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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

The Why?

On the first day of class at University of Calgary Law School this week, one of the first things I wrote on the white board was one word: Why?

Of course, I got a number of eye-rolls from students.

But as the course has continued, “why” has become a common part of the class lexicon.

Can we “five why” this issue?

Why do law firms do what they do?

Why are they structured as they are?

Why did Heenan Blaikie disintegrate?

Why are partnerships difficult to govern?

Why can’t outsiders invest in law firms?

Why am I in law school? . . . [more]

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

Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer…

The world’s largest public relations firm, Edelman, released the results of its annual Trust Barometer study in February.

Each year, I look forward to the results for no other reason than to gauge the impact of changing public expectations on the business of law.

Edelman’s methodology included surveying 33,000 people in 27 markets around the world regarding their trust in information sources and the specific issues that influence trust in business and government.

Some of the statistics in this year’s study surprised me. There are implications for private law firms both big and small.

1. Trust in non-governmental organizations . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Law, Rebar, and Disruptive You-Know-What

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]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Celebrate Women by Diversifying Teams

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]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Fight for ABS Is Just Beginning

The recent Law Society Committee report on Alternative Business Structures has resulted in much excitement across the world among legal innovators.

I wish I could share that joy.

The report is thorough – and lengthy. One wonders how, with two jurisdictions having adopted ABS (Australia a decade ago and the UK over 2 years ago) there could be any debate on the rationale behind allowing such structures?

Why do we need a uniquely Canadian solution?

What is so unique about the Canadian legal environment that Australia and the UK do not already provide a well-researched, well-documented and well-experienced solution?

I’ve . . . [more]

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

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

Conference Schedule

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]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Baby Lawyers and First Steps

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]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

A Matter of Trust

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]

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

LSUC’s Professional Regulation Committee Reports on Alternative Business Structures

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]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Let’s Chat About New Lawyer Training

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]

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

CBA Legal Futures Initiative Consultation Report Available

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]

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