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March 2007
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May 2007

"Nearly Half of Law Offices Plan Staff Additions in Next 12 Months"

Great news! Particularly for "Litigation, Corporate Governance Experiencing Most Growth":

"Law firms and corporate legal departments will be adding to their teams in the year ahead, a new survey [by Robert Half Legal] shows. Forty-seven percent of attorneys polled said they plan to hire personnel in the next 12 months; just 2 percent of respondents anticipate staff reductions. Litigation, corporate governance and intellectual property were identified as the areas of law expected to experience the most growth.

[snip]

"Lawyers were asked, "Do you expect the number of lawyers employed with your law firm/corporate legal department to increase, stay the same or decrease in the next 12 months?" Their responses:
    Increase                             47%
    Stay the same                     47%
    Decrease                              2%
    Don't know                            4%
                                            100%"


"The Problem with Time Management"

Ah, the "trying to do my job, but people keep interrupting" problem. Do you have time management on the job under control?

"If you've been living in the corporate world for some time, you've probably attended a training session where one of the exercises was to conduct a 'time spent' analysis in order to increase your efficiency. You cracked open your calendar, reviewed how you spent your time for the past week, and identified black holes that were wasting your energy. Maybe you even went so far as to break your activities into categories, separating the 'urgent' things from the 'important' things and both of these from the 'insignificant' things.

[snip]

"The problem lies in our approach. Time management programs usually focus on your personal productivity, analyzing how you choose to spend your time. This is all fine and dandy, but it misses one essential truth: In an organization that's devoted to banging pots, you better bang pots or have a damn good reason for not banging them.

"That's why, after the PowerPoint presentation had ended and the trainer went home, you fell back into your old, unproductive rhythms -- not because you didn't agree with the time management expert's analysis, but because you returned to normal life in the world of The Middle . . . which means doing what you think your boss wants you to do. Bang! Bang! Bang!"

Highly recommend reading this complete article. It contains some good advice for managing your managers.

BTW, the author of this article, Vince Thompson, also wrote a just-published book, Ignited. In it, "Thompson depicts the realm between upper management and the workforce as rife with turf battles, firestorms and ongoing struggles to keep the troops from revolting."


Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

So, what do you do for this big day? Take your kids to work? Does your firm or company participate? 

"Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day has grown from a modest scope in its pilot year to include businesses large and small, unions, hospitals, manufacturing plants, arts groups, social agencies, schools and government offices. The latter list has included NASA, the CIA, the courts and legislative bodies.

"This year, the U.S. Senate expects 300 participants. That body now has 16 female senators. Fifteen years ago, it had two.

"Some workplaces simply invite employees to have their children, or someone else's, shadow them for the day. Others hold organized activities.

[snip]

"The law firm Cohen & Grigsby, which has held events on and off over the years, will introduce about 50 children to a range of careers, including paralegal, accountant and technology expert. They'll also visit the courtroom of Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward."


"New York's Most Obnoxious Lawyer"

Hmmm, I'm sure someone could nominate lawyers "worthy" of this "honor" in other states. But check out the "competition" in this Village Voice article:

"'With so many jerks working as attorneys in New York City, you'd think there would be no way to determine who's the single biggest pain in the ass. You could be wrong. The winner (or loser) is arguably Kenneth Heller.

"You can't count the number of crooks, shysters, or idiots among the city's 74,000 lawyers. But Kenny Heller was disbarred for simply being obnoxious. After 50 years of heaping abuse on everyone within earshot and hurling accusations of conspiracies, 'favoritism,'and 'cronyism' at countless judges and lawyers, the 77-year-old Heller has earned this distinction: No other lawyer in the city but Heller, according to records of his disciplinary hearing, has been ousted for "obstructive and offensive behavior which did not involve fraud or deception.'"


SF Paralegal Manages MyDeathSpace Website

Well, this is certainly a different way to expand beyond a day job as a paralegal:

"Before the public saw the faces or learned the names of the victims from last week's Virginia Tech massacre, thousands of college students across the country were already starting to mourn the dead at a Web site called MyDeathSpace.com.

"Created in 2005 by Mike Patterson, the 25-year-old San Francisco paralegal says he started MyDeathSpace with the aim of creating a cautionary tool that could show teenagers, with stark and brutal honesty, how other kids their age were dying in their area (namely through car accidents, drunk-driving-related crashes, drug overdoses, etc.)."


Hudson Legal Sponsors Monster's New Legal Career Center

I think the message board might become quite helpful, from the Q&As I read, particularly this one. And having law-related career advice collected in one place is very welcome:

"Hudson Legal today [4-24-2007] announced its sponsorship of Monster's newly launched Legal Career Center, a section of Monster.com devoted to the career advancement and recruitment efforts of attorneys and other legal professionals.

The site offers a range of career advice and articles regarding salary trends, the hiring outlook and interview tips, as well as a community message board, where a Hudson recruiter answers questions from job seekers. Content appeals to a broad range of professionals in the legal arena, including lawyers at firms of all sizes, contract attorneys, paralegals, in-house corporate counsel and legal secretaries. While Monster previously hosted similar sites for other fields, the Legal Career Center is a new addition to the Career Advice portal."


"Making Forensics Elementary at Your Firm"

Here's another career choice -- computer-forensics examinaton -- in which a paralegal background can be most helpful:

[snip]

"Attorney and e-discovery expert Tom O'Connor, with the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Legal Electronic Document Institute, says that judges in the cases he consults on are ordering e-discovery and computer-forensics investigation much more frequently than ever before. O'Connor is seeing the effect of this change on all kinds of cases.

[snip]

"For civil domestic cases such as divorce proceedings, there's an enormous amount of forensics investigation occurring. O'Connor says that PCs are being examined to prove or refute claims by one spouse that the other has been engaging in extramarital affairs or hiding financial assets. Forensics experts are trained to search for e-mail exchanges in which the parties are setting dates and carrying on other communications. They can also:

  • Uncover questionable online purchases;
  • Track credit-card transactions; and
  • Detect whether credit cards unknown to one spouse are being used to make illicit purchases.

"Stephanie Simons Neal, litigation-support [PDF] project manager in the New York office of Weil Gotshal & Manges, attests to the burgeoning need for forensics expertise at her firm. Simons Neal's caseload consists of a number of patent cases, along with other corporate-litigation matters.

"'We've definitely noticed an increase in request for forensics, as well as requests for review and production of documents in native form as opposed to paper,' she says, adding that while the requests continue to come in, the expertise to meet those requests is lacking and there is a growing 'disconnect' between what cases actually require and what the law firms are equipped to provide.

[snip]

"Trial attorney and certified computer forensic examiner Craig Ball of Austin, TX, has seen a marked increase in the use of forensically qualified imaging to preserve data prior to litigation rather than in reaction to it."

NOTE: This article also says: "Computer forensics is still a young science that's being shaped by the electronic-discovery rules as they continue to evolve and change. This expanding industry simultaneously presents huge opportunities and great responsibility."


"PowerPoint 2007 Takes On the Fear Factor"

Here's where presentation-savvy paralegals [PPT] can save the day (or at least the PowerPoint slides). Still, it's good to hear that "Microsoft Corp.'s upgraded presentation tool adds user-friendliness to increased visual interest."

"The very word 'PowerPoint' instills grim fear in the hearts of would-be speakers and dread lethargy in the minds of would-be listeners. No other software application can boast such ominous power over sophisticated professionals.

"I've personally witnessed scores of skilled attorneys desperately plead for help in using Microsoft PowerPoint to express their stilted, creative side; and conversely, I've been in the company of many audiences that collectively cringe at the sight of another text-laden, bullet-pointed slide. (The FutureLawyer also feels the "pain of PowerPoint" eloquently illustrated by comedian Don McMillan).

"While the solution to many of these issues requires an organic acumen of presentation techniques and psychology (Dennis Kennedy and Cliff Atkinson's book are great places to start), the Microsoft Office 2007 team recognized that some adjustments had to be made to PowerPoint. Team members on the PowerPoint & OfficeArt Team Blog lamented the fact that 'the vast majority of users fail to create [stunning] documents [and presentations]' and vowed to make it easier to design visually effective presentations in PowerPoint 2007. That apparently was one impetus behind the development of Office Themes."

Author Brett Burney writes a monthly legal technology column for LLRX.com and contributes to ALM's Law.com Legal Technology section and Law Technology News magazine.


"New direction: Former paralegal found her niche in films"

No kidding a new direction! "And now for something completely different," as the funny guys of Monty Python used to say:

"It’s a cliche in the movie business. She’s a great actress, but what she really wants to do is direct. He’s a great writer, but what he really wants to do is direct. He’s a good dog, but what he really wants to do is direct.

"Everybody wants to direct.

"The truth is, Pam Haynes didn’t know what she really wanted to do with her life. She just knew what she was doing wasn’t it.

"I had a good job with the law offices of Spilman, Thomas and Battle,' she said. 'I was the coordinator for the labor and practice group. I was a liaison for all the lawyers in the labor and practice group. It was a pretty big responsibility.'

"Haynes had been working in the paralegal field for eight years. The work was challenging, but she just wasn’t happy. One night after work, Haynes found herself at the local library looking through a thick stack of career guidance books.

[snip]

"I can’t say enough nice things about Spilman, Thomas and Battle,' she said. 'I got real encouragement there. Several people helped me fill out the application for NYU. They gave me leaves of absence. They let me come back. They were very supportive.'”


"Quick naps do the job at this law firm"

Calling all workaholics! Be smart & take some time off for a rejuvenating nap..at work!

"The Power Room at one Raleigh law office isn't a place where high-profile deals get done or important meetings occur.

"It's for snoozing.

"As workers log in longer hours, there is increasing interest in the revitalizing power of naps. One company in New York sells 20- minute sessions in nap pods. A recent study in Greece showed that regular naps can reduce the risk of heart attacks.

"Honestly, who hasn't had stressful workdays when an afternoon siesta would have hit the spot?

"Put the partners at Kilpatrick Stockton in the pro-nap camp."