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The discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) is loaded with potential pitfalls and failure unless the parties add two components to the mix: cooperation and collaboration. Lacking those components, ESI discovery, at least sometimes, can be one of the more painful experiences for the average trial lawyer.

The problem to overcome is largely that trial lawyers, by their nature, are competitive souls and tend toward competition rather than cooperation. Add to this personality that of the client who expects her lawyer to win everything, every time and we are off to the races.

In a recent case, the Honorable Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen seems to deal with overly competitive parties and lawyers not inclined toward collaboration; in the recent decision in Progressive Casualty Insurance v. Delaney, 2014 WL 2112927 (D. Nev. May 20, 2014).

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n the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly recently held that plaintiffs alleging price-fixing in the text messaging market were not entitled to an adverse inference after failing to prove that defendants T-Mobile and CTIA destroyed emails in bad faith. Judge Kennelly also granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, as plaintiffs were unable to meet the elevated pleading burden for collusion to fix prices for text messages in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The plaintiffs had filed suit on behalf of customers who used pay-per-text-message services from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

The Wall Street Journal published an article in September 2008, titled “Text Messaging Rates Come under Scrutiny,” inspired primarily by the antitrust investigation of Senator Herbert Kohl.[1] The day the article was published, a T-Mobile employee allegedly sent the text of the article via e-mail to both Adrian Hurditch, the company’s former Vice President of Services and Strategic Pricing, and Lisa Roddy, the company’s former Director of Marketing Planning and Analysis. Hurditch and Roddy e-mailed each other about the article; however, that e-mail thread no longer exists.

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We have partner profits on the brain here at Above the Law. Earlier today, we wrote about a law firm that instituted a 20 percent holdback on partner pay — a move that was met with anger by some.

In that story, we noted the “continued expansion in the gap in power and pay between what we’d call ‘super-partners’ — partners in firm management and major rainmakers, who are often one and the same — and rank-and-file partners.” You can see this yawning chasm in the disparities in partner pay that exist within the same firm. As partner turned pundit Steven Harper has argued, partners aren’t true “partners” when they are paid and treated so differently.

New information from the American Lawyer shows how extreme some of these gaps between partners have gotten….

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The law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf now finds itself in Chapter 11, but the story of Dewey has not yet reached its end. We’ll now turn the pages in the Bankruptcy Reporter.

Yesterday Judge Martin Glenn of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court allowed Dewey to use cash collateral to fund its wind-down operations, even though this collateral should really be seen as belonging to the firm’s secured creditors. Judge Glenn initially denied this request, at least when it was coupled with giving the secured creditors a lien on recoveries from future litigation. In deciding to let Dewey tap into the cash, Judge Glenn did not decide what the lenders might get in exchange for letting the firm use their money. That will be decided later, at a June 13 hearing.

With things quieting down on the Dewey news front, let’s turn to analysis. Here are some insights into what brought Dewey down and what other firms can learn from its fall, from a former managing partner who now works as a consultant to the legal industry….

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A retail business owner asked me why I don’t believe in pay-per-click advertising or spending money on SEO strategies for my practice, as it has worked well for his stores. So I asked him: “What would you do if you needed a lawyer?” “I would call someone, get a name, and then look that person up,” he said. “You wouldn’t just do a Google search?” “No, never. After I got a name, I would check out the lawyer’s background, maybe see if he’s written anything that gives him credibility.”

No kids, he’s not talking about cute tweets or postings with links on a Facebook Fan Page. He’s talking about real writing, and he’s talking about getting your name from real people.

Now I know that I’m wrong, don’t know what I’m talking about, and am facing a sure death of my practice by suggesting that there are other ways of getting your name out there besides vomiting all over every social media platform, but it’s okay. When it all dries up, I’m sure I will have plenty of job offers from the wildly successful lawyers of the commentariat.

For those wondering if the life of a lawyer will ever be anything more than keeping track of your Google prowess by taking calls of, “I found you on the internet. How much do you charge?,” I have good news — it can be. There are actually real people out there that are looking for quality. It’s not that they found you first; it’s that they found you after a little research. If you’re going to be the type of lawyer that is found after someone gives your name, you might as well have something on the internet that evidences you have done more than just listen to some unemployed lawyer’s advice on building a practice.

My ideas are all free, and if you’re not afraid to use your real name, you may get some benefit from using them….

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