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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Innovation Upside-Down With Mitch Kowalski

Why can’t we all be more like Australia, was Mitch Kowalski’s opening salvo as he hosted a CBA Futures Initiative Twitterchat on Tuesday.

“What’s in their water to allow them to be so innovative?”

Australia, Kowalski noted in a blog post ahead of the Twitterchat, pioneered outside intervention in law firms, which has been allowed since 2001, and is also the home of the first publicly-listed law firm, Slater and Gordon.

“Why do those who raise the unsubstantiated issue that outside investment will erode the core values of Canada lawyers, ignore the fact that nothing of the sort has happened . . . [more]

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

A Quieter Kind of Change: One Lawyer’s Story

Amidst appeals for “disruptive innovation” and dire predictions for the future of the profession, some lawyers are quietly changing the way they practice. They’re not doing this as part of a movement – they’re just doing what is best for themselves. There are more of them than you might think.

I recently chatted with a former client who exemplifies this situation perfectly. The interview illustrates how and why one litigator modified his practice – and realigned his definitions of personal and professional success in the process.

When lawyer Ronald J. Smith, QC quit practicing law to focus exclusively on mediation, . . . [more]

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

It’s Time to Amend the Bank Act So Clients Can Collect on Judgments

Ontario utilizes a “loser pays” legal system in which the losing party is usually ordered by the court to pay a portion of the successful party’s legal fees. As a result, regardless of who wins, someone ends up with a piece of paper requiring the other party to pay money.

Assuming that the losing party does not voluntarily cut a cheque, a bank garnishment ought to be the most straightforward and direct means to collect. I emphasize the word “ought”.

Put simply, once a bank is served with a Notice of Garnishment it is required to seize any funds the . . . [more]

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

CBA Futures Tweet Chat

Perhaps after 3 trips to Oz in the last 6 months I’ve become too attached to that “sun-burned country.”

Or perhaps, it’s the deliberate myopia of many lawyers and Benchers in Canada that raises my ire.

Anyone who has an informed interest in alternative business structures (ABS) – structures that permit outside investment in law firms – will know that Australia, not the UK, was the first country to allow outside investment into law firms.

A reasonably informed person will know that the state of New South Wales (population of about 7 million and whose capital is Sydney) permitted this . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, 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

Quebec’s New Code of Civil Procedure Will Come Into Force in 2015

Quebec’s new Code of Civil Procedure received royal assent with amendments on February 21, 2014, and is expected to come into force by proclamation in fall 2015.
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

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