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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Getting Started With Legal Knowledge Management

How do you get started with Knowledge Management (KM) in the legal profession?

I get approached on a regular basis with this question by small law firms that want to have the advantages of the larger firms, by lawyers or librarians who want to become part of an existing KM team in a larger firm, or by individuals hired into firms to lead KM initiatives. There are programs specific to Knowledge Management that exist, but there is not a lot of introductory material specific to the legal industry.

I recently sat down with Garry Wise of Wise Law so he . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Of Wickr and the Crypto-Ephemeral Anti-Social Revolution

Years before Edward Snowden obliterated digital innocence, showed us what the “Five Eyes” are really up to, and pulled stakes for the unlikely safe harbour of Moscow’s airport transit zone, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger released his 2009 book Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. In it he urged caution for the “Digital Panopticon”, and warned against the growing trend towards mass surveillance. The Internet, as we now know, never forgets. He made the case for why it should.

Throughout human history, forgetting has been the norm and remembering the exception. Technology, as Mayer-Schönberger, a . . . [more]

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

The Promising Fallout From Hryniak v. Mauldin

Following the release of the SCC decision in Hryniak in January of this year, the widely held view was that the decision would deal a death blow to trials in Canada and would open the floodgates to summary judgment motions.

The Advocates’ Journal Summer 2014 has run an interesting piece by Jonathan Lisus which suggests that, on the contrary, Canadian courts and creative counsel are using the Hryniak to craft procedures that bring cases to trial in a more efficient and cost effective way, than has any other access to justice initiative.

After reviewing the treatment of the SCC decision . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Value of Collaborative Networks

I’ve sung the praises of inter and cross-sectoral collaboration here and here in terms of addressing the gaps that exist in access to justice across the country. But recently I was reminded again of the value of collaborating within my networks of legal colleagues across the country.

Wearing my Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association risk management hat, I met last week with legal malpractice insurance program directors and staff from across Canada. This group meets in person at least once per year and I always leave that meeting with pages of notes and numerous good ideas. Our in-person meetings provide opportunity . . . [more]

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

How to Run a Productive Project Meeting and Stop Wasting Time

I am usually the first person to start fidgeting in any meeting. I blame it on my short attention span and my impatience. But sometimes I blame it on the meeting leader’s poor facilitation skills.

Apparently, I’m not alone in my frustration. According to a May 2014 Harvard Business Review article:

  • 15% of collective organizational time is spent in meetings. This percentage has only increased since 2008.
  • Executives consider 56% of these meetings to be unproductive
  • 49% of attendees admit to doing other, unrelated work during meetings

Meeting facilitation skills will become increasingly important as firms try to become . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Avoiding Confusion (And Claims) When Making Charitable Bequests

Many wills include one or more bequests to charitable or religious institutions. In spite of the testator’s good intentions, these bequests often lead to claims when there is confusion over which institution was to receive the bequest. These mistakes often come to light only when the estate is being distributed – and they can lead to costly and time-consuming litigation when charities fight over the bequest.

Many of the claims reported in this area could be avoided if lawyers took steps to confirm that the information given by the testator is correct when the will is being drafted. Often testators . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

#Cbafutureschat Recap: Law & Design

What if every law firm and court had a basement lab where developers and designers hung out and built solutions?

That was a question posed by host Margaret Hagan during Tuesday’s CBA Twitterchat on the topic of law and design.

Hagan, who works at Stanford’s d.school and will soon work at the university’s law school, focuses on bringing user-centred design to legal services.

One of the key findings of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative is that the client needs to become the centre of the legal universe if the profession is to maintain its relevance in the face of transformative . . . [more]

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

Dress Down for Success

Most of us have heard it over and over and over again – you need to dress for the job or the position that you want. Silvia Bellezza et al. describe this phenomenon in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research,

In both professional and nonprofessional settings, individuals often make a significant effort to learn and adhere to dress codes, etiquette, and other written and unwritten standards of behavior. Conformity to such rules and social norms is driven by a desire to gain social acceptance and status.

What they don’t tell you is the exception to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Have You Notified Your Insurer?

Manitoba lawyers recently received a memo from the Law Society’s Insurance Department reminding them that it’s time to pay their 2014/15 liability insurance premium.

That memo also contains the annual reminder to practising, insured lawyers to “Speak now or forever hold your peace” with respect to known or potential claims. The Law Society reminds lawyers that:

Because our Professional Liability Insurance coverage is written on a claims-made basis, if you know of any circumstances which might possibly, at some point in the future, give rise to an insurance claim against you and you want coverage under your Insurance Policy, then

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Are You an “Invisible”?

Do you avoid self-promotion? Do you grimace when others go on and on (and on) about their accomplishments and activities? You might be an “Invisible”.

In his new book, Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion, writer David Zweig explains why some people shun the spotlight while others aggressively compete for centre stage.

Quoted in an interview with Maclean’s Ken MacQueen, Zweig says that “Invisibles” are driven by “a strong sense of responsibility, a meticulous attention to detail and an ambivalence about recognition.” He adds that “they find their reward through work itself” and . . . [more]

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

Ontario Litigators Circle July 1 on Your Calendars

Not because it is Canada Day, but because the Superior Court of Justice is revoking all of its existing Practice Directions and implementing new Practice Directions on July 1st.

Over the past year the Ontario Superior Court of Justice undertook to review and consolidate all of its Regional and Provincial Practice Directions.

The stated intention was to achieve an “administrative re-set” and to try to identify and eliminate obsolete and redundant Practice Directions while at the same time consolidating, simplifying and better organizing the Practice Directions that are to remain in effect.

As of July 1, 2014, the new Practice . . . [more]

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

“Some Thoughts on Creating a Sustainable Public Civil Justice System”

This was the title of a paper delivered by Mr Justice David Brown at the OBA Civil Litigation and Insurance Sections End of Term Dinner held 11 June 2014.

It addresses why our system is not achieving its fundamental goal of achieving fair, timely and cost-effective determination of civil cases on their merits.

The paper is in three parts: symptoms, causes and the remedies needed to unleash institutional ability and skills so that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is the best trial court in North America.

You can read it here - 2014.OBA.Civil.end.term.paper.june.14

Among other things, the paper sends . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice