Posted Jan 11, 2013 02:29 pm CST
“It’s come to this,” New Haven, Conn.-based writer Jane Genova wrote at Law and More in reference to a local lawyer’s ad on craigslist that appears to be seeking a “monthly fee” from new law grads interested in shadowing him or her. “Observe the following types of proceedings, as they occur; Civil Short Calender motion arguments, foreclosure mediation’s, pre-trial conferences, Workers Compensation and Social Security hearings, real estate closings, discovery proceedings and compliance, research and general office operations,” the ad states.
“I still think that there is a 5 percent or so chance that the ad is just poorly worded, and that the ‘monthly fee’ will be paid to the lawyer, but if not we are looking at a whole new ‘training’ revenue stream for lawyers!” Bruce Carton wrote at Legal Blog Watch. “It is like ‘Take Your Child to Work Day,’ but if your child paid you. Actually, it is more like ‘Take Someone Else’s Child to Work Day,’ and the child’s parents pay you since the child/lawyer is unemployed.”
Genova is outraged. “This is even worse than an unpaid internship in that a fee isn’t required from the intern to gain the experience, ” she wrote. “Will this kind of revenue producer be censured by the state bar association?”
Paper vs. electronic files can cost a law firm a lot per year—in labor costs, Canada’s David Bilinsky and Alabama’s Laura Calloway wrote at SlawTips.
Citing the Statewide Information Services Corporation, they posit that if a well-trained employee needs 6 minutes to locate and retrieve a paper file, and does this 10 times daily on average, then she spends 1 hour a day doing it. “Multiply that by the 260 working days in a year and you arrive at an unrecognized cost of $3,900 per year,” SlawTips writes. “This is for just one employee pulling 10 files a day. If finding a document electronically takes less than a minute, you can see the cost savings that you can achieve in just file retrieval tasks.”
Bilinsky and Calloway cite other reasons to make going paperless your new year’s resolution. It’s cheaper to distribute electronic documents, they point out; you’re also in a better position if a natural or manmade disaster strikes your workplace.
Think your briefs are spilling over with unnecessary words? Legal technology consultant Carol Gerber had doubts about her own writing, decided to try WordRake software and blogged about it at Attorney at Work.
“Lawyers who submit documents to courts with strict word count limitations should find WordRake extremely helpful in identifying potential cuts,” Gerber wrote. “For example, WordRake suggested that ‘pursuant to’ become ‘under,’ that ‘in respect to’ become ‘regarding’ and that ‘in the absence of’ become ‘absent.’ That’s six words saved right there.”
Gerber writes that the software works like spell check. It “raked” 13 single-spaced pages in less than a minute and made some good suggestions. “After a short time working with the program, I also noticed that I was spotting unnecessary words as I was writing and editing my own work before I ever clicked the Rake button.”