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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Creative Use of Six Sigma Tools

I am on a path toward certification in Lean Six Sigma; I should probably say further certification since I passed a Green Belt certification exam in November. One of the most interesting aspects of the courses that I am taking is the introduction to a plethora of analysis tools. One such tool is the House of Quality.

A House of Quality is a method to reconcile what customers want with what can be designed. Often referred to as “Quality Function Deployment”, this tool originated in Japan (in a shipyard), and it graphically links customer needs to product capabilities. It also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

IBM’s Watson Is in Town!

In fact, Watson has been downtown learning about law and legal research at the University of Toronto since sometime early this fall. IBM approached 10 schools and challenged them to “put an entrepreneurial spin on Watson’s artificial intelligence.” U of T was the only Canadian university invited to participate in this IBM Watson Cognitive Computing Competition. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Death Knell for the Billable Hour? Bank of Nova Scotia v. Diemer ONCA

In this important decision released 1 December 2014 the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a motions judge’s refusal to approve a court appointed receiver’s fees, and comments on the undesirable features of the billable hour model.

The motions judge held the legal fees charged were “disproportionate ” to the size of the receivership, that the usual or standard rates were too high, and that excessive work was done by senior counsel on routine matters. The judge found the fees charged “greatly exceed” what he viewed as fair and reasonable.

Relying on its inherent supervisory jurisdiction over a receiver’s requests . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Work and Rework

I’m a fan of Basecamp, a web-based project management tool. It has just the right number of features, it’s simply structured, and, most importantly it’s effective. The same can be said of Rework, a book written by the creators of Basecamp, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

We could learn something from these guys
Fried and Hansson founded a small, Chicago-based web design company called 37signals in 1999. The team soon noticed the need for an online tool that would help people “get work done” without heavy investments in commitments, resources or time. Basecamp became that tool. . . . [more]

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

Achieving the Fundamental Goal of the Civil Justice System

Justice David Brown delivered a paper on 21 November 2014 at the Carleton County Law Association Annual Meeting in which he sets out a 5 point action plan for moving the judicial system towards achieving its fundamental goal – the fair, timely and cost effective determination of civil cases on their merits.

You can read it here: 2014.Carleton.Cty.LA.final.Mt.Tremblant.nov

This is “Part 2” to the paper Justice Brown presented last June at the OBA end of term dinner on creating a sustainable civil justice system. (My post on it is here.)

It offers some concrete solutions to some of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Engaging Ideas

“Is anybody out there?” Have you ever looked at your website traffic or social media engagement statistics and wondered if you’re all alone in cyberspace?

The good news is that you’re not alone. Most of your colleagues have probably asked the same question. The bad news is that you’ll need to move beyond your comfort zone if you want to break away from the silent online majority.

Why Engagement Matters
There are two perceptions of you as a lawyer: who you are and what you do. It’s easy to publish a list of what you do on a webpage. But . . . [more]

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

LSUC’s Worrisome ABS Proposals

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s (LSUC’s) “alternative business structures” proposal (the ABS proposal in its Discussion Paper)[i] will bring about a critically important and worrying change to the practice of law in Canada. Therefore all of Canada’s lawyers should consider the following three categories of factors when questioning candidates for all Bencher elections, particularly the April 30, 2015, Bencher election in Ontario:

A. Such proposals are particularly vulnerable to a questionable initiation process and subsequent use because:

  1. They are not subject to the established methods of prevention and discipline, i.e., by: (a) legislation; (b) the regulator (the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

LSBC Clears Up Cloud of Confusion

Last Monday, I asked if the LSBC has just killed cloud computing for lawyers in BC. My question was prompted by statements made by the LSBC’s President, Jan Lindsay, that led me and others to believe that the LSBC had come down against non-BC-based cloud computing providers.

Ms. Lindsay has published a response to this question on the LSBC President’s Blog, and clarifies that non-BC-based providers are permitted, with the caveat that lawyers acting for clients that are prohibited from out-of-jurisdiction data storage must act accordingly.

David Bilinsky, also of the LSBC, posted a helpful response on Slaw with . . . [more]

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

Storytelling and Visual Literacy in the Courtroom

Last year I wrote a short review of Richard K. Sherwin’s 2011 book, “Visualizing Law in the Age of the Digital Baroque: Arabesques and Entanglements.” My review ended with the following conclusion:

Despite the fact that we are awash in images at almost every turn Sherwin suggests that we don’t often think about visual literacy which is problematic because, as he points out, “humans are notoriously blind to their own prejudices.” (p. 40) This is an important book that succeeds in raising our awareness for a more robust application of visual literacy within the context of

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

Cross Country Conversation on Affordable Legal Services

After Rex Murphy attended the Canadian Bar Association (CBA)’s conference this past August, he must have returned with quite an impression of the pending crisis in the legal profession. Murphy hosted a keynote at the conference, but was also exposed to the CBA’s Futures Initiative, which released its final report that weekend.

Murphy hosted a nation-wide conversation this afternoon on CBC Radio One’s Cross Country Checkup, which was framed as follows:

The cost of hiring a lawyer or going to court is proving too much for many Canadians. An increasing number are going it alone despite the fact

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

Part-Time Lawyer, Full-Time Juggler

Later this week, I’ll be talking with articling students in the Law Society of Manitoba’s CPLED program as part of their practice management curriculum. My assigned topic is stress management, and includes the sub-topic of work/life balance.

I’m certainly no expert on work/life balance though I do write about it from time to time and practice it daily. In fact, I struggle constantly with keeping some sort of balance to my own life. As a part-time freelance lawyer, frequent volunteer and full-time mother, I know what it is to juggle conflicting priorities, responsibilities and obligations while trying to do it . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Big Data, Small Data

Sole practitioners often struggle to find and interpret meaningful practice data that points business-building efforts in the right direction.

New practice management software with great reporting features helps many lawyers find personalized information in an instant. But old habits – such as not bothering to look at the data on a regular basis or do anything about it – can be difficult to overcome.

Obviously, it’s necessary to be aware of your financial performance. Regular conversations with your accountant highlight cash flow, operating costs and, hopefully, profitability.

But there’s more to it.

I have a client who asks herself a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management