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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Trouble With Kerning and Spacing

Writing clearly and concisely is a goal that often eludes lawyers, especially when writing factums.

Justice Barbier of the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana ruled on a motion on Sept. 15, 2014 in the complex litigation surrounding the BP oil spill, In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010.

Although denying the motion, Justice Barbier commented on the response by BP, in particular in their formatting:

…the Court must address the format of BP’s opposition memorandum.

The briefing order allowed BP’s counsel to file a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

The Trust Imperative: Part I

Do you trust the leaders in your organization to make decisions in the best interest of the entire firm? Do you trust them to proactively deal with important issues or prevent crises? Studies such as the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer would indicate that your answer is likely “no”.

Some of the current notions regarding trust are based on the times in which we live – a legal market that is changing as well as shrinking, record numbers of unemployed law school graduates saddled with record amounts of student debt, daily news of trust violations between business, government and society.

Some . . . [more]

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

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Live Tweet Chat on the CBA Legal Futures Initiative

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is organizing a live “tweet chat” on Thursday, September 25 with Fred Headon, Past-President of the Canadian Bar Association and Chair of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative.

The live chat on Twitter will take place from 12 to 1PM EST and the topic will be “Does the CBA Futures Report provide opportunities for law librarians? ”

The CALL website has details on how interested law librarians (and others) can join the chat.

People can read more about the CBA Legal Futures Initiative on the CBA Futures website.

  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

A Quick Graphic Overview of the CBA Legal Futures Report

Looking for a quick entry point into the Canadian Bar Association‘s “Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada“? Or maybe you’re the type that prefers a visual approach to learning and digesting information. Either way you will surely appreciate Margaret Hagan‘s infographic recently posted at the Open Law Lab.

The Open Law Lab is “an initiative to design law: to make it more accessible, more usable, and more engaging.” And if you are interested in infographics the Open Law Lab has a wonderful collection in their Visual Law Library. You can . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Five New Documents Released by the OBA Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate

The Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate is tasked with focusing on issues facing the real estate lawyer and creates tools for lawyers to become more efficient and better serve their clients. One of its latest projects is to create a set of province-wide precedent materials which lawyers can use and adapt for their residential condominium practice, which sufficiently informs the clients, sets out the parties’ duties and obligations and manages the risk inherent in the condominium transaction. For further information on the Working Group or any of its initiatives, visit www.lawyersworkinggroup.com.

The Condominium Documents Subcommittee has released . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

E-Filing Comes to Ontario (Gradually)

The Ministry of the Attorney General has announced an electronic filing system for the Ontario Small Claims Court. For the moment, the system is active in only a few court locations, but the Ministry intends to have it working province-wide by early 2015. In addition, the system works for statements of claim and notices of default, but not for statements of defence or settlement conference documents.

A fuller description is here.

What do you think? Does this look like a workable operation, as far as it goes? Is it the basis for a complete e-filing system (i.e. including defence . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Doing Nothing Is Not an Option

It has been estimated that a staggering 1.4 million Canadians will have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by 2031. Lawyers of course are not immune to the effects of aging. Whether presented with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment or dementia, law firm managers need to be alert to the changes that may occur as firm members age.

Diminishing cognitive ability is something that comes naturally with aging. Normal age-related cognitive decline means that each of us will, over time:

  • Rely more on prior knowledge in decision making and less on analytical thinking;
  • Learn more slowly and need more repetition to acquire
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Back to (Business) School

Ah, September. The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and most of us feel motivated to learn something new.

Stanford University offers several online learning options for lawyers and legal professionals* interested in sharpening their business skills, especially in the areas of entrepreneurialism and innovation. The videos and podcasts in their Entrepreneurship Corner are professionally produced, available for view at any time and presented by top faculty from several departments. I’ve especially enjoyed the interviews with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Mitch Kapor who talk about lessons learned, developing “people skills” and learning to be comfortable with business risk. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Canadian Law Video Site LegalTube.ca Launched

Congratulations to the folks at LawyerLocate.ca Inc., Natalie Waddell and Mark C. Robins, for launching their new Canadian law video distribution site LegalTube.ca.

The website is aimed at the public, giving easy video access on a wide range of law-related topics. The site is made up of video content from lawyers listed on LawyerLocate.ca, with videos originally housed on YouTube or Vimeo, pulling everything together by topic as well as by participant profiles (lawyers and law firms). I found the site very easy to navigate with major law topics across the top. There is also a category . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Be the Messenger (And Don’t Get Shot)

The #1 cause of claims against Ontario lawyers practising in most areas of law is problems with lawyer-client communication.

Considering lawyers’ reputation for verbosity, this statistic seems counterintuitive, at least until you consider that some things are easier and more fun to talk about than others.

Fun to communicate with clients about: success (and our role in it); progress; winning; good news. NOT fun to communicate: failure (and our role in it); setbacks; losing; increase legal costs; bad news.

The risk: Failing to promptly and appropriately communicate bad news (and therefore, failing to take steps to mitigate setbacks) exposes lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Alternative Business Structures and Access to Justice … for Whom?

The Canadian legal profession is currently engaged in a much-needed debate about the future of legal services in general and whether to allow the use of so-called alternative business structures (ABSs) more particularly. Thankfully, the issue of access to justice is figuring prominently in the general debate, as evidenced by the recently released CBA Legal Futures report and the ongoing work of the Action Committee on Access to Justice. Beyond that, the potential for ABSs to improve access to justice is being put forward as a key reason for allowing them, as can be seen in Slaw columns of . . . [more]

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