Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ten Positive Signs of Life for the E-Discovery Document

In the last year, a major law firm has been slapped with a lawsuit for sloppy document review work by their legal process outsourcing company. A state court has approved the use of predictive coding for electronic discovery. In addition, a U.S. District Court has affirmed a magistrate judge's order to employ predictive coding for the large amount of documents to be analyzed during discovery.
In sum, one might perceive the news report as rather gloomy for the e-discovery document review industry. Nevertheless, business is booming and there are a lot of reasons to celebrate.
Following (not in any order) are ten positive signs of life
1. QuisLex, a player in the legal process outsourcing industry, announced the opening of a brand new 25,000 square foot execution center in Hyderabad, India. This new office is an addition to their existing locations in U.S. and India. QuisLex declares that the expansion is in response to increasing client demand.
2. According to TechNavio, the legal process outsourcing market in India will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.7% in the period 2010-2014. It is determined that a driving force behind the market growth is favorable government policies.
3. Tower Legal Solutions, a legal staffing and managed review company based in New York City, recently announced the addition of its 10,000 square foot cutting edge document review center in Charlotte, South Carolina. In addition to accommodating 300 document reviewers, the new facility will house Tower Legal's internal staff.
4. A leading e-discovery solutions company, DW Legal, expanded its Chicago document review facilities last month to add 15,000 square feet of space. The increased space enables DW Legal to employ additional attorneys and support staff for document review projects.
5. Excelerate Discovery, one of the top providers of electronic discovery services, announced the introduction of Japanese Language Document Review Services as part of its portfolio of services.
6. Gallivan, Gallivan and O'Melia (GGO, LLC), who has been a leader for 10 years in providing e-discovery solutions, recently announced the expansion of its UK facilities. Growing demands for e-discovery services and hosted document review fueled the growth as GGO's projects and volume of data doubled within one year of opening its London operation in 2011.
7. Last month, UnitedLex announced that it projects to close its financial year with $45 million in revenue - a growth of 80% over last year.
8. IBISWorld forecasts that the law firms industry, which is now worth $281 billion, will grow by 2.8% per year to 2016.
9. SochaGelbmann Surveys reports the e-discovery industry grew at a CAGR of 34.4% from 2002 to 2010.
10. Across the globe, legal process outsourcing is expected to grow to a $1.3 billion market by 2015. The LPO industry in India is expected to employ 18,000 professionals and post an annual revenue of $960 million by the end of 2015.
Additional positive signs of life may be found in Israel, where new companies such as Legal Writing Services and Exact Legal Review are offering an outsourcing alternative to India. Israel possesses a large pool of English speaking, U.S. educated and U.S. licensed attorneys who can provide U.S. quality legal work at offshore prices.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Business Man for All Seasons

