When is it Time to Get Out of Line?

Posted by Eric Martinez, Project Coordinator at Glenmont Group

As everyone knows, many locations along the East Coast were recently severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  As the devastated areas begin to walk the long road of recovery, Glenmont Group sends  our thoughts and prayers to all of those who have been affected by this disastrous storm.  We were lucky that we have only had to deal with relatively minor issues such as lost power and interrupted cable and internet service.  Personally, the only annoyance I have had to deal with was a long wait to fill up my car’s gas tank on Friday night.  While this is certainly nothing to complain about amidst such destruction, the five hours I spent in line offered me plenty of time to think.

One thought that popped into my mind was how my situation, in this case waiting for gasoline, was very similar to what most people are experiencing in their current workplace.  As I plodded and inched my way toward the gas station, I wondered how many people there are out there inching and plodding their way through their career on a day-to-day basis.  While the obstacle keeping me away from my prize was about one hundred cars, how many obstacles are there in your workplace prohibiting you from achieving your ultimate goals?  Whether it be highly experienced superiors who have seemingly been at the firm all their life, a recently hired hot-shot who has no intentions of leaving anytime soon, or your company feels that your talents are just too good to be wasted on more of a management position, there are a number of factors which could be keeping you from the job of your dreams.

So why do people stay in situations such as these, where they may (or may not) realize that they are only treading water?  The two simplest reasons are that they are comfortable and familiar with their current situation.  By hour number two, it had become painfully obvious that I would only be moving about a half of a car length every ten to fifteen minutes.  I began to question whether I should continue to wait or leave in the hopes of finding a better fueling opportunity.  Of course when making the decision I had to weigh all of the risks.  What if there were lines like this everywhere?  Am I really going to just throw away the two hours I have already vested in this line?  What if I run out of gas by the time I find a new place?  What if every other station in the area already ran out of THEIR gas?  The fact of the matter was that I couldn’t leave.  I knew this line. It was frustrating yet predictable, and besides, I had no way of knowing if a better opportunity existed out there.

Unfortunately for me, there was no person, service or app which could tell me which stations had gas, how long the lines were and how much gas was left to be sold.  But the good news is there is something out there which can provide this service to potential job seekers.  A GOOD recruiter.  Notice the emphasis on good.  Just like anything in life, there are good and bad recruiters out there.  The differences between the two are long enough to justify a separate blog post so I won’t go into detail but one of the main differences between the two is a good recruiter has established solid relationships with the firm he or she recruits for.  A good recruiter should be able to tell you details about the company which go beyond a standard job description.  Things such as the work environment, current management team, how the firm compares to their direct competition and what benefits exist in joining the firm beyond the compensation package.   Because of this, there is much less risk involved for people to test the waters before deciding to take the plunge of moving to another firm.

The key is to know when to get out of line.  The problem many people face is they wait too long before taking action.  Just like it would have been foolish for me to begin my hunt for gas with my tank already running on fumes, it is just as bad for people to wait until they become so disenfranchised with their current situation that they allow their productivity to slip or begin to commit avoidable mistakes before beginning to look for their next job opportunity.  Don’t wait until your tank is running on empty before deciding to see what is out there.

After five hours in line, I finally had made it to one of the three active gas pumps.  Not only was I relieved that the station had not run out of gas one car ahead of me (as I had been paranoid about all night long) but it was amazing to see how many people were willing to lend their hand and help others.  Whether it was helping to push a car which ran out of gas or filling up extra canisters to bring back to neighbors who were relying on generators to power their homes, it is always good to see people pulling together in a time of need.  This can also apply to the job hunting scene.  When looking for a change of scenery, it is more important than ever to lean on the network you have built over the years.  Not only can it provide you valuable insights into which places would be great to work for and which you should avoid, but it could also provide you with potential openings which you otherwise would not have known about.  Referrals make up a large part of our business.  When people are contacted by recruiters, but are not currently looking to make a move, most are happy to pass along a few names of people who might be more open to the opportunity.  It is important for you to stay on these people’s radar.  Likewise, if you are contacted by a good recruiter with an opportunity you are not interested in, don’t miss out on an opportunity to possibly help out a friend in need.

If you would like to help those who have been most affected by Hurricane Sandy, please consider donating to a Hurricane Relief Fund.

www.redcross.org/HurricaneSandy

Posted in Advice, Employment, Insights

Glenmont Group Summer Fun Concludes with the Annual BBQ

Front Row Left to Right: Mary Pat Renois, Kate Potters, Dana Fink, Michael Potters, Eric Martinez
Back Row Left to Right: Adam Weissman,Geoff Zodda, Adam Malanaphy, Joe Alonzo

Posted by Dana Fink, Director of Staffing

As the days grow shorter and we trade our bathing suits and flip flops for fleece jackets and denim jeans, I will take this opportunity to share our “family photo” with you from this years Glenmont Group Barbecue.

