Practice of Law Archives – Slaw
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Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

November has set in, along with its cold blustery weather and long dark nights. Inside, it’s a busy time of year for law firms and legal departments. This combination of a lot of work and not a lot of daylight hours can be quite a downer.

When our mood drops, our thoughts follow in a negative turn. That’s why my topic for this month is don’t believe everything you think.

Waking in the morning darkness and thinking of the pressures of the day, we might start ruminating on our failings.

At the end of a long day when we . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Proposal: The Legal Council of Elrond

After about 20 years of studying the Canadian legal sector, I’ve reached a couple of conclusions:

  1. The Canadian legal system is in the process of breaking down.
  2. No single group within the Canadian legal community can fix it.

To the first point, I’d cite the following:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

New Edition of “A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting”

The fourth edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting (MSCD) has just recently been published. It is a must-have reference work for any lawyer who is interested in proper contract drafting, in other words, for any lawyer who drafts contracts. The author is well-known drafting expert Professor Ken Adams, who has been speaking and writing about these issues for a number of years. His blog, on the Adams on Contract Drafting site, is an excellent source of commentary on a great many contract drafting issues, including ones that, for space limitations, are not addressed in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

CBA Wellness Hosts 14th Annual Wellness Workshop

CBA Wellness hosted its 14th annual Wellness workshop this past weekend in Winnipeg. The workshop is designed to provide training and resources to lawyer assistance program representatives from across the country. This year, the CBA Wellness Board of Directors decided to expand the scope of the workshop and include an outreach session for local lawyers as part of its ongoing effort to engage the legal community in wellness issues. The outreach session was titled Addictions, Recovery, Reckonings and featured Michael Bryant, an Ontario lawyer and former Attorney General for Ontario. Michael’s story is compelling; he detailed his personal struggle . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Efficiency for Whom?

About sixty years ago, a few intersections held a few traffic lights like the one illustrated below.

Look carefully.

Not only is the green on top, but note the glow – on top! – of the red signals telling cross traffic to stop.

In other words, for, say, east/west streets, green took pride of place, but for north/south streets, red was uppermost.

Needless to say, this would have been confusing for distracted drivers. Luckily, there were no cell phones or onscreen maps back then… but the streets teemed with hundreds of station wagons filled with screaming kids. And of course, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Putting the Brakes On: The Wisdom of Procrastination

Josh is procrastinating and he knows it. He’s never done one of these applications before and, without knowing exactly how to proceed, he keeps pushing the work to the bottom of the pile.

Alex has been asked to do a piece of research on a question that is so open ended she knows that getting a comprehensive answer is an exercise in hopelessness and will take a mountain of boring hours of work.

Josh and Alex are procrastinating, but not in the way we usually associate with the word.

Procrastination is putting off what needs to get done. We often . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Franchising the Law

Back in mid-August, the UK’s Legal Futures website took note that Edward Hands & Lewis, a Leicester-based law firm with 15 branches, was planning to launch a national network of franchised offices next year. I wish EHL every success with this undertaking, as I’ve wished good fortune to similar efforts over the past several years (and I continue to think that Canada’s Axess Law is closer than anyone to that goal).

But the fact that I first wrote about the franchised future of small law firms almost six years ago suggests that we need a lot more than good fortune . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Presentations and Legal Project Management

If you’re managing legal projects, there will be times you need to present information to your boss(es), your clients, or your team.

I’ve seen many successful projects perceived as troubled simply because the project manager couldn’t “manage” a presentation.

In a project management presentation, PowerPoint (or its equivalent) is good for two things, and two things only:

  • Visuals, and
  • Signposts

It is a very poor tool for the purpose most people use it: transmission of information.

The “Bad” of Slides

Asking people to read a detailed PowerPoint slide will induce a) eyestrain, b) boredom, or c) both. It will rarely . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Seatbelts On

My last column was about Kenya. So is this one. For me, Kenya is currently one of the most interesting countries to follow if you are interested in rule of law development and justice innovation.

“I had just started my working day when I got a call from my sister. She had been taken to the police station or her way to work. The matatu bus on which she was traveling had been stopped and checked for seat belts. The passengers not wearing them where taken. I rushed to where she was but was too late; she had already been . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Smart Contracts Are Not What You Think

It is 2035. The US dollar is not a reserve currency anymore because nobody buys oil or borrows from the IMF or World Bank. IRS, once the biggest US-dollar creditor in the world, is struggling to tax decentralized cryptographically protected businesses freely operating across borders. A lot fewer economic players need US dollars because their debts (taxes, loans, and invoices) are not denominated in US dollars.

What does this have to do with smart contracts and lawyers you ask?

If technology, new energy sources, and rising third-world wealth cause these cataclysmic changes in the financial system, cryptoeconomies (aka blockchains) will . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Alternative Business Structures’ “Charity Step” to Ending the General Practitioner

(This is a short version of the FULL ARTICLE posted on the SSRN (pdf.). Articles cited herein without stated authors are those of the author of this article—Ken Chasse.)

The alternative business structures (ABS investors owning law firms)[1] debate is a very live one in Ontario, and will be throughout Canada, depending upon what the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall decides. ABSs could bring about the end of the general practitioner throughout Canada. If they are to be given an exception to the “unauthorized practice of law” (UPL) offence, so . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Improve Results With Mastery Goals

Have you ever noticed the big impact a small adjustment in your thinking and perspectives can have? How a shift in attitude can lead to a change in outcomes?

My coaching practice is all about helping people get the results they want by changing their behaviours. Behaviours change when we shift our thinking and challenge our own deep beliefs.

Setting mastery goals is a simple, effective practice for your own self–coaching.

Mastery goals are long term goals that track learning and progress over time. They are all about getting better – improving.

A mastery goal starts with the statement:

My . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law