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Lawyers USA’s top stories of 2012

From articles providing tips on how to improve a lawyer’s practice to stories about record jury verdicts, here are the top 10 most-read Lawyers USA articles from the year just past:

1. Efficient legal document production for lawyers

Lawyers have always been interested in better ways to produce legal documents and correspondence.

Even before computers, memory typewriters allowed lawyers to reuse forms without retyping the entire document. It sounds like something from the Stone Age, but many practicing lawyers remember the time when editing a document meant someone had to retype the whole thing and when a bottle of correction fluid was a part of every typist’s arsenal.

What are some methods that can be used to automate the document drafting process today?

2. Rethinking the roles of your law firm’s support staff

The old school model for staffing in a small law firm was often one secretary or legal assistant per lawyer, and that’s still true for many firms.

However, the old model is becoming increasingly incompatible with business reality.

3. Lawyer’s hand gestures cause $212M Botox case to be retried

A $212 million verdict against Botox-maker Allergan will be retried because of improper hand gestures by the plaintiff’s attorney, who also allegedly broke the “golden rule” in closing arguments.

4. Injury caused by cell phone use yields $22 million verdict

A Texas jury has awarded more than $22 million to a woman injured when her car was broadsided by a station wagon driven by a Coca-Cola marketing employee talking on her cell phone.

5. Medicare proposes personal injury settlement rules

Proposed rules on how future medical bills in personal injury settlements should be handled to protect the interests of Medicare have been released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

6. EEOC sues for discrimination against bipolar employee

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Denver alleging that a large retail food company refused to accommodate and unlawfully fired a receptionist at its headquarters because she had bipolar disorder.

7. Verdict provides lesson on risks from ‘accidental clients’

A hefty $34.5 million legal malpractice verdict against Holland & Knight is a wake-up call to lawyers about the pitfalls of creating an “accidental client” relationship.

8. Jurors award record $167.7 million employment verdict

In the largest verdict to an individual employment plaintiff in United States history, a California jury has awarded $167.7 million to a cardiac surgery physician assistant who suffered sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

9. $74 million birth injury verdict has ‘special meaning’

In a case that had personal meaning for the lead trial lawyer, a young couple won $74 million for medical malpractice against the doctor who delivered their daughter with cerebral palsy.

10. Federal removal statute creates venue changes

Civil practitioners say a new federal venue law that quietly went into effect in January 2012 will lead to an increase in diversity-based discovery and cut down on the “jurisdictional gamesmanship” that regularly occurs in litigation.

– Tony Ogden