Legal Technology News - E-Discovery and Compliance Blog

Recruiting & Retention

July 06, 2012

Cowen Group "Critical Trends" 2Q Report Shows EDD Surge

CowenGT11Good news from The Cowen Group: Thursday, the headhunter/research consultancy released its "2012 2Q Critical Trends" report, showing a huge surge in electronic data discovery workload at both law firms and corporate counsel offices -- to the tune of 70% and 77% respectively.

That's not all the good news -- according to the 88 respondents, both types of shops are pullin' out checkbooks and buying or upgrading tech, and hiring.

Check out the story here.

Image: Monica Bay

August 12, 2011

Jack Halprin Expected to Jump to Google



Halprin Jack Halprin,
who recently resigned from his post as Autonomy's vice president, e-discovery and compliance, is expected to land at Google to manage its electronically stored information, for both legal and information governance purposes, in its Apps/Postini wing, according to the 9TO5Google blog.

What's the significance? LTN editorial board members Tom O'Connor, Craig Ball, Ralph Losey, Robert Owen, and George Rudoy analyze the move here.

Image courtesy of the Digital Government Institute. 

August 08, 2011

ACEDS & OLP Announce New Partners

Teach The Organization of Legal Professionals, and the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists have both announced new partnerships:

ACEDS has partnered with the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies Center for Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE). Students who complete CCPE's Certificate in LItigation Technology and Legal Project Management "will be eligible to apply for the certification examination leading to the awarding of the Certified E-Discovery Specialist credential and receive one year of professional membership in ACEDS," reports the Miami company. 

OLP has announced that it has formed a "strategic alliance" with the Ritter Academy "to deliver new online, on-demand, self-study programs that address the fundamentals of e-discovery. The courses, designed by the Ritter Academy, introduce a new learning technique — using innovative visual information maps — RitterMaps." 

Image: Clipart.com

The Ethics & Effectiveness of Contract Attorney Review

Work The  complaint in J-M Manufacturing Co. Inc. v. McDermott Will & Emery filed on June 2, 2011, in Los Angeles Superior Court (Case BC462832) has ignited several discussions in the legal community, including a 50-comment debate on the ABA Journal website under Debra Cassens Weiss' article,"Malpractice Suit Targets Quality of BigLaw's Temporary Lawyers." (See also, Corporate Counsel's "E-Discovery Nightmare: Client Cites McDermott's Use of Contract Lawyers in Malpractice Suit.")

According to the  First Amended Complaint  the firm allegedly produced 3,900 privileged records out of a production of 250,000 records — its second try after having been put on notice by the government that the initial production had included a number of apparently privileged records. Note that there has been no judicial determination that the 3,900 records were actually privileged.

As can be seen in the ABAJ comments, much of the debate centers on how contract lawyers are managed — or not managed — by law firms. J-M's allegations of improper mark-ups on the contract lawyers fees were dropped from the accounting claim in the First Amended Complaint but J-M asserts claims for legal malpractice based on failing to supervise attorneys and vendors, and billing for work not needed, poorly performed, or not performed.

The ABA Journal comments, none of which were tied to McDermott, include several by contract attorneys who recite multiple instances of poor management of contract review work and/or significant markups of contract lawyers fees. The comments also suggest long working hours under sometimes demeaning circumstances with minimal opportunties for advancement.

In Law Technology News' 2008 article "Can You Adapt?," Monica Bay observed that e-discovery "can be a gold mine for contract lawyers who for various reasons want short-term or part-time job commitments, but contract lawyering (especially in law firms) comes with strong caveats. By definition, staff and contract attorneys are second-class citizens, say many observers, who also worry about the effect these posts have on career opportunities for minority attorneys. According to ALM's Minority Law Journal ... a high percentage of staff attorneys are minority lawyers — filling posts where they make less money than full-time associates, receive fewer (if any) benefits, and have little job security or real advancement opportunities. 'Document review pits are a modern plantation,' one anonymous attorney commented on Joseph Miller's JDwired blog."

We wonder: Are the ABAJ comments just "sour grapes" by relatively few ex-contract attorneys — or do they reflect an endemic problem with selection, supervision, career path opportunties, motivation, and billing practices?

Let's hear from the contract attorneys — what are the actual conditions out there? Has it improved since Monica's report in 2008? Who are the best and worst law firms and agencies to work for and why?

If you'd rather not do a public posting you could send your e-mails to me at [email protected]. I will not disclose your name or e-mail without your prior approval.

August 01, 2011

Sham Exam?

