New LitSupport Survey Shows Managers Get Big Bucks

Survey2The Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) has been surveying Litigation Support Professionals to uncover interesting insights and valuable facts to help LSPs make the most of their careers.  The survey, sponsored by ZyLab and Career Numbers, is unlike traditional salary and utilization surveys. The survey is left open to regularly update the information and release new and interesting insights.  Additionally, OLP/Zylab will continue to provide free access to the updated results to each person who completes the survey. 

The Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) is a non-profit organization providing continuing legal education and certification exams to the legal community.  The organization offers courses in eDiscovery, litigation support, project management and other timely topics.  OLP also offers over 40 scholarships per year to long-term unemployed legal professionals. 

The goal of the survey is to empower legal professionals to make the most of their careers by providing personalized career information, giving them better insight into the implications of their decisions. Companies are using data to earn larger profits, sports teams are using data to build better teams, and now it’s time for law firm employees to start using data to make the most of their careers.

The survey replaces generic statistics such as “people with law degrees earn, on average, 20% more over their careers than those with Bachelors degrees” with smart comparisons, such as “people like you (based on your education, experience, career goals, work ethic, and more) earn, on average, 34% more over their careers by attending a top 25 law school program, feel 42% more satisfied with their career, work 6 hours more per week, and feel 14% more stressed.”

The survey has been completed by almost 300 firms across the U.S. 

Here are some of the many insights uncovered to date:

  • Nearly three-quarters of Litigation Support Professionals (LSPs) reported being paid an annual salary with the average salary equal to $75,700.
  • The average Litigation Support Manager earns $111,000 per year while their direct reports average $89,300 of total compensation per year.
  • 65% of LSPs received an annual bonus, and a super majority reported that the size of their bonus was based on merit and/or their employer’s success. 
  • The average annual raise was 3.1% this past year, with the highest and lowest earning LSPs receiving the lowest annual raises on a percentage basis.
  • 55% of LSPs agree or strongly agree that their employer’s technology makes it easy for them to do their work well, while 27% say that their employer’s technology is antiquated or somewhat antiquated.
  • Nearly 32% consider themselves satisfied with their positions while almost 30% are dissatisfied with the recognition that they receive.
  • More than half of LSPs believe that their employer’s reputation is within the top 20% of their industry.
  • 55% are satisfied to moderately satisfied with their work/life balance and over 70% are moderately satisfied to satisfied with their boss.
  • LSPs consider on-the-job training to be the most valuable training method, followed by Webinars, Seminars, and then Self-Study.
  • Two-thirds of LSPs are satisfied or mostly satisfied with their career, while only 51% are satisfied or mostly satisfied with their compensation.
  • 62% of LSPs have a private office while 52% have an office window.
  • While less than 10% of LSPs are actively looking for a new job, the majority are open to better employment opportunities.

Summary:  Hot! Candidates are paid well, the work is interesting and while LSP’s do not feel they receive as much recognition as they would like, it appears to be an area of strong consideration for those with excellent technology background even without legal knowledge.

This is a small portion of the insights that are available to participants who have completed the comprehensive salary and utilization survey.  OLP/Zylab will continue to update the information, so check back quarterly for updated reports and new insights. For more information or to participate in the survey, please visit www.theolp.org.  For more information regarding ZyLab, go to: www.zylab.com.


LitSupport Salary Survey: Do Paralegals With Tech Skills Earn More?

339055g26uicqq4[1] OLP invites you to participate in the first Litigation Support Salary & Utilization Survey to provide legal professionals with unparalleled insight into salary and career performance information.  We’re committed to helping people make the most of their careers, so we will provide a free salary survey to give you inside information about your market value, directly from your peers.  
              

  This same set of data is used to help legal professionals make more informed career decisions.

           Most employees don’t have the information they need to make informed career decisions.  While there are plenty of opinions, anecdotes, and generic statistics, there hasn’t been a place to turn for personalized career information based on data and facts.

                OLP’s goal is empower people to make the most of their careers by providing personalized career information, giving them better insight into the implications of their decisions. 

“In this field, you can get more information on a book to read, a car to buy or food you eat than you can on the very career that pays for everything you have or do.”
               
               
For example, the survey will replace generic statistics such as “people with paralegal certificates earn, on average, 20% more over their careers than those with Bachelors degrees” with smart  comparisons  (based on your education, experience, career goals, work ethic, and more) earn, on average, 34% more over their careers by attending a top 25 paralegal school, feel 42% more satisfied with their career, work 26 hours more per week, and feel 14% more stressed.” 

                Companies are using data to earn larger profits, sports teams are using data to build better teams, and now it’s time for legal professionals to start using data to make the most of their careers.

     OLP has partnered with CareerNumbers.com, an innovative company providing sophisticated salary surveys to the community.  CareerNumbers partners with leading organizations that want to provide their members with free data-driven career and salary information. Employees appreciate that surveys are simple and easy.  The surveys also provide powerful multi-dimensional reporting tools that puts the full-value of the information back into the hands of the people and partners that helped us obtain it.

               OLP’s goal is to help people make the most of their careers by empowering them to better understand themselves and the types of opportunities that are available to them. 
               
                The best way to achieve this is by providing deeper and more meaningful career data. You probably haven’t struggled to access valuable and relevant information for other decisions such as buying a car or even a book. However, when it comes to one of the most important components of your life, your career,there is a consistent struggle to find the information you need to make informed decisions. OLP wants to help solve this  problem for legal professionals because there’s no reason that, as a society, we should have more valuable information about the books we’re buying than the careers we’re living.

Participate in the survey today.   Survey data is free to participants.  It’s anonymous and confidential. Don’t get left out!

Go directly to the survey:    www.theolp.org.  Use invitation code:  Estblog.


The Job Seeker's Paradigm - You Might Hold the Upper Hand Even in This Market

 From our guest blogger, Tom  Dezell:

Be the Answer to thWoman and laptope Hiring Managers’ Problems
by Tom Dezell

Today’s labor market is an employer’s market. Companies can select from arguably the largest candidate [paralegal] pool in history. Discouraged job seekers often complain that the disparity in numbers contributes to an atmosphere of employer arrogance. Their advantage of supply over demand has lead to a lack of common courtesy regarding keeping candidates informed, returning calls, etc. While this perception certainly has merit, it’s important for job seekers to realize that the key individual at a company with an opening may not perceive him or herself as holding all the trump cards. That’s the hiring manager.

In most scenarios, these uncertain economic times mean that this opening has existed significantly longer than the hiring manager would have liked. The extended delay increases the probability that what started as a need has quickly escalated to the problem or crisis level, most of which has fallen on the desk of the hiring manager. This crisis presents a candidate with their best opportunity to get hired. A hiring manager facing a laundry list of problems will be drawn to the candidate most capable of solving these problems.

Once you’re scheduled to interview with a hiring manager, prepare by learning as much information as possible regarding the backlogs and difficulties this opening has created. This is where your network becomes critical. Think of anyone you know with knowledge of the company and the hiring manager. LinkedIn can provide connecting points from your network to the company. Once you identify them, use these contacts to get an idea of the biggest need facing  the company and its hiring manager. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Once you have a better idea what the problems are, you can better emphasize the skills, successes and projects from your background that will best demonstrate your ability to solve them.

One of the most consistent mistakes I see job seekers make is failing to view the hiring situation through the eyes of the employer. Rather than perceiving a hiring manager as a the one with all the power, realize this is an individual with a need. You can much better offer yourself as a solution once you clearly understanding the hiring manager’s problem.

Tom Dezell, author of Networking for the Novice, Nervous, or Naive Job Seeker, has been a professional career advisor and resume writer for more than 25 years. Currently, Dezell works with the Maryland Department of Workplace Development, facilitating career seminars as well as advising individuals job seekers. For more information, please visit
www.yournetworkingguide.com.


Sex, Secretaries and Audacious Attorneys

J0315570   Sometimes, you're just plain shocked at behavior.  Law.com Legal Blog Watchreported today a  bombshell of a complaint over a May 2009 ad on Craigslist under "Adult Gigs" for a secretary/legal assistant. The ad was titled: "Loop lawyers hiring secretary/legal assistant." It read as follows:

Loop law firm looking to hire am [sic] energetic woman for their open secretary/legal assistant position. Duties will include general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers in the firm. No experience required, training will be provided. Generous annual salary and benefits will be provided, including medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k) etc. If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements. We look forward to meeting you.

