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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

How to Print Without Shame

The paperless-office religion probably makes you uncomfortable. The preacher says kill the paper, printing is a sin. Don’t fret. Here is why you should not be ashamed to print.

I write this for lawyers, and I am not talking about mandatory printing. Courts are more likely to go extinct when blockchains end commercial disputes and self-driving cars eliminate motor vehicle accidents than to go completely electronic. (But courts hearing criminal and constitutional cases will be with us forever it seems.)

I am also not criticizing paperless. I am a huge fan. I am sure you know why paperless is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Selling Unbundled Family Law Services? Know Your Market. Know Your Product.

Unbundled legal services, limited scope retainers, law à la carte, discrete task representation—whatever you want to call it—is fraught with confusion and myths about its risks. Read JP Boyd’s lucid primer post on Slaw from last year if you’re new to the subject.

At Courthouse Libraries BC, we recently teamed up with Kari Boyle to host a Family Law Unbundling Toolkit. An earlier initiative, the Family Unbundled Legal Services Project hosted by MediateBC, was specific to mediation. But that project identified the value of unbundling more family law services. The Toolkit, hosted on our website for the benefit of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing

Psychological Tips to Win Over Your Clients, Juries, and Judges

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention & practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

Effectively persuading a potential new client, a jury, or an interviewer – and being able to do it time and again – requires a solid understanding of how people make decisions. Persuasion traditionally relies on three techniques, namely: to speak the truth (logos), be credible (ethos), and move your audience emotionally (pathos). Unconscious (cognitive) biases can interfere with or bolster these techniques. With the right tools, your clients will be more likely to listen to you, take your recommendations, and refer you to more clients. This in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Should Law Firms Institute “20% Time”?

Most law firms hope to exist for many decades to come. But most law firms’ focus their energy on meeting quarterly or yearly targets.

But research shows that companies pay a steep price for not extending their gaze beyond the next 3-12 months. These companies tend to have significantly lower growth over the long-term.

One way that firms can increase their long-term longevity is through instituting “20% time”. In the book Drive, Daniel H Pink writes that “20% time” refers to the percentage of working time that employees are encouraged to work on any project that they wanted.

Google . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Why Face Time Matters More Than Ever

No, not the Face Time app on your iPhone, “face time” as in one-on-one meetings with direct reports and others in your firm.

As organizations pursue efficiency by automating processes, collecting loads of data and creating “lean” teams, more of us are deliberately disengaging from our work.

And we often blame management when things don’t improve. Bad management, to be exact. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that companies fail to hire proper management 82% of the time. Ouch.

What exactly makes a “good” manager? Harvard Business Review recently published a summary of research done in studies of knowledge-based . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

2017: Regulating Law Firm Culture

As we say goodbye to 2016, it’s time to embrace 2017. For 2017, law societies should place an emphasis on regulating law firms.

A law firm’s culture seeps into the very make-up of its constituent lawyers. An unethical culture breeds unethical lawyers. An ethical culture breeds ethical lawyers.

In “Regulating Law Firms in Canada“, Professor Adam Dodek states that the absence of law firm regulation undermines the legitimacy of law societies. I agree.

Under the pressure from law firms to meet deadlines, win cases, win motions, appease clients, and surrounded by a certain firm culture, lawyers may find . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Promoting Parenting Assessments by Discouraging Complaints

In family law disputes, parenting assessments – also called bilateral assessments, custody and access reports, parenting evaluations and so on – are reports prepared by mental health professionals aimed at providing parents and the court with recommendations about the parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of the children. Because these reports can be rather expensive and take a fair bit of time to complete, they are generally not prepared unless the parents find themselves in an intractable disagreement about the future care of their children or the capacity of a parent. Not surprisingly, the cases in which parenting . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

OHRT Challenges Infamous Family Status Test

Written by Cristina Lavecchia, paralegal, Editor, First Reference

In a recent decision (Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc.), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the Tribunal) questioned the value of various past case laws that have introduced and applied different tests for family status discrimination, including the Johnstone test. More specifically, the Tribunal disapproved of the existence of distinct “tests” for establishing family status discrimination. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Proposed Nova Scotia Accessibility Legislation

On November 2, 2016, the Nova Scotia government proposed accessibility legislation to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Nova Scotians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of everyday life by promoting and encouraging the prevention, reduction and removal of barriers.

Moreover, the government intends to help make Nova Scotia a more accessible and inclusive place to live and work. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Dropping the Ball on a File Transfer: Rule 48 Danger for Ontario Lawyers

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention & practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

When a file is transferred from one lawyer to another, one danger is when nothing happens on the file due to a clumsy transfer or missing critical information. A new file that has not been looked at can be a ticking time bomb. Deadlines like limitation periods can pass by unnoticed, and Rule 48 administrative dismissal dates can be discovered too late. The resulting malpractice claim can have lawyers pointing fingers at each other. Consider the following tips whether you’re transferring a file or on the receiving . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

How Black Is the AI Black Box?

It’s always interesting to me how things can sometimes coalesce and synchronize around an idea. For example, I’ve been thinking about a comment that Nicole Shanahan made in a recent collection of presentations delivered at Codex, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. She was talking about “lawyering in the AI age” and touched on “predictive policing” where the computer is used to predict human behaviour. Based on her experience with how algorithms and data work Shanahan characterizes this as “not really a rational goal.”

However, she notes, there are products on the market today and, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Proposed Manitoba Accessibility Standard for Employment

The Accessibility Advisory Council’s (AAC) is inviting interested stakeholders to provide their views to its initial proposal for an accessibility standard for employment. Therefore, employment is the second of five accessibility standards being developed under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

The purpose of the employment standards is to remove employment barriers for persons disabled by barriers—including the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation—under the Human Rights Code. This standard will have a timeline for compliance, however, all employers must engage in emergency planning one year after the standard comes into effect.

Specifically, the employment standards have the following . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Office Technology