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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Connecting the Dots Just Got Easier

It’s tempting (and fun!) to dismiss futurists and trend spotters as people who see connections and consequences where none exist. It is equally tempting (and fun!) to assume the role of the clairvoyant because, in the words of Future Babble author Dan Garder, the soothsayer can never lose: “Heads I win, tails you forget we had a bet.” Sometimes, however, it can be quite easy for everyone to see the future.

Last week, many of us were reading and sharing the latest “future of law” warning. The fine folks over at The Economist offered a sobering look at just . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee?

You’ve tried clarification, reminders, warnings, patience and tolerance, maybe even retraining. But it isn’t working, and you both know it. Firing employees is not likely a task you took into consideration when you thought about becoming a lawyer; but here you are, an employer, in the position of having to fire an employee.

It will never be pleasant; but there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to lawsuits, reputational damage, maybe even stolen clients or breaches of confidentiality. The right way can lead to the same things, of course; but the odds are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Delegation Communication: Questions Lawyers (Sometimes) Forget to Ask

If you’ve worked in a law firm long enough, you’ve probably been assigned work in a way that left you confused (if not annoyed). When it’s time to delegate your own work, it can be a mistake to default to the delegation style that you’ve become used to, assuming that it’s effective.

That assumption might be wrong if you’re working with new people, clients and/or matters. Try asking the following questions when you need to enlist help with a task. They involve people in taking responsibility for their work and they show respect for others’ expertise.

  1. What is the best
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Of German Email Encryption Tool Tutanota and Other PETs

I’ve written updates before on encryption for communications and why the legal profession should be interested in tools and trends like encrypted ephemeral messaging, Edward Snowden’s warnings for legal professionals, and the upcoming Chrome extension for end-to-end email encryption.

Much of the whys and wherefores around encryption and Privacy Enhancing Technologies (“PETs”) and their place in legal practice are part of a broader conversation around lawyers’ digital competency — such as what Amy Salyzyn often writes about here on Slaw. This in turn engages the larger topic of internet security (and for a general background see this . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Internet

Lex Machina: Bringing Analytics to Law

Peter Neufield is a J.D. student at the Osgoode Hall Law School and the current features editor of the IPOsgoode blog IPilogue. He’s posted a short interview with Owen Byrd, Chief Evangelist & General Counsel at Lex Machina. Lex Machina started life in 2010 as a partnership between Stanford University’s Computer Science Department and the Law School with some great support from a number of “tech companies and law firms.”

During the interview Byrd describes Lex Machina’s approach as similar to the story told in the Michael Lewis book Moneyball. This is the . . . [more]

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

“Birds Fly. Humans Create”

Last week, I joined some 25 others at a Winnipeg bar for Paint Nite. Many of those present were painting for the first time since elementary school. Nonetheless, two hours (and a few beers) later, we each walked out proudly holding the product of the evening’s work. I posted a picture of my creation online and soon received a lot of positive (and some incredulous) feedback on the painting.

That experience got me thinking about what we mean when we talk about creativity. How is it that a room full of individuals who don’t normally paint could each manage . . . [more]

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

Law Librarians and the Technology-Ready Law Student

Christine M. Stouffer, Director of Library Services at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland, has a nice article in the February issue of the AALL Spectrum. It’s called, “Closing the Gap: Teaching ‘Practice-Ready’ Legal Skills,” and talks about the “widening gap between legal education and real-world legal practice skills” and the role that law librarians can play in narrowing that perceived gap.

Stouffer touches on the January 2014 report from the American Bar Association Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. She provides a good review of this report and I would recommend reading this . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Impact of Litigation on Your Client’s Health

Despite the interdisciplinary nature of law, lawyers rarely turn to medicine to look for the intersection between the two fields.

The exceptions to this would be the endless debate about work-life balance. For example, The CBA Futures report makes several references to health and wellness for lawyers as part of a sustainable practice.

Another intersection would be the recent focus by the Ontario Bar Association’s initiative, Opening Remarks, to promote conversations about mental health in the profession. This is an initiative led by the OBA President, Orlando Da Silva, based on his own experiences with depression.

Occasionally there are . . . [more]

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

Feedback Sought on Proposed New Audit Inquiry JPS

The Canadian Bar Association has undertaken an update of the Joint Policy Statement on Audit Inquiries (“JPS”), in collaboration with the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. An auditor of an entity’s financial statements will often request that its lawyers confirm the reasonableness of the entity’s evaluation of claims and possible claims both by and against the entity. The JPS was developed in 1978 by the CBA and (then) CICA to provide guidance on communication protocols between the auditor, law firm and management of the entity, in order to protect solicitor-client privilege and keep an appropriate distance between the auditor and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Good Intentions

By March, those of us who create personal practice development goals usually know what we need to accomplish by year-end (usually). We also know how easily the best intentions can derail as the year progresses.

There are as many excuses to stop working towards long-term goals as there are distractions. Busy-work makes us feel productive. As Leigh Buchanan points out in a recent article in Inc. magazine, it’s also a trap.

Proven techniques help the dispirited stay on track. Why not try a few and see if they would help?

Prioritize
What matters most to your practice? Your practice . . . [more]

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

The Ongoing Hryniak “Culture Shift”.

Last June I posted on how Canadian courts and creative counsel are using the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin to improve access to justice by crafting procedures to bring cases to trial in a more efficient and cost effective way.

Last month in Letang v. Hertz Canada Myers J., invoking Hryniak, delivered a caustic attack on delay and the Toronto “motions culture” (see my post here – “Old Brain Thinking”).

The decision of Myers J. in Pinto v. Kaur last week, applies the Hryniak  “culture shift” in the context of costs.

Pinto was a  . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

One Step Short of Disbarment

“Just what does it take to get disbarred?” That’s been one of the conversations ongoing this week with law students at Legal Help Centre.

At Legal Help Centre, we provide experiential learning for law students and articles for law graduates. Much of the clinic work is training for law practice. This includes training in substantive law, court procedures, client relations, document management, and of course, ethics and professional responsibility. We work hard to ensure the students that come through our programs learn about competent lawyering with an emphasis on client service and professional integrity.

It was in this context . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law