Legal Technology 2011 and the Paralegal


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Legal Technology 2011 and the Paralegal

  1. 1. Legal Technology 2011 & The Paralegal<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Paralegal<br />Paralegals provide invaluable aid to attorneys in the litigation process. Litigation paralegals are the backbone of the trial team, coordinating the thousands of details that must be accomplished before, during and after trial.<br /> <br />One of a paralegal’s most important tasks is helping lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Paralegals might investigate the facts of cases and ensure that all relevant information is considered. They also identify appropriate laws, judicial decisions, legal articles, and other materials that are relevant to assigned cases. After they analyze and organize the information, paralegals may prepare written reports that attorneys use in determining how cases should be handled. If attorneys decide to file lawsuits on behalf of clients, paralegals may help prepare the legal arguments, draft pleadings and motions to be filed with the court, obtain affidavits, and assist attorneys during trials. Paralegals also organize and track files of all important case documents and make them available and easily accessible to attorneys.<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  3. 3. Information Management<br />The collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. This sometimes involves those who have a stake in, or a right to that information. Management means the organization of and control over the structure, processing and delivery of information.<br /> <br />Getting your electronic house in order to mitigate risk & expenses should electronic discovery become an issue, from initial creation of electronically stored information through its final disposition.<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  4. 4. Sources of Discoverable Information<br /><ul><li>Readily Accessible – maintained in the normal course of business
  5. 5. Paper Records
  6. 6. Electronic Records
  7. 7. Graphic / Image Files
  8. 8. Audio / Video
  9. 9. Emails
  10. 10. Chat Logs
  11. 11. Cell Phones
  12. 12. Inaccessible or Requires Forensics
  13. 13. Archived Tape Data
  14. 14. Deleted Data</li></ul>Governance of Discovery<br /><ul><li>Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  15. 15. State & Circuit Courts
  16. 16. Regulatory Agencies (Internal Investigations)
  17. 17. Congressional Acts (GLBA , HIPAA, PCI DSS, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, etc)</li></ul>Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  18. 18. Electronic Discovery Reference Model<br />EDRM develops guidelines and standards for e-discovery consumers and providers. From the original model to the 2008-2009 projects, EDRM has helped e-discovery consumers and providers reduce the cost, time and manual work associated with ediscovery.<br /><ul><li>Identification: Locating potential sources of ESI & determining its scope, breadth & depth. 
  19. 19. Preservation: Ensuring that ESI is protected against inappropriate alteration or destruction. 
  20. 20. Collection: Gathering ESI for further use in the electronic discovery process (processing, review, etc.) 
  21. 21. Processing: Reducing the volume of ESI and converting it, if necessary, to forms more suitable for review & analysis. 
  22. 22. Review: Evaluating ESI for relevance & privilege. 
  23. 23. Analysis: Evaluating ESI for content & context, including key patterns, topics, people & discussion. 
  24. 24. Production: Delivering ESI to others in appropriate forms & using appropriate delivery mechanisms. 
  25. 25. Presentation: Displaying ESI before audiences (at depositions, hearings, trials, etc.), especially in native & near-native forms.</li></ul>Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  26. 26. Litigation Readiness Technology…Software as a Service<br />The most common challenge facing litigants is how to effectively and efficiently identify potentially responsive documents with accuracy. No longer is it just as simple as skimming across 10 boxes of paper docs containing 25,000 sheets in less than 8 hours. Today, litigants need to review 10GB of eDocs which is the equivalent to thousands of electronic files. That equates to more than 650,000 sheets of paper. It would take more than 208 hours to manually review (8 days for 2 case clerks to sift through<br />just to pass up the chain for 2nd and 3rd reviews).<br /> <br />Search and Retrieval technology has provided the means for litigants to identify relevant data with a sense of accuracy and confidence. Keyword searching is the most common format used to cull data in an effort to narrow the scope of documents deemed relevant for review. Keywords are created and agreed upon by all parties based on the scope of the case as well as intelligence gained during meet and confer conferences.<br /> <br />Conceptual searching provides litigants with the ability to use taxonomies to create categories of documents based on terms of similar meaning based on documents identified as relevant from keyword search results. Conceptual searching is designed to further narrow the scope with potentially relevant document strings based on content and other like factors. Concept searching is gaining popularity in eDiscovery review protocols, for when used properly, the identification of "Hot Docs"<br />becomes less of a burden.<br /> <br />Using the proper search and retrieval solution is critical to wading through the sea of eDocs as it relates to time and money.<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  27. 27. SaaS and The Stages of Discovery<br /><ul><li>Identification using Early Case Assessment Models
  28. 28. Road map of discoverable sources for both Paper and Electronic
  29. 29. Develop case budgets
  30. 30. Develop case strategy</li></ul>Preservation & Collection of Data<br /><ul><li>Limited by the scope of Discovery. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 26(f)
  31. 31. Document Sweeps
  32. 32. Electronically Stored Information
  33. 33. Chain of Custody</li></ul>Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  34. 34. Processing, Review and Analysis<br /><ul><li>De-duplication
  35. 35. Culling via Keyword Term & Conceptual Searching
  36. 36. Native File Review
  37. 37. Localized and Hosted document repositories</li></ul>Production<br /><ul><li>Agreed upon format between Parties. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 26(f)
  38. 38. Paper and/or Electronic
  39. 39. Metadata
