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Date : 12-05-2006

Foley & Lardner implements extranet system

Foley & Lardner now offers its clients a secure way to keep track of their dealings with the firm via secure online locations. The firm's extranet system provides an online network through which clients can access all legal information pertaining to their cases. The technology offers tailored-to-client extranet websites, which change based on newly added information. Extranets help to build better client-firm relationships, allowing both firms and clients to enjoy unlimited access to necessary information. Earlier, InformationWeek 500 named Foley & Lardner one of the "Top 200" organizations utilizing innovative information technology.

System failure a bigger threat than natural disasters

A survey conducted by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), a peer-networking organization connecting those working in legal markets across the globe, found that technology professionals at law firms rate computer hardware crashes and software failures as greater hazards to IT infrastructures than natural disasters such as fires and floods. The survey gathered responses from more than 300 law firms. 54% of firms stated that computer software failure was the greatest potential threat. 45% of firms ranked computer hardware failure as most threatening; the fear of lost or corrupted files came in third, with 42% listing this as the most significant threat. 31% of respondents said they viewed fires as major threats, while 19% considered tornadoes to be major threats and only 14% considered floods to be major threats.

CaseCentral's corporate and law firm editions reflect recent FRCP changes

On-demand discovery lifecycle management provider CaseCentral has stated that firms' internal IT processes must be revised based on the changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that went into effect on December 1. The new FRCP rules require all companies to clearly define their information technology processes to opposing counsel and articulate their processes far earlier in legal actions; information technology processes now must be discussed at the first meet-and-confer meeting. CaseCentral's Corporate and Law Firm editions "protect and maintain data integrity, better organize information assets, and reduce overall risk and cost." Apart from eliminating duplication of records, Case Central's solutions establish consistent corporate-wide production formats that enable companies to reject requests made by opposing counsel for alternative production formats, thereby cutting costs and reducing risk.

Davis Wright engulfs DC-based communications firm

Seattle-based Davis Wright Tremaine has announced its merger with 35-lawyer, Washington, DC-based firm Cole, Raywid & Braverman. The merger will bring Davis Wright's total number of attorneys to 455. It will go into effect on January 1 and is expected to shore up Davis Wright's communications, media, and technology law practice on the East Coast. Davis Wright Tremaine has offices in Seattle, Bellevue, Portland, Anchorage, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, and Shanghai.

Paralegalism a growing profession

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal recruitment is expected to increase by 33% each year until 2010. The growth of the paralegal field has resulted from increasing complexity and competition in the legal environment, as well as the fact that clients can pay paralegals less to perform certain duties previously handled by attorneys. Paralegals are also being hired by companies to work with their in-house lawyers. More and more community colleges are offering paralegal courses. Some colleges provide four-year courses in paralegal training, while others offer certification based on two-year programs.

Skadden Arps honored by Chambers and Partners

Portland-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, and Affiliates was honored with the Global Corporate Law Firm of the Year award at the 2006 Chambers Global Awards ceremony. The firm also received runner-up Asian Law Firm of the Year, French Law Firm of the Year, and Global Arbitration Law Firm of the Year awards. The awards were handed out at a dinner held November 16 in London. A 1,750-attorney law firm, Skadden Arps has 22 offices located across the globe.

Mayer Brown expands into Hong Kong

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw is slated to launch its Hong Kong office on January 1, 2007. According to a press release, the firm will initially focus on securitization and structured finance matters in Asia. It will later extend its services to local Asian companies seeking counsel on dealings with the U.S. and Europe; it will also advise foreign companies working in Asia. Partners Jeffrey H. Chen and Stephen Bottomley will oversee Mayer Brown's Hong Kong practice. With a strength of 1,400 lawyers, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw advises numerous Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 companies, both in Europe and the U.S.

Reed Smith combines with Sachnoff & Weaver

Reed Smith, LLP, and Sachnoff & Weaver, Ltd., are heading for a merger, which will go into effect on March 1, 2007. The firms' partners approved the merger and also nominated individuals for key positions in the merged firm. For a period of time, the combined firm will go by the name Reed, Smith, Sachnoff & Weaver. The merger will strengthen Reed Smith's presence in the Midwest and bring its total number of attorneys to approximately 1,550.

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