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Archive for ‘Columns’

Why It’s Good Business to Fire a Client

We spend so much of our time, energy and money on attracting and keeping clients that the thought of firing one seems defeatist. But firing clients can be good for business. Here’s why.

  1. Bad clients waste out time. One of the annoying elements of a bad relationship is that it tends to take more of our time to manage than a good relationship. This, in turn, lowers our productivity which has consequences to our overall financial performance and activity goals for the year. And really, who needs that kind of drag in their life?
  2. Bad clients almost always dispute their
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Marketing

What’s Happening in Canada’s Civil Courts?

According to Statistics Canada data from the annual Civil Court Survey[1] over the most recent five years for which data are available, between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the number of civil cases has fallen. The total number of cases initiated between 2010-11 and 2014-15 declined by 4.7% from 493,785 to 470,622. The total number of active cases declined by 1.5% from 921,328 to 907,206 and the number of active cases with a disposition within the fiscal year declined by 2.8%from 553,597 to 537.909.

The number of general civil cases has declined by 10.0% over the five-year period. Cases involving bankruptcy . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Access to Justice Needs Access to Research

In December, the UK Competition & Markets Authority released its Legal services market study focused on individual consumer and small business experience of purchasing legal services in England and Wales. Not surprisingly, this report (the “CMA Market Study”) found:

Overall, we have found that the legal services sector is not working well for individual consumers and small businesses. These consumers generally lack the experience and information they need to find their way around the legal services sector and to engage confidently with providers. Consumers find it hard to make informed choices because there is very little transparency about price, service

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

The Magic Ingredient

What makes CLEBC publications so popular with BC lawyers? There’s no doubt our talented editorial and production staff make a great contribution, but I believe the magic ingredient is the combined wisdom of our excellent authors and editorial boards.

Once the authors have made their submissions, their work is carefully reviewed—page by page—by the legal editor and the editorial board. Editorial board meetings usually involved spirited discussions of law and practice. The implications of recent decisions, the significance of new statutory requirements, a new practice or understanding that has arisen within the BC legal community—all are flagged and discussed to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Good to Great: Taking Your Law Blog to the Next Level

As a public service, I solemnly swear to write this post without using the word influencer.

Not sure if the backstory helps, but here it is…. I was recently asked if I had any ‘general advice’ or tips on how to get a new blog moving in the right direction. “To the next level.” It was an interesting question, perhaps partly because of the individual from which the question came. The blogger asking had been writing for more than a year now, and at least by my account, was doing exceptionally well on her own.

After getting through . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

‘Justice Doit Être Ouvert Vers La Société’

This was the core message in the opening address of minister Mamadou Konaté to the first conference of public prosecutors of Mali held under the theme ‘the public ministry for public action’ early November. ‘You are’, he said to the prosecutors, ‘a key advocate of the public interest and an advance post into society for justice.’ Minister Konaté wants this conference to take place every year – a gathering at which to reflect on standing up for the public interest and better serving the citizens of Mali.

He is an impressive and hugely driven figure: a lawyer with more than . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Subscribing to Open Access for Research and Scholarship

Among those of trying to imagine an alternative economic arrangement for scholarly publishing that will result in public access to research and scholarship, the journal subscription has become seemingly immovable impediment to the wider distribution of this form of intellectual property. This had led me to do a bit of historical digging into the commercial transaction of the subscription, as part of a larger project on learning’s role in the formation of intellectual property concept over many centuries.

I have come to discover that subscriptions were first used to raise money for scholarly publishing in the early 17th century. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Modern Associate Manifesto (Beta)

A spectre is haunting law firms — the spectre of #NewLaw.

There are three things every law firm associate hates: long hours, working on weekends, and their boss. Oh, you think your junior does not hate you? Oh, ok.

Here is the low-down on the traditional law firm:

1) Partners who own the firm make money by selling associates’ labour.

2) Partners sell associates’ labour by billing clients by the hour.

3) Partners pay associates’ fixed salaries regardless of overtime (but they do, sometimes, pay bonuses).

4) At least in Ontario, Canada, statutory employment standards with respect to hours, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Will Your New Year’s Resolution Be to Be More Organized and Productive?

I usually pledge to be more organized, but that goal gets lost quickly in the paperwork surrounding my desk and the messages clogging my email. Very recently I participated in an American Association of Law Libraries webinar on getting control of email. I was one of the many participants who had to confess to having over 1,000 emails in my inbox. And I was told by the presenter Randall Dean that the average person spends about two hours a day dealing with email and checks email up to 20 times per day. Dean is the author of a 2009 book, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Protecting FinTech Innovation

“FinTech”, the combination of technology and financial services is taking off with numerous startups and established players all trying to optimize, expand and disrupt the industry. The increasing use of mobile technology, cloud services and changing regulations is causing rapid change in the way services are being provided in many areas, including for financial services. Examples including new payment methods, mobile apps, lending and funding systems, such as crowdsourcing platforms, cloud based budgeting, accounting and finance software, and back office processing.

For companies innovating in this space, there are several types of protection being employed to try to maintain a . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Building an Unbundling Practice – Making It Practical!

Lots of posts on “unbundling” recently. There seems to be (dare I say it) a movement in support of new business models for the delivery of legal services – including unbundling. By now we are familiar with the (long) list of benefits to the public, lawyers, courts and judges (1). But how can lawyers begin to shift their practices in this direction? I have two new practical tools to share with you:

  • An Unbundling Toolkit for Lawyers and Paralegals (version 1.0); and
  • The BC Family Unbundling Roster

The Toolkit version 1.0

During the surveys and interviews with family lawyers and . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Peggy’s New Gig

Before Siri and Alexa etc, there was Peggy. Back in the 1990’s, she told users of a pioneering practice management system (PMS) when they had an appointment. I found her most useful when I was distracted on the phone, or otherwise missed a visual reminder on the screen. She just did one task, but did it very well. In an English accent, she simply announced “Sorry to interrupt, but you have an appointment soon”

A more recent woman in my life is Amy Ingram from x.ai. She introduced herself to me about a year ago when I tried to make . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology