The Brief No. 23: Announcing Hire an Esquire's Document Review Bench

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January 23, 2019

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Recent news highlights how good document review and particularly diligent redactions are important. Errors can severely damage cases —and client and law firm reputations. Finding the smoking gun document can win a case. 

We have accumulated years of knowledge and data on what creates an outstanding reviewer. And now, we’re launching the Hire an Esquire Document Review Bench to recognize, reward, and motivate our most reliable, hard-working, talented reviewers. Learn more about how to make the Bench and the benefits here.

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A Win for Workers and Dictionaries? This week Justice Gorsuch surprised us with an unexpected SCOTUS decision for workers ... and the enduring utility of the dictionary. He relied on six dictionaries dating back to the 1920s to interpret statutory language and determine that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not differentiate between “contracts of employment” and work involving independent contractors. The end result was that truckers working for New Prime Trucking as Independent Contractors could not be forced into arbitration for their class action suit brought for being paid under minimum wage. This term has three cases before the Supreme Court involving the FAA, one already resulted in a unanimous pro-arbitration decision written by Justice Kavanaugh. Justice Gorsuch’s statute-reliant decision does not indicate future progressive decisions — as Justice Ginsburg noted, this rigidity towards semantics will be pivotal in the case against discrimination on the basis of sex as it relates to LGBTQ workers.

Artificial Intelligence, Real Consequences: Could the increase in automation at law firms be the death knell of the junior associate? John Flood, a law professor at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, thinks so. The effects could be even further-reaching - as less junior associates are hired there will be fewer trained attorneys to move up the ladder or to other legal jobs. With the proliferation of legal tech, the role of a junior associate is already evolving. Linklaters is even moving associates into full time technology roles on its AI platform, Nakhoda. Even assuming every profession needs an entry point, what entry level lawyer jobs will look like in the future is TBD.

The Manafort Curse: It seems like just yesterday a redaction mishap put Manafort’s attorneys, and Manafort, in hot water. Now, another law firm may be wishing they had thought twice about their entanglement with the former campaign chairman. Skadden Arps settled with the Justice Department last week, agreeing to pay $4.6 million for work the firm did with Manafort for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian government. This settlement provides yet another indication of Special Counsel Mueller’s crackdown on foreign-lobbying in the capitol.

You Snooze (sometimes) You Lose (stress): For an industry that never turns out the lights, the concept of “Do Not Disturb”, the idea that employees have the right to disconnect after leaving the office, can seem as foreign as a mid-day siesta. Yet, the “always on-call” mindset may be evolving. Technologies like slack and speakap now provide users with the option to be unreachable as once again, technology (tries) to solve all of the problems it causes. And policies in France, Germany, Canada, and even New York City, suggest that disconnecting from work might be just what an attorney’s mental health and welfare needs. What do you think — will a “Do Not Disturb” option ever exist as a perk alongside flexible work arrangements, paid time off for volunteer work, and pet-friendly offices as law firms and legal departments try to attract new talent?

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In this recent episode of Evolve the Law, Anuj Shaw and Eric Fox from Hire an Esquire talk psychometrics and critical lawyer personality traits for success with Ian Cornett of Quantum Jurist.

Listen to learn the two most important “soft skills” in predicting lawyer performance and why you should get out of your neo-cortex every once in a while.  

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Staffing up for a project or growing your legal team? Learn more about how Hire An Esquire can help.