Gabe Acevedo

Posts by Gabe Acevedo

“How is this guy working and not me?”

As the economy was tanking at the end of 2008, I, like many contract attorneys, found myself scrambling for work. One night, while frustratedly clicking around the internet for leads, I happened to come across this post from the blog Anonymous Contract Lawyer:

I almost forgot I was working at a law firm for the past 4 months. No pressure, no expectations, come and go as we please as long as we make the Monday status meeting and clock 8 hours a day. Economic downturn? Like lightning, it hit around our protective contract bubble.

“How is this guy working and not me?” was the only thought running through my mind. What I was to find out was that this “guy” was actually a woman, who was reviewing docs across the country in San Francisco.

After scanning through a few entries of her blog, I was hooked. I now follow her blog pretty regularly. It could be a manual on “things no one ever tells you about document review.” The format is simple, smart, informative and funny. Also, she’s a huge fan of Above The Law (except for the contributions of Hope Winters).

So why does this attorney want to remain anonymous? I mean, I know the need to conceal one’s identity is mostly a foreign concept to the readers of this blog, especially those who comment.

Well, first, she is a contract lawyer, and considering Elie’s post the other day, I guess that’s enough said right there.

But there are other reasons for sure. I recently had the chance to speak with the Anonymous Contract Lawyer (ACL) herself. You won’t find photos of her on her ACL blog, but you will find them on an adult website dedicated to “force-feminizing” men. Caveat: There are some raunchy details awaiting, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Professor, Pin-Up Girl, Porn, Projects? The Life of an Anonymous Contract Lawyer”

I have come to the conclusion that most Americans really enjoy three things:

  1. Freedom
  2. Earning money, and
  3. Buying food out of a truck.

Think about it. Remember as a kid when you would hear the music from your local ice cream truck making its way down your street? Remember running towards it as if your life hung in the balance, all the while thinking, MUST-GET-ICE CREAM-NOW!? And it didn’t matter whether you had 14 gallons of every conceivable flavor of ice cream at home; you just had to have your King Cone or Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich. Those were good times.

Well, roughly a year ago, George Washington University Law alum Sam Whitfield was reviewing documents for discovery as contract lawyer in Washington, DC, when he and his colleagues began craving cupcakes. The problem was no one wanted to venture across town to a local hot spot, Georgetown Cupcake,to pick them up. That’s when Sam had his first rendezvous with cupcake destiny.

“I thought, what if we could get cupcakes delivered to us?” he said. “I come up with three or four crazy ideas like this every day.”

Soon thereafter he found himself investing in a truck, a baker, and cake mix (lots of cake mix). In a very short time, Curbside Cupcakes was born, but would DC find his idea as delicious as he did?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Contract Attorney to Captain Cupcake”

“Hey, are you on the Posse List?”

“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 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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ‘What’ List?”

Lance David Lewis had one of the best jobs in the world. He was getting paid a couple grand a week, and he didn’t have to do any work for it. Too bad it wasn’t legit.

Early last month, the former Pennsylvania lawyer was finally disbarred with consent (meaning that he can’t defend the charges against him). Why?

Well, first, he was once charged with attempted murder. However, that charge was later dropped, and he pleaded guilty to some misdemeanor assault charges. Hell, who hasn’t that happen to them at least once or twice?

Oh, and he also swindled a portion of a settlement away from one of his clients. So, thus far, he’s batting 2 for 2.

What really accelerated Lewis’s downfall from the law? Lance David Lewis may very well be one of the first e-discovery contract attorneys to be disbarred for his malfeasance on a document review project — or, better put, off of a document review project.

In nine months, Lewis managed to rake in nearly $80,000 for work he never performed, contracting at a law firm via a staffing agency.  In this case, the staffing agency was HireCounsel, and the law firm was Pepper Hamilton.

So how was he able to pull this off?  The Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Pennsylvania Bar lays this out in pretty excruciating detail….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “All Play and No Work Made Lance a Disbarred Boy”

Earlier this week, I interviewed Darrell Mottley and Laura Possesky, the two candidates for president-elect of the DC Bar. Motley is a shareholder at Banner Witcoff, LTD, and Possesky is a partner at Gura & Possesky, PLLC.

Running for president-elect of the DC Bar means they are running for president as well, because the president-elect automatically ascends to the presidency after a year. This leadership structure is very common in most bar associations, including the ABA.

I thought this would be valuable for ATL, since many attorneys who read this blog are DC-licensed, regardless of whether they reside in the DC area. Many others are eligible to waive into DC, if they are already licensed in another state or jurisdiction. The process is pretty simple. In order to waive into the DC Bar, one has to do the following:

  • Score at least a 133 on the multistate portion of the of the bar exam;
  • Fill out a lengthy bar application, which you can do online;
  • Not kill anyone; and, most importantly,
  • Pay all applicable fees.

By all indications, this race is anything but a knock-down, drag-out fight. Bush v. Gore this is not. However, it’s what they agree on that’s very telling about the direction the DC Bar will go. It seems the Bar is well on its way to embracing the ways of the World Wide Web…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Will the DC Bar Soon Be Adding You as a Friend?”

“We’d all be a lot happier if we had some romancing foreplay pre-trial and left the rough stuff for trial,” said Ariana Tadler, a partner in the New York office Milberg LLP.

That quote came from an article published yesterday entitled, Show Us the Love to Avoid Discovery Fights, Attorneys Urge, from Leigh Jones of The National Law Journal. Jones was covering the 2010 Conference on Civil Litigation, held this year at Duke University.

