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Commentary

New online tools make a litigator’s life easier (access required)

At the end of January, I attended LegalTech 2013, a legal technology conference sponsored every year by American Lawyer Media. This conference is attended by thousands of legal and IT professionals seeking to learn about the latest legal technologies and innovations. If nothing else, this conference is oftentimes a convergence of some of the most innovative and influential people and companies in the legal technology space, and this year was no exception.

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Face it — bad legal writing is a waste of money (access required)

A recent article on FindLaw.com called “Five Ways Attorneys Waste Money” claimed that attorneys can cut clients’ costs by avoiding needless motions; staffing cases leanly; focusing on the important issues; avoiding petty spats with the opposition; and being smart about when to settle. But the article ignored the most important way attorneys can save money for their firms and clients: by learning how to write in plain English.

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The Swartz suicide and the sick culture of the DOJ (access required)

Swartz (AP photo)

Some lawyers are joking when they refer to the Moakley Courthouse as “the House of Pain.” I’m not. The ill-considered prosecution leading to the suicide of computer prodigy Aaron Swartz is the most recent in a long line of abusive prosecutions coming out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, representing a disastrous culture shift. It sadly reflects what’s happened to the federal criminal courts, not only in Massachusetts but across the country.

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Keep compassion from becoming litigation (access required)

A friend recently shared with me that she was “afraid to care” when it came to the subordinates she encounters on a daily basis. Especially during this past holiday season, it struck me as a sad commentary on what the exponential growth of lawsuits has done to important interpersonal and professional relationships in the workplace.

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How do you rank with your clients? (access required)

Ranked 1

The legal profession seems obsessed with how it rates. From the long-established Martindale-Hubbell two-letter code ranking of lawyers and the listings in The Best Lawyers in America, to more recent authorities like Chambers USA and SuperLawyers, to the host of online services led by Avvo.com, ranking lawyers is a cottage industry.

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‘If you don’t, why should I?’ (access required)

I have been teaching a graduate-level business law course this fall for the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business. For three hours each Monday evening, I find myself explaining to 31 graduate students the legal and business concepts that form the foundation of the services we offer our clients as a firm.

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