Complete with a little known delicacy of “fresh” Best Provisions Private Lable hot dogs, cold beer and lots of laughs, we had 100% attendance and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Packup you summer clothes, donate what you can’t or won’t wear to charity, and reflect on your favorite summer memory.

Posted in Glenmont Group Articles, Stories

Masters Conference 2012 – Washington, DC

Posted by Joe Alonzo – Director of eDiscovery/Computer Forensics at Glenmont Group

I recently attended the Masters Conference in DC and rubbed elbows with several of the brightest minds in our industry.   In DC, the focus was on Information Convergence and creating Synergy between Compliance, Discovery and Security.  If you have not been fortunate enough to attend the Masters Conference, I highly suggest you put it on your calendar for an upcoming event. Unlike many of the large vendor driven conferences, Masters Conference focuses on several current and relevant topics, a specialized and small vendor presence and top-notch eDiscovery, Compliance and Forensic professionals.

Aside from networking with high-caliber industry people, I found the biggest benefit to be absorbing firsthand experience and knowledge from professionals in the field.   This was an added bonus when helping my candidates with topics on career advancement.

I am constantly asked by candidates what we are seeing in the marketplace.  My answer is consistent: The legal technology market has always been very strong regarding the hiring of top talent.  The need for ESI sales people, litigation support professionals and forensic collections folks is always there.  The difference is, in the past ten to twelve months the need for higher level professionals has risen drastically.  Glenmont Group has been and is currently involved in several SVP, EVP, C-level and a few capital transaction deals.   Money is being spent to hire people other than pure revenue producing streams.  The hiring of management, high level project management and marketing is on the rise.

The Masters is set up for six shows in 2013 in cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, New York and a few others.    Get to an event; it is great for your career.

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Posted in Ediscovery, Legal Technology

Technology-Assisted Review: Four Key Questions

Guest Blog by Joe Garber, Vice President of Marketing at RenewData

There’s no question that Technology-Assisted Review is a hot topic in eDiscovery circles right now. A quick Google search certainly confirms that premise, and reinforces that organizations are increasingly looking for defensible, cost-saving measures to apply to the most expensive aspect of eDiscovery.  However, what’s equally evident is that there isn’t a commonly accepted understanding of what this term actually means and, as a result, the need for market education is clear and widespread.  Over the summer, my team and I have traveled from city to city across the U.S. to discuss these important issues with industry peers.  During these highly interactive sessions, we routinely find ourselves addressing a handful of questions.  I have identified four of the most frequent questions we are asked, as well as the “consensus conclusion” achieved among these groups.

What is Technology-Assisted Review and Why Should I Care?

Consensus conclusion: Technology-Assisted Review was borne out of organizations’ desires to control cost in the portion of eDiscovery (review) that generally accounts for roughly 75% of their total spend.  It is unlike traditional linear review that is highly manual and involves the interplay of humans and computers – often overlaying a variety of technological approaches such as keyword search, clustering, relevance ranking, and sampling – to vastly expedite the review process.  Technology-Assisted Review has been proven to save up to 80% of total cost versus linear review, which can add up to millions of dollars for even a single matter.

Are all Technology-Assisted Review Solutions the Same?

Consensus conclusion:  No.  Today, there are two broad categories of Technology-Assisted Review – one that leverages artificial intelligence and another that relies on a human’s understanding of language to identify potentially relevant data in a document collection.  The artificial intelligence-based approach provides quick insight into the matter and may require less oversight from senior attorneys, but there can be a “blind spot” in this process.  A few years ago, the common practice was to review as few as 500 documents as a “seed set” in order to train the system on what to look for within the collection. But with data volumes increasing and better education on semantic patterns, a best practice is now to build a seed set of approximately 10,000 documents.  Alternatively, the language-based approach makes document coding decisions based on the specific language contained within each document.  This process is easier to understand and explain to all parties than its artificial intelligence cousin (can you explain the inner-workings of Latent Semantic Indexing?), provides more transparency into the coding decisions and makes it easier to audit reviewers in real time, and creates a reusable work product that can provide even greater efficiencies in the future.

Does Case Law Support the Use of Technology-Assisted Review?

Consensus conclusion:  Case law is quickly emerging to support the use of both categories of Technology-Assisted Review.  Two specific cases, from highly respected districts, are particularly notable: Judge Peck’s February 24th order in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Group,No. 11 Civ. 1279 (ALC) (AJP)(S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2012), and Kleen Products v. Packaging Corporation of America, Case No. 10 C 5711 (N.D. Ill. April 8, 2011). In Da Silva, Judge Peck specifically holds that “(Technology)-assisted review is an acceptable way to search for relevant ESI in appropriate cases.”  While Judge Peck comments on a matter that involves the artificial intelligence approach in this particular case, the general principles he highlights – leveraging technology to expedite review, focusing on quality, and sampling to ensure reasonable results – support both approaches.  In Kleen, Judge Nolan held for the producing party’s use of a language-based approach for a number of reasons but specifically because their approach has been embraced by the court system for years.

