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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of July 26, 2011

LawBiz(r) newsletter

We're taking a small respite from the heat here in Oak Grove, Missouri. Visiting with Paula's family is a pleasant detour, especially when you factor in our being in an air conditioned house. Tomorrow, we'll begin the next leg of our journey, en route to Cleveland.

But first, we'll stop at the Airstream manufacturer to visit and tour the plant. Let's hope the predictions of a new heat wave do not materialize. But, then, if y'all can tolerate the heat each year, we should be able to do so as well. Stay safe and be cool. Our next presentations:

Weds, August 3 - Cleveland, OH

8:30-11am: Financial Metrics for a Successful Law Practice (Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association)

Thurs, August 18 - Chicago, IL

8:30-11am: Collecting Your Fee- How to Be More Successful (Chicago Bar Association)

Check our calendar at and If I'm coming near your community and you want to join us, contact me. In the meantime, be well and enjoy your success. Thank you for this opportunity to connect with you.

Ed signature

New Twists in the Lawyer Job Market

Forced Retirement...Unthinkable?
As perhaps the nation's primary newspaper of record, The New York Times is typically on the leading edge reporting developments in many professions, including the law. When I was interviewed in a Times story several weeks ago, as reported in an earlier LawBiz Tips story, it was about the phenomenon of forcing lawyers to retire or otherwise quit from their firms before they're ready - something that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable for most firms. But the Times has also recently reported on other formerly "unthinkable" developments that are new twists for the legal job market.

Electronic Discovery Software Replaces Human Lawyers
The headline of one such story should give any member of the profession pause: "Armies of Expensive Lawyers Replaced by Cheaper Software." The article discussed how electronic discovery (e-discovery) software can analyze documents required for litigation discovery in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost when compared to using lawyers for the task.

1.5 Million Documents Searched for Less Than $100,000
It cited the example of one discovery software company that recently helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000. Some programs not only find documents with relevant terms at high speed, they can extract relevant concepts and deduce patterns that would have eluded lawyers examining paper copies. One lawyer put the result this way: "From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out."

On-shored/Outsourced Legal Work on the Rise
Another story has slightly better news, but only slightly. It appears that outsourcing firms, the companies that in recent years sent work done by American lawyers to lower-cost countries like India, are now creating jobs for lawyers in the United States. Some of this on-shored/outsourced legal work by legal temp companies pays as little as $20 an hour for such tasks as document review. Other work involves hiring lawyers in the $50,000 to $80,000 range and basing them in lower-cost areas in the United States, like West Virginia and North Dakota. The lawyers receive less compensation because their work is limited to commodity work and because of the lower cost of living in the area.

Better Than Unemployment?
The best that can be said about such assignments is that they are better than unemployment - but is that really why anyone pays sometimes six figures to secure a J.D. degree?

Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Planning
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In this issue:

New Twists in the Lawyer Job Market

Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Planning for Law Firms

Video: Controlling Clients' Legal Costs

Featured Video:
Ed Poll on YouTube video


LawBiz Forum

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What Clients Are Saying:

"Ed Poll created and presented your three-day workshop "Starting, Operating, Growing and Profiting from the Practice of Law" for our Law School, the Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Washington Law School Foundation. Ed's professional management skills and presentation talents provided our alumni and students with an outstanding program. The evaluations, both oral and written, were excellent and demonstrated that his audience agreed. One evaluator was particularly appreciative of the thought-provoking and interesting new concepts. Another said, "I have a much better under- standing of what I'm to do -- I'm energized. Thank you!" Ed had a major impact on the future of our attendees; this is a unique quality and we are most appreciative of his efforts to create such an interesting and informative program. I enjoyed working with him and look forward to doing so again."

John F. Rapp, Director, CLE
University of Washington

"Ed Poll's efforts resulted in the success of our Mid Year CLE Program event. During the planning stages of this Mid Year Program, the Section's leadership indicated that if 75 lawyers attended the program, it would be considered a success. With our program attendance at over 100 attendees, the leader- ship clearly is very pleased with our efforts and want to continue bringing programs to the solo and small firm practitioner. We look forward to this challenge of making the Mid Year Program a regular event."

Lee S. Kolczun, Chair
Sole Practitioners and
Small Firms Committee,
American Bar Association

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2011 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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