Peer to Peer Magazine

June 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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and improvements to secure cloud access might change remote preferences, especially when those solutions allow lawyers to be productive away from the office. Learning Requirements Are Shifting Lawyers are not against learning, but they do have specific requirements. Learning opportunities must be short, precise and relevant to the work they do. Partners, in particular, are asking for hands-on learning opportunities but on their own terms, which is at odds with the amount of information that needs to be shared. With no time for extended classroom training, classes are often conducted in demonstration-style to provide class durations that lawyers can fit into their schedules. We find that offering hands-on coaching in one-on-one settings is very effective, and focus groups tell us that short sessions with an expert in their office are extremely valuable. Associates prefer to search Google when they get stuck using technology, which may return information that conflicts with technology standards in law firms. It could be time to take information out of the heads of the technology professionals and onto easy-to-find and searchable pages on the firms' intranets, giving lawyers a "Google-like" experience. Lawyers also tell us that they want their legal secretaries to be very well-trained on the technology being used by lawyers; however, they also tell us that the format of long classes used for training their support staff no longer works for them. The increased pressure to respond to clients has them looking to their support teams to track down information quickly. So, we commonly recommend "piecing" the support staff training into smaller chunks that can be spread out over more than one day. Associates tend to prefer not to go into the classroom at all, but when they do, they want shorter classes. Associates' reasons for wanting shorter classes are slightly different from those of partners. It is no surprise that associates are worried about billable requirements, but, as we probed deeper, we also discovered that an associate's workload for any given day is often controlled by the partners the associate is working for, as well as the perception that the associate should be available at any time. One associate shared that it's easier to absorb a 30-minute loss in work productivity than an hour and that his attention will be diverted after 30 minutes as he tries to develop a plan to make up the additional lost time. In academia, teachers are experimenting with the concept of the "flipped classroom." Here a lecture is recorded and assigned as homework, and exercises and activity that used to be considered homework is done in the classroom. Lawyers Discovering Social Media: No by Michael Hamilton, J.D. of Exterro, Inc. Every day, millions of people post status updates, photos and videos on social media websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Once the province of teenagers and college students, these sites are now demanding the attention of legal professionals who are encountering evidence created via social media in a growing number of civil matters. In one such wrongful death case, Lester v. Allied Concrete Co. (Va. Cir. Ct. 2011), the plaintiff, Lester, and his legal counsel made costly mistakes when it came to the handling of his Facebook account. After discovering a picture on Facebook of the plaintiff holding a beer and wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the message "I ♥ Hot Moms," the defendant, Allied Concrete, filed a production request for the photos and status updates from the plaintiff's Facebook page. Fearing the information might undermine the image of its client as an emotionally damaged widower, the plaintiff's attorney advised its client to "clean up" his Facebook page. The plaintiff deleted 16 photos then deactivated the account altogether. Furthermore, the plaintiff's attorney certified in their document production responses that the plaintiff did not hold a Facebook account. The court ruled the plaintiff's actions as spoliation of evidence and ordered the plaintiff and his attorney to pay a combined $700,000 in penalties. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 37, spoliation arises under two circumstances: 1. Information that is required or requested during discovery is destroyed or significantly altered 2. Failure to preserve information for another's use as evidence in pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation 92 Peer to Peer

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