Henry had a problem. As CEO of a family run conglomerate that was one of the most powerful on the planet, he was not answerable to external shareholders and with the resources at his disposal (that included an effective private paramilitary force) he had the had the power to achieve just about anything he wanted by one means or another. He had a highly autocratic management style, but like many CEO's of similar style, had a fiercely loyal cadre of followers. Certainly not a man to be crossed.
But there was one thing he desperately craved that he couldn't have. Educated in one of the UK's finest Public Schools his closest friend and confidante from those days, Thomas, had been the son of an Archbishop well known for his outspoken views on such issues as poverty and social justice and Tom had a similar vein of tenacity. Despising one another on sight, and despite coming from very different worlds the two boys struck up a friendship and mutual respect that had endured over the years, as Henry eventually took over the conglomerate and Tom followed his father's calling through dedicating his life to working with the underprivileged and eventually rising to become one of the most respected leaders in Western Europe, renowned for his clear and uncompromising views on social justice.
Henry and Tom would often meet and debate at length their different perspectives - and while they shared a bond of friendship and respect for one another, their views fiercely clashed. Through direct and indirect control, Henry's business interests spanned healthcare, property, food production, armaments, financial services, liquor, gaming and other sectors, and he had a simple and Darwinian view that it was his right to do whatever he pleased to maximize profits regardless of the consequences. On the other hand Tom constantly argued from the perspective that there were absolute standards of right and wrong, and that Henry must be accountable for his actions.
Over the years, despite their friendship, this rift began to widen as Henry, increasingly emboldened by his ability to use fair means and foul to achieve his objectives, began to do more and more that Tom believed was across the line, and Tom began to build a reputation for being a person willing to speak out against Henry's approaches. This infuriated Henry, who privately had the worry that Tom had a point, and desperately wanted to gain his approval. Things became very tense.
Matters came to a head when a long and convoluted series of business deals Henry had been working on for years finally fell into place. Over the years he had used his influence and money - and the occasional assassination, military coup or civil war - to give his operations favorable positions in a number of countries and using this, his business interests and those he controlled covertly plus a series of complex financial transactions he now had effective supply and pricing control across enough key sectors of the economy that he was effectively an undeclared dictator.
Tom had learned of these plans through concerned contacts in Henry's organization and, knowing his friend as he did, was appalled at the likely consequences as Henry now had the power to cause mayhem and great suffering to many in society. He began a vocal campaign to rouse politicians and the public to be aware of Henry's plans and their evil intent.
The news broke as Henry was meeting with his inner circle of his most trusted senior executives at his retreat in the English countryside. Throwing the papers across the boardroom table in rage he shouted to his team "How long do I have to put up with this interference! How can I shut him up for good?"
One of his team quietly slipped out of the room. Taking a small encrypted mobile phone from his pocket he punched a speed dial number and it was answered immediately."Implement Silver Arrow" was all he said, and returned to the conference.
At 8pm that night as Thomas was leading his weekly church service for the homeless in a former cinema in the city's notorious red light district, two masked gunmen entered from a side door, each emptied a full magazine of 9mm rounds from their machine pistols into the startled Thomas, and disappeared while the congregation stood aghast at Thomas's lifeless body draped across the lecturn, blood slowly dripping from his outstretched hand.
On course this story is not a modern one but one based on fact, and often referred to in literature, of the relationship between King Henry II of England and Thomas a Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury. "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest" (meddlesome and troublesome are also words that have been used) was his cry of frustration, picked up by his knights, and Thomas was silenced for good.
The scenario is played out in the corporate world on a daily basis. Human nature is such that there will always be those whose ambition and self-focus needs to have boundaries, or they will quickly cross the line to the detriment of others. Whether described as corporate greed, personal ambition or any other label there is constant pressure to play loose and fast and there is the counterbalancing reaction by those who resist this - typically not for their own benefit. Have you ever thought, for example, why bank regulators exist? The answer is simple - because banks exist. I'm not taking a pot shot at banks - every industry has elements of the same.
The only thing that has changed is that Henry II had his knights to do the dirty work for him without having scruples. Today, that's what the HR department is for.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Everybody Else Does When It Comes To Bullying And What You Should Do Different

When bullying stretches its ugly head and seems to wow for attention, most of the world population looks the other way. The only time that the world truly cares about bullying is when it is about to lose something.
Rarely do you interfere when a husband and wife are having a fight. Especially if the man is huge and mean looking and if you dare even look in his direction he would shift his cruelty to you. There have been some brave souls and you read about them on the nightly news as victims. So we have been punished by taking any action to helping others. Now, if the cops are nearby they may take some action if there are enough of them to go around, and their guns are bigger.
Others just look the other way. If it is a child that is bullying another child, and it is not your child being bullied you look the other way. You do not want to have the wrath of that child on your back. When an employee is being bullied and you are the boss, you may respond if the person who is doing the bullying is smaller, not so outspoken, poorly educated.
Generally, we allow spots of bullying in our society, we hope that it will correct itself, or that the person being bullied will wake up and fight back. There are many services to help out the employee, the Human Resources Department or Personnel. Do not hold back from writing letters to those departments and to the boss. Maintain a track record and the next stop is the Civil Rights Commission. An employee does not have to put up with bullying of any kind.
We allow bullying to happen and flourish in our society. It is only when it comes knocking on our door that we react and fight back or tell someone.
It is all about size, or power and being outspoken. It is not one gender over the other. Even though the male has been given much attention today. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and packages.
Bullying in school is quite remarkable in that you do have defense mechanisms in place, like the teacher, administrators, counselors, coaches and other school officials. You would think that a person being bullied or their parents would use those services.
The only reason that they are not using them is due to fear or what may happen to them if the bully hears about it. There has to be much more said about bullying and bullies in our schools. Parents can be bullied as well by students and the students parents.
At work is a very different story because you can quit and lose you financial support and not be able to pay your bills. Work has its safety nets as mentioned earlier.
In a nutshell, one should seek outside advice, and use all the uses that are provided by the industry. You can always go to the media and shout out your situation. Documentation of everything and keeping a good track record is important. Defending yourself at all costs is a must.
Purchasing weapons if you feel the need for your protection. Making sure that you home is fully protected and has video recording device at hand. Make sure you do not go this alone. Tell family, friends and love ones about what you are facing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stress at Work and Best Practice