  40. 40. Deliverable Media</li></ul>Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  41. 41. What’s in the Toolbox?<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  42. 42. Can you make the grade … Industry Professional Insight <br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  43. 43. Role of the Paralegal<br />What do you consider the greatest challenge facing Paralegals today compared to 5 years ago?<br />Technology Matter Expert<br />Organizational Proficiency<br />Knowledge of the Rules<br />All of the Above<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  44. 44. Erika Santiago, Training Consultant<br />“I think technology is the biggest challenge. It's been my experience that many paralegals have relied heavily over the years on their litigation support and/or IT staff for technical support without ever really learning the technology themselves. This is mostly true for paralegals in large firms with ample support staff. <br />In the last 5 years, we've seen lots of layoffs of support staff which leaves those same paralegals with having to support themselves and make technology decisions regarding e-discovery they're not prepared to address. <br />Additionally, paralegal training programs are still lacking adequate technology training for new paralegals.”<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  45. 45. John Craddock, Esq. , Shareholder LeClair Ryan<br />“The Rules have not changed much - but the extreme volumes of ESI has made organization more difficult as far as finding, segregating and compiling key documents.<br />A. Technology is imperative because new tools are being created all of the time that make it easier to do B. But its only easier if someone knows that the tool exists and how to use it.”<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  46. 46. Carla Stone-Whitaker, Senior Paralegal , O’Hagan Spencer<br />“The greatest challenge a Paralegal faces is organization. If the paralegal does not master this skill he/she will not be successful at their career. A good paralegal has to know how to prioritize his/her time. Mastering the skill of organization will help them to better understand the change in technology and knowledge of new rules. Having a great understanding of the new technology and knowledge of new rules is great but without organization the paralegal will fall short, get confused and fail. <br />Organization is the key to success. However a good paralegal must be very familiar with knew technology and rules. Technology is advancing as we speak. The challenge the paralegal face is that most times training is their responsibility. They have to take a course to learn this information. The expense could be out of their pocket. It's time away from their family. If the person is not technical then there's added stress of trying to get familiar with something that has never been your strong area. It could cause a strain on the job because you aren't catching on in time or you are constantly being assisted. <br />Knowing the rules is not so stressful. Again, keeping in mind organization, if he/she is organize they will keep a copy of the new rule in a place easily accessible for reference purpose.”<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  47. 47. Stephan LaJaunie, Litigation Paralegal, Vandeventer Black LLP<br />“My opinion is that technology is the greatest challenge (though you know I would say that.) As you know the options available, and requirements, regarding management of e-discovery are constantly changing in the courts and in the field, and everyone, though especially paralegals, need to keep up. Not to mention, paralegals usually end up being the knowledge base for this type of thing when you have attorneys that have been working since the days of teletype, and aren't able (or sometimes willing) to be as technology-savvy as they expect their support staff to be. Couple that factor with the myriad number of vendors basically offer to solve all your e-discovery needs, for a price. Some are helpful. Some are not. Paralegals, or any support staff, need to be knowledgeable enough on their own to determine the difference.”<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  48. 48. Renee Covington, co-Founder, Superior Document Services<br />“I would say it depends what size firm the paralegal is working in- the greatest challenge in smaller to mid size is being given the tools to effectively manage cases and workflows for attorneys and get attorneys to adopt the technological advances. Paralegals are more responsible for learning the technology on their own.<br />For larger firms- paralegal roles are being redefined. Traditionally the paralegal had an active role involving collection/ index thru production and trial support. Now they must be proficient with all three below in regards to best practices and working with Lit Support Managers and Review Ctrs. The process has become much more complicated and political. Many of paralegals are seeing their responsibilities given to associates or practice support.”<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />
  49. 49. Donna Lynch, Senior Paralegal, ReedSmith<br />“a) Technology - with the fast paced and changing every other day world of technology, paralegals should know the basics but more importantly have a great support Tech team in place. My issues with technology are not the technology itself but knowledgeable in house techs who can provide support and advice regarding what technology should be used during the course of a case. Make the computer nerd your best friend!!!<br />(Hi friend!) <br />b) Organization - should be a key and primary skill for a good paralegal. It should not be a challenge ( just shouldn't be) If you are not an organized person - being a paralegal is going to be extremely difficult especially if you are coordinating ediscovery.<br />c) Working knowledge of the rules is a must. However, rarely a day<br />goes by that I don't reach up for the rule books to confirm a rule or to provide guidance on drafting documents. Most paralegals would say I just do what the attorney tells me to do. My response to that is my job is to make the attorneys' job easier. A paralegal should feel comfortable providing advice regarding the rules (internal communication<br />only) and how to accomplish a project in a timely and efficient manner.<br />Attorneys can be so focused on one aspect of the case they forget all the little details. It is the job of a paralegal to coordinate all the moving parts - a logistical coordinator. If a paralegal just wants to do what someone tells them to do then maybe this is not the profession for them. My attorneys respond favorably when I ask questions or provide a different point of view. It opens the floor for discussion and possibly a better way of accomplishing a task which at first seemed daunting but in the end was relatively simple. “<br />Presented by Aubrey L. Owens, Jr. February 9, 2011 to JSRCC Paralegal Studies Course<br />