“The what list?”
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — seven years ago in the Farragut North area of Washington, DC — the “what?” list was my response when I first heard of the Posse List from a fellow contract attorney on one of my first projects. At the time, I was a newly minted lawyer, who also happened to be broke and unemployed.
“The Posse List,” replied my colleague, handing me a piece of paper. “Here, write down your email.”
Soon after handing over my email address, messages started appearing a couple of times a week in my inbox from The_Posse_List@yahoo.com. The emails contained news about various projects in D.C. that were either about to start or status updates on current ones. It was sort of my own personal “heads up” as to what work was available.
I was lucky to be one of the first few hundred people added to the list. In 2003, very few contract attorneys knew what the Posse List was; by 2005, it was a household name. And today, in the world of e-discovery and legal technology, it is known around the world.
So how did the Posse List attain such a long reach from such humble beginnings?
I write quite a bit about legal technology on this blog, but this technology was incredibly simple: email. At least, that is how the Posse List started — as a collection of emails from contract attorneys, used as a resource to talk about upcoming projects and industry news.
Greg Bufithis, an attorney and entrepreneur, is the founder of the Posse List. In 2002, he was introduced to the world of document review working on large e-discovery projects. He began to keep an email list of the attorneys he met on those reviews, and would send out any information he had on the industry. After gathering quite a few names, Greg’s list began gaining notoriety. One day, an attorney he was working with asked to join his “posse.” When Greg realized the attorney was referring to his list, the rest was history.
The Posse List continued growing. One hundred email addresses became 200, and 200 became 400. Soon, Yahoo would no longer allow that many addresses to be mailed out on its server. Greg then set up the Posse List website, as well as listservs in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, L.A., and Ohio, as e-discovery projects began to branch out to those areas.
In the meantime, Greg found himself in a unique situation. Living full time in Brussels, Belgium, Bufithis decided to launch Project Counsel, an international attorney referral and staffing agency that focuses on Europe and Asia.
In 2007, the Posse List passed the 6,000 member mark. Although the Posse List base began with contract attorneys, it also attracted people from other areas of legal technology. Its members now include forensics consultants, in-house counsel, project managers, paralegals, and law firm attorneys.
Later in 2008, the Posse List saw a surge in membership from former Biglaw associates who needed work. Go figure.
Today, the Posse List has nearly 100 listservs and almost 20,000 members worldwide. Their capability for disseminating information is remarkable. With four part-time employees and an army of attorneys and other legal professionals in various places on the planet, the Posse List is able to communicate worldwide, 24 hours a day, as well as participate in multiple legal conferences and forums. They also have a companion site, The Electronic Discovery Reading Room, which is an excellent reference for all things e-discovery. You can sign up (for free) for any of the Posse List listservs by clicking here.
Gabe Acevedo is an attorney in Washington, D.C. and the owner of the e-discovery blog, GabesGuide.com. He also writes on legal technology and discovery issues for Above The Law. He can be reached at email@example.com.