There are many myths and misconceptions about stress, so I thought that I would write a summary for you.
Q: Is stress is good for me? A: No! Pressure is good for you but stress is not.
Q: What is the difference between pressure and stress? A: Pressure motivates and is within your control and you can usually manage it. Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed upon them.
Q: What causes stress? A: Fundamentally, it is the way that we think about a
situation rather than the situation itself, that causes stress.
Q: What is a stress 'carrier'? A: People who exhibit stress-producing behaviour but are unaware of the impact of their conduct upon others.
Q: What are some of the physical reactions to stress? A: Dry mouth, anxiety, rapid breathing, moist palms.
Q: What are some of the symptoms of prolonged stress? A: Sleep problems, headaches, anger, indigestion.
Q: What are some of the causes of workplace stress? A: Long working hours, lack of autonomy, excessive expectations, uncertainty, work under-load / overload
Q: What are some of the effects of workplace stress? A: Poor performance and productivity, low morale, reduced commitment and increased absenteeism
Q: What can the organisation do to manage stress? A: Introduce Best Practice with primary, secondary and tertiary levels of intervention.
Q: What is the primary level intervention? A: The primary level deals with the assessment of risk and its prevention by introducing appropriate interventions, reviewing the needs of the organisation and implementing an anti-stress policy.
Q: I am the CEO of a pharmaceutical company and want to assess the risk of stress in my organisation. How can I do this? A: You will need to ensure that:
a) Demands upon employees are realistic.
b) Change is managed effectively.
c) Procedures for dealing with grievances are introduced.
d) Teams are allowed some control over their work
e) Role conflict and ambiguity are avoided
f) Published support is available within the organisation.
Q: What is the secondary level intervention? A: This includes training, education and implementation
Q: I am a training director of an IT company? What training initiatives have been proven to work? A: There are two training initiatives that will help reduce stress in your organisation:
a) Stress awareness and resilience training for all employees. Many organisations cannot eradicate stress but they can strengthen the resilience of their employees to manage it effectively. Individuals can be taught how to increase their capacity to tolerate excessive demands and learn how to 'bounce back' from challenges.
b) Stress Management training for all Managers. Managers need to recognise the signs and symptoms of stress in both themselves and in others and know how to deal with it quickly and efficiently so that team performance is not impaired.
Q: What is the 3rd level intervention? A: Dealing with stress-related problems in the workplace by timely interventions and by offering coaching, counselling, mediation and regular staff appraisals.
Q: I am a Manager and I assume that you would say that I have a fundamental role
in managing stress in my team? A: Exactly so. Your role is to manage people and you need to communicate, 'walk the talk', be approachable and value individual and team effort by recognition.
Q: What are the benefits of taking action to manage work stress? A: The organisation will benefit from reduced absenteeism, improved staff morale and increased productivity.
Q: What is your key message? A: Create a healthy workplace culture where you have motivated and resilient teams who love what they do! Engage, involve and inspire them and lead by inspiration and motivation.
Q: What do I do next? A: You could buy a copy of my new book, Show Stress Who's Boss! and put these interventions into practice.
Is this all difficult to do? No! Is it costly to implement? No! Then how many companies
are actually committed to doing it? Now that's another question for another time!
Keys Points
  1. Excessive pressure = stress
  2. Anti-stress interventions, work!
  3. Resilience is the key to beating stress!
This article was written by Carole Spiers and originally published by her with Gulf News.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Choose Keywords for Your Articles

