"Is Software the Key to Streamlining HR?"

This Legal Technology article describes the HR challenges in law firms & how various software options makes them manageable. [2nd paragraph links from original text]: "Managing human resources is one of the most labor-intensive processes at a law firm. Keeping track of payroll, benefits, leave time and lots of other information is time-consuming and costly. Fortunately, there is plenty of software -- both commercial and homegrown --that can help firms automate many HR functions. Firms that are using these tools are seeing benefits, such as cost savings and increased efficiency. BINGHAM MCCUTCHEN "Bingham McCutchen, with nine U.S. offices and three... Read more →

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"MoFo IT Gets Its Green On"

Kudos to Morrison & Foerster for adopting a strong 'green' culture! Find four good ideas in this Legal Technology article: "With 1,070 lawyers in 18 offices throughout the world, Morrison & Foerster has a culture that promotes excellence, diversity, teamwork and social responsibility. Last year, we were selected as one of Fortune magazine's '2006 Best Companies to Work For,' and the firm has won numerous other accolades that reflect our commitment to these goals. "Among these priorities is our commitment to create a work environment that is healthy and environmentally responsible. Our IT department has initiated a number of programs... Read more →

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"National Firms Stake Claim in Phoenix's Robust Economy"

Hmm, ever thought about moving to Arizona? Sounds like firms in Phoenix are heating up! "It may be a dry heat in Phoenix, but it's also a hot legal market for some national law firms moving into the desert city to take advantage of the region's flourishing economy. "Ranked the fifth-largest city in the nation with 1.5 million people at the center of a metropolitan area of 3.8 million, Phoenix has the fastest-growing population of any major U.S. city, with professional and technical jobs creating the biggest surge in its employment sectors. "Law firms new to the area want a... Read more →

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"Boston law firm plans San Diego expansion"

Oh, boy, firms expanding & lawyers changing firms. See the details in this San Diego Union-Tribune news article: "The Boston law firm Goodwin Procter has recruited prominent local biotechnology lawyer Stephen C. Ferruolo to launch an office in San Diego as part of the firm's push into California. "Stephen C. Ferruolo is expected to take much of his client base with him. Ferruolo, 56, has been a highly visible face for Heller Ehrman, one of the few one-stop-shopping law firms for San Diego's biotechnology companies. He is also vice president and general counsel for Biocom, the region's biotechnology industry organization.... Read more →

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"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... Read more →

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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... Read more →

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"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... Read more →

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"Corporate Groups Enjoy the Boom but Plan for the Bust"

Corporate lawyer hiring directly affects corporate paralegal hiring. Tighten your seat belts; it's going to be a bumpy ride! "It has been a bull market for corporate lawyers, with multimillion- and billion-dollar M&A deals galore. But the recent stock market plunge sent a little chill down the backs of some, a reminder that the high times won't last forever. A day after trouble in the China market dropped the Dow more than 400 points, Fenwick & West corporate group Chairman Daniel Winnike said he was relieved Wall Street had stabilized. "'If it had dropped another 300 points,' he said, 'then... Read more →

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"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... Read more →

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"Complicated End of an Ex-Law Firm"

Yeah, law firm breakups spawn messy news. Almost as bad as a divorce: "At one time, the breakup of a big, prestigious law firm was rare. But since the technology boom and bust, implosions of once highflying firms like Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault have occurred with more frequency. "Yet the bankruptcy of Coudert Brothers still stands out. Eighteen months after the firm voted to dissolve, its unwinding continues to be a complicated, messy affair. "Creditors and at least one former partner have filed lawsuits against the firm. Malpractice claims have accrued as well. There are... Read more →

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