Previous month:
February 2007
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April 2007

Canada's new paralegal regulations study grads

It will be most interesting to compare U.S. regulation with Canada's approach:

"She will be among the first students to graduate from Humber College's first bachelor degree programs. As a newly minted paralegal, Sheelagh McLellan will also be among the first in Ontario to benefit from groundbreaking legislation that will regulate the often-misunderstood profession.

"'I was interested in becoming a paralegal because one of their objectives is to provide legal services for people who may not be able to afford a lawyer,' McLellan says. 'I think the regulation of paralegals is a positive. It definitely gives creditability to our profession and I think it will help me if I decide to one day open my own office.'

[snip]

"But the profession is undergoing an important transformation. Under new Access to Justice Act legislation, paralegals in Ontario will be regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada. For the first time in Canadian history, they will be required to receive training, carry liability insurance and report to a public body that can investigate complaints. The regulation comes into force May 1.

[snip]

"Mary Selvanathan, a senior legal consultant with Access Legal Services, lauds Humber's program. 'I personally find that Humber's bachelor program is way ahead and once the law (requiring paralegals to be regulated by the Law Society) comes into effect, they are well ahead.'"


Demand for paralegals in the military grows. And yes, you can be sent to Iraq:

"The Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Rear Adm. Bruce E. MacDonald, visited the military legal team deployed to Baghdad on March 10 and 11.

[snip]

"More than 100 military attorneys and paralegals -- mostly from the Navy and Air Force -- are deployed as individual augmentees to Iraq supporting the Multinational Force here. Most of them work for Task Force 134, the task force charged with detainee command and control, ensuring due process and assisting Iraq rebuild its judicial, correctional and law enforcement system.

[snip]

"During the two-day visit, MacDonald also re-enlisted Petty Officer 2nd Class Mica Elizabeth Chinn and Petty Officer 2nd Class Debra Bazan, both Magistrate Cell paralegals at Task Force 134, in a ceremony at Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory.

“'For him to come all the way from the states and re-enlist us meant a lot,' said Chinn. 'It shows he cares and we’re not just names or bodies to send to Iraq.'”


NFPA Pro Bono Conference

Tip of that hat to LawCrossing for pointing to this info:

"While reviewing news releases and other noteworthy items pertaining to the paralegal world this week, I came across a notice about an upcoming Pro Bono Conference sponsored by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). The conference, which will be held in Denver at Holland & Hart on March 24 and 25, 2007, will teach legal assistants and paralegals how to find local and national pro bono opportunities.

"Specifically, the conference will guide paralegals through the process of building and expanding pro bono programs, specifically focusing on recruiting volunteers, keeping them interested and active, documenting volunteer projects, and recognizing volunteers through a reward system.

[snip]

"Sponsored by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the conference will be held in Denver at Holland & Hart on March 24- 25, 2007. Legal assistants & paralegals can learn how to find both local & national pro bono opportunities.

"It's not too late to sign up! Visit the National Federation of Paralegal Associations' website for more information."

NOTE: Registration is required, but there is no cost for the conference; attendees are responsible only for travel & hotel expenses. The conference is open to NFPA Members ONLY.


"How a County Attorney's Office Is Streamlining E-Discovery"

Hmm, sure sounds like this vendor might be worth investigating:

"While the revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure pertaining to electronic discovery that hit the books in December may have caused headaches for many in the legal profession, some discovered unexpected benefits. Case in point: the Nassau County Attorney's Office in New York, which implemented new technology to meet the updated requirements and found that it made e-discovery more efficient than expected.

"Nassau County deployed Clearwell's Intelligence Platform -- a program applied to e-mail and electronic documents that automates the analysis, culling and review process -- in February, to comply with the amendments to the FRCP rules 16, 26, 34 and 37. Those rules now require anyone who can be involved in litigation in federal court to retain electronic records -- such as e-mails, instant messages and text documents -- and be able to retrieve them. The rules also require all parties to present a description of all electronically stored information within 99 days of the beginning of a legal case.

[snip]

"'The whole idea about searching to data is a complete transformation from the way we used to do things,' [said Peter Reinharz, chief managing attorney for the Nassau County Attorney's Office]. In the past, e-mail retrieval was turned over to the county's IT department, which would assign someone to isolate items from backup media and conduct manual searches. 'It was very labor-intensive for our IT department, so it was both cumbersome and costly,' he said.

"'Now, he said, any attorney can easily conduct Boolean searches and sift through PST files with a much greater degree of focus. And the IT department is thrilled.'"


LexisNexis Marks Launch of New Data Collection & Forensics Services Lab

This news makes it sound like LexisNexis has been very busy:

"Based at the companys discovery services headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., the new lab features advanced processing and industrial strength decryption capabilities currently found in very few non-governmental labs. This technology component joins the earlier established 'all star' team of specialists, each with years of experience in law enforcement, investigation, information technology, programming, data collection and digital forensics. Together, these assets help law firms and their clients gain greater control over and confidence in the recovery and review of the documents they and opposing parties produce for legal discovery.