So you've started a blog or a niche website and you'd like to start writing content but you don't know where to begin? The thing is that, even though you'd like to think that you could start anywhere, it just isn't true. You can't publish posts that will not bring traffic to your site... unless you want to write and keep those articles just to yourself, but then what would be the point? You need to make sure that the keywords you will target have enough people searching for them on a daily basis. That will mean that those keywords are viable. But that's not all...
How to Choose the Perfect Keywords?
As I said, the keywords you go after should be words or sentences that people will be typing in Google, Yahoo or Bing, and the more people per day, the better for you. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as I make it sound. Why? Because if it was, we would all be targeting keywords such as "payday loans", "make money online" and "buy Viagra"... then rank for them and rake in the big money! You also have to check out the competition for those keywords, so you can see if it will be easy for you to earn a spot in the top 3 or just near impossible.
Yes, the perfect keywords are those that show the perfect balance between high searches and low competition. Your job now will be to find them.
Finding Your Keywords
Finding your keywords is a two-step program that starts with you sorting out between the potential winners. The way to do that is to open Google Keyword Tool (you'll need to register to be able to use it well) and type in the topic, the general subject of your blog (i.e. make money, writing, dog grooming, and so on). Before you press enter, you want to make sure that in the match types option you've selected [Exact] as you only want Google to give you the number of people looking for those exact terms and nothing else.
OK, so now you have your list that should be around 800 results long (that's the maximum number Google will return). Click on the Global Monthly Searches element in the menu to sort the keywords by their volume of searches. Don't even look at those results that bring in hundreds of thousands of searches; it would cost you too much time and money to rank for those... and I can't even guarantee that you could as those keywords are generally already taken by old authority sites with high PR and A LOT of backlinks. What you should pay attention to are long tail keywords from 1,000 to 10,000 exact searches per month. Don't go lower than one thousand as, even if you placed 1st for those keywords, the resulting traffic would not justify all your efforts. Now, copy and paste those results in Word and go to the second step.
Determine the Competition for your Keywords
Now that you have your list of keywords, you need to check whether you have a standing chance to rank for them or not. There are 2 ways to go about it, the fast and the not so fast. If you want the process to be automated, you can get your hands on a piece of software like Market Samurai or Traffic Travis... There are Free Trial versions for the both of them so you can test for yourself if you like them or not (personally, I have a preference for MS as its SEO competition tool tells you exactly what you need to know in a clear and concise manner).
If you prefer to do the checking manually, here's how to go about it:
  • Install SEO Quake: first of all, install SEO Quake plugin in your web browser.

  • Check the PR: type in your keyword in Google and, with the help of SEO Quake, check the PR of the 10 first sites. Are they all high PR? Do you see any PR0-3? The less sites with a high PR, the better.

  • Check the Backlinks: once again, for the first 10 results, you want to see how many backlinks they have and how strong those are. Why only the first 10? Because it doesn't matter whether you have 1,000,000 competitors for that keyword or just 10,000, as the money is on the first page of Google, you're only interested in the strength of those as they're the ones you're trying to beat. Now, the easiest way to check the backlinks of your competitors is to make a search on websites such as BackLinkWatch. You put the URL in and they'll tell you exactly how many links this site has.

  • Check the Age: the older the sites, the worst news it is for you. Websites that have been around for a while will be harder to beat as they've proven their worth through the years.

  • Any .edu or .gov?: if the sites on the first page are educational or government, it's going to be that much harder to outrank them. Google and the other search engines give them more weight than regular com/net/org. So that's another thing to watch out for when you choose keywords for your site.
You see, deciding which keywords to use and which to avoid is not an art, it's a science. It means that there are certain rules to follow and that, if you do, you can rest assured that your website will rank for them and bring traffic back. So put these tips into practice and watch your website rise to the top!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Global Warming: Save Your Planet, Act Today

