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Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns

Getting It Together – One Habit at a Time

This January Monica decided she was fed up with feeling behind at work. Tired of feeling tired. And done with working in a chaotic mess. She set a powerful goal for herself: By the end of the year she would feel healthy and energetic; her office would be organized and would remain tidy on a consistent basis; and she would be on top of her deadlines.

To achieve her goal she decided to focus on developing some new positive habits. Over the Christmas holiday she read two books: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and The Habit Factor by . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Best Law Firms for Women Lawyers

Every year Working Mother Magazine publishes a survey of the NAFE / Flex-time Lawyers 50 Best Law Firms For Women Lawyers in the United States.

This year there is a noticeable shift away from maternity leave policies and flexible work arrangements towards preparing women for leadership roles especially around business development. This is an interesting trend and may signal a new phase that women lawyers and their firms are entering.

The founder of Flextime Lawyers, Deborah Epstein Henry, notes that women lawyers have been waiting to achieve critical mass in the profession on the assumption that the sheer weight . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Make Sure You Have a Worry-Free Holiday This Winter

The Canada Health Act requires your provincial Health Insurance Plan to cover your medical costs in your province of residence only. While some of your provincial coverage may extend to medical emergencies incurred outside Canada, you may only be reimbursed for a fraction of the total cost.

For example, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will only cover you up to a maximum of $400 per day for cardiac ICU care for an out of country claim. This pales in comparison to the more than $10,000 per day that a typical USA hospital would charge. Even something as simple as . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

New Code of Ethics in British Columbia Introduces New Concepts

On January 1, 2013, the Law Society of British Columbia brought into force a new code of ethics to govern the actions of lawyers in the province.  The new code, officially known as the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia (“BC Code”) replaces the existing Professional Conduct Handbook that was in effect in British Columbia from 1993 until 2013. 
Posted in: Practice of Law

Timing Is Everything

Comic: “Ask me, What’s the most important thing about comedy?”
Me: “Okay. What’s the most important thing about—”
Comic: “Timing.”

One of the most misunderstood aspects of project management is timing. I’m not talking about how long you expect various tasks will take. (Answer: longer than you think… unless you do something about that.) Nor am I referring to task sequencing, or which tasks follow which. Both of these are difficult but well understood problems.

Rather, it’s critical to understand when to begin each task. Getting task-starts under control can give you a significant leg up on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Winter of Our Discontent?

Canada is a high latititude country. Even those who live in Ontario’s “Southwest” are awfully far north compared to our American friends who live south of the Mason-Dixon line. Being a Nordic country has many charms but it also means that for many weeks of the year on either side of the winter solstice (December 21) it’s cold and dark everywhere in Canada. In the morning, kids go to school and parents go to work in the dark. In the late afternoon or early evening when everyone returns home it’s dark again. During this period, from November until January, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Take the Ten Minute Challenge

Sherry’s desk is covered with stacks of paper. Her in-tray is overflowing. She has a pile of filing that she can’t seem to get around to giving to her assistant. John next door is fighting fires on his files again. He is delivering a CLE next week and hasn’t even prepared the outline yet. He’s already told his wife that he is going to be in the office again all weekend working on the darned presentation.

Does any of this sound familiar? It does to me, I have been in both Sherry and John’s shoes, but these days I keep . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Women Lawyers: Embracing Power

When we examine the glass ceiling that keeps so many women lawyers out of partnership and managing partner roles, we usually look at all the external factors that can impede a woman’s career – lack of mentoring, challenges with business development, family responsibilities, unconscious bias – to name just a few.

Chief amongst these external factors is how society defines power in very male terms. A powerful person is often seen as demanding, aggressive, decisive, self-confident, solitary and not collaborative. If a women exhibits many of these characteristics she risks being judged unfavourably and not someone whom many people, male . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Insurance Policies From the Strange Files

If you have an insurable risk, there’s a good chance someone is willing to sell you a policy for it. We’ve all heard stories of celebrities insuring their body parts, but how about someone buying insurance protection just in case they are molested by a ghost or probed by aliens? Here are a few of the strangest insurance policies ever sold. You be the judge if people need them.

Alien Abduction Insurance

Now you can sleep at night knowing that you and your family will be protected against the financially devastating effects of an alien abduction for as little as . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Six Factors That Can Impede Effective Firm Leader-COO Relationships

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to participate in presenting at a Webinar entitled The Firm Leader-COO Team: A Sensitive Balancing Act in Shared Responsibility. One of the questions that was asked by the registrants was this one:

What are the danger signs and which factors greatly impede the development of an effective Firm Leader-COO working relationship?

Here was my response.

One needs to keep in mind that the Firm Leader-COO team, in a sense, is two people who have been forced to work together – rather than having chosen the arrangement voluntarily. That is not intended to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Value of Scenario Planning

With the clean up from Hurricane Sandy now underway in the eastern United States, it is a good time to once again reflect on the discipline of risk management. Though I have not heard any first hand accounts as of yet, those firms in Sandy’s path that had engaged in some form of risk management planning were likely much better prepared for the effects of the storm and likely reestablished their business operations in a much shorter timeframe than those caught unprepared. While a full risk management program is multi faceted and includes a wide range of planning activities, there . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Wisdom From Consultants

Over the past seven months, I’ve attended several presentations made by consultants to small law firms. Three things that were spoken have stayed with me.

The first was at the launch of the Small Practice Portal of the Law Society of New South Wales, where a speaker addressed a sea of faces from small law firms and said that the number of new solo practices being launched every year in New South Wales was unsustainable. It was one of those “look to your right, look to your left, soon one of you won’t be here” moments.

The second was a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law