May 19, 2008

Litigation Support Leaders Honored in D.C.

I just returned from speaking in D.C. at the International Litigation Support Leaders Conference, organized by Litigation Support Today magazine. It was a well-organized event, especially as it was the first one offered by the magazine, attracting litigation support managers and professionals from across the country. It was a very focused conference with excellent speakers and engaged attendees, yet the highlight was easily dinner Thursday evening. Albert Buckwalter (LST's Editor) honored those litigation support leaders with the Betsy Ann Reynolds Awards for Excellence in Litigation Support in several categories. So often are litigation support professionals the unsung heroes in the legal profession, and it was nice to see some recognition for their efforts and leadership:

Beth Kellermann, Litigation E-discovery Manager for Apple, Inc., was recognized in the corporate legal department category. Florinda Baldridge, Director of Practice Support for Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, was recognized in the private law firm category. Also, Carl Kikuchi, Branch Chief for the Office of Litigation Support, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division was recognized in the government category. Congratulations to all.

But it was especially warming to see long-time friend and colleague Tom O'Connor receive top honors industry-wide for his selfless work in New Orleans, helping lawyers after the spotlight on Katrina had faded. Many may not know this, but Tom relocated to New Orleans and organized free CLE for attorneys by getting speakers and vendors alike to respond, and brought other resources and ideas.

During his speech he asked, "Who helps lawyers?" The answer is, of course, other lawyers. In his unassuming and down-to-earth manner, Tom told me afterward how even a relatively simple thing as providing free copies of software to struggling attorneys brought on tears of thanks. That's how much this assistance was needed. As Tom shared, while the the larger firms generally had more resources to rebuild, what were solos who practiced out of their home offices to do when they didn't even have a roof over their head? Some had to move away, but those who stayed needed all the help they could get to continue on. The public usually thinks of the negative aspects of the profession, and sometimes with good reason, but it's people like Tom who make me proud to be a member. Congratulations Tom, it was well deserved.

Topic(s):   Law Practice Management
Posted by Jeff Beard