The oxford dictionary defines global warming as the increase in temperature of the earth's atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gases, especially carbon dioxide.
So how does it work? How nature intends for the sun to heat the earth is for the sun to shine UV rays down on the earth. These rays should then bounce off the earth and back out into space. To keep the Earth's temperature in balance some of these rays are blocked by the atmosphere from making it to outer space. The heat from these rays are then used to keep the earth at the temperature nature intended. However we are messing with nature's intentions. What is happening now is a severe increase in the amount of greenhouse gases being sent into our atmosphere due to advancements in technology and our huge dependence on heavy industry and fossil fuels. These gases act as a shield so that when UV rays bounce off the earth now the majority of them are trapped by these gases instead of continuing into space. The result of this is that these trapped rays end up heating the earth beyond the desired temperature.
Since the early 20th century the earth's temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees. The majority of this increase has occurred since the 1980s. 1.4 degrees that's not so bad, right? Wrong. The majority of the environmental disasters you hear about on the news every evening, scientists are attributing to this increase in temperature.
Critics will argue 'that's rubbish there have always been natural disasters, before we ever even heard about global warming'. OK so, I guess their right, the increase in weather related natural disasters from 120 per year during the 1980s to roughly 500 per year now is just a coincidence (insert sarcasm here). That is an increase of around 400% since the 1980s. If you look closer you will notice the number of natural disasters started to increase right about the same time the earth's temperature started to increase but that's probably just another coincidence as well. Remember this is the result of 1.4 degree increase in the Earth's temperature. This figure is set to reach 8 degrees in the next hundred years if current trends continue you can do the math on that one.
Scientists have also noted a rapid melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming. When an ice cube melts in a glass it turns to water and will increase the volume of water in the glass. Imagine this on a scale so large that the ice cube is a continent and the glass is the world's oceans and then guess what happens. That's right our ocean's levels rise and swallow up coastal areas all over the world. At the moment, we can see evidence of it happening in Thailand and this is one of many examples where hundreds have died and millions displaced because of severe flooding. In the future, low lying countries, such as The Netherlands, could be completely submerged and cease to exist if this trend is left to continue.
The whole point of this article was not to leave you with nightmares but to educate you into action. There are so many steps we can take on our own and as a society to help reduce our carbon footprint and leave a safe environment for our future generations.
'In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action', Tony Robbins

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Protecting Veterans From Mesothelioma

In recent news, a San Francisco-based chemical risk assessment company claims that the United States Navy was ahead of the game when they attempted to protect veterans and civilians from mesothelioma back in the 1960s. At that time, U.S. Naval ships were heavily laden with asbestos, making Navy servicemen among the most common victims of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, which is a protective layer surrounding the organs of the body. It has since been determined that there is a direct correlation between asbestos exposure and a person's likelihood of developing mesothelioma.
Understanding the Risks Associated with Asbestos
Researchers, Kara Franke and Dennis Paustenbach, examined dozens of published and unpublished documents on asbestos knowledge between the years of 1900 to 1970, and were able to determine that the Navy actually understood the health hazards of asbestos as far back as the 1930's. However, despite the known risks and dangers of asbestos, the Navy continued to require its use on ships. The Navy also recommended that certain precautions be taken in order to handle asbestos-laden materials more carefully. After mesothelioma was clearly linked to asbestos in the 1960's, the ChemRisk researchers claimed that the Navy "attempted to implement procedures that would minimize the opportunity for adverse effects on both servicemen and civilians."
Too Little; Too Late
Despite precautions taken by the U.S. Navy, countless U.S. Naval veterans have subsequently developed mesothelioma. Part of the inherent danger associated with mesothelioma stems from its latency period where it can take as long as 40 years to even become symptomatic after asbestos exposure. For many Naval veterans, this meant that they had already set themselves up for the likelihood that they would develop mesothelioma based on their previous asbestos exposure during the 1940's and 1950's. Additionally, thousands of people working in other non-Naval industries were also exposed to asbestos and have the potential to develop mesothelioma either because their employers were unaware of the dangers, or simply because they mindfully chose to ignore the growing evidence of the material's toxicity and carcinogenicity.
The results of Franke and Paustenbach's study was published in the journal Inhalation Toxicology, and stated that, by as early as 1930, "it was clear that occupational exposure to asbestos caused a unique disease (asbestosis)". Understanding of asbestos increased steadily between about 1938 and 1965 during which time "a considerable amount of exposure and epidemiology data was collected" by private and government scientists. Franke and Paustenbach's study was recently presented at the 21st annual International Society of Exposure Science meeting in Baltimore. Maryland.
Treating Mesothelioma in the U.S. Today
Today, in the United States alone, more than 2,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. And while the treatments for some forms of cancer are improving, the prognosis for those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma is still challenging. Today, multi-modality treatments, immune therapies and gene therapies are being investigated as potential therapeutic modalities for mesothelioma victims.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.