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- 11/05/07 Lawmall Index Page - to Compare
Carl E. Person
225 E. 36th St Suite 3A
New York NY 10016-3664
Tel. No. - 212-307-4444
Fax No. - 212-307-0247
Email Address: email@example.com
Here are links to two YouTube 1-hour interviews I had recently with Harold Channer.
Latest Revision: 8/4/01 00:01
- The Meaning of Virtual - The word virtual as being used in such phrases as virtual corporation and virtual reality means seeming or quasi, and suggests the non-existence of the corporation or other things being referred to. What the terms als o means is an effort to reduce the size of an undertaking to no more than is required for the job, through the gathering together of the persons needed to accomplish a given task, but only for such task, and upon the completion of the task (and its various components) the members are released to do other things (and participate in other virtual undertakings).
- The Economics of Virtuality - Virtuality, if I may call it that, is an effort to obtain the best for the least, and to maximize one's profits in so doing, recognizing that others are doing the same thing, and that if one's costs are not decreas ed, and one's quality is not increased, one may not survive in his/her business or profession.
- Buy-What-You-Need Virtuality Reduces Labor Costs - Years ago large
organizations were efficient, arguably, because size permitted extreme
specialization, enabling the major corporation to have perhaps 1,000 or more
different categories of jobs, with enough work in each category to keep
everyone busy and to have depth of employees, so that employees in a certain
category could have experienced supervision, could expect to move up the line
and obtain pay increases, and could learn from others wit h more experience.
Large law firms have in excess of 1,000 employees (including partners,
associates, staff and others), so that there may be 5 persons working fulltime
in the managing clerk's office, for example, which creates depth, coverage in
the even t of absence or termination, training, supervision and advancement
Individual practitioners and small law firms, however, don't have this range of employees and many individual practitioners have no employees whatsoever. The main reasons for anyone in a business or profession not wanting to have (and actually not having ) any employees whatsoever is (i) increased range and complexity of hardware, software and so that any one employee cannot do enough for the single practitioner to make the employee profitable under a cost/benefit analysis; (ii) employees in small firms t urn over more quickly because of a perception that there is no opportunity for advancement (which may be incorrect in many instances) and certainly little opportunity for socialization with other employees; (iii) excessive government regulation, which imp oses too many financial and reporting requirements on an already overworked persons, which detracts from the main activity of such professional or businessperson and turns him or her into a private bureaucrat, and puts a damper on the sector of the U.S. e conomy which produces the most new jobs; and (iv) the burden of advertising for, interviewing, training, supervising, providing office space and amenities, including sick days, vacation days, personal days, medical care, dental care, retirement plans, nur sery care, maternity care, paternity care, smoking breaks, and scores of other benefits - all of which makes employment more akin to a government entitlement program than any significant benefit to the small-firm or individual-practitioner employer.
The burden of employees on the individual practitioner and small law firm should not be underestimated. The developer of LawMall has tried (without success, it should be noted) to enlist the help of President Clinton to cure this problem for small business and small law firms by urging adoption of the message underlying the rallying cry "The First 3 Are Free!", which would eliminate all rules and regulations as to the first three employees of any employer. To see brief outline of the proposal, click onLetter to President Clinton.
Thus, virtuality from the standpoint of an individual practitioner or small law firm is the elimination of all employees, and the substitution of "purchase-as-you-need" independent contractors skilled in the required areas to do the delegatable work. Law Mall is making an effort to create this network of skilled services throughout the U.S. (Canada, and other English-speaking countries) by offering various categories in each city or nationally in which firms or persons with such skills can advertise their availability. Also, LawMall is creating a new required category of virtual employee for lawyers which is called a legal gopher, who has his/her own office and own expenses, who would be available to do anything on a lawyer's list of things to get done except things which only a lawyer must do or the specific lawyer feels he must do himself/herself, and which the lawyer decides not to use a virtual paralegal, word processing or computer operator, investigator, attorney, computer consultant, appellate printer to do. The legal gopher is further discussed several paragraphs below at Individual Practitioners and Legal Gopher Help
- Virtuality Applied to the Law - Law firms, together with their major corporate clients, had substantial growth during the 1970's and 1980's, but the advent of telecommunications, the personal computer revolution, and the resulting global econom y has caused major corporations to think small, and it would seem that law firms should be rethinking how they do business to enable them to avoid losing their clients who are thinking small and virtual. Major corporations are entering into joint ventures with other major corporations, even their worst competitors, to take advantage of complementary skills and resources, and there is no reason to believe that the practice of law cannot and should not do the same thing. This is where the virtual law firm comes in. It should work like this.
- My Credentials to Write on Virtuality - The author (Carl E. Person)
is not new to this concept of the virtual law firm. He first organized his
thoughts on the matter about 20 years ago, and gave it a name, the shared
employee concept. The shared employee was to be an independent contractor who
made himself/herself available for a fee and competitively to do the same type
of job (such as repairing door knobs or replacing lightbulbs) in an office
building or office-building area, and carrying the tools and supplies needed
to do the job without any fuss or bother, as compared to the occupants of the
office, who didn't carry the tools, locks, ladders, specialized bulbs to do
the job efficiently.
This concept is easily applied in the field of law. As an individual practitioner, I find myself faced with a list of 200 or more things to do, some of which I can do right away with ease and many more things which are of some difficulty, and too often wind up undone, because of their comparative difficulty to me. For example, a litigating lawyer might delay obtaining issuance of letters rogatory or a commission by a state court to take the deposition of an out-of-state witness because of the complexity at both ends of the transaction (having to obtain such an order in the local court on one hand, and having to file such order in the distant court and obtain a subpoena or other order from such distant court). A person who knows how to do this should ma ke himself/herself available to the legal profession for a reasonable fee, which would be profitable for such person and be substantially lower than I would have to receive if I did the job myself, involving more time. For example, and don't hold me to t his, but I would have gladly paid someone $500 for doing this for me, plus whatever filing fees were involved. How much time would an experienced person have to spend in doing this task? I estimate about 3-5 hours, assuming that they personally don't have to travel to court and will have others to do that for them (at a much lower fee, of course, which is another component of the virtual law firm).
- LawMall and Virtual Law Firms - The LawMall is designed to assist the legal profession in developing virtual law practices by enabling all aspects of the legal industry to identify themselves so others can retain them to perform the virtual par ts of the legal matters to be accomplished. Thus, two, three or even more lawyers can get together on a lawsuit, with one lawyer obtaining the client, another lawyer writing the complaint, another lawyer being the attorney of record and main attorney for the client, and another lawyer being the local counsel if the action is filed in a state different from the home state of the attorney of record for the client. Service in any city can be obtained easily by any of the client's lawyers by reference to La wMall's listings for process servers; investigators can be obtained in any area of the country; appellate printing services can be obtained as well, if needed; paralegal help can be obtained also on a virtual (as needed) basis; and legal gopher help as well, which I think should be explained, since it is a new category of legal employment.
- Individual Practitioners and Legal Gopher Help - Legal gopher help has nothing to do with world wide web, Veronica and gopherspace. Instead, it is the type of help an individual practitioner such as myself needs to be able to do many of the things which arise which a legal secretary, paralegal or lawyer would not ordinarily be asked to do. For example, I might want my now-retired 486 computer to be upgraded with an additional 28 megs of RAM, and I would arrange for my independent contractor legal gopher to take my 486 to the computer repair shop for installation of the chips (since I don't want to be bothered doing that myself); or I might want the legal gopher to pick up some forms at the IRS (assuming I can't download them); or I might want the legal gopher to assemble a mailing of letters to a list of prospective clients; or I might want the legal gopher to shop around for the least expensive laserjet printer I can buy having certain features; or I might want some researc h of the price at which various Jackson Pollock paintings were sold at auction during the past several years. In other words, I have a variety of things which must be done which are not exactly the work of a legal secretary, paralegal or lawyer, and other work I need to do will be held up until I can get this legal gopher work done.
- What Should a Legal Gopher Be Paid? - If time means money to you, you will be willing to take a taxi instead of a bus. Likewise, you should be willing to pay a legal gopher a reasonable hourly rate to ensure that he or she will be there when you want some legal gopher work performed. I would assume that $12.50 to $25 per hour is in the range, recognizing that the legal gopher has his/her own business costs, such as a portable telephone and pager (perhaps even a portable fax machine and personal digitalized assistant) to get the attorney's calls, faxes and e-mail at any time.
- Call for Legal Gophers - I am putting out this call for
persons to identify themselves as wanting to be legal gophers. If
you want more information, please e-mail your request for gopher information
to firstname.lastname@example.org Legal gophers to be helpful to a lawyer should
have or rapidly acquire a familiarity with (i) getting information from the
courts, (ii) computers, (iii) mailings, (iv) publicity, (v) purchasing of
supplies, (vi) writing checks, (vii) returning files to clients, putting them
in storage, storing or disposing of them; and (viii) doing anything which is
on the attorney's list of things to get done which don't have to be done by
an attorney. Don't forget, there are many attorneys who work alone, without
the services of a secretary, word processing or computer operator, paralegal
or associate attorney, and anything which the attorney wants to get done will
either be done by himself/herself or the gopher. I think the amount of work
available for legal gophers, acting as independent contractors, is vast,
and the use of legal gophers would dramatically upgrade the practice of
law for me and other individual practitioners. Prospective legal gophers
are urged to download and read my pamphlet How to Demand More Money
-- AND GET IT! (A How-to-Succeed Manual for Employees of Small
Business) Demand More Money
Pamphlet and All You Should Know to Start a New Business in
NYC - A Guide to Licensing and 30 Other Start-Up Hassles - A self-help
manual for persons wanting to start a new business in New York City, including
licensing and other regulatory requirements, as well as practical hints to
save money and help your business survive and grow Start New Business
Pamphlet. An online course for legal gophers is being planned.
It may be interesting to note that the developer of LawMall (attorney Carl E. Person) is one of the founders of the paralegal field by establishing, in 1972, the second paralegal school (named Paralegal Institute) in the United States. The first such school, The Institute for Paralegal Training, Inc., located in Philadelphia, was founded a few years earlier, but served only a limited market of paralegal hopefuls and paralegal users.
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