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January 18, 2013

Law Firm Technologists Debate Best EDD Whereabouts

Question_news400There's a debate flaring up on the Law Technology News homepage today — should your law firm insource its e-discovery, so you can control everything, or outsource it, so the administration is someone else's hassle?

In our top story, "6 Reasons to Insource Litigation Support," two Reed Smith technology leaders argue for insourcing. "For some firms, outsourcing these services is absolutely the correct answer. However, for many firms (like Reed Smith), keeping select litigation support services in-house, aka insourcing, can provide substantial benefits and cost savings to corporate clients," wrote Bryon Bratcher, senior manager of litigation support, and Tom Baldwin, chief knowledge officer.

"While the creation of a team of highly trained staff and the investment in technology may not be for some firms, the evidence clearly shows that many firms are not only continuing to in-source, but are ramping up their investments in technology and people," they concluded.

But in our second story, "LegalTech Rookies Focus on Court Technology and Legal Research," Jackson Walker's Duane Lites shared a different perspective. Lites, director of litigation support, said his goal at LegalTech this month is to narrow his shopping list for hosted e-discovery services.

Continue reading "Law Firm Technologists Debate Best EDD Whereabouts" »

April 11, 2012

Size Doesn't Matter?

ServingJust as we have seen the migration of attorneys from big law firms to smaller ones during the recent recession; regional e-discovery service providers appear to be experiencing a similar trend. Just look at current e-discovery job postings, and you will see they are all coming from regional providers.

There are several reasons for this shift: smaller vendors often provide more personalized and specialized services; they are usually more flexible in terms of rates and technology used; size doesn't matter because technology has essentially leveled the playing field; and corporations seem to be shying away from using a single vendor and prefer a small stable of vendors instead.

To be sure, large vendors are not going away, we are just seeing companies using more regional vendors that can provide them services on their terms.


August 08, 2011

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 I will not disclose your name or e-mail without your prior approval.

June 18, 2010

Integreon Outsourcing Deal: New Model?

CMS Cameron McKenna has signed a 10-year, ₤538 million deal with California’s Integreon to outsource non-billable "middle office" services.


The services include accounting and finance, human resources and training, marketing and communications, training, library and information services, research, IT, and facilities.

Continue reading "Integreon Outsourcing Deal: New Model? " »

February 03, 2009

Where's Monica Tuesday?

8 a.m.: Editors' Breakfast, all welcome, Petite Trianon room, Hilton 3rd floor.
9 a.m., Bloggers' Get Together, ditto, ditto
11:45 a.m.: Paralegal Technology Institute, Sheraton, luncheon speech:
3:30 p.m.: What I Hate About Technology - and expect my outside counsel, co-counsel, vendors and staff to do about it! West Grand Ballroom, Hilton

September 03, 2008

Acumen Outsourcing Case (India)

Here's the story from The American Lawyer Daily:

Does Legal Outsourcing Put Private Info at Risk?

Posted by Zach Lowe

Late last month the American Bar Association gave the green light to legal outsourcing, provided that firms sending work overseas make sure that everything done beyond U.S. borders is done by the book--including the protection of confidential information.

Even before the ABA move, one Maryland firm was worried enough about the privacy issue to file a lawsuit against Acumen Legal Services, a legal-process outsourcing company based in India. The basis of the May complaint, filed by Joseph Hennessy, a name partner at the Maryland boutique Newman, McIntosh & Hennessey: Given that the federal government now monitors some communications between citizens here and foreign nationals, LPOs can't guarantee that a client's personal information is safe from  such surveillance.

Continue reading "Acumen Outsourcing Case (India) " »

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