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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

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, you’re not alone. Most of your colleagues have probably asked the same question. The bad news is, 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 a client . . . [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

Judge Does Not Mince Words When Counsel Fail to Follow Simple Instructions

In a very brief decision, Justice Lemon of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice cut right to the point when he asked for cost submissions of no more than three pages and ended up with much more from both sides.

Justice Lemon stated that neither costs

“submission is of assistance to me. When I ask for no more than three pages, I expect to get no more than three pages. When I ask for costs submissions, I expect to get a Bill of Costs in readable form. I do not expect to get a badly copied, small print version . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Should the Rules of Professional Conduct Require Competence in Technology?

The recent revisions to Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct do not contain the words ‘computer’, ‘information technology’, or ‘electronic’, except in the latter case for a reference to the electronic registration of real estate transfers.

Is this a desirable demonstration of technology neutrality or a missed opportunity to give useful direction to the profession on an increasingly important aspect of the practice of law?

Monica Goyal, who makes her living in the law-and-technology world, suggests in her recent column for the Law Times that the rules should give some guidance.

Do you agree?

If not, have you read the long . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Did the LSBC Just Kill Cloud Computing for Lawyers in BC?

As a frequent public speaker, I’ve seldom found myself speechless on stage, however, last week I stood in front of an audience of over 200 lawyers in stunned silence for the first time in recent memory. I did so after the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) President, Jan Lindsay, boldly pronounced that, in no uncertain terms, BC lawyers are prohibited from using US-based cloud computing providers.

To set the stage, let me rewind to Friday, November 14. I was invited to talk at the CBABC Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. My topic, “The Security and Ethics of Cloud Computing,” . . . [more]

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

What Keeps Family Law Lawyers Up at Night? High-Conflict Cases

Like many areas of practice, family law is going through a period of change. Both clients and their lawyers are questioning traditional modes of practice. Economic woes both cause legal problems, and leave clients with limited resources with which to resolve them. Stress – for both families in crisis and for their lawyers – is a constant reality. Still, within this challenging climate, family lawyers are expected to work diligently and professionally in the service of their clients’ interests.

To understand how the bar is coping with the demands of modern family law practice, we invited a sampling of lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Legal Innovation in Canada: Does It Need to Be Seen to Be Believed?

Here at the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, we’ve sought to demonstrate to the Canadian legal profession that great opportunities await those who embrace change; opportunities to put clients at the centre of our work, to better serve Canadians, to provide new kinds of services, to open up new models of legal service delivery, to work in conjunction with others, and most importantly, to creatively re-imagine what it means to “be a lawyer” in the future.

We launched our flagship report, Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, in August of this year. Contained within the report are . . . [more]

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