Archive for the ‘Lawyer Stuff’ Category

 I spend a fair amount of time with lawyers, law students, paralegals, and others involved in the legal profession.  I used to think that the aversion to technology that is widespread throughout the law was an age thing, but I’ve come to realize that it runs deeper than that.

As someone who is fairly comfortable with technology, I admit that I have a hard time understanding when others seem to have such difficulty and fear with things that seem to me to be almost second nature.  When you try to explain to someone that in the year 2007 you shouldn’t still be keeping a typewriter around “just in case” and that it sends a bad message to both clients and prospective employees, they look at you like you have two heads.

This study does a much better job than I ever could in explaining the issue:

The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog: Lawyers Want Technology Training

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Many legal professionals would agree that the day can’t come soon enough…..

Content Analyst, Public Sector – Mountain View or Washington D.C.

You have GOT to be kidding me………

I.R.S. Letting Tax Lawyers Write Rules – New York Times

“The Internal Revenue Service
is asking tax lawyers and accountants who create tax shelters and
exploit loopholes to take the lead in writing some of its new tax rules.

The
pilot project represents a further expansion of the increasingly common
federal government practice of asking outsiders to do more of its work,
prompting academics and other critics to complain that the government
is going too far.

They worry that having private lawyers and
accountants draft tax rules could allow them to subtly skew them in
favor of their clients.”

powered by performancing firefox

The geek in me thinks this is unbelievably cool. The lawyer in me sees this as a full employment act for litigators. 😉

Xerox Seeks Erasable Form of Paper for Copiers – New York Times

The printed information on the document “disappears” within 16 hours.
The documents can be reused more quickly by simply placing them in the
copier paper tray. The researchers said that individual pieces of paper
had been printed on up to 50 times, and the only current limit in the
process appears to be paper life.

I wonder what Dennis Kennedy, tech lawyer extraordinaire, fellow Springsteen fan, and author of the first blog I ever subscribed to via RSS thinks about this?

I must admit that prior to reading Mr. Wilson’s obituary this morning, I never had any idea who had helped create this service that I use almost every day.

Donald Wilson, 82, Pioneer of a Database, Dies – New York Times

Mr. Wilson, a lawyer and business consultant, was a managing partner
at Arthur D. Little, the management consulting firm, in the late 1960s
when he wrote the plan for what later became Lexis-Nexis, an early
computerized system for retrieving information.

In 1969, Mr.
Wilson was asked by the Mead Corporation to assess a venture in
computerized legal research that the company was considering. Mr.
Wilson told his client that the searching of legal texts would be a
useful tool for lawyers, as well as a promising business.

He
not only recommended that the company pursue the venture but also
outlined a marketing plan for persuading law firms to adopt the
technology.

“Don knew how important it would be to be able to
search through the full body of a judge’s opinion to see if there might
be an argument that could become a new precedent,” said Gary A. Marple,
a former colleague of Mr. Wilson at Arthur D. Little.

To quote from Casablanca, I was “shocked, shocked” to read Denise Howell’s post this morning about the recent goings on at Reed Smith. This is someone who is as good as they come, and the fact that they cannot find a way to accommodate her is a decision that they will come to regret.

I cannot wait to start reading the reaction of the blogosphere on this one.

From today's NY Times

The flat fee for services, rather than an hourly rate, was an effort to avoid the expense of paperwork and monitoring the staff for fraud.

Mr. Stephens sees the world of service moving toward flat fees. "We are a flat-rate society because people are willing to pay for simplification," he said.

It is easier for consumers to understand and they are less likely to feel cheated, he said. "People hate the hourly rate. They hated it when it applied to cellphones and Internet service."

And legal services as well?

As others have already commented, I think that the folks at Exemplar are on to something.  

“At most big law firms, the partner-associate compact
goes something like this: The partners give the associates big
salaries, meals on the client, cars home at night, fancy offices,
secretaries and a prestigious name on their résumés. The associates
give their complete professional devotion and availability — every
hour of the day, every day of the year.

That compact has gone unspoken, and largely unquestioned, until recently.

More and more associates at law firms across the U.S.
are second guessing whether they want to sign over their lives to their
jobs. Some are working fewer hours. Some are losing interest in making
partner. And they are leaving big law firms in droves: “The rate of
associate attrition we’re seeing today at big firms is the highest
level we’ve ever seen,” says Paula A. Patton, chief executive of the
NALP Foundation, a nonprofit group in Overland Park, Kan., that
examines law-firm hiring trends and practices.”

http://tinyurl.com/e7dpf (in celebration of their 10th anniversary online, The Journal is featuring free online access for 10 days)

Money Magazine has released a survey of the 50 best jobs in America. As someone who  is both a college professor and a lawyer, it was nice to see both jobs make the Top 50, but in terms of quality of life I would agree that being a college prof is the way to go.  

CBS Radio Sues Stern for Breach of Contract

By BILL CARTER

CBS Radio filed a lawsuit against Howard Stern yesterday, charging that he used his last months on the air there to build up his future employer, Sirius Satellite Radio, and gained financial advantages through a stock sale at the expense of CBS.

The suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court only hours after Mr. Stern pre-emptively took the offensive at a news conference, accusing CBS of trying to threaten and bully him. Mr. Stern denounced the legal action as a "personal vendetta" intended to "distract the media" from bad financial results at CBS-owned radio stations.

After Mr. Stern's attack, CBS filed its 43-page complaint, which accused him of "multiple breaches of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment and misappropriation of CBS Radio's broadcast time." Also included in the suit were Sirius Satellite Radio, which was accused of unfair competition over Mr. Stern's CBS contract, and Mr. Stern's agent, Don Buchwald.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/01/business/media/01radio.html?8hpib

The lawyer in me says this is baseless. The Stern fan in me says this is stupid.

To quote Jeff Jarvis: "CBS is an ass."