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.

After some time, I became slightly senior due to the fact that others were hired. I went on to code other projects. And then teams I managed coded other projects. Most of these projects covered the same ground: coding objective data so that the attorneys could perform subjective searches for it, maybe, someday. But, other projects were a little more advanced: we examined doc dates to determine relevancy or maybe we examined names and email addresses to determine privilege. As a bonus, if we saw something that was handwritten or that had a handwritten note, it was immediately suspect and perhaps “Attorney Work Product”.

In my personal experience, that was human coding. Moreover, the firm I worked for charged its clients for my time (billed, of course, by the hour) and for the time of my colleagues and other firms billed their clients for the time of our peers at other firms. The only explanations I have for this are that either clients were so successful that they no longer reviewed invoices or were so beaten-down by years of bills that they assumed they had no other choice. So, we continued, coding like fallible machines.

And then 2008 happened. And the bottom-line is an engine of change. Clients began to ask for the unthinkable: a better way to review documents. They began to (shudder to think) pay attention to the work folks like me were doing and weigh that against the price they were paying . . .

In the meantime, “googling” became a lower-case verb and librarians began pondering extinction. The Yellow Pages had already been reduced to a doorstop and Encyclopedia Brittanica stopped printing. Why? Because “technology” (accessed with our “computers”) now “assisted” us in “review”ing all of the information at our disposal without ever having to crack a book. The evolution of the human-computer has begun. Just ask my two-year-old, if you can pry her away from “her” iPad.

OK, why did I spend my valuable word-count discussing this? For context, friends.

And because, next time, I am going to – head on – tackle the fears that many still have of “Technology (or ‘Computer’) Assisted Review” (“TAR” or “CAR”). And hopefully instill in you an even greater fear: a fear of not embracing it. The machines are here to help us. Our poor coders are not equipped for the tasks we’ve given them. And the tasks are getting larger by the day.

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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: asia@kinneyrecruiting.com.

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 asia@kinneyrecruiting.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.

Also, we have the two below in-house openings:

In-House position at hedge fund in Singapore (3 to 4 years experience)

This position is at a growing and well known hedge fund, founded several years ago, in Singapore, which is looking to hire its first in-house counsel. The new hire will likely come from a top US or UK firm in Singapore or Hong Kong, but they will consider candidates from other markets. The role will be compliance heavy so significant compliance experience, preferably dealing with funds, is a must. Compensation will be at around the current top law firm associate comp level of the new hire.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Asia Chronicles – ASSOCIATE AND IN-HOUSE OPENINGS IN HONG KONG / CHINA, JAPAN AND SINGAPORE”


The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable.  I hope I did.  If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.

Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week:  is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app?  Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data.  Why?  Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses.   Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives.  Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?  That it “mobilizes” its way out of discoverability?  I’m not sure.  But I know that I was wrong about this too, until I attended the right webinar on a day when I was able to listen.  And I know that when we think we aren’t leaving much of a footprint, we are not terribly careful about where we step.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Digital Canary in the Virtual Mine #2: What’s In Your Apps? Prying Eyes Are Ready To Discover . . .”


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BARBRI is much more than an elite bar exam review course. We’re a support system for students from before the first day of law school to graduation, and beyond. With Law Preview, our pre-law course, incoming 1Ls are provided an overview of core first year topics, as well as guidance on how to brief cases, outline for each class, study effectively and manage their time — all proven academic strategies that are critical to earning great grades during the first year of law school. Perhaps most importantly, students learn our unique exam-taking methods and practice them on real law school exams.

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Dear Reader, welcome to “Virtual Canary in the Digital Mine”. My name is Eric Killough. I am a JD and E-Discovery geek who works for AccessData. And I will be your virtual canary for the next few months. This is the first in a series of articles wherein I will sing of the increasing dangers of neglecting to take an interest in E-Discovery as new technologies, new forms of relevant documents and new judicial sanctions continue their attempts to use all of the oxygen in our digital data mines. But, fear not, the onward press of technology that drives this crisis is also driving solutions. And, ultimately, I’m here to talk about solutions. Tweet, tweet.

As of January 2013, 87% of American adults have a cell phone, 45% have a smartphone and 31% own a tablet computer (Pew Research Center). Meanwhile, more than 44% of 1,000+ organizations surveyed by Tech Republic allow their employees to bring their own devices to the workplace – a practice so ubiquitous as to have spawned a new acronym, “BYOD” – and another 18% of those surveyed plan to move to BYOD by the end of this year. These devices contain a deep and largely unexplored well of data that grows deeper with each use and development cycle. We carry in our pockets more personal electronic information than most of us held on our desktop machines just a decade ago: call history, instant messages, social posts, voice recordings, video files, internet browsing histories, applications and their data, GPS data, e-mail and more. Guess what? It’s all going to be a part of the next RPD that lands on your desk. And it should probably be part of the next RPD you send to the other side.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mobile E-Discovery: Ready or Not, They’re Coming for Your iPhone”


Advancing the increasingly-important dialogue on gender diversity and equality in the legal profession while illustrating the business imperative for the retention and succession of female leadership

June 6, 2013 ~ New York, NY

Click HERE to register and view the agenda


Featuring key contributions and candid viewpoints from:
Patricia Gillette, Partner, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Anastasia Kelly, Co-Managing Partner, DLA Piper USA
Lisa A. Borsook, Executive Partner, WeirFoulds LLP
Cathy Fleming, Managing Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP
Madeline Cahill-Boley, Managing Partner, Sullivan Hill
Francine Friedman Griesing, founder and Managing Member, Griesing Law LLC double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Women Legal 2013 – East Coast”


Since 1998, Law Preview has taught thousands of law students what to expect and how to truly excel in law school. During our week-long, intensive summer prep courses, our distinguished faculty of law school professors provide substantive overviews for each core first-year course so Law Preview students don’t have to read cases in a vacuum like their uninitiated classmates. In addition, we teach how to brief cases, outline for each class, study effectively and manage your time — all proven academic strategies that are critical to earning great grades during the first year of law school. Perhaps most importantly, students learn our unique exam-taking methods and practice them on real law school exams.

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double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Students – Prepare for the All-Important First Year”

The answer to the question of where you should be with just a couple of weeks until finals is “it depends.” Of course, every law student knows that almost every question can be answered with “it depends,” so the following will discuss what it depends on and why.

First, it depends how you learn. What I mean by that is that while most law students are busy outlining, the students I coach (at lawstudentcoach.com) are doing a variety of activities, some of which include outlining. Why do law students outline or study from outlines? The simple answer is that your exams will require you to show that you can work with the law and use the law in a manner that is structured and well thought out. It makes sense, then, to prepare in a manner that forces you to examine how the rules of law fit together, that forces you to categorize and to make decisions about what rules are related and how they are related. Creating an outline can thus be a very valuable study activity.

The downside of an outline, however, is that it works best for those who think in straight lines. In a traditional outline, things are related in only one or two possible ways. Concepts are either separate enough to be side-by-side or one concept is a subcategory of another. However, legal concepts often have a more complex relationship….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Exam Prep Tips: Where Should I Be With Just a Couple of Weeks Until Finals?”


Firms are relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter as standard practice to gauge candidates’ suitability for a job. At most firms, resumes and standard online applications are still the first step of the recruiting process which provides little depth about candidates. Let’s face it; depth is what employers are constantly seeking and what gets candidates hired. Employers are most interested in what people are like, how they are to work with, and how they think.

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Done with intent and preparation, video profiles coupled with traditional candidate documentation will provide the employer with tangible insight into the person. The depth not discernible on your resume will be visible before the face to face. Know what you want to say and get it across succinctly and professionally in a controlled and secure format.

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