Today’s questionee is Monica Bay, editor-in-chief of Law Technology News. Not only is she the author of The Common Scold, Law Technology Now podcasts, and co-author of the EDD Update blog, but she is also a rabid New York Yankees fan (as you will see below). Let’s get to the questions.
1) As a lawyer, what advice would you give litigation support professionals to them to help foster more successful and productive litigation support-lawyer relationships?
In June, I wrote “Can You Adapt?” in Law Technology News which explores the changing terrain of EDD support staff. Increasingly, vendors, law firms and corporate counsel are hiring lawyers to handle e-discovery, particularly the review phase. This is creating tremendous opportunities for both attorneys and non-attorney professionals to further develop their careers, and make a whole lot of money (we’re already seeing poaching).
As for advice, it is the same I would give anyone in any job. Think baseball:
- Be a team player: It’s about the team, not the individual. You win and lose as a team. (See, Derek Jeter).
- Play your position well: Make yourself indispensible… be reliable, accurate, prompt, and anticipate needs. Raise your hand when there’s a job nobody wants to do because it’s too complicated or detailed. Extra points for utility players (See, Miguel Cairo).
- Home runs are great, but small ball wins more games. Watch the details. (See, Tampa Bay Rays)
- Take pre-emptive strikes: If you screw up, tell your boss immediately. It is far better for YOU to bring it to your boss than the reverse. Don’t try to hide problems (See, Tanyon Sturtz).
- Bring answers, not problems. Don’t whine. Instead of complaining about problems to your boss, come to her with alternatives. Show initiative and ingenuity. (See, Derek Jeter, Joe Girardi)
- Be low maintenance. ‘Nuf said. Even Manny got traded for being a pain. (See, Jeter, Abreu, Nady, Posada, et al)
- Don’t sit back and wait to be noticed. Ask for promotions. Do your homework, know the market, don’t take the first offer – negotiate. This is particularly important for women, who traditionally haven’t been encouraged to be assertive. (See Joe Torre, Joe Maddon)
- Don’t exaggerate your own importance. (See, Scott Boras, re: B. Molina, Rodriquez, etc.).
- Be loyal, work hard, kind, considerate, passionate, diligent, and work smart (See, Derek Jeter)
2) Socha-Gelbmann abandoning their existing ranking system: Good or bad (or both), and why?
Good. George Socha and Tom Gelbmann, creators of the Socha/Gelbmann E-Discovery Survey, have said that they are rethinking how they rank, because too many folks were “foolishly” simply relying on their reports rather than doing the necessary due diligence to be sure they were buying the right products. I applaud them and look forward to the next iteration.
3) Helping strengthen the legal technology community is obviously a big passion of yours. Any new issues you are championing?
My latest crusade is the result of recent disheartening news reports that document severe gender gaps in pay for members of our profession; as well as the latest statistics about how painfully difficult it is for minority lawyers to climb partnership ranks, especially in large firms. Even among paralegal ranks there is a gender gap, which is especially ridiculous because that’s an area dominated by women.
There are no easy answers to these problems, but we simply must address them. In our October issue, I challenged every law firm managing partner, vendor CEO and company GC to immediately remedy gender pay gaps in their shops. There is no excuse for those. Solving the issue of obstacles facing career growth for women, minorities, gays and lesbians is a more challenging and nuanced problem, but one that we simply must make a top priority and continue to address. We cannot give up. It is only right and just. I wrote about this in our November issue, and will continue to keep it front and center in LTN.
4) Since it’s Halloween, we’ll ask a scary question. In your view, is e-discovery in its current state a help or a hindrance to the legal system?
The short answer is that it’s both. But e-discovery is here to stay, and the challenge before us is to work to develop systems and protocols that help us attain the real goal – to resolve disputes in a fair, speedy, reasonable manner.
I worry that litigation costs have so escalated that disputes today are being resolved more based on risk management assessments (e.g., the cost of the litigation) than the actual merits of the dispute.
5) Finally, be honest with us: How do you REALLY determine who gets to be in the President’s Corner?
Narrowing it down to the most newsworthy releases of the month, and then finding the one photo among all the finalists that’s actually in focus.