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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Avoiding Communications Claims in Family Law

No matter what the area of practice, the number one source of claims at LAWPRO is a breakdown in communication between the lawyer and client.

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly 4,600 communications claims – an average of 762 a year – have been reported to LAWPRO. The total cost of these claims to date is about $158 million – and likely to rise as more recent years’ claims are resolved.

In the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine we asked LAWPRO claims counsel with expertise in the various areas of law to provide insights into the communications mistakes they see . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Back to the Future of Lawyers

For the Generation X lawyers on this site, 2015 has special significance. This was the year that Marty McFly from Back to the Future II travelled to, specifically on October 21, 2015.

Many of us who saw this movie back in 1989 wondered how much of this fictional reality would actually come true. One prediction in particular is of interest to those of us who have ended up being lawyers,

Marty McFly: You said this had to do with my kids.

Doc: Look what happens to your son.

Marty McFly: [Reading the newspaper from 2015]

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

10 Resolutions for Change for Unhappy Lawyers

Tomorrow begins a new year, open with possibilities for new opportunities and improvements upon the status quo. At this time of list making and reflection upon the year past, my contribution focuses on what I know best – taking the leap from a joyless legal practice to an enthusiastic and impassioned approach to work. Having implemented this kind of change in my life, from time to time I hear from dissatisfied lawyers asking for advice on how they can do the same. What follows are some of the bits of advice I have given over the years, in no particular . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Anti-ABS Arguments Continue to Be Based on Emotion – Not Fact

I’m tired.

Tired of ABS fear-mongering.

Tired of disingenuous and protectionist arguments made by those who know very little about ABS – yet are fiercely opposed to it.

And tired of the misinformation being floated by ABS opponents.

Now I know what it was like in the McCarthy-era.

Lawyers (particularly trial lawyers) are trained to argue a position based on logic and evidence – not hyperbole and emotion.

OTLA’s recent pronouncements in the Law Times on December 29, 2014, are particularly troubling:

“We have studied ABS from the time it was first raised by the law society in the . . . [more]

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

Lawyer Who Sues Client for $4,000 Is Ordered to Pay Client Nearly Twice That Amount in Costs

A lawyer who sued her former client for $3,937.50 for unpaid legal fees has had $7,000 in costs awarded against her, and the matter has yet to reach trial.

In the lawyer’s Small Claims Court lawsuit, she was ordered to produce her entire file to the former client and make production of the documents in chronological order, such that it could be ascertained whether or not she had in fact produced the entire file.

For reasons that are not entirely clear, the lawyer failed to produce the file in chronological order. A Deputy Small Claims Court Judge awarded costs against . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

Avoiding Communications Claims in Corporate Law

No matter what the area of practice, the number one source of claims at LAWPRO is a breakdown in communication between the lawyer and client.

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly 4,600 communications claims – an average of 762 a year – have been reported to LAWPRO. The total cost of these claims to date is about $158 million – and likely to rise as more recent years’ claims are resolved.

In the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine we asked LAWPRO claims counsel with expertise in the various areas of law to provide insights into the communications mistakes they see . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Creative Use of Six Sigma Tools

I am on a path toward certification in Lean Six Sigma; I should probably say further certification since I passed a Green Belt certification exam in November. One of the most interesting aspects of the courses that I am taking is the introduction to a plethora of analysis tools. One such tool is the House of Quality.

A House of Quality is a method to reconcile what customers want with what can be designed. Often referred to as “Quality Function Deployment”, this tool originated in Japan (in a shipyard), and it graphically links customer needs to product capabilities. It also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

IBM’s Watson Is in Town!

In fact, Watson has been downtown learning about law and legal research at the University of Toronto since sometime early this fall. IBM approached 10 schools and challenged them to “put an entrepreneurial spin on Watson’s artificial intelligence.” U of T was the only Canadian university invited to participate in this IBM Watson Cognitive Computing Competition. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Death Knell for the Billable Hour? Bank of Nova Scotia v. Diemer ONCA

In this important decision released 1 December 2014 the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a motions judge’s refusal to approve a court appointed receiver’s fees, and comments on the undesirable features of the billable hour model.

The motions judge held the legal fees charged were “disproportionate ” to the size of the receivership, that the usual or standard rates were too high, and that excessive work was done by senior counsel on routine matters. The judge found the fees charged “greatly exceed” what he viewed as fair and reasonable.

Relying on its inherent supervisory jurisdiction over a receiver’s requests . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Work and Rework

I’m a fan of Basecamp, a web-based project management tool. It has just the right number of features, it’s simply structured, and, most importantly it’s effective. The same can be said of Rework, a book written by the creators of Basecamp, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

We could learn something from these guys
Fried and Hansson founded a small, Chicago-based web design company called 37signals in 1999. The team soon noticed the need for an online tool that would help people “get work done” without heavy investments in commitments, resources or time. Basecamp became that tool. . . . [more]

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

Achieving the Fundamental Goal of the Civil Justice System

Justice David Brown delivered a paper on 21 November 2014 at the Carleton County Law Association Annual Meeting in which he sets out a 5 point action plan for moving the judicial system towards achieving its fundamental goal – the fair, timely and cost effective determination of civil cases on their merits.

You can read it here: 2014.Carleton.Cty.LA.final.Mt.Tremblant.nov

This is “Part 2” to the paper Justice Brown presented last June at the OBA end of term dinner on creating a sustainable civil justice system. (My post on it is here.)

It offers some concrete solutions to some of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Engaging Ideas

“Is anybody out there?” Have you ever looked at your website traffic or social media engagement statistics and wondered if you’re all alone in cyberspace?

The good news is that you’re not alone. Most of your colleagues have probably asked the same question. The bad news is that you’ll need to move beyond your comfort zone if you want to break away from the silent online majority.

Why Engagement Matters
There are two perceptions of you as a lawyer: who you are and what you do. It’s easy to publish a list of what you do on a webpage. But . . . [more]

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