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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Keeping It Real: Implementing a Firm-Wide LPM Program, Part II

Last week, Carl Herstein, Chief Value Partner at Honigman LLP discussed his experience in developing and implementing a firm-wide legal project management (LPM) program at his firm. The conversation continues with a candid discussion of the pricing of legal services, how it relates to project management and what clients really think of firm initiatives in this regard.

Q. How would you describe the relationship between pricing, collections, AFAs and LPM at your firm?

When a client approaches us with a new matter, the first question that every one of our lawyers should ask is “what are your goals?”. . . . [more]

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

Excluding Lawyers From the ESA and LRA

There are over 85 complex exemptions and special rules to the Employment Standards Act, many of them decades old, and others dating back to 1944. The Act is a long and complicated one, adding significant operational expense to employers in implementation, and leaving many workers vulnerable given gaps in protection.

The original ESA was created in 1968, at which point it replaced a number of older statutes, including the Hours of Work and Vacations with Pay Act of 1944. The Act was amended many times over the years, but was only reviewed in 2000, with the new Act taking . . . [more]

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

Keeping It Real: Implementing a Firm-Wide LPM Program, Part 1

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, a law firm with 300 attorneys in five offices throughout the U.S. mid-west launched a comprehensive legal project management (LPM) initiative in 2011. Rather than announce the program with the usual press releases and fanfare, the firm deliberately chose to stay quiet about it – until recently. 

Carl W. Herstein is Honigman’s Detroit-based Chief Value Partner. In this two-part interview, Carl discusses the decision to “keep it real”, what he’s learned along the way, and how LPM fits into firm culture. His experience exemplifies the commitment, forethought and resources required as other firms . . . [more]

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

Open a File for Pro Bono Matters Too

This post is by Nora Rock, corporate writer and policy analyst at LAWPRO

Pro bono work is something nearly every lawyer does occasionally. Here’s one practical tip for avoiding some pro bono pitfalls: open a file for every matter you handle.

By “open a file”, we mean treat the work like you would any other work. Run a conflicts check; diarize deadlines; document the client’s instructions, your advice and the steps you take; and docket your time (even if you won’t bill it).

Treating an “off-books” matter like any other case makes it less likely that you will skip steps, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Stress and Solutions: An Update From the Lawyers Assistance Program of B.C.

Derek Lacroix, QC has been at the helm of the Lawyers Assistance Program of British Columbia (LAPBC) since December, 1996. LAPBC provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to distressed members of the bar. Their clients and volunteers include judges, lawyers, articling students, paralegals, legal assistants, support staff and other members of the legal community.

How have the stresses, issues or crises that LAPBC assists with changed in recent years?

The nature of the issues has changed, as has the range. Take alcohol addiction for example. We saw a lot of severe crises associated with substance abuse and addiction in . . . [more]

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

Title Insurance and Recreational Properties: What You Need to Know

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

Recreational properties present a unique set of challenges. Here are some issues to keep in mind when obtaining title insurance policies for your clients’ purchases of recreational properties, to help ensure your clients’ interests are protected.

Legal description: If the property was created years ago, the thumbnail description on the PIN may be brief, for instance, “as in instrument 123456,” but the actual description in that instrument can be long and complex. It may have multiple elements: “Firstly,” “Secondly” and more. Older descriptions may not refer . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Is Your Purchaser Client Entitled to an HST New Housing Rebate?

Canada’s HST New Housing Rebate program, created under s. 254 of the Excise Tax Act, offers significant economic relief to qualifying purchasers of qualifying properties. However, the eligibility criteria are complicated, and have been strictly applied by courts. To avoid claims based on a client’s non-receipt of the rebate (or on having had it clawed back), a real estate lawyer must understand the rules. Only then will the lawyer be in a position to ask the questions that will establish whether or not the client is eligible for the rebate, and to appropriately manage the client’s expectations.

The rebate . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Peer-to-Peer Rentals: Entering the Sharing Economy

Peer-to-peer rental networking sites, such as Airbnb and VRBO, provide homeowners with the tools with which to rent out all or part of their properties on a short-term basis. Homeowners may wish to rent out their properties occasionally in order to supplement their income, or they may have purchased the property entirely for income purposes. On its face, this seems like a simple way for a homeowner to make additional income. Only it is not that simple.

Although there is an almost infinite variety of types of rentals facilitated by peer-to-peer rental sites (rooms, apartments within homes, entire homes, condominium . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Amendments to the Customer Service Standard Under the AODA Effective July 1

On June 6, 2016, the Ontario government announced that changes to the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) will come into force on July 1, 2016, and apply to all organizations providing goods, services or facilities in the province. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Email: Friend or Foe of the Courts?

In Ontario most court documents are filed in paper, with e-filing appearing mostly to be a distant dream. Similarly, court documents, other than originating documents, tend to be served by fax and not by email. Everyone loves that fax confirmation page despite the fact that emails can come with a read receipt.

So should we be allowed to communicate with the court through email? Should the court be encouraged to communicate with litigants via email?

Email is a blessing and a curse. It is easy to use. It is fast. It is convenient. But on the other hand, important emails . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Technology

Prepare Your Client for Trial and Avoid a Malpractice Claim

This article is by Ian Hu, Claims Prevention and practicePRO Counsel at LAWPRO.

I recently spoke about preparing your client for trial and avoiding a malpractice claim at the Advocates’ Society “Practice Essentials: Managing Your Way to Trial Success” CPD chaired by Emily C. Cole and Norm J. Emblem. The CPD spurred us to create a Client Trial Preparation Checklist to help you cover the bases with your clients. I hope the thoughts below are helpful.

As you prepare for trial, the tendency may be to overlook your client. After all, you have an opening to prepare for, statements of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Of Cybernetic Shysters, Artificial Intelligence and Guardians of the Rule of Law

“Here I make an intelligent being out of a bunch of old wires, switches and grids, and instead of some honest advice I get technicalities! You cheap cybernetic shyster, I’ll teach you to trifle with me!”
And he turned the pot over, shook everything out onto the table, and pulled it apart before the lawyer had a chance to appeal the proceedings.

– The Cyberiad

Happy Monday! Like F. Tim Knight, I am getting back on the “blogwagon” this morning with an overdue post… also about AI following the session I was a panelist on at the recent Canadian . . . [more]

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