In March of 2009, the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (CBABC), with funding from the Law Foundation of BC, launched the Rural Education and Access to Lawyers Initiative (REAL). This initiative was the first of its kind in Canada to recognize the importance of ensuring continued access to legal services in small communities and rural areas and to highlight the challenges that these communities were and continue to face. The Initiative was established as a coordinated set of programs to address the current and projected shortage of lawyers in these communities which was brought about by the aging of the . . . [more]
Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns
Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book “Lean In” urges women to develop greater confidence by moving past internal barriers and leveraging their strengths to move into positions of greater responsibility. This is easier said than done. How do you increase your self-confidence and capitalize on your strengths to do this? How do you overcome inner barriers or external biases if you are not even aware what they are? The answer is through leadership training.
Leadership training is one of the most under-valued and misunderstood opportunities for lawyers – especially women lawyers – to advance their careers. While lawyers regularly take courses in . . . [more]
The recent floods in Calgary and Toronto have brought considerable attention to the water damage coverage and exclusions of most home insurance policies. Water damage represents approximately 40% of all eligible home insurance claims, and costs the Canadian insurance industry just under $2 billion annually. While most home insurance covers water damage, there are two significant situations excluded in a standard policy: flood and seepage.
A flood, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, is defined as water flowing overland and entering your home through windows, doors and cracks. This is surface water on what would otherwise be dry . . . [more]
Ask most firm leaders to identify those business CEOs that they most admire and they would probably list a small group of highly entrepreneurial names that would include Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or Warren Buffet. Ask why they admired these particular individuals and you would probably hear about the individual’s self-confidence, decisive boldness, the originality of their strategic direction, and contrarian beliefs. However, if you now inquire into what strategies these leaders were themselves advocating in their own firms, the answers you would receive would be depressingly unlike those of the leaders they admire.
To make this point . . . [more]
If you’ve flown to Europe or Asia, you know that the flight path, viewed on a “normal” map, looks far longer than it should. The plane flies what appears to be thousands unnecessary kilometers on a route that curves up near the North Pole, rather than flying in a straight line.
Appearances are deceiving, as you probably have realized. The earth is not flat, and that so-called normal map, usually a Mercator projection, greatly distorts distances at higher latitudes. Trace a route from Toronto to Tokyo on such a map, and it appears to pass about 700 km south of . . . [more]
(Based on a two-day visit to Nairobi in June 2013)
Malimani Courts, Nairobi. Fate leads us past a sign that says “Courtroom 2”. We decide to walk in and bow to the judge and the national coat of arms on the wall behind her. She does not show that she notices us. All we see is her head behind a high desk that cuts across the whole breadth of the courtroom. A Justice Being separated from the ordinary world. The registrar and the prosecutor are seated at a table in the middle of (and under) the judge's wall. To the . . . [more]
This past February I came out of the closet! A closet that many many people stay in and are afraid to step out of.
At the Mid-Winter Meeting of the CBA I was to report to Council. Instead I told them a story.
It was a story about a man becoming enraged when cut off while driving on a freeway who then chased after the person that cut them off and was stopped for excessive speeding. When the police officer came to the window of the vehicle the man was shaking. He was going fast enough that his vehicle could . . . [more]
Low interest rates are great if you are borrowing money, but not so great for an insurance company trying to make a profit. That might also be bad for you because it leads to higher rates. To understand why lower interest rates are bad for insurers, you need to know how these companies make a profit.
If you own a typical permanent life insurance policy (lifetime coverage) and did a straight present value calculation of the premiums you can expect to pay during your lifetime, the total will be less than the death benefit. If the insurer is not collecting . . . [more]
Mark the commercial litigator was constantly writing down his bills because of his “leave no stone unturned” approach to research and preparation of his files.
Krista was always late with her time entry. She would hold off releasing it until the very last minute for fear of missing some small detail.
Trent has a desk piled high with filing because he is always waiting for the right time to tackle it all in one go.
What do Mark, Krista, and Trent have in common? They are all perfectionists.
I had a good discussion today about perfectionism with Derek LaCroix, QC, . . . [more]
About five years ago I developed and began co-facilitating a special one-day workshop for brand new firm chairs and managing partners to help them prepare for taking on the enormous role of becoming their firm’s leader. This opportunity came about as a result of my having been engaged back in 2004 by a long-time client, an AmLaw 100 firm, to assist the Board in its selection of the next full-time managing partner and to then help that individual get comfortable in his new role.
What I quickly discovered was that most professionals have a naiveté about the skills and knowledge . . . [more]
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]
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]