C1pLTN070811_6x8[1] Our August issue of Law Technology News is now up and our cover story package is already causing quite some buzz.

"Sham Exam: Do your homework before you pay for e-discovery certification" is a package of four articles exploring the controversy about e-discovery certification courses and exams:

• Patrick Oot leads off, outlining critics' concerns that the courses/exams may be exploiting the most vulnerable members of our community — contract lawyers and paralegals — and may present ethics dilemmas for attorneys.

• Albert Barsocchini reviews the for-profit Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists course and test, coming to the conclusion that it's a step in the right direction, if imperfect.

• Monica Bay (moi) profiles the non-profit Organization of Legal Professionals, led by Chere Estrin, and its certification courses and exam; and also outlines Ralph Losey's E-Discovery Team Training, which is not a certification program but is a four-level series of courses that includes testing.

All three of us talk about the controversy in the August edition of my Law Technology Now podcast! Check it out!

Where do you stand? Hit comment below and let us know!

8/5 Update: With thanks for thoughtful feedback from the community, we have restructured LTN's August issue web edition presentation of the four stories so that you can access each component directly from the main Table of Contents. We have also added a fifth component, Reader Response, where we will post letters — the first being a statement from ACEDS with further information about its program.

 

Cover image: Mick Wiggins

May 17, 2011

Leadership, One Meal at a Time

Los Angeles — Like a white-hot Hollywood agent, David Cowen, head of The Cowen Group, knows how to orchestrate a good dinner party. There is an art to such events -- to really take off, they need the right food, the right lighting, the right service (attentive but unobtrusive, an almost impossible combination), the right table, the right music (or lack thereof), the right alcohol, and of course, most importantly --  the right number and combination of people, strategically seated (too many and no one can really hear, too few and it gets boring fast).

Cowen does a series of breakfasts and "Signature Dinners" across the country, as he builds his headhuntinWineg and management consultancy. Last night's dinner was held at Drago Centro, and sponsored by Clearwell Systems. The off-the-record conversation dove right into some of the difficult dilemmas faced by law firms and general counsel as everybody tries to cope with e-discovery and compliance demands.

Cowen always makes sure the invitation list assures some polite conflict, which makes the discussion valuable to all. Last night's guest list included both BigLaw and BigCorp folks, including Ron Best, director of legal information services at Munger Tolles; Eric Lieber, director of legal technology at Toyota; Isis Miranda, records and e-discovery manager at Farmers Insurance; George Schroeder, director of risk management at Cedars-Sinai Medical; Bowe Kurowski, practice support project coordinator at Proskauer Rose; and associate GC Gary Sedlik of Toshiba, among others.

Continue reading "Leadership, One Meal at a Time " »

September 23, 2010

Mary Pat Poteet Interview

Mary Pat Poteet (low res) Mary Pat Poteet, formerly of DLA Piper, has a new gig -- vice president of e-discovery at RiverGlass. She was recently interviewed by David Cowen of The Cowen Group.

She says she was "a bit nervous" about moving to the vendor side, but finds the end goal is the same -- serving the client's needs. (Now, law firms and  corps.  are among her clients).

Asked what advice would you give to lit support job seekers, she says, "Be patient.  Be open to possibilities.  Don't take things too personally. Network!!"

"I can't stress enough how important it is to talk to your colleagues; put yourself into situations where you can meet new people; be confident in your skills; look for ways to enhance your abilities; read every opinion that comes down and those that came down in the past couple of years that have to do with e-discovery issues.  Be prepared!"

Check out  the full interview  here.

June 18, 2010

Isom & Santalesa join InformationLawGroup

InfoLawGroup reports that David Isom and Richard Santalesa have joined the firm as senior counsel. Isom was formerly co-chair of Greenberg Traurig's EDD practice group. Santalesa, based in New York City and Fairfield, CT., focuses on electronic commerce, internet, privacy issues and other commercial arrangements involving intellectual property and technology-savvy companies.

More here.

 

June 17, 2010

Cowen Group: PM is Exploding

The Cowen Group a New York-based legal recruiter and consultancy, has announced the results of its 2009/2010 eDiscovery and Litigation Support Professionals Salary Survey. According to managing partner David Cowen, 487 professionals at 100 major firms shared their salary data with TCG for its 5th annual report. The data was gathered between November 2009 and February 2010.

PM As usually occurs, salaries are highest on the East Coast, lowest in the central part of the country. TCG broke the results into six different categories, with these median 2009 base salaries and projected 2010 East Coast figures: 

* analyst $67,500 ($72,000) 
specialist $91,000 ($93,000)
*  project manager $115,000 ($125,000)
* regional coordinator $135,000 ($145,000)
* national manager $165,000 ($205,000)
* and firmwide director $267,000 ($295,000).

