I’ve tended to stay out of the disruptive innovation discussion as it pertains to law if for no other reason than that my experience with large law firm and “Bay Street” practice is essentially nil. I understand — as anyone might, experienced or not — that new approaches that shake things up could bring about beneficial change, and that change, beneficial or not, will occur willy-nilly because it’s just the way things are. And I understand that the proponents or prophets of disruptive innovation mean something rather more precise by the phrase — perhaps something lying in the gap between . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’
I have long been an advocate for greater diversity in law, in all of its forms. One of the main barriers we faced in the legal industry in the 20th century was gender diversity, and it’s a barrier that is still with us today.
Yesterday we celebrated International Women’s Day. Two recent studies out of Ryerson University help illustrate contemporary obstacles.
The first looks at leadership roles in the business sector by examining female representation in senior positions at major corporations in Toronto. Although there has been some growth between 2009-2014, women still remain underrepresented. Gender disparities have even . . . [more]
Learn About the Future of Law From Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services Webcast – Live Now
There is a great live webcast from Harvard today (March 6) on disruption and the future of law. It is a must listen if you are interested in these topics.
Live stream is here: http://video.isites.harvard.edu/liveVideo/liveView.do?name=plp
Conference Hashtag: #PLP_Disrupt
Featured Speakers are:
Chris Kenny, Chief Executive, Legal Services Board, Harvard Business School
Clay Christensen, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
William Hubbard, Incoming President of the American Bar Association
Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The Nature of Disruptive Innovation in Professional Services
Keynote: Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of . . . [more]
What sort of skills would you like to see besides “traditional lawyer skills” included in new lawyer training? That was the first question asked in the CBA Futures Initiative’s afternoon Twitterchat Wednesday, hosted by Sarah Glassmeyer, Director of Content for CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, in Chicago, in a wide-ranging discussion on how, what, and where to train new lawyers.
One of the first responses came from Karen Dyck, a freelance lawyer in Winnipeg and member of the Legal Futures Initiative’s Steering Committee. “Essential is communications, i.e., listening, restating, clear writing and speech, avoiding miscommunications.
“Interesting that you . . . [more]
What distinguishes a licensed, practising lawyer from another unlicensed legal professional?
Many will say that the answer is trust. The lawyer has duties and obligations to their client pursuant to a professional code of ethics and the profession’s regulatory scheme. A regulated lawyer has professional liability insurance coverage (mandatory in Canada) and is also “covered” for theft by their local compensation fund.
Clients can rely on those structures to protect them from lawyer’s mistakes, misdeeds and misappropriations. They can place their trust in their lawyer, and failing that, the lawyer’s regulator, liability insurer and compensation fund.
I was reminded of . . . [more]
The Professional Regulation Committee, in the form of the Alternative Business Structures Working Group, of the Law Society of Upper Canada has just submitted a Report to Convocation on the subject of alternative business structures. In all, though I’ve not had time to fully review the report, it’s quite positive about new business structures and recommends that Convocation explore various models and the rules necessary to implement and control them. This from the executive summary:
Conclusion and Recommendation: The Working Group concluded that there are negative consequences inherent in current regulatory limitations on the delivery of legal services in
. . . [more]
It’s a standard trope in any discussion of legal education that law students are not prepared to practice law immediately after graduation. While efforts are being made by some law schools to change their curriculums to graduate “practice ready” students, the great majority of “lawyer training” (as opposed to “legal education”) occurs in an attorney’s first few years of practice. Formal, informal, in-house and external…new lawyer training takes many forms and has many contributors. This month’s CBA Futures twitter chat is going to talk about them all.
As an American, I’ve been fascinated with the Canadian articling system. A common . . . [more]
The Canadian Bar Association has today released its Legal Futures Initiative Report on the Consultation. The Initiatives project began consulting with the various stakeholders in June of last year, and the resulting report:
describes what the Legal Futures Initiative heard from stakeholders about the experience of being a lawyer in a changing environment, evolving client relationships, and views on the future. This is all synthesized to provide the key themes and novel ideas that emerged.
The final report of the Legal Futures Initiative is expected in August of 2014.
As might have been expected from a profession so diverse . . . [more]
The most recent Snowden revelation, as reported by the New York Times, has revealed that even law firms have become ensnared in the NSA’s ever-growing communications dragnet.
The top secret document, leaked by Edward Snowden, reveals that a US-based firm was targeted by the NSA over the period of time it represented Indonesia in trade talks with the US government. Controversial FISC court rulings grant the NSA permission to monitor the communications of Americans, even communications within the scope of attorney-client privilege, provided those communications are deemed to have intelligence value and are with foreigners.
Given these revelations, US-based . . . [more]
The employment law landscape is expected to change over a number of key issues through 2014. Some of these changes provincially in Ontario follow changes initiated at the Federal level.
Changes to the Employment Insurance Act under Bill C-44 to s. 12 of the Act which now provides up to 35 weeks of EI benefits for parents who have taken time off work to provide support or care for critically injured or ill children.
Changes were . . . [more]
From my discussions with insiders, it appears that the carnage from the dissolution of Heenan Blaikie continues as professional administrative staff (IT, HR, marketing, support staff, etc. ) are left in limbo as to what will happen to those not moving with the mass exodus of lawyers to other law firms.
There have been allegations that the dissolution was not managed well by the firm’s executive team. From the descriptions I have heard, it very much seems like an “every man/woman for his/herself” situation with panicked lawyers desperately calling around for a job while support staff were left to watch . . . [more]
Commiserating on the demise of giant Canadian law firm Heenan Blaikie in a Letter to the Editor to The Globe and Mail of February 7, 2014, retired lawyer Stephen Barker took issue with referring to the legal profession as the “law industry.” He adds that most “industries” have low standards of public service.
This is not new news. The law industry, is in fact, an industry; every industry has its own peculiarities.
More importantly, every industry is subject to the laws of economics (laws of supply and demand, market cycles), competition (and competitiveness), and the 4-stage marketing cycle. The fourth . . . [more]