The Delivery of Managed Legal Services: Part 2

In part one of his series, former general counsel and current Counsel On Call Director, Eric Griffin, described the waves of change he’s witnessed in the legal industry throughout his career due to the disaggregation and commoditization of legal work and associated rise of managed legal services.

In my last
post, I concluded by describing a “three legged stool” model of providing legal services in the modern era; in-house counsel focuses on the business issues, outside counsel focuses on strategy and high level analysis, and the legal business process manager acts as the gatekeeper on costs, process, technology, staffing, metrics and improvement.

But are all types of legal matters amenable to legal process management? If not, what kinds of legal work should be considered for process management?

The fact is, practically all legal tasks (other than those performed in connection with “one-off” and highly unique and infrequently repeated matters) are amenable to process management initiatives. Specifically, managed legal services can bring tremendous efficiency and cost savings to projects involving high volume or repetitive tasks such as (but not limited to) the following:

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Three Factors that Make the Case for Lawyers Using Social Media

In a recent article in Law Technology News, there is a discussion about social media usage among law firm associates. As is usually the case when technology moves forward, there are those who embrace it and those who do not.

No surprise here that lawyers have been more reticent as a group to embrace the use of the latest technology than others. But times seem to be a-changing, and by 2014, investing in social media will no longer be a luxury – it will be a necessity, according to a recent Forbes article.

Glen Gilmore, a New-Jersey-based solo practitioner and social media expert (ranked number 15 on Forbes’ list of social media influencers), found it surprising that only one-third of mid-level associates are “leveraging social media [because] the failure [of] law firms to ‘get’ social… [it] is a terrible disservice to their clients, most of whom are using social media for personal and business purposes.”

What are the factors causing lawyers to participate in social media networks? My list would include: more personal usage, seeing other lawyers surpass them in knowledge and use of social media, client demand and the ability to bill their time, and the ease of research and networkability. I’ve elaborated on these points here:

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A Summary of the Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

This is a guest post by Counsel On Call attorney, Tiffany Fox.

In June 2013, a series of proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was opened for public comment. Most of the proposed changes affect discovery and the growing use of technology in the preservation, collection and production of ESI.

The changes addressing discovery can be broken into four categories: (1) Improvement of judicial case management, (2) Proportionality of discovery, (3) Advancing cooperation, and (4) Creating a higher standard for sanctions for spoliation.

  1. Improvement of judicial case management: In the first category, the changes focus primarily on the case management aspects of litigation. There is a clear intent to speed the process through increased cooperation and specific restrictions on certain stages of litigation. Rules 4(m), 16(b) and 26(d) would reduce the time allowed for filings or issuing scheduling orders, and would allow for discovery requests to be issued earlier in the process. By forcing the parties to keep things moving, the idea is that a judge will spend less time cajoling responses and can get cases in and out of court a bit faster.
  2. Proportionality of discovery: In the second category, proportionality is being added explicitly to Rule 26(b)(1), which limits the scope of discovery. Currently, proportionality is implied by the language used and has been interpreted that way in case law, but as ESI has increased exponentially in recent years, the new, stronger language would give parties less “wiggle room” to request additional discovery. Parties requesting discovery would now have the burden to prove that the requested discovery is proportional to the needs of the case. Additionally, reductions in the number of depositions and interrogatories and time allowed for each (Rules 30, 31, 33, and 36) would ideally create reduced expectations in the minds of practitioners; even though a judge may still adjust the number of depositions according to what is appropriate to a given case, having a smaller presumptive baseline would encourage a smaller total. 
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