A candidate sent her information including a photo, height, size and measurements. Now, why a legal secretary would not know that laws state giving out information such as personal statistics and photos are no-no's, I don't know.  However, knowing the law and being a victim are two different things.

The next day, the attorney allegedly responded with an e-mail that gave some basic information about the position, but then went on to state:

As this is posted in the "adult gigs" section, in addition to the legal work, you would be required to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate. This part of the job would require sexy dressing and flirtatious interaction with me and my partner, as well as sexual interaction. You will have to be comfortable doing this with us.

If you think you're comfortable so far, please let me know and we can proceed with the process.

The next step is to set up an interview. When are you available to interview? I am free to interview today. Please let me know what your availability is.

Lastly, we've actually hired a couple of girls in the past for this position. But they have not been able to handle the sexual aspect of the job later. We have to be sure you're comfortable with that aspect, because I don't want you to do anything that you're not comfortable with. So since that time, we've decided that as part of the interview process you'll be required to perform for us sexually (i didn't do this before with the other girls i hired, now i think i have to because they couldn't handle it). Because that aspect is an integral part of the job, I think it's necessary to see if you can do that, because it'll predict future behavior of you being able to handle it when you have the job.

If you're still okay with everything, let me know what you're availability is and we can figure out a time for you to come in and interview. Let me know. Thanks for your interest.

When I first read this, I thought it was written by a teenager as some kind of weird joke.  However, after the candidate complained to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, an investigation was conducted. The attorney initially responded that:

it appears that somebody with malice [sic] intentions has used my business information to post the advertisement on Craigslist. I did not post the advertisement for a legal secretary...

OK, I understand that someone being maligned on the Internet.  I really do.  There is someone calling themselves a "paralegal expert" down in Georgia who has harassed me via the Internet for a year and a half now, interfering with my business, makes threatening phone calls to my son, posts unbelievable things on list servs and more.  (They most likely will read this and try something else again but I continue to stand up for myself.) I never know what they are going to pull next.  It's vicious, illegal, disturbed behavior and several colleagues and I are ready to seek any and all legal remedies available to us. People like that aren't worth the time of day. Anyway, I digress. I'm talking about how this article elicited empathy, albeit undeserved.

But then, the article goes on to state that "when the attorney was required to give a sworn statement before the Disciplinary Commission, he admitted that he did, in fact, post the Craigslist advertisement and send the follow-up e-mail to the applicant."

This is actually scary.  If what he says is true, that they actually "hired" several legal secretaries who went through that, I sure hope that they are not too scared to come forward and file complaints. Aside from the illegal actions, the hatred of women is very apparent.  This is one of those times that you have a tough time believing what you read.   If this isn't some kind of hoax (and I trust Legal Blog Watch's reporting), just how widespread and how long has this gone on?  


Manatt's 2007 Summer Associates Include Former Legal Assistant

How many paralegals or legal assistants do you know who have gone on to work for major law firms? Well, here's news about one:

"Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, the national law and consulting firm, announced its 2007 Summer Associate roster today. Twenty-one law students will be located in four of the firms eight offices: Los Angeles, New York City, Palo Alto and Albany. The mission of Manatts Summer Recruiting program is to engage, train and nurture the professional development of outstanding candidates from the nations top law schools and from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Manatt is ranked 19th on the Minority Law Journals Diversity Scorecard for 2007.

[snip]

"Erick Flores is a member of the class of 2009 at Georgetown University Law Center. Erick is involved in the Latino Law Society, the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, the International Law Society, and Outlaw; and he is a Pro Bono Pledge Participant. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and a Bachelors degree with Distinction Honors in Communications from Stanford, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and earned the Rebele Fellowship. Erick has studied in Madrid, Spain, and is fluent in Spanish. Before law school, Erick held a wide range of positions: legal assistant at a local law firm [emphasis added], publicity intern at Twentieth Century Fox, reporter for the Beverly Hills Courier, and immigration caseworker for the International Institute of San Francisco."


