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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

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

Great Communicators

Lawyers tend to think of themselves as strong communicators, but they don’t always get their message across to clients.

It doesn’t help that clients aren’t always clear about what they want from lawyers.

This was evident at the mid-winter meeting of the CBA Council, when the Legal Futures Initiative took advantage of the gathering of lawyers from across the country, representing most sizes and types of practice, to find out what lawyers think clients want.

Presented with results from the Initiative’s own survey of client expectations, some lawyers present were a bit taken aback by the idea that clients wanted . . . [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

JustAccess Seeks Crowdfunding to Launch Venture to Crowdfund Legal Disputes

JustAccess is a Toronto startup that, as of today, is seeking donations via the Centre for Social Innovation‘s crowdfunding site, Catalyst. The notion is that with a $10,000 infusion JustAccess can launch its own venture, which will:

support plaintiffs and defendants who can’t afford proper access to the justice system[,] share their stories with like minded people and request financial support towards their legal fees.

JustAccess is the work of a team of three people, Sam Saad, Chris Barry, and Kay Dyson Tam, none of whom is a lawyer or has legal training. Saad, the Managing Director . . . [more]

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

A Lack of Fear Drives Change in the Legal Services Industry

Last week, Exigent graciously invited me to a small lunch gathering of Torontonians to discuss the changing legal industry. Exigent, a major LPO based in South Africa, does business predominantly in the UK and Australia and has recently landed in Canada.

First, I’m happy that a major international LPO has finally seen Canada as worthy of investment.

Second, the arrival of Exigent means that change in the Canadian legal industry will – finally – begin to accelerate. Canadian law firms and clients will view the arrival of an international LPO as further validation for using non-Canadian lawyers to do work . . . [more]

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

Does It Matter if Only the Well-Off Can Afford to Go to Law School?

One participant on the cbafutures.org website noted that with their own law school tuition at $13,000 a year, the pool of applicants with the means to attend shrinks tremendously. Indeed, some new students will pay almost $30,000 in tuition in order to attend their first year of law school.

But so what? A lawyer is a lawyer is a lawyer, right? Everyone who goes to law school has the same education, and could conceivably serve the same constituency.

The question is really about the value of diversity. We’re used to thinking of diversity in terms of gender equality, and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Your Next CIO Is a Librarian

As law firms tackle the new reality of the economy and the changes being demanded by corporate clients, they should look to those within the firms who are already well-versed in strategy for business change: librarians.

I am currently in Seattle at the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference, including the Private Law Libraries’ Summit on Saturday. The message we are hearing from a number of different perspectives is clear: lawyers would be advised to seek help in re-developing their firms so they are better positioned for competitive advantage, and librarians are well suited for the C suite, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Are Paralegals Officers of the Court?

The recent decision of Justice Fuerst in R v. Lippa has the controversy over the standing of paralegals raging again in Ontario. The decision relates to whether judicial officers have the discretion over which legal professionals will sit in the courtroom, and the order of cases which will be called.

In deciding that paralegals can be treated differently within the court system, Justice Fuerst made some interesting comments. She states at para. 18,

s. 29 of the Law Society Act provides that every person who is licensed to practise law in Ontario as a barrister and solicitor is an

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions