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January 2007
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March 2007

"Firms Hire Nonpracticing Lawyers in Manager and Support Roles"

Well, this is interesting. Think it will hurt paralegal advancement into these positions?

"Ron Friedmann posts on a new trend at large firms: use of nonpracticing lawyers as managers. He writes that firms now hire nonpracticing lawyers for jobs such as marketing, e-discovery, knowledge management, professional development and practice support. There are some pitfalls, of course, as Friedmann points out:

"Either way, firms must exercise some caution. First, they must 'be careful of what they ask for, lest they get it.' For example, some churn in CMO and CIO positions in recent years likely stems from initial excitement followed by balking when the firm learns what’s really involved. Second, they need to consider how to integrate the non-practicing lawyer and any team reporting to him/her. Thinking this through requires a realistic assessment of a firm’s culture and the strength of its caste system. And third, they need to allocate risk fairly between the firm and the new role: negotiate a graceful exit strategy for both the firm and individual if things don’t work out."

"Sunshine and Judge Seidlin"

Have to point to this very smart blog post about Judge Seidlin, of "judging on TV" fame:

"In 1933, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis advised, 'Sunlight is the greatest disinfectant.' True to this notion, Florida is known as the Sunshine State not only for its weather -- it has long been a leader in open government. But when it comes to cameras in the courtroom, does openness serve an injustice?

"After watching Judge Larry Seidlin's on-camera antics in the Anna Nicole Smith proceedings, Norm Pattis thinks so. At his blog Crime & Federalism, he says Seidlin singlehandedly rests the case against cameras in the courtroom. 'The judge sniveled and emoted like a pro se in traffic court for the cameras today, when he gave the lifeless body of Anna Nicole Smith [PDF] to the lawyer for her five-year-old daughter.'"

Highly recommend reading the entire post (& links)!

"Women Leaving the Law"

The piece discussed in this blog post was written by one of Estrin's Paralegal SuperConference speakers:

"This article, Leaving Your Legal Career Far Behind, Debra Bruno (Legal Times 2/23/07), tackles the question of "why do women keep leaving law firms?"  The most oft cited reason, of course, is the lack of compatibility between law firm life and parenthood.  But as Bruno writes, that's not all there is to it:

"But the reasons for women leaving the law are not always straightforward. Often they find themselves on a meandering path that brings them to places they never imagined in their early days -- writing children's books, wrangling cows or leading visitors through an art museum."

Author Debra Bruno is an editor at Legal Times in Washington, D.C.

"Do You Have an Office Supply Fetish?"

Isn't it fun to shop for office supplies? Well, here's what Web Worker Daily found [links from original post]:

"Stella Commute does:

Now, I can go to Staples any time I want and because I have a reasonable amount of disposable income, I can select the office supplies that make my heart sing. Color coded folders and matching labels? Done! Post-Its in various configurations? Check! Sharpies, Sharpies, Sharpies! And my latest addition: plastic-coated paper clips that make every grouping of papers hum with vibrant togetherness. Yes!

"I stopped at OfficeMax today to have new business cards printed and found myself drawn magnetically towards the pen section. I cannot resist trying new pens!"

"Peggy Nickerson: Paralegal and Professor"

Oh, yes, we like successful people...! Good news from LawCrossing:

"Former public school teacher Peggy Nickerson was ready for a career change after staying home with her children. After reading about a legal assistant program at William Woods University in Fulton, MO—located about 30 miles from her home—she became the first 'nontraditional' student in the program, which was a daytime program held on campus. 'From the first course, I was in love,' said Nickerson.

"Now she is an assistant professor in the legal studies department at William Woods University and also serves as the coordinator for both the paralegal studies program and the juvenile justice program. 'I teach a minimum of four courses per semester in both programs. I am also a freelance litigation and domestic relations paralegal in my spare time through my business, Nickerson Paralegal Services, LLC,' she said.

"Nickerson began teaching paralegal courses in the evenings at a community college while she worked in a personal-injury litigation law firm. 'I then was asked to teach a class at William Woods University. A year or so later, I was asked to teach half-time in the WWU program and then became a full-time faculty member about 13 years ago,' said Nickerson. 'When I began teaching half-time, I resigned from the law firm and began doing some freelance work setting up mock juries/focus groups for personal-injury litigation attorneys and doing some freelance domestic work for family law attorneys.'"

"Looking for Clues in a Juror's 'John Hancock'"

Paralegals can be soooo involved in this process....:

"For Bob Marx, a signature on a juror's questionnaire is more than a scribbled name -- it's a tool he uses to prepare for trial.

"Marx, a personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Robert Marx in Hilo, Hawaii, regularly hires a handwriting expert to help him select a jury.

"'I feel like it's a significant competitive edge,' he said. 'It's not 100 percent accurate, but if you know some history or a little bit more about a potential juror together with this analysis, it helps a whole lot more.'

"Since the mid-1990s, Marx has paid an expert to analyze jurors' handwriting for all of his big trials. The findings help paint a picture of the jurors and point out characteristics such as whether they are likely to be leaders or followers, if they are analytical or visual, or toward which side they are likely to be sympathetic."

"Questions Linger Over Paralegal Certification Bid"

So, certification for Connecticut paralegals is "two to five years" away?

"The road to paralegal certification will be a long one, but Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz pledged her support of the endeavor during a luncheon speech to the Central Connecticut Paralegal Association (CCPA) earlier this month at The Hartford Club.

"The CCPA has not yet taken an official stance on certification and continues to discuss with members their concerns over a measure that would make Connecticut one of only a few states that officially recognizes certified and licensed paralegals.

"'It will be a long process,' agreed CCPA President Janet Jacobson, estimating a time period of two to five years."

Demand down for paralegals in Kansas City

Found good news for some careers in KC; unfortunately, not for paralegals:

"Monster said the demand for IT professionals and other computer and technology workers exceeds the supply of qualified candidates in the Kansas City metro. The area also is begging for architects and engineers, according to the index.

"Demand was down for paralegals and other legal support staff, and demand was flat in most blue-collar categories such as production, construction, installation and maintenance."

Jury Finds Paralegal's Sexual Harassment Claims True

Bad behavior from lawyers who have no excuse. But I've seen this kind of news before:

"A law firm specialising in sexual harassment cases has itself been proven to have practised sexual harassment and ordered to pay $368,000 to a Roseville woman who worked at the firm as a paralegal.

"The Martinez-Senftner Law Firm, Roseville, CA, handles a variety of civil and criminal work, including sexual harassment cases. The victim's identity has been withheld following the two week trial which found that the law firm should have known about the allegations but did nothing to stop them. The woman received $68,000 general damages and $300,000 punitive damages. The law firm was named in the suit along with Jim and Wayne Senftner, the law firm owner's husband and son."

"ONSITE3 Launches DXR Mobile at Paralegal SuperConference"

Good chance for SuperConference attendees to check out this new mobile document 'exchange & review' service:

"ONSITE3, a leading global provider of eForensics, eDiscovery, eReview and consulting services offering one source litigation support for law firms and corporations, is pleased to announce the launch of its Document Exchange & Review (DXR) Mobile service, provided in a portable appliance platform designed specifically for electronic data discovery, review and production. On demonstration at ONSITE3's exhibit during the upcoming Paralegal SuperConference Miami 2007, the new service utilizes a convenient industrial strength laptop-based system that can travel and be used almost anywhere, securely process 5 to 10 gigabytes of electronic discovery data per day, store up to 100 gigabytes of processed data and permit rapid searching and review from the same platform."