Metadata Mining for Evidence of Stupidity and Greed

I attended the Indiana State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference, held on June 5-7 at the French Lick Springs Resort in French Lick, Indiana, (aka, the hometown of Larry Bird or as we call him in Indiana, “Larry Legend”).  The conference is the second largest of its kind in the U.S. and regularly draws attendees and speakers from throughout the U.S.

At this year’s SSF Conference, Ted Waggoner, author of  the popular blog, Lawyers with Troubles, and I made a joint presentation on “The Ethics of Using Legal Assistants.”  As you may know from past blog pieces on using legal assistants, I am a big fan of attorneys utilizing legal assistants (e.g., paralegals) to the maximum extent possible.  In fact, as I have written before, I really do believe that increased use of legal assistants is the key to increased profitability in law firms.

One of the national speakers at the SSF Conference was Ben Schorr.  Ben is an international IT consultant and author of the book “The Lawyer’s Guide to Microsoft Word 2007” published by the ABA.  Ben spoke to the legal assistants attending the conference about, what else, getting the maximum benefit out of using Microsoft Word.  A part of his presentation was on how to prevent your Word documents from being metadata mined.  As you know, metadata mining has been at the forefront of the news lately over revelations that the NSA has been metadata mining our phone records.

Ben gave an illustration of the pitfalls to lawyers when their documents are metadata mined.  He told of a client who was concerned over high legal bills from a firm.  In particular, they were concerned about the 5 hours a partner billed to prepare a document.  Data mining done showed that the partner actually spent 20 only minutes in total editing the document while an associates spent 1 hour working on the document.  Not only that, but through metadata mining they traced the document back to another firm that the associate used to work for. Continue reading

Using Experts to Control Litigation Costs

[Editor’s note. In many types of cases, the litigation is almost entirely “expert driven.”  And using the right expert can sometimes help promote a prompt settlement (which saves on legal fees). My good friend, Kevin Quinley, an expert himself on insurance claims handling and coverage issues, provides some very important tips on using experts in litigated matters.]

Three Ways to Use Experts for Maximum Effectiveness

by Kevin M Quinley

“Expert – Someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is.”

However you define “expert,” it is beyond dispute that claim professionals spend considerable money on them: fire investigators, accident reconstruction specialists, physicians for independent medical exams, and metallurgists on product failure claims. Adjusters are often besieged by requests to authorize this or that guru, often at steep hourly rates.

Let’s look at three ways claim professionals can add value by astute litigation management of experts:

1. Get in the game. Get involved in the selection of experts. Do NOT delegate this to counsel. By all means, seek counsel’s input on recommended experts. An attorney’s ties to a community of experts is a plus. Experts are too expensive — and too vital to case defense — to be left solely to defense attorneys. That doesn’t mean, though, that you stifle defense counsel when it comes to making recommendations. Continue reading