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Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns

A Practice for Handling Difficult Emotions and Thoughts: RAIN

It’s been raining a lot in my office recently. And by this I don’t mean that I have a leaky roof, or the sprinkler system is malfunctioning. Rather, I have been trying out a helpful practice for handling challenging emotions that come up during the workday that goes by the acronym RAIN.

For you agnostics and atheists out there, don’t cringe. Yes, RAIN has its origins in Buddhism. That said, as far as recent developments in neuroscience go, it is a great tool for getting out of what I call the back alley of the brain (amygdala) and returning to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Records Management Law — a Necessary Major Field of the Practice of Law — a Summary

“Records management law” will be a necessary area of specialization because electronic records are as important to daily living as are motor vehicles, and are now the most frequently used kind of evidence. Electronic records management is a complex technology, which makes current legal infrastructure of statutes, guidelines, and case law that controls the use of electronic records as evidence very inadequate because it ignores these facts: (1) electronic records technology, and pre-electronic paper records technology are very different technologies—each requires its own unique legal infrastructure; (2) the many serious defects frequently found in electronic records management systems (ERMS’s), and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Power of Invoking

I just came back from Uganda and Kenya, two countries fighting two wars: one with the odds against ‘getting to Denmark’ (to borrow a Fukuyama phrase), and the other with terrorism. I left Uganda as prosecutor Joan Kagezi, who was leading the prosecution of suspected Al Shabab terrorists, was shot dead. The murder was claimed by Al Shabab. I left Kenya at the end of the day that saw the murder of almost 150 students at the Garissa University by that same Al Shabab. On the one hand both states are dealing with a very acute and direct threat against . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Control

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.

– Kahlil Gibran

As I looked at quotes about the word “control”, I was struck by the variety of themes that emerged. My intention with this article was to talk about the effect of trying too hard to have control. But many people struggle with the need to take control. Where is the happy line between taking control of your life, and letting control overwhelm your life?

I’ve been told many times over the years, by various people, that I have “control issues”. This . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Fourth Tool: The Budget

In five 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.

Of these, the budget is by far the hardest tool to write about, because it is highly individualistic. It varies in form and approach by project manager, by practice, by type . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Cautionary Handmaiden’s Tale

Margaret started working with senior partner Lawrence right out of her articles. In her first years of call she worked with many lawyers at the firm, but slowly Lawrence commandeered more and more of her time until he provided the majority of her billable work. Lawrence had churned through many associates before Margaret. She was the first one who was good enough to meet his exacting standards and the only one who would put up with his daily criticisms of her work. Lawrence kept her apart from his clients. Even as Margaret increased in seniority he held tightly to his . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Protecting Lawyers From Sexual Harassment and Assault

Sexual harassment is much in the news in Canada these days. Most harassment policies define sexual harassment as including acts such as sexist jokes, suggestive or obscene comments, demands for sexual favors or unwanted touching. Rarely do policies include sexual assault as this is may be seen as a crime beyond the scope of a workplace policy with its own remedies under the law.

Sexual harassment is not just a woman’s issue. Men can be subject to pressure to enter into sexual relations with more senior women or from more senior men, if they are gay. The feelings of helplessness . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Alternative Business Structures Proposals or Solving the Unaffordable Legal Services Problem

Alternative business structures proposals (ABS proposals), the basis of which is to allow commercial investors to own law firms, have no capacity to solve the problem of unaffordable legal services (“the problem”). Their other two major features are to automate routine legal services, and to enable related non-legal services to be provided with legal services. But the cause of the problem is the high cost of legal advice services. They cannot be automated (pdf). Therefore there is nothing in the analytical literature that states that they can solve the problem. But the published arguments used to promote ABS proposals imply . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Government Innovation

The other Arab world. Not the masked, Kalashnikov wielding crazies the media treats us to each day. But highly educated, global citizens that are passionate about innovation in government. There are times you see very pointedly that you are being brainwashed.

The impressive three-day Government Summit that the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) annually organises in Dubai is a Davos style combination of large plenaries, cosy workshops, and ‘experience-it’ expositions. I was there last week. The crowd is decidedly international, but it’s refreshing to walk around in a definition of ‘international’ in which ‘Western’ is a very small . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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

Electronic Discovery: The Concept and Purpose of the Sedona Canada Principles 2nd Edition

  1. Electronic records management system technology

My published paper “The Sedona Canada Principles are Very Inadequate on Records Management and for Electronic Discovery[i] criticizes the first edition (January 2008) of: The Sedona Canada Principles—Addressing Electronic Discovery (hereinafter, “Sedona Canada”) because it provides neither analysis nor description of the relationship between electronic discovery and electronic records management systems.[ii] The integrity (reliability; truthfulness) of an electronic record is dependent upon the integrity of its electronic records management system (its ERMS). That is the “system integrity” concept of records reliability, i.e., “records integrity” requires proof “records systems integrity,” which . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

5 Resume Tips for the Legal Job Hunter

Resume drafting is it’s own unique torture. First, there’s pressure because you very much want to secure a new job. Second, you can no longer recall much of what you did even a year ago. And on top of that it is really hard to sell yourself. For those of you who have started the New Year with a search for greener career pastures here are 5 tips to help you to create a resume that succeeds at highlighting your unique strengths.

Tip One – Include a summary

The big challenge for job hunters is that the common approach to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law