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Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns

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

Is New Law the Answer for Women Lawyers?

Since women entered the legal profession there has been a steady erosion of women moving from private practice to in-house, government and other legal positions that offer a more supportive work environment. This trend may reverse itself with the advent of New Law.

New Law refers to the new model firms that have exploded into the marketplace. Some of these firms operate as legal outsourcers contracting their lawyers to small businesses that want a lawyer on-site but cannot afford a full-time in-house lawyer or to large corporations that have in-house legal departments but need extra assistance from time to time. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Second Tool: The Conditions of Satisfaction

In three 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 the client: the Conditions of Satisfaction.

Overview

Client or customer satisfaction, often called repurchase intent, is generally the most important long-term . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Practice Wellness

The business of practicing law has become more demanding and complex since I articled in 1996. The introduction of emails, smart-phones, and text messages has increased the pressure on lawyers to always be available to clients and to respond to queries with alacrity. Long gone are the days when one would receive a letter from opposing counsel, dictate a response, go home for the evening after disconnecting from your practice and return the next day to consider your reply letter after having “slept on it”. More articling students appear to be competing for the same number of positions. Regional firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The More That Law Society Committees Change, the More Things Stay the Same

As an exception to the universally accepted view that law society committees are “all form and no substance” in regard to the “unaffordable legal services problem” (“the problem”), there is one Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) committee that has produced a Discussion Paper that has great substance, although some ingrates are so inconsiderate as to say that it’s not “the right stuff”; see: Alternative Business Structures and the Legal Profession in Ontario: A Discussion Paper. It was released by LSUC on September 24th, asking for comments by December 31st.[i] It proposes “alternative business structures” (ABS’s). They have . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Advice for the Reluctant Delegator

Are you a reluctant delegator?

  • You have tried delegating and have been let down time and time again.
  • You have found that no one does the work as well as you, or the way you want it done.
  • You have concluded that it is just faster and easier to do it yourself.
  • Or by the time you figure out that something could have been delegated it is too late.

On a scale of one to ten, one being you have never delegated a thing in your life, and ten being you are a star delegator, how would you rate yourself? . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law