Oregon State Bar Bulletin — NOVEMBER 2003


Lawyers embrace use of technology
Lawyer use of technology to provide legal services in the United States is nearly universal, a new survey says. More than 98 percent of respondents to the ABA’s 2002 Legal Technology Survey indicated that they used a computer for work-related tasks.

The survey is a comprehensive look at how the legal profession uses technology. More than 3,000 ABA members in private practice in the U.S. returned questionnaires relating to law office computing, litigation and courtroom technology, and web and communications.

More than 40 percent of respondents use personal digital assistants, up 10 percent from the 2001 survey. Nearly 20 percent use a laptop as their primary computer, and more than two-thirds have access to a laptop on a temporary basis.

The legal profession remains document-centric, with word processing software available at 96 percent of law firms, although it’s only used personally by 66 percent of lawyers.

E-mail software is also a staple of the modern lawyer, available at 93.5 percent of firms, and personally used by 73 percent of respondents. Microsoft Word continues as the leading word processor in law firms, in use by 72.5 percent of respondents, with 43.5 percent using Corel WordPerfect.

The online resource center can be found at www.lawtechnology.org.

Liberal arts best for entering law school
What’s the ideal major for those contemplating a legal career?

According to a recent survey of attorneys, a liberal arts education provides the best academic foundation for pre-law students. Thirty-seven percent of attorneys favored this major, while business studies received 31 percent of the vote.

The results are comparable to a poll on this topic conducted in 1999 in which 34 percent of respondents selected liberal arts as the top choice, followed by business studies at 24 percent.

The survey was developed by The Affiliates, a national staffing resource firm.

Attorneys were asked, 'What field of study, or major, would you recommend for an undergraduate student who is planning to attend law school?' Their responses:

Liberal arts: 37 percent.
Business: 31 percent.
Technical/science: 10 percent.
Political science: 3 percent.
Social science: 2 percent.
Other/don’t know: 17 percent.

Read more about the survey at www.affiliates.com.

Lemon law website honored
MyLemon.com, a website providing Pennsylvania and New Jersey lemon law information, was named one of the best law firm websites in the nation by Law Office Computing magazine. The website was honored in the Fifth Annual Best of Law Office Web Site Contest for its innovation and value added content in its approach to the utilization of the Internet.

It is operated by David J. Gorberg of the law firm of Gorberg, Gorberg and Zuber.

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A new study by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 'Diversity in Law Firms,' reveals that women now comprise 40 percent of legal professionals (resembling associates) in the private sector, a significant gain from 14 percent nearly three decades ago.

In addition, since 1975, African Americans doubled their employment as legal professionals to over 4 percent, Hispanics more than doubled to 3 percent, and Asian representation rose by five times to 6.5 percent. The report was unveiled at a national conference of the American Bar Association, 'Opening the Pipeline.'

In addition to the gains of women and people of color in their representation among legal professionals at medium and large law firms, the study also shows:

Between 1982 and 2002, women receiving law degrees increased from 33 percent to 48.3 percent, African Americans from 4.2 percent to 7.2 percent, Hispanics from 2.3 percent to 5.7 percent, and Asians from 1.3 percent to 6.5 percent.

Legal professionals of color are likely to be associated with firms in the top ten legal markets (cities), and in firms ranked in the top 100 on the basis of prestige and/or earnings.

Large, nationally known law firms generally have a higher proportion of women and people of color than other types of law firms. There is also less variation in the proportion of women and people of color among these large, nationally known law firms.

The full text of the study is available online at www.eeoc.gov.