"Law firms looking for help"

Good news for job-hunting paralegals in this Philadelphia news article which cites a Robert Half Legal survey:

"Despite the old joke asking what 1 million lawyers at the bottom of the ocean represent (answer: a good start), a recent national survey found that law firms and corporate legal departments actually need more attorneys.

"California-based staffing service Robert Half Legal recently found 94 percent of the 300 U.S. and Canadian lawyers they surveyed said the size of their companies will stay the same or increase in the next 12 months. Almost half plan to hire additional lawyers, paralegals or other professionals.

"The biggest needs are in the fields of corporate governance, intellectual property and litigation, said Maura Mann, manager of training and development for Robert Half Legal's northeast region."


Former paralegal now director of law firm recruiting

Do you have good staff recruiting skills? Ever thought about a job in legal recruiting? This NJ Courier News article might provide inspiration:

"Norris McLaughlin & Marcus P.A. has announced that Victoria A. Martignetti has joined the firm as director of recruiting.

"A resident of Warren, Martignetti has more than 10 years experience working in large New Jersey law firms, most recently as recruitment coordinator at Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP. She has extensive experience directing summer associate programs, conducting interviews and managing lateral hiring processes. Before serving as recruitment coordinator, she was a litigation paralegal for a New Jersey law firm."

I like this upward career path!


"Make the right hire: use an employment agency"

Helpful, if somewhat obvious, restatement of advice to law firms from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly:

"We’ve emphasized before that even the smallest practices benefit from hiring the right administrative help to free up attorney time for practicing law and winning new clients.

"However, the hiring process in itself is complex and time consuming. That’s why it makes sense for most small and mid-sized law firms to use employment agencies in filling staff positions.

"Lawyers consider themselves great judges of character, but the hiring process requires far more specialized resources to be done effectively. Employment agencies have the knowledge and skills at interviewing, psychological evaluation and employment discrimination law to handle the recruiting, evaluation and hiring process effectively.

"They also have the time and investigative skills to verify a potential hire’s credentials and experience — a vital task that’s increasingly difficult to do because of privacy laws."

Author Edward Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC, is a speaker, author and board-approved coach to the legal profession.


"The Real World According to Summer Associates"

Ah, who doesn't like to work with summer associates?

"Law students today are a serious bunch. 'Although I appreciate the fancy lunches, dinners, ball games, retreats, etc., I am more interested in experiencing what life actually will be like as a first-year associate,' reads one typical remark from an intern at Heller Ehrman in Menlo Park, Calif. 'Make sure summer associates have enough work to do -- most of us would rather stay late than spend days bored,' counseled a Cahill Gordon & Reindel summer associate. They may welcome -- and even expect -- the fun and games, but they know that all the pampering goes by the wayside once they sign on as a permanent associate.

"Partners and administrators involved in the recruitment process say that this need-to-know approach is coming from a couple of places. Summer clerks today are much more knowledgeable consumers. 'Five or six years ago, summer associates would ask questions like, 'How many lawyers do you have?' or, 'What are your practice areas?'' says Jennifer Gotch, director of recruiting at Atlanta's Arnall Golden Gregory. "You never hear that anymore.' Instead, summer clerks are digging deeper, asking firms to open up their books, discuss their strategic plans, and describe their partnership track -- in detail.

[snip]

"Some firms looked better than others under the microscope. The 172 firms in the survey averaged a rating of 4.502 on a scale of 1 to 5. The highest-scoring firms included many familiar names -- 10 of the 20 best firms of 2006 scored in the top 20 last year as well, including this year's winner, Arnall Golden Gregory. But plenty of newcomers grabbed top slots, including second-place winner Nutter McClennen & Fish (up from No. 41 in 2005), and third-place Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian (up from No. 37 in 2005). Two of the top 10 slots were captured by firms that vaulted more than 100 spots: Dickstein Shapiro leaped from 119th to sixth, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius shot from 122th to seventh."

What do you think of summer associates? Like seeing new people at the firm? Dislike having to answer all their questions?