Continue reading "Cowen Group: PM is Exploding" »

October 12, 2009

The Right Fit

With so many vendors using the same 12 words to describe their electronic data discovery services, no wonder general counsel and outside firms often feel overwhelmed when trying to evaluate companies.

 But the key to vetting, hiring and managing vendors is asking the right questions, say John Reilly and Stephen Schutter in "The Right Fit," part of Law Technology News' October issue, EDD Showcase: GC Perspectives.

Reilly, an associate GC for Lorillard Tobacco Co., and Schutter, of counsel to Shook, Hardy & Bacon, offer concrete suggestions for drafting vendor contracts, reminding readers to address a wide range of topics, including quality control, warranties and remedial provisions, training and support, pricing, disaster recovery and reports.

September 17, 2009

Cowen Group Optimistic about EDD Hiring

Resume The Cowen Group has launched a newletter, "The Career Corner," and leads off with a report on career trends, by Jared Coseglia and David Cowen.

After recently polling 100+ HR and lit support managers/directors (and subsequent conversations with these folks and senior EDD attys and mgrs) they ID three "hot trends:"

1. Demand is exceeding talent on the West Coast by a factor of 3:1: 32% of law firms in the U.S. "expect to add litigation support staff within the next six months — and 44% of these openings would be in the West Coast."

Continue reading "Cowen Group Optimistic about EDD Hiring" »

September 17, 2008

Shame, shame: Gender gap in paralegal pay.

Pay On our LegalBlogWatch, Bob Ambrogi spotted this report from Chere Estrin, noting that there appears to be a gender gap in paralegal pay (and no, the women are not making more than the men). Here is his commentary:

Pay Inequity for Women Paralegals

Given that women have long outnumbered men among the ranks of paralegals, it would seem safe to assume that here is at least one segment of the legal profession where salaries are blind to gender. Surprisingly, such is not the case. In what Chere Estrin at The Estrin Report calls "the legal field's dirty little secret," it turns out that gender is very much a factor in pay scales for paralegals and legal assistants, with women earning only 93.2 percent of what men earn.

Based on an August report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Estrin writes that women paralegals and legal assistants earned a median salary in 2007 of $42,600. Men earned a median of $45,700. This was not as bad as the gap between female and male lawyers, where women earned a median of $93,600, just 77.8 percent of the median salary for men of $120,400. But still, writes Estrin, this is a field that was originally made up almost entirely of women and where women continue to far outnumber men. "No one can claim ... that men had the upper hand in terms of having a head start in the field."

So, what on earth has happened? Are you telling me that the majority of men do a better job than all women paralegals? So much so, that men will automatically get paid more?  Are you telling me that men are promoted to the manager position faster than women?  Not according to the International Paralegal Management Association whose membership lists approximately 90% of its members as women.

For Estrin, there is only one explanation, and that is that we still face a lack of equality between the genders. While we are less surprised by that in other fields, it is a shock for a field whose genesis is women. As Estrin says, "C'mon, Joe. Say it ain't so."

I think this is outrageous, and I challenge every law firm managing partner, GC, and EDD vendor to drop everything, call HR, check records, and remedy this TODAY.

Update: Turns out, the paralegals and lit support women are in just about the best posture within legal: because the news is far worse about our industry as a whole. The census figures reveal even more grim statistics: across the board, our women are earning 51% of what our men earn. FIFTY ONE PERCENT!!!!! Here's the NLJ report.

Why? Read some of the comments here and on The Common Scold  -- but one big reason appears to be that too many women don't negotiate effectively, and often take the initial salary offered to them without countering.


July 10, 2008

Arkfeld's eLawExchange.com

Arkfeldlogo We are excited to launch our new web site Arkfeld's eLawExchange.com (www.elawexchange.com) and its many free resources for the eLaw legal community.

The web site provides FREE access to:

•    State Ediscovery Caselaw and Rules - This database contains ediscovery caselaw and procedural rules from all 50 states. Check back often to see the status of ediscovery law in your state.

Continue reading "Arkfeld's eLawExchange.com " »

November 05, 2007

A New Tier of Staff Atty Jobs (Elefant)

Carolyn Elefant, co-editor of Law.com's Legal Blog Watch Alert, says "staff attorney" posts are morphing into a new Big Law tier. Will that change the traditional "second class citizen" role of these lawyers, especially when they are functioning in e-discovery roles? Check it out here.

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