Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Babs Deacon. Published: 2013-03-29 09:00:33  One of the most important benefits of having been a member of the Litigation Support/eDiscovery community so long, is having made many industry friends.  When I say friends, I don’t mean people you wave to at LegalTech but folks you trust no matter where they’re working or what they’re doing.  People you make an effort to spend time with and whom you know you can tell your work and life truths and secrets.  The reverse of this benefit is that, being in the industry as long as I have, you start to lose these friends to illness and age.We lost Laura Bandrowsky, Practice Support Director of Duane Morris LLP, last week after a long battle with cancer.  For all those who knew her and many who didn’t, her death has created a vacuum in the legal technology community.  Laura was a “stalwart,” someone you could absolutely rely on and who never passed the buck.  She was my kind of old-school Litigation Support Manager.  And she did it all with cutting good humor and insight.Laura and I loved to recount the story of how we met while I was a consultant to Duane Morris during prep for a major trial.  That would have been pretty normal except for the fact that the trial was taking place on the island of St. Thomas.  You don’t know how hard trial logistics are until you’ve had to run a war room in a resort destination.It was all-hands-on-deck when the team realized it needed additional copies of trial binders.  What Laura DIDN’T say was, “I’m the Litigation Support Manager; it’s not my job.”  What she did was look at me like Batman looks at Robin, jumped into a taxi with me, and ran all around the island looking for three-ring binders.  Needless to say, St. Thomas is not exactly a destination for office supplies.The team followed that up with two straight days of by-hand duplicating.  They managed to set up two duplicating machines in one of the hospitality suites at our hotel.  I remember standing there for hours duplicating, punching and collating exhibits while looking out at the in-pool bar.  As we worked, kvetched and laughed, all we could see were the swim-suited backsides of hotel guests drinking the Marriot’s signature cocktail, the “Bushwhacker.”  Even though I’d only known her a few weeks, I don’t think I would have done this for anyone but Laura.  I wanted to be on her team; I wanted her to like me and to respect my work.George Wagner, another lucky member of the St. Thomas trial team and, Duane Morris’ Practice Support Applications/Systems Manager, remembered, “the biggest thing for me is that she was a personal savior when she came to Duane Morris in the ‘90s.  I was a Software Development Manager with no understanding of law firm processes but a gut feeling that attorneys needed a lot of help automating some of their workflow.  She spoke ‘legalese’ fluently and translated it to us IT wonks effectively.  She made me better at my job when we worked together, and has always reminded me of the metaphor of the baseball player who is so respected and charismatic in the clubhouse, that player makes everyone come out and perform better just by setting an example.”Kim Walker, now Senior Litigation Paralegal at Berger & Montague, P.C., also worked with Laura in the ‘90s.  “If I had to choose just one memory to share about working with Laura, I’d choose our ‘brownie, hot fudge sundae lunches.’  When things were tough and days were stressful Laura would say ‘it’s a day for a sundae lunch.’  We all jumped.  Laura was an innovator in the field of ediscovery and she taught me everything I know about technology, and believe me, that was no easy task.  Her patience, kindness and wisdom were limitless, as was the love in her heart and her sense of humor.  When a new server arrived, Laura suggested that we name the servers after strippers… one was Big Bertha.”Michael Krueger, Practice Support Manager at Duane Morris said, “Without a doubt, my career in litigation support and forensics doesn’t exist without Laura Bandrowsky as my mentor and friend.  The level of  customer support our department provides to our attorneys and clients is second to none, and a direct reflection of the legacy of service Laura left us.”According to John Sroka, Duane Morris Chief Information Officer, “Laura was one of the most dedicated and determined people I have ever met, from working to be the best in everything she did, to battling to beat her illness for many years.  She set the bar high and was a positive influence to me, and everyone around her.  Laura became our first litigation practice support manager in 1998 and grew the specialty to a group of nine.  She was responsible for the significant expansion of litigation support tools throughout the firm.  The firm and Laura made a commitment to technology to meet the growing needs of our practice groups and to stay competitive in the expansion in the use of collaborative tools in the legal industry.  Laura worked tirelessly to the benefit of the firm’s clients.  She worked with the legal staff to select and design the best databases and structures for each case.”I started out this post by talking about long-term friends in the industry and they were many in evidence at Laura’s funeral on March 19th.  Mike Krueger sang a beautiful setting of The Lord’s Prayer by Albert Hay Malotte; there was, of course, a large complement of Duane Morris colleagues; and I was able to speak for a moment with Dale Drury, Vice President of AlphaLit.Dale offered this description, “Laura Bandrowsky was one in a million.  She came up the hard way and worked for everything she accomplished; and she accomplished a lot.  She was a problem solver with wisdom and maturity…she had been through so much in her personal life and worked so hard under the daily pressures of this line of work, and yet she never cried uncle or gave up on anything.  She was tough, honest and sensitive…and always willing to sit down and listen.  She had a knack for offering sincere advice for both professional and personal challenges.  She will be missed by many.”Laura is survived by her husband, Lawrence “Butch” Bandrowsky, three sons; Todd, Andrew, and Allen and, at last count, six grandchildren.  I remember getting together with her every few months and having a chance to catch up on all of their exploits, both military and civilian.  She was so proud of her family and I think she fought as hard as she did to have as much time with them as possible.eDiscoveryJournal Contributor and Director of Strategic Consulting – Babs Deacon

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