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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Client-Driven Change

Recently I gave the closing keynote at a mid-sized insurance company’s annual conference for outside lawyers. The company (which we’ll call “Acme”) annually invites a selection of their outside counsel to discuss issues of importance to it; the items on the agenda for this year, and for the last few years, have been innovation, providing more client value and finding blue oceans.

Here is a company that totally gets it, AND more importantly, is focussed on working with its outside counsel to achieve results. I see very little of this and so I was greatly impressed; far too often, change . . . [more]

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

Agents of Change

Your tools are a law degree, and a country bound by the rule of law.

Your obstacles are law school debt; an ever-growing access to justice crisis; an economic downturn that has raised the volume on client demands for more services at a lower cost; and a regulatory system made increasingly complex by the globalization of business and trade.

Your mission – should you choose to accept it, Agent LLB – is to find a way of doing business that uses the tools at hand to overcome the obstacles and create a successful legal practice.

This message will not self-destruct, . . . [more]

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

A Court Without People – or Judges

As we’ve often heard the future of practice can be found in technology, but it can also be found in the past. A review of some of the legal stories this week provide some ideas of how things can be transformed.

At a recent conference in New Jersey, a bunch of American judges heard about the future of court houses without the court house. Trials will be virtual, they heard, and hearings will be done with videos. Court appearances for most minor matters will be more like online banking than 12 Angry Men. At a car accident, a camera . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Government Intervention to Solve the “Access to Justice” Problem Is Inevitable

All that has been written and said in relation to the “access to justice” problem — that is, the fact that the majority of the population cannot obtain legal services at reasonable cost – fails to contain the necessary solution. That is because the law societies and other such institutions and experts that write the reports and speak to the problem do not understand a fundamental fact. That fact, stated as an issue, is: shouldn’t the present method of delivering legal services be abolished in favour of some other method?

The present method of legal services delivery is the “handcraftsman’s” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

As Goes the Washington Post – So Goes the Legal Profession?

There has been a great deal of buzz over Jeff Bezos’s recent purchase of The Washington Post for a fraction of what Facebook paid for Instagram, and also a fraction of what Yahoo paid for Tumblr. How can it be that a venerable old newspaper, guardian of the right of the public to know, with hundreds of employees and thousands of square feet of bricks and mortar be worth far less than smaller companies that simply deal with code?

If lawyers ever needed another reason to believe that the world has changed. This is it.

In my view, it . . . [more]

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

Get Me Some Help Here, Stat!

In a busy hospital emergency room, a triage nurse can literally mean the difference between life and death, as he or she makes the call on who needs to be seen right away, and who can wait for help.

Within the Legal Futures Initiative’s consultation, some tell us that the legal system similarly needs a good triage system “to move parties to the resources they need and to facilitate more efficient use of resources.”

Most lawyers, and law firms, likely have their own forms of triage – a system by which the firm decides who gets what file, who contributes . . . [more]

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

Building the Perfect Firm for 2008

Last night I pulled my hamstring while making a lunging (and quite dazzling) shoestring catch for our softball team.

How is this relevant to law?

Many commentators have used the old Gretzky adage – don’t go to where the puck is, but where the puck is going to be. It applies the same to baseball. When a ball is hit, fielders mentally calculate the velocity of the ball and its trajectory, then run to where the ball will be. Same with quarterbacks in football – they throw the ball to a spot on the field where the receiver will be. . . . [more]

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

Have You Got the Time?

In Is Timex Suffering the Early Stages of Disruption? Grant McCracken describes the crowd-funding approach taken by bespoke watchmakers, Hudson Watch Company and asks whether this business model challenges longstanding watchmaker Timex in the marketplace. His point isn’t that this small upstart is a threat to Timex, but that Hudson’s arrival in the market creates an opportunity for the old guard to reexamine their business models and assumptions about consumers and the marketplace they operate in.

McCracken suggests that the questions for Timex to ask are:

  1. “What could HWC be telling me about the world? What’s out here that I
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Swallowing the Double-Edged Sword

Access to justice, according to some definitions, includes a public that has some legal literacy – people who are aware of their rights and obligations under the law.

Technology helps promote a form of legal literacy, but some lawyers say it’s a double-edged sword – clients are more willing than ever to participate in the process, says one contributor to the CBA Legal Futures consultation, but they “lack the practical understanding of the limitations of the judicial system to fully appreciate risk.”

Just as some medical patients will research online and then ask their family physician to confirm Dr. . . . [more]

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

The Big Firm Conundrum

We are closing in on the dog days of summer and so I was thinking about what greater efficiency, technology and new players do to large firms in Canada.

If a law firm invests more heavily in process improvement, it becomes more efficient – in other words it can do more work with less people or through a different mix of skill sets. The firm will no longer need to hire huge swaths of new lawyers every year as most of any annual growth will be accommodated either by efficiency gains or by better use of non-lawyer personnel to do . . . [more]

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

Fair Access to Work – Removing the ‘Canadian Experience’ Employment Barrier

On July 15, 2013, the Ontario Human Rights Commission launched a new policy on removing the 'Canadian experience' barrier in recruiting. A requirement for Canadian experience, even when implemented in good faith, can be an impenetrable barrier in recruiting, selecting, hiring or accrediting, and may result in discrimination.
Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Liberation Through Collaboration

The long-standing monopoly on delivery of legal services is eroding across Canada. The current of consumer demand is steady and strong, seeking out a broader range of legal services and information, driven largely by cost, supply issues and technological change.

There is evidence of this erosion all around us, both within and without the bounds of the formal legal profession. Paralegals, notaries and agents provide specified legal services across the country, assisting with real estate transactions, wills, traffic offences and more. Courts are recognizing the needs of the self-representing litigant by providing self-help centres and creating online resources. Administrative tribunals . . . [more]

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