[snip]

"After helping clients locate data in places such as servers, workstations, home computers, backup tapes, e-mail, voicemail, cell phones, PDAs, and other places, consultants then leverage the 15 million pages per day processing capacity and specialized technology of Applied Discovery to conduct forensically sound data collection and document review. For those clients requiring a deeper dive, the team, using a vendor agnostic approach, can conduct customized forensic operations such as:

  • Sorting 30 different fields, across all four time stamp types, by file name or signature extension, hash value, full pat and file permissions.
  • Streamlining More than 150 filters help narrow relevant information displayed based on specific client criteria.
  • Finding, viewing deleted files - viewing deleted and unallocated files.
  • Pinpointing critical documents specialized searching based on client needs.
  • Password recovery decrypt password protected documents from most common commercial programs in minutes."

"One Calendar to Rule Them All"

Whenever -- & those times are frequent -- a paper calendar just won't do [links below in the original Web Worker Daily blog post]:

"Some problems just seem to get harder the longer we work on them. Take keeping track of appointments, for example: you’d think by now we’d have that one all figured out. But somehow, between being online and offline, having multiple computers and mobile devices, it’s become harder than ever to know where you’re supposed to be and when you’re supposed to be there. Some people have come up with elaborate schemes to keep all of their calendars synchronized, but as someone who has tried to do this across multiple computers and operating systems, I can tell you such things are tough to set up and prone to breakage.

"Enter Calgoo. Currently in public beta test, Calgoo is a Java-based application that runs on Windows, OS X, or Linux...."


Survey Shows Strong Financial Support for Technology in Legal Budgets

Well, this is good news for legal organizations & tech-oriented paralegals!

"Gone are the days of pleading with law firm partners and in-house counsel about the efficiency and ease that computers bring to a legal practice. The 2007 Survey on Technology Budgeting and Spending [PDF], conducted at LegalTech New York, shows strong sustained support for technology in law firm and legal department budgets. Edge Legal Marketing, a premier provider of marketing and public relations expertise to companies targeting the legal market, today released the results from its 2007 attendee survey conducted at the conclusion of LegalTech New York. This year’s conference was held January 29-31 and attracted 12,000 attendees from New York and around the world, including law firm and corporate attorneys, their support staff, and IT professionals, in addition to hundreds of vendors serving the needs of legal professionals."


"Ten Must-Have Web Sites for Solo Practitioners"

Yeah, that "must have" (must bookmark, must login?), description is odd, but the list of 10 sites in this article does look helpful:

"Picking the best of anything is difficult. However, I decided to take a stab this month at the Web sites I use most frequently during a typical day of practicing law. I'm not including the obvious ones: legal research and general search sites. I'm aiming to point to sites that create a new source of information on the Web, and that leverage the interactive Web 2.0 space.

"Here goes:

  1. GoToMyPC is a remote-access Web application that permits me to access my office host machine anytime I like. It allows me to run updates, check my calendar and contact changes created by my secretary, and, in general, prevents running to the office to maintain the server, or to practice law. It's the solo lawyer's best friend, runs flawlessly and costs only about $20 a month per machine."

Author Rick Georges is a Florida solo attorney and author of Law.com's Future Lawyer blog.


"Legal Departments Tell Firms: Get on the Tech Train"

Well, that sure sounds like a smart slap at not-so-tech-savvy firms, huh?

"When Aon Corp. slashed its outside counsel roster from about 400 to 23 law firms in 2005, it quizzed the firms about their tech offerings. 'We asked them about extranets, e-billing and litigation management,' says David Cambria, director of legal operations at the Chicago-based insurance giant.

"But Cambria says that he didn't really care whether firms had all of those products. He had another agenda: 'I wanted to know if [the firms] were playing in the same pool as me,' says Cambria. When they crafted the tech section of their request for proposal, Cambria and his colleagues started from the assumption that all the firms they were interviewing had experienced, capable lawyers. But 'we wanted to take it to a higher level, and the most successful firms were the ones that told us how they'd help us do what we do better, with technology,' he says.

"Aon isn't alone. Law departments, once the hardware and software stepchildren of the legal profession, are steadily, if gradually, adopting more sophisticated ways to aid their work, according to Corporate Counsel's 2007 In-House Tech Survey."

Sound like a big opportunity for techie paralegals to help "geekify" their firms!


"Top Law Firms May Face Rough Future"

It's certainly smart to face this possibility now, right? Even if the law biz doesn't cool:

"Will the good times cease to roll for leading law firms?

"With some gloom -- though not so much doom -- industry observers forecasted a cooling of the legal market over the next five years at the Law Firm Leaders Forum, held Thursday and continuing today in San Francisco. Ever-increasing pressure on rates from clients, rising costs, including the recent hike in associate salaries, and segmentation of the marketplace will make it hard for firms to maintain robust growth -- especially of their bottom lines, they said.

"'There are a lot of red flags waving right now,' said Bradford Hildebrandt, a law firm consultant with Hildebrandt International. 'I would be starting to plan for an economic correction.'"