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Archive for ‘Columns’

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

It was some time ago, while reading a few articles and columns offering opinions and insights into the legal and professional information publishing industry, that I perceived the extent to which the bonds between the employee and company appear, unfortunately, to have weakened.

Now just to put that into context, personally and subjectively, I believe that corporate loyalty can be much over-rated and more often than not is encouraged as a means by which to exploit workers. I’m much happier with the idea of a contractual relationship of obviously unequal parties in which each owes the other legal and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Don’t Let Your Strategic Plan Become a Very Expensive Bookend!

My firm was recently retained by a client to assist with their Strategic Planning process. During the “interview stage” of our relationship, the Managing Partner went to great lengths to have me explain my process and style. We had numerous meetings (more than I believe any lawyer would think was reasonable if the situation were reversed) but still I persevered. I knew that there was a reason underlying their reluctance to sign on the dotted line although I understood that it was not about my firm (they had already told me that we were the consultants with whom they wanted . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

A National Holiday, a Sports Team’s Name, and Researching Native American Law

In the United States we recently celebrated Columbus Day on October 13th. The day was established in 1934, as a national holiday to celebrate the Italian-American heritage of exploration; then was moved to the second Monday in October in 1968. Its celebration has become controversial, however, because Columbus did not in fact discover America and his arrival unleashed genocide against the indigenous people already living in the Americas.

This year both Seattle and Minneapolis celebrated the day as “Indigenous People’s Day”. Since 1990 the state of South Dakota has called this second Monday in October “Native . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Drowning in Alphabet Soup

“You need to return on a Wednesday at 9:00am or a Friday at 2:00pm.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh wait, sorry. You’re client’s last name begins with ‘G’. That’s a Tuesday matter.”

“But I’m back here this Monday…”

“Oops. Hang on. It’s a domestic. Thursdays at 10:00am. Definitely Thursday.”

***

The above is a pretty faithful recounting of nearly every day in set-date courts across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and, perhaps to a lesser extent, across Ontario. I don’t have a sufficient personal sample size to gauge whether the alphabet soup insanity that has infected my home province has spread its . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Risk Management Revisited

In November of 2011, I wrote a column on the value of risk management for law firms and put forward the proposition that “[d]espite th[e] considerable grounding in working with risk and counseling clients on methods to minimize and avoid risk, seemingly very few law firms in Canada actually engage in any sort of structured or coordinated risk management activities for their own organizations.” I was recently contacted by a reporter for a legal industry publication to discuss risk management for law firms and thus had the opportunity to reflect on my original statement. When asked a question regarding the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Your Fall Website Tune-Up

As I write, the first winter storms have descended upon Calgary, while out here on the left coast both Mother Nature and the provincial government still refuse to acknowledge the stubborn truth that fall is here and it’s high time for skies to turn soggy and kids – especially my kids – to be back in school. But facts are facts, and the traditional busy season is now upon us. That means it’s also time for your marketing vehicle’s fall tune-up.

I know, I know; you’ve been dreaming of ditching your existing model for one of those new-fangled TESLAs that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

A Glimpse of Shifting Tectonic Plates in Nashville

The annual International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference was held in Nashville last month. (See Kate Simpson’s posting last year her take on last year’s conference in Las Vegas: http://www.tangledom.com/ilta-2013-in-fabulous-vegas/.) I find the ILTA conference to be very fulfilling. Not only are there a plethora of good, substantive sessions (50 or more every day, for four days), but the conference also provides an opportunity for me to have good, in-depth conversations with my counterparts in large US and Australian firms.

For those who are members of ILTA, audio recordings of five of the six knowledge management (KM) sessions have . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Cape Town Convention

In September the third conference on the Cape Town Convention took place at the Law Faculty in Oxford. This treaty deals with international interests in mobile equipment, and was adopted in late 2001. There are three protocols, dealing with aircraft and aircraft engines; rail and space. The details of dates and entry into force can be located on the Unidroit site. The CTC is one of the most successful commercial treaties, having been ratified by 60 countries already.

My interest in the Convention comes about from the project that is associated with it – the Cape Town Convention Academic . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

What If?: Hypothetical Questions About Improving Access to Justice

I’m current reading (and loving) the book “What if?” by Randall Monroe of xkcd fame. The subtitle tells you what the book is about: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. As with xkcd itself, the beauty of the book is the depth of thought and extrapolation beyond the facile that goes in to answering such questions as “what would happen if everybody on earth jumped at the same time” or “what would happen if a baseball pitcher threw the ball at 9/10 the speed of light”? I’m inspired in this column to pose my own “what . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

A Public Comprehensive Collection of Supreme Court of Canada Decisions Is Now Within Reach

This July, the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (CAIJ), funded the addition of 546 Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decisions to CanLII’s databases. With this addition every SCC decisions originating from Quebec are now available on CanLII (CAIJ’s press release). This effort constitutes one more step in assembling a collection of SCC decisions freely accessible to the public. These decisions are accessible through CanLII, but also through the Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada website published by Lexum.

The long story of assembling the public collection of SCC decisions

Even though not yet finished, the project to build . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Maybe I Should Do What I Say…

I was recently asked to give a presentation on marketing and communications for a national firm. The target audience has various levels of knowledge and experience within the organization. The presentation needed to have a practical component ensuring everyone would have a something to take away. To add a bit more complication, the group did not share a practice or to a large extent a client base.

No problems right? Many of us have been given similar assignments and have been able to come up with topics that we think would appeal to the audience.

I put together what I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

TWU Law and the New Reality

As a Bencher of the Law Society of BC, I voted against the accreditation of TWU Law on two occasions—first in the original Benchers’ debate on the subject in April, and then again in September following a Special General Meeting of BC’s lawyers. Both votes were defeated.

Between the two votes, I penned a Slaw column entitled TWU Law and the New Segregation. It was lauded in some corners for capturing the evolved public interest in equal treatment of LGBTQ people, and panned in others for being long on emotion and short on analytical rigor. The latter view noted . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues