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Archive for ‘Columns’

6 Steps for Small Firm Spring Cleaning

As I sit and write this column it is a warm 11 degrees in Victoria and the flowers are starting to bloom. While I realize that my colleagues in many parts of the country are still buried in snow, our thoughts on the west coast are starting to turn to spring. At this time of year I engage in an annual exercise that began when I ran my small law office and continues to this day with my consulting firm. That practice is spring-cleaning and it is a simple process that I recommend to all of my clients. While each . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Teaching ODR… Whose Job Is It?

A few months ago, a subscriber to John Gregory’s listserv (which every IT law enthusiast should subscribe to) sent a message regarding how the impact of IT on the legal profession was being taught (or rather wasn’t being taught) in Universities across the country.

Of course, that very question has preoccupied lawyers and legal scholars alike for two decades with regard to IT law, i.e. whether it should be treated as a subject in and of itself (in which case it usually isn’t a mandatory class, meaning that students can go through law school without hearing the word “Internet” . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

One Simple Ingredient for a Happier Workplace

Sandra asked the team of legal support staff she manages what would contribute to their motivation at work. They all told her “appreciation – being thanked when we do a good job.”

Mark , a young associate, is unhappy at his firm. One of the things bothering him about the culture is the lack of appreciation for people’s efforts.

Chelsea and her close colleagues laugh at themselves for being foolish: after all their years of practice they still hanker after an appreciative word from their partners for taking on some of the essential but non-billable work critical to the firm’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Redefining Social Media Success Through a Closer Look at the Stats

Organizations pursuing civil justice objectives need a website. On this point, there can be no doubt. Often operating with constrained budgets, these organizations need an efficient and appealing means to inform stakeholders and attract supporters and, in this regard, nothing can be more cost effective than a website. It’s now an article of faith that promotion of that website and engagement of those stakeholders also requires an active social media presence. But do the facts support that view?

Based on analysis[i] of social media engagement with CanLII (a free-to-access legal information site containing nearly 1.3 million court and tribunal . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

When Lawyers Leave: Client Retention Strategies

One of my more popular columns last year dealt with introducing a new lawyer to your firm. I said the arrival of a new lawyer or group of lawyers was a marketing opportunity both inside and outside the firm. As the dust settles on the collapse of Heenan Blaikie, it’s time to look at the other end of the spectrum—the departure of a lawyer or group of lawyers from a firm. Not many firms go the way of Heenan Blaikie, but individual lawyers or groups jump ship all the time. 

It’s a bit of a stretch to say that the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Dealing With Link Rot – Are DOIs the Cure?

Over the past decades the publishing industry has developed standards to provide unique identifiers to text products. The most well known is the ISBN, the International Standard Book Number, which now comprises 13 digits, and ensures the same titles published in different parts of the world can be identified separately. The version used for periodicals is the 8 digit ISSN – International Serial Serial Number. Then there is the International Standard Text Code (ISTC), a numbering system for the unique identification of text-based works, which links different text works within books, audio books, etc. All of these standards ensure . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Open and Legal Education

There is no shortage of topics to write about when it comes to Legal Education in the 21st Century. Most of them encompass a huge amount of changes that are in process or on the horizon, which, depending on your outlook, can be taken as good news or bad. I think everyone can agree that it is a bit overwhelming to contemplate – especially since most of the changes such as governing body regulations, legal job markets and technological innovations are completely out of our hands and still be decided. Even the most pro-change reformer who would love to “skate . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

The Speed of Change (Spoiler Alert: It’s Slow)

The buzzword bingo I played during LegalTech NY and ReInvent Law was won by the word “change”. It was an amazing firehose-of-information week, and getting off the plane I was committed to picking up Kotter’s Leading Change book (again), plus I ordered Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations book. But the February blues of a Toronto winter got the best of me and I ended up reading Switch instead. (It was an easier and happier read as it turned out.)

I came away from New York with the (rather obvious) thought that: change will be slower if solutions don’t make things easier, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Lawyer Shockvertising

2014 started off with a bang in the legal marketing world when Georgia lawyer Jamie Casino ran a two-minute local television ad during this year’s Superbowl that includes (and I’m hardly scratching the surface here) biblical references, allegations of a cover-up by the area’s chief of police in the death of Casino’s brother, and a sunglass-clad Casino wielding a flaming sledgehammer to smash his brother’s tombstone while a pounding heavy metal soundtrack plays in the background, all of which apparently provides the backstory for Casino’s decision to move from criminal defense to personal injury law as his preferred area of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

What Women Lawyers Gain From Women-Only Groups

A recent cover story in Canadian Lawyer “The Case for Ladies Only” questioned the need in 2014 for women lawyers to form organizations or hold events that are for women only. Ignoring the outdated use of the word “ladies” (which in itself shows the need to educate the profession on how women should be treated) the article raises the question about what is the best way to achieve gender parity.  

Given that women’s participation in the profession (thirty-seven percent) is still decades away from equaling that of men and that women have stalled at around twenty percent of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Apple v. Samsung – the Saga Continues

The news, reported in late February, that Apple and Samsung had once again failed to resolve their smartphone patent dispute through mediation did not come as a big surprise. At this writing, the technology giants were preparing to go to trial in California in late March, although there was still some prospect that continuing discussions with the mediator could produce a last minute breakthrough.

Published reports citing court filings stated that company executives met with the mediator in a full-day session, followed by a number of phone calls, without success.

The background of this dispute includes significant wins by Apple . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

5 LinkedIn Profile Mistakes Lawyers Make

LinkedIn is the largest online professional network and the social media platform lawyers are most likely to engage in. But many lawyers are not using LinkedIn effectively, and they’re missing opportunities as a result. Here are five of the top mistakes lawyers make on their LinkedIn Profiles.

1. Missing, distracting or unprofessional photo

LinkedIn is a business network, not a social network, so no selfies or photos with pets, please! Truthfully, I haven’t seen any lawyers who have posted Profile pictures with their pets, but I have seen photos that are obviously selfies (even if they tried to look professional), . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing