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February 2007
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April 2007

"Too Busy to Notice You’re Too Busy"

Does this New York Times article sound like anyone you know? Yourself perhaps?

"RECENTLY I’ve found myself annoyed by how busy my friends seem. Putting aside the possibility that they are avoiding me, some are so on the go that they barely have time to tell me they do not have time to talk. Every phone call, no matter how short, seems to be interrupted by several others. That is, of course, if I actually get a live person on the other end of the phone.

[snip]

"Edward M. Hallowell, a psychiatrist and author of CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap (Ballantine Books, 2006) writes about how he knew he had crossed into the dark side from busy to crazy busy when he got mad at a rotary phone while staying at a vacation house.

"Unable to use a cellphone, he was driven nuts waiting for the dial to return to start."


"Women's Work: Never Too Nice"

So, are you too nice at work? Or not nice enough? This article explains the drawbacks of both:

"Working women were once kept beneath the glass ceiling because they were considered 'too nice.' Now they're being held back because they aren't nice enough.

"In an effort to erase gender discrimination, many companies have been abandoning their emphasis on stereotypical male qualities like assertiveness, and seeking workers with interpersonal sensitivity and people skills. Or 'qualities usually associated with women,' says Peter Glick, a professor of psychology at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. Ironically, what he calls the "feminization" of companies may work against women lacking the outgoing attributes that employers now expect from them—attributes that employers don't expect from men."


"Firms Predict More Work, Less Equity"

What does this news mean for paralegals? I'm guessing higher required billable hours & maybe higher salaries too:

"Although law firm leaders at a recent conference publicly pooh-poohed predictions that industry profitability would stumble, in a new survey they say increasing expenses will cut into their bottom line this year.

"Lawyers can expect to be pushed for more billable hours while facing a harder struggle to make equity partner. And the ranks of associates and nonequity partners will rise much faster than any increase in equity slots, law firm leaders said.

"The first managing partner confidence index [be sure to check the comments to this post!] -- a survey of more than 100 Am Law 200 firm leaders -- was released this week by Citigroup Private Bank, which serves as banker to 550 law firms, including many of the nation's largest.

[snip]

"Am Law 200 firms reported big growth last year. But while most respondents predict revenue will continue to climb, they also expect expenses -- led by lawyer salaries -- to do the same. More than 90 percent said lawyer salaries would be the primary rising cost this year -- and that was before the recent round of associate salary raises that brought first-years up to $160,000 in New York and $145,000 most everywhere else.

[snip]

"Non-lawyer staff salaries and real estate costs are also expected to grow at a faster clip [emphasis added] than last year, [Danilo DiPietro, client head of Citigroup's law firm group] said."


"24 Time Management Tips"

These helpful, common-sense tips come from Beth Dargis, a certified life coach & simplicity consultant:

"Planning is the best time saver there is. At the beginning of the week jot down your goals that you want to accomplish, fun things you want to do, work that needs to be done, and appointments to keep. Then write out a loose schedule for the week ahead, balancing it out between work, family, home, self and your other roles.

[snip]

"My weekly planning session usually takes less than thirty minutes. My planning session includes gathering my papers and going through the in-box to find action items as David Allen suggests in his book Getting Things Done. I also plan goals, next action items for my projects, plan a two hour time alone, plan family night, and plan a date with my husband. I schedule work, exercise, fun time, time with friends and family, volunteer work, and self-care time. Planning allows the important to take precedent over the urgent for once.

[snip]

"4. Let go of perfectionism. Not everything has to be done perfectly and some things are out of your control.

[snip]

"22. Start with the worst item on your to do list. Everything else will be a piece of cake. You also won't be thinking and dreading it while doing other tasks. Procrastination sucks out your energy."


"Does a Provocative Pose Help or Hurt a Job Search?"

Well, this is an interesting question. Legal blogger Carolyn Elefant pointed it out on Legal Blog Watch. [Links below from original post.]:

"Over at Counsel to Counsel, Stephen Sackler wonders whether a law firm will hire the photogenic female law student who posed for this photo that's now permanently cached on the Internet.

[snip]

"...Personally, I've always thought that a job applicant's good looks and sex appeal, (particularly, when the applicant is female) are an asset in getting hired.  Down the line, perhaps, good looks can prevent career advancement because purportedly, employees do not always take attractive people, particularly, women seriously...."

Do you agree with Carolyn?


"E-Lawyering Requires Rethinking Technology and Law"

Great article about the new federal discovery rules, describing these changes in an understandable, even humorous way:

"This changes everything."

"Those three words, wafting on the familiar, buoyant tones of the actor saying them, have staying power. No survivor of the dot-com boom of the 1990s could forget William Shatner's ubiquitous ads on behalf of a certain online travel company.

"Indeed, online booking did change the travel industry. When was the last time anyone had a paper ticket, or called a human travel agent just to check flight times? Buyers and sellers of books, music and news all have seen the same cataclysm in their business models -- a subtle but certain shift from dialing a phone number or visiting a store to signing in, logging on and clicking a mouse.

"And, in fact, e-commerce lawyers are included in this migration to technology. Just as e-commerce has disrupted the travel, music, book and news retailing industries, the influence of technology on business and the law has also wrought havoc on our legal system. [Emphasis added.] Certainly, the law has always had to adapt specific rules for new technology.

"Today, the pervasive role that technology has assumed in business and legal practice, as more and more of our daily lives are lived online, provides a more fundamental challenge to how attorneys practice business law. In an age when 'paper file' has become an anachronism and an oxymoron, business law and the way it is practiced have required more than just tinkering with particular rules."

Author Stanley P. Jaskiewicz, a business lawyer, helps clients solve e-commerce, corporate, contract and technology-law problems, and is a member of the Board of Editors of Internet Law & Strategy \'s sibling newsletter, E-Commerce Law & Strategy.


Five Strategies Key to Reducing Litigation Costs

Yay! Having several methods for cutting the costs of litigation is good news indeed:

"Smoking-gun documents and emails have been at the heart of the world's best known corporate legal battles, but the risks of information in litigation have suddenly grown with new U.S. Federal guidelines for e-discovery. How can companies get a handle on the exploding volume of online content to better address the costs and risks of litigation? Open Text Corporation (NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC), a leading provider of software that helps companies manage their growing stores of emails and documents, today released a list of five key technology strategies for litigation and e-discovery readiness that can help companies be as prepared in the courtroom as in the boardroom.

[snip]

"Open Text Executive Vice President Bill Forquer [scroll down for bio] sees some advantages in the new rules. 'Certainly, there are new risks and new challenges but the amendments add clarity. They create a sense of urgency and a mandate for companies to have good information management practices in their organizations.'

[snip]

"According to Forquer, these five key strategies can make all the difference:

"Define defensible policies: Map the governing regulations and internal requirements to the process of identifying what email or document constitutes a record. What is and isn't a record? How long should a record be kept or how long must it be kept? Does it need to be stored on a specific media? Kept in a specific location? Do your policies take into account metadata associated with records?"

Above is just one of the five outlined....


"Keeping Track of 'Track Changes'"

Very helpful post by by Robert J. Ambrogi to Legal Blog Watch:

"Every lawyer [& paralegal] who uses Microsoft Word should take a few moments to read 'Staying on Track with Track Changes,' by legal bloggers and technology pros Tom Mighell and Dennis Kennedy, appearing in the current issue of Law Practice Today. As they point out, the 'track changes' feature in Word is an enormously useful tool when lawyers are collaborating on a single document. But it amazes me how many lawyers fail to realize that this entire history of collaboration can end up being stored invisibly in the document as metadata."

See more info about keeping metadata private in this Estrin Report post.


"Too Many Laws, Not Enough Lawyers"

I'm thinking this article means it might be a good time for SOX paralegals to seek raises:

"With business booming at the nation's law firms, the fees they charge will climb steadily. Expect the cost of corporate legal services to continue to increase an average of one and a half times the rate of inflation in coming years. The trend will vary widely by region, with the largest jumps likely in major metropolitan areas.

"What's fueling demand? The explosion of new corporate compliance regulations, spawned in large part by the Sarbanes-Oxley reform law, means businesses have a lot more legal paperwork. Merger mania is also keeping lawyers busy as companies buy and sell one another at a fast clip. Every corporate deal generates a raft of necessary legal documents. Finally, plain old economic growth is underpinning a natural expansion in the market for legal services. As a result, law firms are averaging a comfortable 10% rate of profit growth [emphasis added] per partner per year."


"Survey: Admin. assistants important"

Okay, that's the good news. The bad? In this article, paralegals are equated with administrative assistants:

"Eighty-five percent of U.S. executives believe their administrative assistants are important to their success, a nationwide staffing-service survey says.

"Of 150 senior executives at the nation's 1,000 largest companies surveyed, 48 percent said their administrative assistant's role was very important to their success, the OfficeTeam survey said.

[snip]

"OfficeTeam noted Administrative Professionals Week would be observed in the United States April 22-28. Many executives that week recognize the work of clerical employees such as administrative assistants, receptionists, paralegals and others."