Whether or not you agree with Ms. Tadler’s choice of words, her point has been gaining steam in the world of e-discovery.  The Sedona Conference, e-discovery’s premier think tank, issued a Cooperation Proclamation in July 0f 2008. One of the most prominent federal judges who comments on e-discovery issues, Paul W. Grimm, talks of lawyers being like dinosaurs.  If lawyers do not do something to work together to help ease the burden and cost of e-discovery, the profession, itself, will simply wind up extinct.

So what does this have to do with Biglaw, or better yet, what opportunity does this present for law students? Quite a bit actually, especially on the judicial end of things. I’ll explain, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s the Difference Between an Email and a Pager? (Revisited)”

I spend quite a bit of my time tracking complex litigation. I would say that I do it so I can keep material fresh for my blog, but that would not be whole truth. I keep current with happenings in the litigation market for survival. Since I contract often to make my way in this world, knowing when that market is busy or slow is an absolute must.

Well, what a difference a couple of years make. Back in 2008, it seemed like the sky was falling. Above The Law, partnering with Law Shucks, reported almost everyday on associate layoffs. At the time, I was hunting down document reviews as a legal recruiter for a small staffing outfit. Several of my contract attorney friends called me, and most of those calls were very depressing. People were begging for work, having been unemployed for months in a D.C. market that normally kept attorneys steadily working. Many were emotionally upset, having watched their savings dwindle down to their last few dollars. When would the market pick back up? When would the economy turn around?

Now, fast forward to the present. Events in this country are sending litigation toward a perfect storm. I’m talking sea-change. Something we have never seen in this market before. So much so, this next decade may be one of the best for legal technology and Biglaw. I will give you six reasons after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Litigation in America Heading Toward A Perfect Storm?”

The announcement last week that the SEC was charging Goldman Sachs with civil fraud should have erupted through the financial world like the volcano Eyjafjallajökull.

I never thought I would quote actor/lawyer Ben Stein (most famous for uttering “Bueller? Bueller?”), but even I was struck by the comments he had on the matter.

If these allegations are true, and maybe they aren’t, this is simply the worst behavior in finance by a large firm I have ever seen. I taught securities law for six years. I wrote about financial fraud for Barron’s and the New York Times for many years.

I have never seen such a blatant disregard for ethics, and possibly the law, by a large Wall Street firm as is alleged in this case. I wrote about wrongdoing by Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. in the 1980s and helped bring it to justice and then helped taxpayers recover money the firm had stolen. I never saw at Drexel the level of outright contempt for law that Goldman’s Fabrice Tourre and his colleagues showed in this case, if the facts are as alleged — and again, they may not be: allegations aren’t proof.

Now, the SEC has also sent a letter to 19 banks to further examine their use of Repo 105, an accounting trick that hid Lehman’s failures before its downfall.

So what does this mean for Biglaw and legal technology? Well, besides the fact that many of us will be very busy for years to come. I will explain some other possible ramifications and opportunities, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Will Big Banks Pay Back Their Bailouts Through Biglaw?”

I have always held a special place in my heart for Georgetown University. I was born on campus at Georgetown University Hospital. My father received his J.D. from the Law Center, and I am an alumnus of Georgetown Prep. I was also very lucky to attend Hoya basketball games as a child and watch Patrick Ewing dominate the college ranks.

Now I have another reason to love Georgetown: Jim Michalowitz. You see, Georgetown University Law Center is one of the few schools with an e-discovery blog. I have highlighted it before on Gabe’s Guide. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that Jim had actually taken time out of his busy schedule to write a response to my ATL post that was highly critical of the legal outsourcing of e-discovery work to non-attorneys here and overseas.

With the title, “You Can’t Trust Them Foreigners – Outsourcing Document Review,” it’s of little surprise that Mr. Michalowitz — advisory board member of Georgetown University’s CLE e-Discovery Institute, Six Sigma enthusiast, and proponent of foreign legal outsourcing — took a different take on the issue.

And, you know what? He was so right. I just don’t trust them foreigners. I didn’t know it until I read his post, but it all makes perfect sense now.

Here are some of Mr. Michalowitz’s conclusions about my original arguments against outsourcing legal work to non lawyers:

  • My position on legal outsourcing was extreme
  • Using foreign or non-attorneys would equal a poor or lower quality work product
  • Foreign lawyers might as well be considered non- or “not-real” lawyers

Mr. Michalowitz brings up some good points; however, he either has some fundamental misunderstandings of — or is falsely characterizing — my views on legal outsourcing. So, I thought that I would take the time to nicely clarify any misconceptions he might have. Oh, and by nicely, I mean, I am coming like the Clash of the Titans, because I am about to release the Kraken, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why I Don’t Trust Them Foreigners”

“F@ck no!”

As I stood sipping a drink at The Front Page in Dupont Circle during a happy hour for e-discovery professionals, that was the highly articulate response I received from a technology vendor rep on whether he was attending the ABA Techshow, which begins today.

“That event is more for solos,” he said. “It’s small time.”

In a sense he was right.  If LegalTech New York is considered the Super Bowl of legal technology conferences in the industry, the ABA Techshow is dismissed by many as a worthless preseason game.

So then, why am I here in Chicago for the ABA Techshow?  Well, let’s just say you would be surprised what you can learn in the preseason.

It’s not that the Techshow cannot attract large law firms to join their party.  I mean, the organizer is the freaking American Bar Association for goodness sake.  The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t, because it doesn’t have to.  The ABA Techshow has done a great job at carving out a very specialized niche for itself — a niche which is attracting a breed of lawyer that is operating ahead of the curve on a daily basis.

If you can read between the lines and keep your ear to the ground, there are several legal technology trends that everyone, especially Biglaw, should be tracking. I’ve got three of those for you after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ABA Techshow: You Say You Want A Revolution? There’s an App for That”

Page 4 of 215612345678...2156