JDSupra

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

The recent case of Brown v. Tellermate Holdings Ltd. is noteworthy for its imposition of near-terminal evidentiary sanctions, and order directing counsel and defendant to jointly pay plaintiffs’ cost of bringing motions to compel. But its important lesson is that counsel must stay abreast of continuing changes in information technologies, and critically assess client information about electronically stored information if they are to meet their duties to courts and clients.

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This summer, Above the Law expanded its editorial coverage with the launch of a suite of practice-focused channels. These new, topical components of our site include an eDiscovery channel, powered by content from Lexblog, JD Supra, and new ATL expert columnist Michael Simon, as well as pieces curated from ATL’s coverage of the broader legal industry. ATL’s eDiscovery channel will feature news stories, substantive trend analysis, and insights into business development issues relevant to eDiscovery and related legal technologies. (Among ATL’s other practice channels are Securities, Energy, and Government.)

The LexBlog network is the largest professional blog network in the world. LexBlog partners with clients to develop custom social media solutions and strategies that create powerful internet identities. LexBlog will provide ATL’s unparalleled audience with commentary on prominent legal developments and insight on best practices in the full range of practice areas, including eDiscovery.

ATL’s eDiscovery columnist, Michael Simon, has been in the legal industry for more than two decades. His background as a Chicago trial attorney, Director of Strategic Development at Navigant, and co-founder of eDiscovery expert consulting firm Seventh Samurai, give him a unique voice in the eDiscovery space. His debut column, Making Sense of eDiscovery Outside of the Bubble, offers a thoughtful introduction to legal technology and is but the first in a series.

JD Supra publishes insights and intelligence written by a network of over 20,000 attorneys and industry professionals. ATL’s partnership with JD Supra will give the ATL audience access to high-level eDiscovery content from Am Law 200 law firms and other expert sources.

ATL’s new eDiscovery channel is made possible by Omnivere, one of the largest integrated companies in the discovery management space. Omnivere provides services that encompass all aspects of litigation support, from Project Management, Review Support, and Hosting Management, to Attorney Review, Production, and Trial Exhibit and Document Management.

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

In today’s complex work of insurance, many insurance risks are “reinsured” by a separate insurance carrier. In those instances, it is not unusual for insurers and reinsurers to have regular communications concerning the insured, and in particular, concerning matters about which they both have an interest. Most of the time, the insurer and reinsurer consider such communications to be confidential, and not subject to discovery. However, whether seemingly confidential communications between insurers and reinsurers is discoverable in litigation involving an underlying insured is not a clear cut question. Outside of Texas, there is a split of authority regarding the issue of discoverability of reinsurance communications. A recent order issued by the Northern District of Texas demonstrates that such communication can be discoverable if an insured can persuade the court that the sought after information is relevant to his or her underlying claims.

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Global Communications

Insurers and reinsurers regularly communicate regarding matters they view as confidential. These communications often relate to claims, both routine and litigated, by the underlying insureds. Insureds, in turn, seek discovery of these communications when claims become contentious and litigated. Recent federal court decisions in Minnesota and Texas demonstrate the willingness of courts to permit discovery of communications between insurance companies and their reinsurers. Conversely, a federal court in Indiana recently rejected requests for reinsurance communications. These cases illustrate the difficultly faced by insurers and reinsurers in understanding the discoverability of their communications prior to litigation. Although insurers and reinsurers may view their communications as confidential, they must be mindful of the potential discoverability of these communications, particularly when litigated claims are involved.

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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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“Aaaaaand they’re off!”

Notwithstanding predictions of impending economic gloom or apocalyptic Mayan prophecies, 2012 brings some sort-of good news for incoming first-year associates: our survey findings show start dates have returned to pre-Recession timelines. We’re apparently (knock wood) past the days of first-years twisting in the wind with deferrals and rescinded offers. On the other hand, a majority of our survey respondents report that the size of the incoming first-year class has contracted significantly, with only 36% of you telling us that class sizes have returned to pre-Recession levels. For the full results of our survey, read on.

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