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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Marketing’

Law Schools’ Fear of Social Media Is a Disservice to Students

Spending time at a law school allowed me to see something very disturbing; law students are actively and deliberately told by law schools to expunge all social media activity.

The clear message to students is: Do Not Have Any Web-Presence Whatsoever.

Given this message, it’s no wonder that most Canadian lawyers view social media with fear and take no part in it. It also explains the shocked looks when I asked my class to create Twitter and LinkedIn accounts – then use them for class participation. Oh the horror!

Imagine if I had asked them to create blogs!

In my . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Old School Social Networking

This week I’ll be attending the Manitoba Bar Association’s annual Midwinter Conference in Winnipeg. The conference provides lawyers with the full 12 hours of mandatory continuing professional development (MCPD), including 1.5 hours that meet the Ethics, Professionalism and Practice Management requirement, but that’s not why I attend.

In this age of webinars, online courses and individualized learning, I look forward to being in a learning environment with other lawyers, one that invariably includes time allotted for discussion and questions. Often I find I’ll learn as much from the feedback from other participants as I have from the formal presentations. . . . [more]

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

Small Town Access to Justice

While it’s premature to call it a trend, Winnipeg-based law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP (TDS) has once again merged with a small local law firm based in Western Manitoba, and thereby expanded its reach to Manitoba’s western borders.

Brandon-based Roy Johnston LLP operated for some 30 years, most recently as a six-lawyer firm. Managing partner Paul Roy told the Winnipeg Free Press that the merger is a response to the changing needs of firm clients who are engaged in more complex legal transactions:

“When we started out, we were doing simple farm deals and house deals. The institutions and

. . . [more]

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

Draft Practice Standards on Timekeeping and Law Firm Data: Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is currently seeking input from lawyers on two proposed new practice standards. The draft standards, proposed by the Law Office Management Committee, relate to lawyers’ responsibilities in the areas of timekeeping and data maintenance:

TIMEKEEPING
1. A lawyer’s accounts must be fair, reasonable and lawful.

a) The assessment and reasonableness of a lawyer’s account will depend on many factors, of one which is the time and effort “required and spent”.

MAINTENANCE AND BACKUP OF ELECTRONIC DATA

Lawyers must ensure there is a system in place for the maintenance, backup, and access of all electronic data.

. . . [more]

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

Growth Is Dead? for Who?

“Looking out for Number One is the conscious, rational effort to spend as much time as possible doing those things which bring you the greatest amount of pleasure and less time on those which cause pain.” Looking Out for Number One-Robert J. Ringer

I recently attended a wonderful evening hosted by Above the Law with key comments provided by Bruce MacEwen, a well known law firm strategist, commentator and lawyer who runs the consultancy and blog titled Adam Smith, Esq. Not surprisingly, Mr. MacEwen rightly has a large American following and an immense level of credibility among the AmLaw200 . . . [more]

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

Back to Basics: Competence in Communications

Communication-based claims and complaints against lawyers remain remarkably common despite the increased ease with which we can communicate with clients through use of technology in addition to more traditional modes of communication.

Strong and effective communications between lawyers and their clients are an essential component of the lawyer-client relationship. Some of the issues that might be flagged as problematic in a communications based claim include:

  • Failing to obtain and follow a client’s instructions;
  • Failing to keep a client informed of progress, or lack of progress in complying with instructions;
  • Failing to advise a client of all settlement offers;
  • Confusion as
  • . . . [more]

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

The Opposite of ‘Inclusive’ Is ‘Incomplete’

Lawyers work in one of the least diverse professions in any country, Dr. Arin Reeves told the Monday morning plenary session at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon. It was something the women and minorities in the largely white, male audience had probably already guessed.

And they no doubt nodded vigorously, or even silently applauded, when she said that “diversity” is not merely a matter of including a few people who don’t look like you on a team – it’s a matter of including them because you value their input, because you know they’ll bring something important to the . . . [more]

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

An Annual Legal Health Check-Up From LAWPRO

Clients don’t always appreciate how lawyers can help on other legal issues they may encounter as they go through life.

Just as booking an appointment with a doctor or financial advisor offers an opportunity to identify issues and gauge your health (physical and financial), checking in with their lawyer can ensure your client’s legal health is also in good shape.

To help lawyers remind their clients to check up their “legal health”, LAWPRO has created the Annual Legal Health Check-up (in Word format and PDF format). It is a non-exhaustive list of common legal issues that arise in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Congratulations, You May Have Already Won…

So a lawyer gets an email / letter saying:

Congratulations, based on our extensive research and review you have been named as a top ranked / elite / awesome lawyer in your practice area and will appear in our print / online publication. You can obtain / enhance your listing by completing form X / sending a profile and the (non-trivial) sum of $X.

The questions are:

  • Do these publications do any more than feed our egos?
  • Do buyers of legal services actually look at these print or online publications to find a lawyer?
  • If so, do they trust the
  • . . . [more]

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

How to Annoy (Or Lose) a Client in 7 Easy Steps

Should you find yourself with a surplus of clients, the following tips may be of some assistance.

  • Speak only in legalese. Make a point of using Latin terms and providing complex answers to simple questions from clients. Above all, avoid plain language and clarity in your communications.
  • Keep your clients in the dark. Don’t send regular updates or otherwise inform them of what you are doing on their behalf.
  • Never focus your attention on what your clients are saying to you. Take calls, read emails on your Blackberry and check your watch during face-to-face client meetings.
  • Raise your rates without . . . [more]
  • Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

    The Future of the Legal Profession: Shaken? Stirred?

    A vodka martini is the libation of choice for the James Bond of film – famously shaken, not stirred. The actor may change but Bond’s drink remains the same: the viewer understands that he likes its taste, he likes its style, its strength; that he has a comfort level with it that will not change.

    When it comes to many lawyers’ seeming lack of engagement with the issues facing the future of the legal profession, it has been suggested that, like the Bond of film (though, it must be said, not the literary character) lawyers with a certain amount of . . . [more]

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