Is Hiring a Virtual Assistant Right for You?

Here is an article that appeared recently in the Progressive Law Practice magazine. Written by Tami Kamin Meyer "Virtual assistants are hot whether you are a solo practitioner or work in a major law firm," says Chere Estrin, president and founder of The Organization of Legal Professionals. Moreover, she adds, the more tech-savvy the attorney, the easier it is to work with a virtual assistant, also known as a VA. All of this new-found convenience is due, of course, to the advent of technology and the internet. Lawyers chained to the notion that their assistant must be seated at a... Read more →

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Ten Top Reasons Midsize Law Firms are Disappearing

Oh, for heaven's sake! First we read for years how the major firms are going to go under, disband or simply disappear and now we're reading out go the midsize firms. What's going to be left? Teeny, tiny little firms or solos? What does this mean for the paralegal? Probably a lot. Already, a new trend is sweeping the country: the combining of the paralegal with the legal secretarial position. That means a new set of skills for paralegals. Does it mean more money? Not necessarily. Is it a downgrade or will the legal secretarial duties no longer be considered... Read more →

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Why Would You Get Hit By a Bus? (And other uses of cliches)

Today must have been the day for buses. On at least three occasions, I read the phrase, "In case I get hit by a bus." My mother used to tell me that. Only she added that I had to be sure to be wearing clean underwear just in case. I commented to my husband that I was reading a lot of cliches lately. He asked me, "Why do people think they would get hit by a bus? Why not get hit by a bicycle? Or a food truck? Why a bus?" I didn't have the answer. I did think it was a good question. But I really didn't have an answer. Which got me to thinking: why do people use so many cliches? A cliche, for example, is saying, "bless you" every time someone sneezes. Do you really mean God should jump off that comfy couch in the sky and personally bless you? Do you pay any attention deep down inside when someone says "bless you" in response to your sneeze? No. You don't. You say, "Thank you" to be polite. The exchange is done and frankly, immediately forgotten. It's the same when using cliches as you write. In business communications, readers do not pay attention to cliches. The mind, having seen the phrase so many times, is desensitized. It skips right over the phrase, sometimes ignoring it completely. If you want people in your firm to pay attention and think that you are a leader, you're going to have to change the way you write. Read more →

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"Keeping Current Can Be Hard to Do for Law Librarians"

I bet! In fact, I've often thought that being a law librarian would be a most interesting job. Just think about everything you would learn! "Librarians are curious people. We like to skim magazines and books, we like to surf the Web and we have some interest in a lot of topics. A former co-worker used to say that librarians are 'trivial' in that we are always picking up trivia -- a definite asset when one needs to keep current in their profession. "I was familiar with blogs, wikis and social software before I wrote 'The Many Hats of a... Read more →

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"Biglaw Plods Towards Mastodon's Fate"

Goodness, gracious, this is a remarkable discussion about the future of big law firms! Thanks to lawyer, author, & blogger Robert J. Ambrogi for highlighting it in Legal Blog Watch: "When the general counsel of a major corporation says that the current model of the large law firm is heading towards extinction, ears perk up throughout the legal industry. That is precisely what happened after Sun Microsystems GC Mike Dillon wrote on his blog last week that Biglaw is going The Way of the Mastodon. His thesis is that large law firms exist primarily as aggregators of specialized legal expertise... Read more →

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"Delegation Day in the Law Firm"

Found this interesting post at the morepartnerincome blog which is sponsored by Juris,Inc.: "Hildebrandt’s Rees Morrison passes along a simple but clever technique for encouraging attorneys to improve efficiency by finding delegable tasks for non-lawyer members of the team. The idea comes from the corporate world but should work to everyone’s benefit in a law firm as well. The law department asked its attorneys collectively to identify 20 activities that the lawyers were doing but that could be handed off to paralegals, administrative assistants or other support persons. "The panelist sharing the law department’s experience noted that staff members were... Read more →

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"Orrick's Staffing Moves Pay Off -- Will Other Firms Follow?"

So, would you want to work in Wheeling, West Virginia? Read all about the separation of staff from lawyers in this article from The Recorder: "When Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe announced it would move scores of support staff to a small industrial town in West Virginia, lawyers inside and out were skeptical of the quality of work and the return on investment. "Five years later, the 980-lawyer firm says it's saved more than $20 million thanks to the Global Operations Center in Wheeling, W.Va. -- all without diminishing its services. "But even with the purported success, most other large law... Read more →

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"The Data Boom: Can Law Firms Profit?"

Yeah, oh, yeah! Read how in this Legal Technology article about how MoFo responded when a small client was hit with a huge discovery request: "In the fall of 2005, a small Israeli technology startup came to San Francisco's Morrison & Foerster with a lawsuit -- and, soon enough, a problem. [snip] "The stakes weren't particularly high -- just a few million dollars. But after the case was filed, the defendant hit back with an electronic discovery request -- every relevant e-mail, Microsoft Word file, spreadsheet, you name it -- so onerous that its cost alone would take a fair... Read more →

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Optimize Information Management Operations with Interwoven

Good old index cards are surely not of much use for law firms or legal departments with thosands & thousands of files. Read how Frost Brown Todd upgraded to Interwoven: "...Frost Brown Todd LLC, an AMLAW 200 law firm, has adopted Interwoven Records Manager to enable comprehensive information management. "Combined with Interwoven WorkSite, the industry-leading document management solution, Interwoven Records Manager enables law firms to optimize their file room operations and bring together paper and electronic documents and e-mail under a uniform information retention policy. The solution is seamlessly integrated into the user's working practices, allowing professionals to participate and... Read more →

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"Rise of Paralegals"

Although you must be a paid subscriber to the Dayton Business Journal to read the complete article (& I'm not!), thought the part you can read was interesting: "Betty White has worked as a paralegal for Sebaly Shillito & Dyer's Dayton office for 18 years and has held the managing paralegal position for the past 10. "But White has spent the past two decades doing more than just sorting through legal documents. She travels with lawyers to meet with clients, helps clients prepare documents and helps decide what information is necessary for a case, among a slew of other tasks."... Read more →

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