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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Aligning Employees Behind Firm Strategy: Getting Started

When firm leaders agree on strategic objectives, it’s time to align employees towards achieving them. As with anything with multiple moving parts, adjustments can help the system work at its best.

Last week, I discussed the difference between employee engagement and employee alignment. Engagement is what motivates people to arrive at work each morning. Alignment is what they do when they get there.

Why focus on alignment?

  • It gives everyone a purpose beyond their individual roles
  • It’s an opportunity to break down silos between groups
  • It strengthens your firm’s reputation as performance becomes more consistent and profitable

Signs of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Do You Analyze Win-Loss?

A post on the Strategic Librarians LinkedIn Group led me to the Cooperative Intelligence blog where Ellen Naylor (CEO of The Business Intelligence Source, Inc.) posted about templates for win loss analysis.

As more and more legal work filters to law firms through procurement groups, RFPs, and RFIs, I wonder about the use of sales methods in law firms. As a librarian, I worked with legal information suppliers selling information to my organization. I also sold the services of the library department to my internal clients. In my new role of process improvement, I will likely use techniques . . . [more]

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

CBA Futures Chat: Spotlight on Innovation

Next week, the CBA will release Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, our report on the future of legal practice in Canada. Over the past two years we have heard from the legal community in Canada –and abroad – and the clients we serve. Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada sets out our vision for how we might educate and regulate the profession differently. Our objective: to ensure that Canadians benefit from a vibrant and relevant legal profession. Our recommendation: innovation.

The report calls for some significant change. We hope that the CBA . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Independent but Engaged: Support Networks for Solos

There are plenty of good reasons for choosing sole practice, or for transitioning into sole practice after practising with a firm. You may have chosen to practise in a small community; you may have opened a sole practice because you couldn’t find the right fit with a firm in your chosen area of practice; or you may be a person with a naturally independent work style and a desire to be your own boss. Whatever a lawyer’s reasons, sole practice is a choice that can be profitable and personally rewarding.

Practising solo, however, presents special challenges. From a risk management . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

No Thanks

Ask any lawyer “How are you doing?” and invariably the response includes a comment to the effect of “I’m too busy.”

Being overly busy seems to be a kind of occupational hazard for lawyers. Many of us possess a “can do” kind of attitude that leads us to agree to take on tasks whenever we’re asked to do so. While this makes lawyers desirable as volunteers for many non-profit organizations, it also results in many lawyers feeling overburdened and sometimes, overwhelmed by all that they need to accomplish.

One obvious solution to this problem is to develop and implement a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Employee Engagement vs. Employee Alignment

Have you noticed how many law firms have won awards for their workplace strategy? In the quest to attract and retain talent, many law firms build an “employer brand” through the pursuit of third-party recognition.

This seems like a no-brainer for any organization. What firm wouldn’t want to be known for having satisfied employees? And who wouldn’t want to work for one?

A lot – not all, but a lot – of these rankings measure how engaged your workforce is.

Employee engagement focuses on attitudes. Do people feel good about working for your firm? Are they happy with their . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Court Agrees to Backdate Claim That Was Issued Outside Limitation Period

In a recent case, the Superior Court upheld the Master’s decision to backdate a Statement of Claim that was issued after the expiry of the limitation period.

The limitation period for the plaintiff’s claim was to expire on November 1, 2012.

On October 31st the plaintiff’s lawyer sent the Statement of Claim along with the necessary filing fees by overnight courier from Toronto to the Ottawa Court. Enclosed was a note for the Registrar which advised that the limitation period for filing the claim was November 1st and stating “I would really appreciate if you could call . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

Wondering Whether Your Practice Structure Could Expose You to Liability for Other Lawyers’ Work?

Lawyers working “in association” need to consider how they may be perceived by clients and the public, since those who hold themselves out as a law firm risk being treated as such by the courts and can expect to be held to the same conflict requirements as a law firm partnership.
That’s according to a recent decision by Justice Stinson, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [2014 ONSC 3411 (CanLII)]

The facts
The defendant brought a motion to remove the plaintiff’s lawyer from the record on the basis that the lawyer worked in association with another lawyer with whom . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Tracking Currents and Following Flotsam

The Atlantic reported this week on the outcome of a 1997 cargo ship spill. The story was picked up yesterday by CBC’s As It Happens (listen here). Here’s what happened as described in The Atlantic article:

It started in 1997. On February 13 of that year, a rogue wave hit the New York-bound cargo ship Tokio Express while it was only 20 miles off Land’s End, on Britain’s southwest coast. The ship stayed afloat; some of its cargo, however—62 shipping containers—were thrown overboard as the vessel pitched. One of these containers contained Legos. Tons of Legos—many of them,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

When a Key Partner Leaves: What It Takes to Keep Clients

When a key partner in a large law firm moves to a competitor, do his or her institutional clients tend to leave too? The answer might depend on how much internal conflict there is at the firm left behind.

Michelle Rogan of INSEAD recently published ground-breaking research of the relationships between large, multi-unit advertising agencies and client firms. These relationships are very similar in structure to those between law firms and institutional clients, where services in several areas of professional expertise are provided through personal connections developed over time.

Most of us believe that the more ties between people at . . . [more]

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

#Cbafutureschat Recap: Lawyers Learning to Play With Others

No matter the sport – from soccer to debate club – a team will get nowhere if all its players are specialists in the same position.

But just as there’s no “I” in team, there’s no team in a law firm – not one that can, to stretch that sporting analogy just a little bit further, cover all the bases, so to speak. That is in part due to the regulatory framework under which lawyers work, of course.

Still, there is growing recognition that it might be helpful for lawyers to work in tandem with professionals such as accountants, real . . . [more]

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

Edward Snowden Tells the Legal Profession That Protecting Client Confidentiality Now Requires Encryption

From Saturday’s Guardian – here is the complete transcript.

The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.

Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.

No matter how careful you are from that point on, no matter how sophisticated your source, journalists have to be sure that they make no mistakes at all in the very beginning to the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology: Office Technology