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Archive for ‘Columns’

Form Over Substance in Legal and Professional Publishing

It is rarely that I read the opinions and perceptions of Gary Rodrigues and not almost entirely agree. This was very much the case with his article Legal Publishing and Market Research – Getting It Right, in which he succeeds in identifying “form over substance” motives in some publishers’ research and in so doing highlights something short of honesty behind much of it. It set me thinking about the extent to which, in more general terms, form over substance is a familiar feature of the actions, decisions and priorities of some of the legal and professional publishers. Whether or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

NewLaw = Better and Faster and Cheaper

As I put together another Sinch Online Legal Services Conference to be held in May in Sydney, I reflect on how much things have changed with respect to IT and Law in just the last 12 months. Similiarly, a visit to an Apple Store also has an affect on me, but there is uncertainty as to which is greater: amazement at what is possible, and affordable, today; or the fact that there was so much opposition to the “bleedingly obvious” by so many, for so long.

The feeling that one lives in the age of the most rapid technological development . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Past Lives and Allegations of Bias

Adjudicators all come from somewhere and sometimes those past lives can intrude on the adjudication process. Parties who raise issues of conflict of interest based on a past role of an adjudicator usually frame that objection as an allegation of an apprehension of bias.

The test for reasonable apprehension of bias is well known. I have written about bias in the context of active adjudication previously. The legal test for a reasonable apprehension of bias is whether an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically and having thought the matter through, would think that it is more likely . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Third Tool: The Off Switch

In four preceding articles I have described the idea behind becoming a very highly valued five-tools project manager, ready to manage each of the five progress factors:

  • Manage the project, starting with the project charter (discussed in the previous article).
  • Manage the client, starting with the Conditions of Satisfaction.
  • Manage time, starting with the Off Switch.
  • Manage money, starting with budgets.
  • Manage the team, starting with assigning tasks accurately.

Let’s look this month at a core tool for managing your most precious resource. You can take control of your time via the Off Switch.

Overview

Consider the following somewhat typical . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Some Musings on Knowledge Management

Lately I have been thinking about knowledge management (KM) and how difficult it seems to be to implement effectively. From my perspective looking in (unless you count CanLII Connects as a national KM initiative), it seems there are many issues with the way KM is conceptualized that make it more difficult to implement successfully than it has to be. Generally in legal settings the main goal is to improve practice, which can be achieved in many ways, some of which involve knowledge. Starting with framing practice issues generally as knowledge problems can put too much emphasis on certain activities and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Purpose of a Law School?

A profession is a vocation founded on specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply objective counsel and service to others (1).

Today in North America a person can become a legal professional by graduating from an accredited law school.

What kind of educational training should be offered at a law school?

I submit that law students must become familiar with basic legal concepts by taking courses such as contracts, criminal law, constitutional law, property, torts, statutes, administrative law, evidence, practice, professional conduct, wills and trusts, company law, labour law, legal research, etc.

Legal encyclopedia list over 150 . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Drink From the Garden Hose

Social media is a coursing flow of data and information. Twitter’s own output is known as the firehose for obvious reasons. You can tap into that volume to monitor an event or person, making the flow more manageable. To do so, you need to understand what you are looking for and how to avoid missing it.

There are some basic ways to follow a topic on Twitter. The most common is the hashtag – placing a pound sign # in front of a term – and Twitter converts those into a clickable link. Hashtags have a few drawbacks. First, everyone . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Legal Business Development: When Is It Time to Get Excited?

How many times have you heard…“Don’t get too excited… You don’t want to be disappointed.” I bet, a lot!

When is it time to get excited about a new case or new project? When the client says they’re moving forward or when they sign the engagement letter or when you receive the check? In my book… all of the above!

The other day I was coaching a client and he shared with me that his client said they would be moving forward on the project. My client said cautiously that he always waits to see the check before he believes . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind

The front page of the New York Times for Monday, February 2, 2015 carried a story titled, “Fire at Brooklyn Warehouse Puts Lives’ Detritus on Display.” The article caught my eye for several reasons. A huge, aged warehouse on the Brooklyn waterfront that had been used as a site to store paper files belonging to a variety of local and regional governmental agencies that included courts and hospitals, burned in a mighty conflagration. Pieces of paper, bits of records, were blown into the sky by the fire and littered the surrounding neighborhood and shoreline. At first authorities were not overly . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

What Will 2015 Be Made Of?

I wrote this post in the middle of January. Some unlucky mishandling resulted in it being published just now. Part of my blog was trying to make good fun of colleagues in the industry who were getting close to releasing a product announced as imminent over a year ago. But their product was finally rolled out… before my post. I will have to remember this the next time I think about mocking colleagues.

What remains true is the cold over Montreal. At least that part of my post remains accurate. The picture attached shows how lucky we are in Quebec. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Time to Close Canada’s Worrying, Growing National Security Review and Oversight Gap

Human rights violations are always most likely to occur when no one is watching over the police, soldiers and guards who have the power and potential to commit abuses. That is certainly even more the case when secrecy is prevalent; which obviously describes the world of national security investigations and operations. That is why human rights organizations, experts and bodies – national and international – have long stressed that effective review and oversight must be central to the imperative of ensuring that human rights protection is not sacrificed in any country’s rush to uphold national security.

We have had ample, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Keeping Client Confidences and Acting With Commitment

“Lawyers must keep their clients’ confidences and act with commitment to serving and protecting their clients’ legitimate interests. Both of these duties are essential to the due administration of justice.”

Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, 2015 SCC 7 at para. 1

This recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada resolves nearly fifteen years of litigation regarding the lawyer’s role in protecting against anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing. This decision is significant to those interested in legal ethics on several points.

Solicitor-client privilege

The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics