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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

How to Win Cases

Conceptually, it’s easy: settle weak cases, try strong cases. When you try strong cases, find the spot where the best interests of your client overlap the most with the best interests of the court and hit it.

But what is this notion of the best interests of the court? Every litigator understands the best interests of the client and their duty to protect them. Many will also remember their duty as officers of the court.

But the best interests of the court is not quite fully the same thing as what litigators honour as officers of the court. It covers . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Learnings From the Legal Trends Report: The Risk of Trusting Self-Reported Data

In last week’s post I talked about the Legal Trends Report, a data-driven benchmarking report based on actual billing data.

This approach an industry first, and as such the Legal Trends Report uncovers a number of interesting insights that I’ll be digging into over the next few weeks.

However, I personally found one most surprising finding of the Legal Trends Report to be the vast disparity between self-reported data and “real” data derived from real-world usage. Take, for example, utilization rate, the percentage of a lawyer’s day that ends up as being billing time. The Legal Trends Report found the . . . [more]

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

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

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and 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: Practice Management

Should Lawyers Learn to Code?

There have been many articles written suggesting that lawyers should learn how to code software. This Wolfram Alpha article is a good one, although many of the articles are far more adamant that every lawyer needs to learn how to code. The rationale is that because software will have an increasing effect on how lawyers practice, and who will be competing with us to provide our services, we should learn to code.

So should we learn how to code? For most lawyers, probably not.

I knew how to code before law school, and for me it has been very useful. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

New Legal Trends Report Provides Data Insights for Small- to Medium-Sized Law Firms

In the 4,000-year history of the legal profession, unbiased information sharing has never been the norm. Instead, insights have remained siloed in large institutions—or traded anecdotally among groups at networking events.

That changes with today’s release of the Legal Trends Report. The Legal Trends Report is being published by Clio, the world’s most widely-used legal practice management platform (disclosure: I am the founder and CEO of Clio). By leveraging anonymized, aggregate data from 40,000 active Clio users and over $60 billion in billing volume, the Legal Trends Report provides new insights into topics including average billing rates by state, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet

Ethics: A Case Every Civil Litigator Should Know

In May 2016, Justice Bondy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice quietly released an important decision. A decision that every civil litigator should know because the principles enunciated in this case seem to elude many lawyers. Maybe greed blinds them, maybe wishful thinking envelopes them, or maybe it never occurs to them that they are in a conflict of interest. Either way, this pervasive behaviour is bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

Far too often, plaintiff lawyers represent an injured child and his/her parents, who are also defendants by counterclaim. This is a conflict of interest. And in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Delivering Feedback Fairly and Constructively

In my last blog post, I discussed strategies for dealing with tough feedback you’ve received and the consequences of avoiding colleagues who deliver it.

But what if you’re the messenger? Providing criticism is an unavoidable aspect of leadership. Those who do it well build firm cultures where people feel safe to speak up and feel motivated to improve, all for the sake of their clients.

Before delivering the feedback… 

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

Limited Scope Representation: With the Right Safeguards, Possibilities Abound

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

A self-represented family law litigant anxiously prepares for a hearing, which can resolve months, if not years, of anxiety, and determine the litigant’s financial and family affairs in the near future. Retaining a lawyer from cradle to grave is out of budget for this litigant. What to do? Relief is around the corner – a lawyer steps in to help solely with the hearing, the result is fair, and the cost is affordable.

Success stories like this are playing out across the profession. The unbundling of legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Regulate This

Most people today are employees who drive cars and get married. Most people today deal with law only when they are fired, ticketed, or divorced. (It’s nice that the vast majority of people never interact with the criminal justice system.) So most access-to-justice issues have to do with employment, personal injury/traffic, and family law. This is because these are the main three areas of social complexity and government regulation in most people’s lives. When there is no complexity or regulation, there are few access-to-justice issues because there is no need for lawyers.

Tomorrow, most people will be freelancers (the gig . . . [more]

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

Insights Into Billables From Cloud Computing

The Clio Cloud Conference is sort of like the Burning Man Festival of the legal industry. You have to attend it at least once in your lifetime, and once you do, there are no words to truly describe the experience.

There’s the high-energy environment, with a concert-like production. And when you look at the fellow groupies in the audience, you notice they’re all leaders in the law. Years later, I’m still talking about it.

This year the conference provided another extra tidbit – insight into how lawyers apply the billable hour in their practice. The advantage of a large cloud-based . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Take the Sting Out of Tough Feedback

“You have a tendency to step on people’s toes when you’re leading a team. Instead of engaging them, you run them over in your effort to get the job done.” Delivered from a manager at my first job as a lifeguard, the feedback disconfirmed every perception I had of my fledgling leadership skills.

It stung. But my supervisor was right, and she was right to tell me. She pointed out how people reacted to my behaviour and how it affected my performance. I needed the job, which meant I couldn’t avoid my manager. So I adapted.

A recent post on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

A Look at How One Firm Is Trying Alternative Fee Arrangements for Litigation

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

In recent years more focus has turned to alternative fee arrangements as a way to offer clients more predictable costs and affordable legal services. Hughes Amys LLP, based out of Hamilton and Toronto, offers alternative fee arrangements which have proven successful for them. Here is a look at how they’ve done it.

“We’ve been doing alternative fee arrangements for over 20 years,” says managing partner William (Bill) S. Chalmers. “In the early days it was a blended rate, where the client would pay one hourly rate regardless . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management