Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JULY 2004


Giving employees in the legal field room to grow may be the secret to keeping them. In a new survey, attorneys cited advancement opportunities, professional development and training and flexible work schedules as the three best ways to motivate and retain legal teams. Compensation or cash bonuses were ranked significantly lower by survey respondents.

The survey was developed by the Robert Half Legal staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the 1,000 largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada.

Attorneys were asked, "Which of the following incentives, both monetary and non-monetary, do you feel are most effective for retaining and motivating your best workers?" Participants were allowed more than one answer. Top responses were:

  • Advancement opportunities: 86 percent
  • Career development or training: 83 percent
  • Flexible work schedule: 75 percent
  • Non-cash recognition: 57 percent
  • Stock options or other equity bonuses: 56 percent
  • Spot bonuses: 43 percent
  • Good culture/work environment: 7 percent
  • Competitive salaries/higher pay: 6 percent

On May 12, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a declaratory judgment in favor of the ABA and the New York State Bar Association against the FTC, after having granted the ABA and the NYSBA’s motion for summary judgment in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act case.

The FTC will have 60 days to issue a notice of appeal, but the commission has issued a letter stating no intention to enforce against attorneys pending any possible reversal. As Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, reminded ABA members and leadership on May 6 during ABA Day in Washington, "The court has spoken, it is Congress’ turn." The ABA is working with Congress to pass the Privacy Protection Clarification Act (H.R. 781), legislation that would codify the court’s decision.

For more information and a look at the Gramm-Leach- Bliley Fact Sheet, go to www.abanet.org/poladv /new.html.

The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center has released its 2003 Survey Report.

Among the findings in the survey are that: only 23 percent of law firms have a multi-year strategic technology plan; 36 percent of lawyers use DSL to connect to the internet at work, up from 27 percent last year; two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed have a website — and 41 percent used an outside consultant to develop the site; and 72 percent of lawyers use anti-spam software, up from 48 percent last year.

For more information go to www.abanet.org/tech/ltrc/ home.html.

The 2004 Annual Compensation Survey for Legal Assistants/Paralegals and Managers, by Altman Weil Publications, has just been released.

The survey reports the significant divergence between compensation for paralegal managers and specialists and other paralegals. In 2004 legal assistant managers averaged 81.4 percent higher total cash compensation than paralegals without supervisory experience.

Nationally, the average salary for legal assistant mangers (the most senior position surveyed) was $88,781 in 2004, up 6.2 percent from 2003. Senior legal assistants (with some supervisory and training responsibility) earned $63,381, 5.3 percent more than in 2003.

In contrast, legal assistants/paralegals (paralegals without supervisory responsibility) earned an average salary of $47,453 in 2004, up only 1.7 percent from the prior year, while legal assistant clerks brought home $32,185, up .9 percent.

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Improved Pro Bono Resources Coming Soon To Osbar.org

The pro bono pages of the Oregon State Bar website are expanding to include everything from an organizational spotlight to a robust listing of pro bono opportunities in Oregon.

The pages feature the Pro Bono Honor Roll list as well as Pro Bono Challenge results from current and past years.

In addition, the pages will contain information on reporting standards and aspirational standards — including a list of frequently asked questions on both subjects.

The improved pages will be available in the near future.