I recently spoke with Henry J. Chang, one of the Toronto candidates in this year’s Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) bencher election. I asked him why members should pay particular attention to the elections this year and what issues are most important to voters. A summary of our conversation appears below. . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Practice of Law’
Tax season often illuminates financial management philosophies we could – and should – revisit. For me, reviewing revenue and expenses has illustrated a year’s worth of daily activities that really added up. Here are some considerations to check on a regular basis.
Start with structure
Many professionals still practice without a clear financial goal for the year. My wise accountant once distilled the goal-setting process down to these questions:
- How much revenue do you want to earn and why?
- What percentage of that revenue will you invest in your practice and why?
- How much money do you need to manage
Alternative Business Structures (ABS) is all the debate right now in Ontario, with a current discussion paper released by the law society. Over 40 responses were received from various organizations and stakeholders. The interim report presented to convocation in February included a wide range of views on ABS, from strongly for it to staunchly opposed.
The incentives for adopting ABS appears to primarily be for the purposes of attracting capital and promoting access to justice. The report references an alternative to plain ABS called ABS+, to focus specifically on how this capital could be harnessed to address those . . . [more]
It’s tempting (and fun!) to dismiss futurists and trend spotters as people who see connections and consequences where none exist. It is equally tempting (and fun!) to assume the role of the clairvoyant because, in the words of Future Babble author Dan Garder, the soothsayer can never lose: “Heads I win, tails you forget we had a bet.” Sometimes, however, it can be quite easy for everyone to see the future.
Last week, many of us were reading and sharing the latest “future of law” warning. The fine folks over at The Economist offered a sobering look at just . . . [more]
You’ve tried clarification, reminders, warnings, patience and tolerance, maybe even retraining. But it isn’t working, and you both know it. Firing employees is not likely a task you took into consideration when you thought about becoming a lawyer; but here you are, an employer, in the position of having to fire an employee.
It will never be pleasant; but there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to lawsuits, reputational damage, maybe even stolen clients or breaches of confidentiality. The right way can lead to the same things, of course; but the odds are . . . [more]
If you’ve worked in a law firm long enough, you’ve probably been assigned work in a way that left you confused (if not annoyed). When it’s time to delegate your own work, it can be a mistake to default to the delegation style that you’ve become used to, assuming that it’s effective.
That assumption might be wrong if you’re working with new people, clients and/or matters. Try asking the following questions when you need to enlist help with a task. They involve people in taking responsibility for their work and they show respect for others’ expertise.
- What is the best
I’ve written updates before on encryption for communications and why the legal profession should be interested in tools and trends like encrypted ephemeral messaging, Edward Snowden’s warnings for legal professionals, and the upcoming Chrome extension for end-to-end email encryption.
Much of the whys and wherefores around encryption and Privacy Enhancing Technologies (“PETs”) and their place in legal practice are part of a broader conversation around lawyers’ digital competency — such as what Amy Salyzyn often writes about here on Slaw. This in turn engages the larger topic of internet security (and for a general background see this . . . [more]
Peter Neufield is a J.D. student at the Osgoode Hall Law School and the current features editor of the IPOsgoode blog IPilogue. He’s posted a short interview with Owen Byrd, Chief Evangelist & General Counsel at Lex Machina. Lex Machina started life in 2010 as a partnership between Stanford University’s Computer Science Department and the Law School with some great support from a number of “tech companies and law firms.”
Last week, I joined some 25 others at a Winnipeg bar for Paint Nite. Many of those present were painting for the first time since elementary school. Nonetheless, two hours (and a few beers) later, we each walked out proudly holding the product of the evening’s work. I posted a picture of my creation online and soon received a lot of positive (and some incredulous) feedback on the painting.
That experience got me thinking about what we mean when we talk about creativity. How is it that a room full of individuals who don’t normally paint could each manage . . . [more]
Christine M. Stouffer, Director of Library Services at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland, has a nice article in the February issue of the AALL Spectrum. It’s called, “Closing the Gap: Teaching ‘Practice-Ready’ Legal Skills,” and talks about the “widening gap between legal education and real-world legal practice skills” and the role that law librarians can play in narrowing that perceived gap.
Stouffer touches on the January 2014 report from the American Bar Association Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. She provides a good review of this report and I would recommend reading this . . . [more]
Despite the interdisciplinary nature of law, lawyers rarely turn to medicine to look for the intersection between the two fields.
The exceptions to this would be the endless debate about work-life balance. For example, The CBA Futures report makes several references to health and wellness for lawyers as part of a sustainable practice.
Another intersection would be the recent focus by the Ontario Bar Association’s initiative, Opening Remarks, to promote conversations about mental health in the profession. This is an initiative led by the OBA President, Orlando Da Silva, based on his own experiences with depression.
Occasionally there are . . . [more]
The Canadian Bar Association has undertaken an update of the Joint Policy Statement on Audit Inquiries (“JPS”), in collaboration with the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. An auditor of an entity’s financial statements will often request that its lawyers confirm the reasonableness of the entity’s evaluation of claims and possible claims both by and against the entity. The JPS was developed in 1978 by the CBA and (then) CICA to provide guidance on communication protocols between the auditor, law firm and management of the entity, in order to protect solicitor-client privilege and keep an appropriate distance between the auditor and . . . [more]