How Do I Choose the Right Alternative?

Consensus conclusion:  It depends.  There is a whole spectrum of review acceleration solutions available in the market, and choosing the right one (or often a combination of them) depends on your company’s litigation profile, your data set, and the time, cost and risk sensitivities of each unique matter.  The artificial intelligence-based approach to Technology-Assisted Review often has two elements that are in play: the need to arrive at quick decisions early on in the litigation, and enough time is available to read up to 10,000 documents for a seed set.  The language-based approach is most appealing when transparency and reviewer auditability are of paramount concern, and when an organization wants to incorporate this approach as a regular business practice.  Be cautious of tying your success to a single technology platform because each matter is unique and each may require a slightly different methodology to achieve optimal results.  If you need help on compiling the right solution, take the time to find an expert, because the cost and risk of making a mistake in eDiscovery can be severe.

To learn more about review acceleration, and the two key alternatives to Technology-Assisted Review, an excellent white paper written by Enterprise Strategy Group is available here.

About the Author

Joe Garber is Vice President of Marketing for RenewData.  During his 18-year career, he has served as Director of Market Strategy for Autonomy (an HP company), a management consultant for IBM, led marketing and product management for a variety of successful technology startups, and served as a press secretary for a U.S. Senator.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pepperdine University and a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from Cornell University, where he received the prestigious Park Leadership Fellow award for “demonstrated leadership and academic excellence.”

Posted in Advice, Ediscovery, Guest Blog, Insights, Legal Technology, Outside Articles

When Working With A Recruiter May Not Be Right For You

Posted by Adam Malanaphy, Project Coordinator at Glenmont Group

Practicing good ethics is one of the core values that we recognize at the Glenmont Group. It is important to understand that recruiters can be an extremely useful tool for both the client and the candidate if used in a manner that will be mutually beneficial for both parties. With that being said, there are certain situations that are unlikely to bode well for all of the parties involved. I find that it is important to point out these scenarios early in the process to ensure a positive outcome.

If a candidate is experienced in the proper subject matter, but has been out of the job market for an extended period of time – it can be difficult to ensure a placement. In this situation, one must understand that our clients are charged a fee to attain the most relevant and talented candidates on the market. Although the candidate in question may be very talented, the fact remains that they will be perceived as less relevant than candidates who are currently working. If you combine the previous relevancy issue with the fee, it equates to a situation that is less than optimal. Two additional instances in which I would take the same approach are:  1) if a candidate is skillful, but still very early in their career, or 2) if a candidate is switching industries. In fact, we will often advise a candidate in either of these positions that they may be better off applying for a given role on their own. This will take the fee out of the equation and reduce the risk of hiring him/her for the position.

Let me now take the opportunity to point out the fact that it may seem taboo for a recruiter to advise candidates that using a recruiter is not always their best option. At first glance, some may even feel that blogging on this topic would be counterproductive. I think that either of those two conclusions could not be farther from the truth. We understand how important it is to “take our recruiter hats off” for a moment and implement a more consultative approach in order to provide our network with the best strategy available. That is one of the biggest advantages that we, as leaders in the recruiting market, can provide to our customers.

Posted in Advice, Employment, Hiring, Insights, Uncategorized

Legal Eagles – Law Fims Soaring or Grounded on Information Security?

Guest Blog by Jamie Herman, Firmwide Information Security Manager at Withers Bergman LLP

Law firms face similar information security challenges as financial institutions, yet they continue to drag their feet on developing a robust security strategy. Is cost the inhibitor or are we just witnessing a natural progression towards the multidimensional model of information security evolving within the legal industry? The answer can be broken down across three categories (which one might argue are variations of each other), of which are culture, cost, and alignment. I like to call this the CCA model (self-explanatory I know). Like most partnerships, law firms have culture to contend with, not just culture within the confines of the firm, but for an international firm, the cultural asymmetry between the American offices, European offices, and Asian offices. This unconformity creates a slippery slope that information security leaders and business leaders must navigate their way around to achieve an agreed upon strategy and set of policies. Let’s take a look at the CCA model in slightly more detail, and put parameters around achieving success in this space.

Culture

  • Understand the culture of the firm, the partners, the support staff, and the regions the firm operates in.
  • Work  within the structure provided at your firm, as deviating too far aware from current practices will throw up red flags and hinder progress.

