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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

LPM Initiatives at Large Law Firms: The Road Ahead

Many large law firms in Canada and the U.S. have begun to implement legal project management initiatives, albeit with varying degrees of success.

Jim Hassett’s latest book – Client Value and Law Firm Profitability – provides new insights into why some firms have had much more success than others. Over the last eighteen months, Jim conducted confidential interviews with law firm leaders from 50 AmLaw 200 firms. Forty-two percent were chairs or managing partners, and the balance were senior partners and executives.

Study participants were promised that they would not be quoted by name, which led to some unusually frank . . . [more]

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

Robot Lawyers

Since 1998 when I worked with a whiz named Russell, I have been a proponent of automation. Pushing information to myself with RSS, using autotext and macros in Word, subtotaling in Excel, and Outlook Rules have all made it possible for me to automate bits of my own work. As a law firm KMer, I build and advocate for tools that automate, or at least reduce steps, to work done in my organization. I am certain that many Slawyers have similar stories about how the way they use computers (or phones, or tablets, or other devices) in their work has . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

When Waiving a Search Comes Back to Haunt You

How a client perceives a lawyer’s role in a transaction often depends on the client’s experience. At one end of the spectrum, a new homebuyer may believe that the lawyer will not only navigate the process, but will also personally shield the client from all risks. At the other extreme, a sophisticated businessperson may urge a lawyer to “rubber stamp” a deal the client has brokered. The wise lawyer will, however, refuse to be either insurer or pawn.

When it comes to doing due diligence − and specifically, making decisions about searches − the safest approach is follow the client’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

#CALLFuture – Canadian Association of Law Libraries Twitter Chat Tomorrow

You are invited to participate in a Chat via Twitter being hosted tomorrow by the Canadian Law Libraries. It will take place from 12 – 1 pm EST.

We are using the CBA Futures report as our jumping-off point. The questions outlined below will be posted by the @CALLACBD Twitter account and we will be using the hashtag #CALLFuture to identify tweets from the discussion.

Please join us!

CALL/ACBD is very pleased to welcome Fred Headon, Past-President of the Canadian Bar Association and Chair of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, who will be joining us for the first part of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Managing the Transition Through Change

There are two kinds of change – change you want and change you don’t want. That’s an oversimplification, of course, but, according to Tom Meier, an HR consultant speaking at a conference I recently attended, how we manage the transition through change depends very much on whether we view it as a desirable or undesirable change.

Meier laid out a helpful framework for transitioning through significant change – whether it’s a job change or change in the environment in which you work. He said there are four stages in the change process:

  1. Denial
  2. Resistance
  3. Exploration
  4. Commitment

In the . . . [more]

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

The Trust Imperative: Part II

Last week, I published the first half of an interview with Aneil Mishra, Ph.D.. Mishra is a respected author and business school professor who studies the link between trustworthiness, leadership and organizational performance. He discussed the four main qualities of trustworthy leaders – reliability, openness, competence and compassion – and his latest research regarding which of these qualities might matter most in the current economy.

The interview concludes this week with a discussion of how law firm leaders can build trust within their organizations and how this can create competitive advantage in an era when trust in leadership seems to . . . [more]

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

Law Students: In the Midst of Change

The report of the CBA Futures project found, unsurprisingly, that “the legal profession in Canada is entering a period of major change.” From my perspective as a 2L law student, the thought of entering the profession in the midst of such change is both exciting and overwhelming. Exciting because there will be novel opportunities; overwhelming as uncertainty in the profession could make the transition from law student to lawyer a tough one. Many of the 22 recommendations in Futures report have special resonance with students: from admissions, to debt reduction programs, to post-call training.

One such recommendation is the idea . . . [more]

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

Manage Malpractice Risk by Recognizing Cultural Diversity

In the social realm, cultural differences can be awkward for those on both sides; but in the context of legal services, cross cultural
misunderstandings and other culture-related factors can occasionally lead to malpractice claims against lawyers. The good news: claims with a cultural component are easily preventable as they tend to reflect certain recurring themes.

One category of claims arises where a lawyer is unfamiliar with the culture of his or her client or is not comfortable asking questions about culture, and so makes false assumptions or ill-advised communication “adjustments” that lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.

In a subset of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Trouble With Kerning and Spacing

Writing clearly and concisely is a goal that often eludes lawyers, especially when writing factums.

Justice Barbier of the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana ruled on a motion on Sept. 15, 2014 in the complex litigation surrounding the BP oil spill, In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010.

Although denying the motion, Justice Barbier commented on the response by BP, in particular in their formatting:

…the Court must address the format of BP’s opposition memorandum.

The briefing order allowed BP’s counsel to file a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

The Trust Imperative: Part I

Do you trust the leaders in your organization to make decisions in the best interest of the entire firm? Do you trust them to proactively deal with important issues or prevent crises? Studies such as the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer would indicate that your answer is likely “no”.

Some of the current notions regarding trust are based on the times in which we live – a legal market that is changing as well as shrinking, record numbers of unemployed law school graduates saddled with record amounts of student debt, daily news of trust violations between business, government and society.

Some . . . [more]

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

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Live Tweet Chat on the CBA Legal Futures Initiative

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is organizing a live “tweet chat” on Thursday, September 25 with Fred Headon, Past-President of the Canadian Bar Association and Chair of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative.

The live chat on Twitter will take place from 12 to 1PM EST and the topic will be “Does the CBA Futures Report provide opportunities for law librarians? ”

The CALL website has details on how interested law librarians (and others) can join the chat.

People can read more about the CBA Legal Futures Initiative on the CBA Futures website.

  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice