Legal Technology News - E-Discovery and Compliance Blog

Staffing

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

April 10, 2012

Venture Capitalists Make E-Discovery Moves

Dollarsymbol400"Venture capitalists were active in the e-discovery field this week, with FTV Capital pouring $32 million into Catalyst Repository Systems, and Sequoia Capital hiring former Clearwell Systems CEO Aaref Hilaly," reports Evan Koblentz.

Koblentz delivers the the latest in e-discovery industry growth in 2012 on the pages of LTN online.

Image by Svilen.milev

August 25, 2011

George Rudoy Gets New Gig

Rudoy2 Our colleague, George Rudoy, has a new gig, as a partner at Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro, which offers forensic technology and accounting consulting. 

Here's Brendan McKennan's report. 

Image: Monica Bay 

August 16, 2011

Minimizing Risks of Mismanaged Contract Review

There's been a lot of debate kicked off by the allegations in J-M Manufacturing Co. v. McDermott Will & Emery about the use or mis-use of contract attorneys for document review projects.

In her latest posting to the website of the Corporate Counsel Committee of the American Bar Association Litigation section, Anne Kershaw offers in-house counsel practical advice on how they can minimize the risks of mismanaged review projects by amending their outside counsel guidelines.

The site is available without registration: http://bit.ly/ABALitCorpCounsel

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 Joe@HowieConsulting.com. I will not disclose your name or e-mail without your prior approval.

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