own form of triage as to what gets done first and what gets delayed. I have to. They are individually incapable of accepting that their work might have to be done later, or by them.

"Let us get this straight, on the off chance they are reading. I am paid (badly) to do casework. This I do well. I am not paid (badly) to spend many extra hours supporting your demands to do work that is necessary because of your poor time management, or because you simply assumed that I would be able to do it.

"What would be professional would be to actually work out, between yourselves, how my workload is to be organised. I suggest you try it."