Cost

  • Most firms have a minimal amount of budgetary resources allocated for infosec…change this. Creating business cases or ROSI (Return On Security Investment) projections can go a long way to convincing the firm that it can’t afford not to increase infosec spending. This is not about technical controls solely, but more about user awareness training, administrative and operational controls collectively.
  • Work with other I.T. leaders to identify projects that might be of a lesser priority in favor of information security initiatives in the coming year. Having all technology leaders aligned in their thinking will present the unified front necessary to push it forward, without resource conflicts.

Alignment

  • Align the information security strategy with the business strategy. Without doing so, your attempts will fail. This takes time, not only to draft the strategy within proper alignment, but to get the much-needed feedback from other key stakeholders to ensure you are on the right path. Nobody wants to draft an infosec strategy and find out a week later that the business has shifted the organizational goals for three to five years from now. Remember, we are identifying how infosec can not only protect the firm and client’s data, but also potentially give the firm a competitive edge in the end.
  • Recognize legal or regulatory drivers that can help to expedite the buy in for infosec in your organization. There is legislation, directives, and regulatory requirements passed throughout the year, which can impact the stance that the business takes.

Look, this is the white elephant in the room, and everyone knows that at some point they need to get their checkbooks out and get their house in order. But this is not just about the money…for the first time in technology we can innovate and make drastic changes that can massively benefit the business, without a great deal of spending! They key is shifting the mindset from a reactive position to a proactive one. Training the business to conduct itself in a more secure fashion is priceless, and it is not until that is achieved that you will see the ultimate return on your investment. This is not about installing some really slick IPS and carrying on with your business. Infosec is a living, breathing animal, which needs care and feeding. Nurture security like it was your child, take care of it and build the right foundation for it, and you won’t be bailing anyone out of jail, being deposed, or sitting up at 3:00 am trying to figure out where you went wrong, and how you were compromised.

Posted in Guest Blog, Insights, Legal Technology, Uncategorized

Advancing Your Career in Litigation Support

Posted by Adam Malanaphy, Project Coordinator at Glenmont Group

Litigation support is one of the best industries to be in. At the right firm, litigation support can have a very clear career trajectory, and a relatively high level of stability. The top-level employees at AMLAW 100 firms can reach well into the 200k range plus the best benefits in the job market and a long list of other perks traditionally found in the corporate environment. Over the course of the last year I have spent countless hours speaking to litigation support professionals across the USA. What I have found is that the majority of people in this industry take one of the following two paths.

The first group of litigation support professionals I will describe are very likely to have had an interest in the space early on in their career. These are people who may have pursued a major related to the industry in college, or may have spent time in law school before inevitably realizing that they did not want to practice. The typical trajectory we find here begins with an entry-level role like legal assistant or data processing before advancing to an analyst level, to specialist, to coordinator, to project management and on to litigation support manager later in their career (please note that the titles listed in the previous statement may be interchangeable from one firm to the next).

The second most common career trajectory takes a very different route. This group is less likely to have planned on basing their career within the litigation support space, but instead ended up here due to a specific need for their skillset. Now more than ever, I am seeing IT majors begin their career in the technical support departments of big law firms. Those that take this route learn the relevant technology through maintenance of review platforms and databases, then segue to a more operational role where their superior knowledge of the technical landscape can be applied in a more effective manner.

Regardless of which road one takes on their way to becoming a professional within our industry, it will take time and effort to rise to the top. That being said, we do see some candidates rise to the upper echelon much faster than others. In order to separate yourself from the rest of your peers it is important to have some sort of competitive advantage. I see the strongest advantages in candidates who have a well-rounded understanding of the subject matter relevant to their role, with an additional specialty that helps to distinguish themselves from their peers. This specialty can come in the form of trial experience, ability to speak various languages, knowledge of a specific technology, etc.

One must also consider the value of making calculated, strategic moves. It is very important to be sure-footed in one’s consideration of new opportunities because not every new position warrants consideration. Here at the Glenmont Group, we provide expert advice on open positions within the space. Speaking with a recruiter can offer tremendous value because we see the strengths and weaknesses of the top organizations from a bird’s eye view. We are constantly helping candidates find new opportunities, and in doing so – we see which firms people stay at for extended periods of time, which one’s cannot retain talent, and which firms offer the best opportunity for growth. Helping candidates make the right move at the right time is what our business is founded on. In many cases a new role can help one advance in title faster than they would by remaining in one role for many years, offer a 10-15% increase in compensation, and help reinstill passion in the subject matter by offering analysis from a different viewpoint.

When one stands back and takes a look at the litigation support space on a macro level, the benefits of a career within the space truly stand out amongst the many different industries which compose our economy. Whether you take the traditional route into litigation support, or you find yourself in the space via another avenue, the potential to earn a successful living is very high. Remember that learning a specific skill in addition to a foundation of the best practices and procedures within the industry can truly set you apart from the pack. Finally, when the right opportunity presents itself, be ready to seize the moment and proceed accordingly!

Posted in Advice, Ediscovery, Employment, Insights, Legal Technology, Uncategorized

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