Peer to Peer Magazine

September 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 77 of 107

Law Clerk 2.0: Evolving from Document Managers to Case Managers by Jennifer Johnson, Director of Professional Services at Commonwealth Legal Inc. L aw clerks have always been experts in triage, herding evidentiary cats and organizing and prioritizing them for lawyer review. What has changed is their level of engagement on cases. According to Jacqueline Cummins, Senior Law Clerk at Paliare Roland and Vice President and Co-Chair of Education at the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario (ILCO), "The fundamental role of law clerks has not changed in that they are still managing documents. However, they are now faced with the added challenges of assessing the volume of electronic data and being knowledgeable enough to determine how to efficiently process it. Prior to five years ago, firms were typically preparing paper Affidavits of Documents and listing undertakings in a MS Word table. Most lawyers didn't appreciate the value of taking law clerks to initial client meetings or to discoveries and, as a result, law clerks would get a relatively narrow view of the case. Today, law clerks need to be more involved in the case from the outset in order to help make decisions in line with the case strategy." Spontaneous Evolution Technology is having a tremendous impact on the evolution of job roles. It's helping law clerks move from a supporting role to being a powerful, contributing cohort of the legal team and is rendering more administrative functions redundant, so they have no choice but to grow and progress. Rather than collecting the evidence themselves, manually coding an index and ordering the documents sequentially in binders, they are now tasked with ensuring its defensibility, analyzing it by concept and organizing priority document collections for Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA 79

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