We are at the end of another busy week in the world of legal technology. A major acquisition of a legal technology company took place. The DC Bar is expanding its interest in e-discovery. I do a quick update on a conference I attended last week. There are also a few articles I want to mention — one on the interface of lawyers and technology, another on “perils and pitfalls,” and a third on prenups. Yep, prenups.
The world of legal technology was quite busy this week. After culling through countless articles, press releases, and blog posts, I selected the stellar few, the finest gems, and most importantly, the ones I like, to share with the Above The Law faithful. I do it so you don’t have to.
Last week, the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) held its annual meeting at the ARIA resort in Las Vegas. I attended ILTA’s annual conference in 2009, but unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict that I call “work,” I was unable to make it this year.
Ironically, in looking at all the write-ups in various blog posts and news articles, I was surprised at how much information there was on this year’s conference. Although it’s generally better to report on things that you actually see in person, it’s also easy sometimes to get caught up in the minutiae and miss the big picture when you attend an event.
With that said, here are some items I found rather noteworthy….
In keeping with the highly optimistic “dey terk er jerbs” story lines of the last couple of weeks, such as Elie’s on how outsourcing could be great for associates, I thought I would address how attorneys working remotely on e-discovery projects could actually be a good thing for the future of Biglaw.
A couple of years ago, I was a legal recruiter for a small staffing agency placing contract attorneys on e-discovery projects in the Washington, DC area. The attorneys constantly asked me the same questions: “Is it true this is all going away?” Or, “Is all doc review really heading to India?”
I would respond by telling them not to worry about India, because the real threat would be coming from Indiana…
In a follow-up to Kash’s post on Monday regarding the newly formed Big Law Society, I volunteered to check out their first happy hour Tuesday night at the BlackFinn American Saloon in D.C. At first I thought it would be amusing to see the type of people who would attend such a gathering. But by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, I was tired and doubted whether I should go at all.
Moreover, I had reason to be suspicious, considering what the group posted about itself on its About page:
Big Law Society organizes social networking events for a very select group of legal professionals, with the aim of creating a community of talented, dynamic individuals. Memberships and invites to the Big Law Society events are limited to individuals with a unique professional background; however, qualified members are welcome to bring guests.
Seriously, I almost felt like I was crashing a middle school party for the “popular” kids, except with less interesting people….
“Believe me, kiddos, this is bad news for all of us.”
As many websites and blogs (including ATL) mentioned last week,The New York Times published an article by Heather Timmons entitled “Outsourcing to India Draws Western Lawyers.” The quote above was from the blog Shilling Me Softly giving its take on the article. As you can probably discern from The Times headline, the piece was very favorable toward legal outsourcing taking place overseas…
The words “The Next Frontier” were added to signal that social media for attorneys is going into its next phase. To Elefant and Black, lawyers can no longer ignore the impact of social media on the law, but rather must embrace it fully. Lawyers will have to deal with this new form of communication in order to be collaborative with one another and responsive to their clients.
So what does this have to do with Biglaw? Social media is more for small firms and solos who need to use these tools to market themselves over the internet, right?
Actually, Elefant and Black believe social media can have a huge impact on Biglaw, especially in regard to its women lawyers. And law professors should read on too — it’s possible that advances in social media will render law review articles irrelevant…
In the aftermath of last week’s “LeBromination,” where we witnessed the Miami Heat become the basketball power equivalent of the SuperFriends, this was the response from a colleague of mine to a related story gaining steam in the media:
“Yeah, and I’m Shaq’s uncle.”
The last two weeks have been quite a whirlwind for Leicester Bryce Stovell. As first reported by TMZ, and followed by a slew of other media outlets (including this video from Headline News), Stovell claims that he is the biological father of basketball star LeBron James. In making his claim, he did what any of us would have done: he sued his son and baby’s mama (Gloria James) for $4 million dollars.
Sounds a bit sketchy, right? After he was named our Lawyer of the Day last Friday, I decided to reach out to Stovell for an interview with Above The Law. It turns out that the former SEC lawyer currently works as a contract attorney here in DC, which means we are practically brothers, in a non-DNA-test sort of way.
Stovell gave me some frank, interesting answers — along with a startling revelation….
“Hey Mike, we’re having issues with your key fob. We need to reconfigure it.”
That may seem like a pretty random quote with which to begin a blog post, but trust me, it will soon make sense.
There has been a lot of chatter recently about contract attorneys and Biglaw. Some are finding themselves getting blacklisted left and right, which is not exactly breaking news in their corner of the e-discovery industry. Other contract lawyers are more resourceful, ahem, finding other gigs to support themselves. Earlier this week, there was another article about how contract attorneys are on the rise and how the pool of contract attorneys has never looked better.
Recently, however, between celebrating July 4th and our nation’s independence, knocking back a few Cuba Libres, and watching my beloved Argentine National Soccer Team completely self-destruct against the Germans, I was reminded of another aspect of being a contract attorney. (BTW, I say my Argentine National Soccer Team because my father is from Argentina. My mother was an American of Irish descent. Somehow, that makes me a Costa Rican. I know. I don’t get it either, but I digress.)
As a contract attorney, there are only two things the agency or firm you work with will definitively tell you: the day you start (and that’s not always so definitive) and the day you’re finished.
With that in mind, I decided to open a window into the world of contract attorneys and how they meet their fates in three separate instances. One I corroborated with several of my colleagues. Another I witnessed myself. Oh, and a third I am extremely familiar with, considering the attorney in question was me. Your feel-good post of the week awaits you, after the jump.
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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