On Mother’s Day, I sat down to write this blog – and reflected on the extra challenges that women associates still face in making it to partner. This is despite the fact that most law firms have generous maternity leave policies. From the firm’s perspective, their greatest challenge in developing more women partners is the loss of very good senior women associates from the partnership track, particularly at the six year call level – just when firms are considering associates for partnership. Why is this? It is not because women lose interest in becoming partners after six years of call, . . . [more]
Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns
I billed 2,400 hours last year because I have the perfect work-life balance.
Since its adoption into mainstream North American vocabulary in 1986, the term “work-life balance” has caused hypertension in and the impression of decreased work-ethic by senior lawyers and firm managers. Its use by an applicant in an interview is usually fatal. Yet firms spend thousands of hours and dollars seeking the Holy Grail for law firm management: equilibrium between “work-life balance” and business interests. Why? Because “work-life balance” equates to associate retention.
With all the focus on work-life balance, why have so few managed to achieve the . . . [more]
I used to race our sailboat, a 35-footer (11 meters) that required a crew of about nine to be competitive. When I helmed, or steered the boat, I would sometimes drag down our performance with three common mistakes:
Project managers often fall prey to the same three mistakes in the context of project management.
I wasn’t a terribly good racing sailor. Indeed, none of our regular crew, equally busy-with-real-world-jobs colleagues, were that good. Over time, we learned to deal . . . [more]
Sunday morning 3:30 a.m. and my head finally hits a cushion. I have just done an Amsterdam – Istanbul – Sana’a in 11 hours. By Tuesday evening I have been totally submerged in Yemen, even though I do not speak Arabic. To compensate, I have become very sensitive to all other forms of communication: the voice of my interpreting colleague, the pronunciation of the few that speak English, and the sounds and body movements of those I communicate to.
The Minister of Justice, traditionally dressed, welcoming me in the name of Allah the Merciful, together with his ministry colleague, the . . . [more]
It was a toss up this time whether to write about the media controversy around Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s cancellation of telecommuting and the subsequent criticism that she has betrayed women in the workforce, or to jump into the hot debate around Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book “Lean In” on how women can overcome internal barriers that can keep women out of leadership positions.
However, after downloading the Sandberg book the day it was released and reading it in two days, the topic for this column became an easy choice. The many, many book reviews, columns and blogs debating . . . [more]
Firms are navigating a tough financial climate, suppressed growth rates, and declining demand. Previous downturns have been transitory, as the industry has been able to recover within a few years. However this time the landscape has changed and the legal sector is not expected to return to previous levels of growth for a long time. Whatever kind of economist-speak you prefer, there's no getting around the fact that now is a scary time to be a firm leader. Whether you choose to call it the digital age, the knowledge economy, or even “the New Normal,” it seems clear that we . . . [more]
Janice has hit her stride. She has a busy practice in a speciality area of law at a large regional law firm. She is actively involved in the administration of her firm and weaves regular client development activities into the work day. She and her husband Nick, a corporate lawyer, have two young elementary school children. Janice is enjoying her family life and her legal practice. She would be the first to tell you that she feels stretched and like she is "acing" neither of these important areas of her life but she does have the sense that she is . . . [more]
There is little doubt that privacy is a hot topic these days in Canada. Recent news stories include the loss of student loan recipient personal information by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in January of 2013 and the loss of a data stick containing the personal information of approximately 5000 Canadians by a federal government lawyer working on their Employment Insurance appeals in November of 2012.
These news stories, as well as experiences I have had with lawyers through my practice, has caused me to ask the question posed by the title of this post, and to come to . . . [more]
Most people are completely unaware that their car has a black box. The device is known as an Event Data Recorder (EDR) and while it’s not yet mandatory, approximately 90% of cars on the road are equipped with this device. If you are wondering if your car has one, it should be disclosed in your owner’s manual.
EDRs are similar to commercial aircraft flight-data recorders, but don’t record voices or GPS locations and only retain information during a crash event, and from 5 to 30 seconds immediately before. Some of the recorded data includes:
- airbag deployment
- engine RPM
. . . [more]
I closed December’s article by writing: Another important thing about managing projects [is] you have to be there. Projects don’t manage themselves. As Woody Allen said, “90% of life is just showing up.”
But what does “showing up” as a project manager mean?
Three facets of showing up bear examining. The three related to each other, but although there is overlap, each has key characteristics worth understanding separately.
Consider the lawyer/project manager who spends most of his time in his office, sending emails to the team from time to time. When he does walk around, the team feels just . . . [more]
Well I felt pretty good about my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions:
- SKI Mount Washington in February;
- RUN another half marathon in May; and
- HIKE the next section of the Colorado Rockies in July.
The only little problem was this nagging shoulder pain that came out of nowhere and seemed to be getting worse, not better, finally waking me up at nights. “You’ve got idiopathic frozen shoulder” the sports medicine doctor said cheerfully. “The bad news is that you will be in pain for about a year and you can’t do a darned thing about it.” I protested, saying that . . . [more]
I mentioned the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos in my previous column. Did I spot any law of the future trends there?
For one thing, I rarely if ever heard the words ‘rule of law’. There was a lot of interesting interaction about Big Challenges – economic crisis, environmental crisis, peace and security crises, development, cyber and digital challenges, Arab Spring, innovation, the need for values, and the rise of African and Asia. Rule of law is, I must suppose, assumed to be part of solving all that. But assumptions make me a little nervous. I . . . [more]