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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Ethics of ‘The Tweeting Lawyer”: Powerful Platform or Risky Undertaking?

Social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) are web-based technologies that enable users to create and share content and to participate in interactive online communications. As the use of social media grows and becomes a powerful and indispensable tool for lawyers, so do the ethical risks facing lawyers.

Why “tweeting” is powerful. It is interactive, easy to reach, fast to use, cost effective, and informative. Social media is an excellent tool that can help lawyers establish broader professional networks, build and develop brands, and enhance professional profiles. While social media can provide powerful marketing tools, lawyer should . . . [more]

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

Lay Legal Advisers

In the UK in 1970 a husband who could not afford legal representation in his divorce proceedings used an Australian barrister, who was not qualified to appear in an English court, to help him. The judge barred the Australian from sitting next to McKenzie at the hearing. McKenzie appealed this decision on the ground he had been unfairly denied help. The Court of Appeal agreed, and according to an article last week in the UK Guardian newspaper, “broke lawyers’ monopoly on providing legal representation”.

There is a healthy industry of lay legal advisers in the UK today. They are called . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

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

While it’s easy to view articling students as a source of extra help, the primary purpose of articling is to provide a valuable apprenticeship to the student, not simply to lighten the lawyer’s load. Today’s law school curriculum has a strongly theoretical focus. Students spend a great deal of time learning to research the law and to “think like lawyers”, and limited time learning about how to operate a law practice.

That’s where articling comes in. As an articling principal, you are charged with teaching students about . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Practice Management

More Than Just Rhetorical Questions

I am a professional working woman. My mother was, until her retirement, a professional working woman. My daughter will, I expect, be a professional working woman when she completes her education.

Issues related to the (in)equality of working women therefore are of particular significance to me.

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day in the U.S. This is a day that marks the point in time each year when women in the workforce will have earned enough to catch up to the earnings of men in the previous year. Did you get that?

In the U.S., women need to work for more . . . [more]

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

Training in the Business of the Law

Two and a half years ago, I embarked upon the exciting adventure of starting up a new firm in Ottawa, McBride Bond Christian LPP. Though I had been in private practice for well over ten years at the time, I learned a lot about starting a new business ‘‘sur le terrain’’. None of my law school courses included training in business development, marketing or management. Luckily, I was fortunate to benefit from the guidance and advice of my colleagues throughout this process and we are proud to say that our firm has now blossomed into a mid-sized firm which . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

What Do We Do With All This Data?

It is said that we measure what we value and that we value what we measure. If the adage holds true, law firms’ emphasis on measurement of billable hours points ultimately to their focus on making a profit. This is hardly surprising.

Heather Douglas’ post Metrics: Beyond the Billable Hour, suggests that law firms should measure more than just billable hours and could make use of the valuable data gleaned or already in their possession. Those are good ideas that could support the profit motivation, but may require a different approach to measurement and data gathering, relying on research methodologies . . . [more]

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

Panama Papers – Points to Ponder

The Panama papers revelations are worth pondering on many levels. (This Wired article is a good summary.)

My first reaction to the high level tax evasion and corruption allegations was to blanch at the thought that someone had basically given the entire contents of a law firm’s document management system to a third party.

As a lawyer, the fact that law firm files were leaked causes me to wince. After all, solicitor-client privilege is a fundamental tenet of democratic society. Law firms take the security of their files very seriously, and getting access to this information would not be an . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

The Susskinds on the End of Tomorrow’s Professions

Lawyers like to think they’re unique.

This exceptionalism can explain in part our resistance to change, and our inability to adopt best practices from other industries. Sometimes it limits our ability to recognize that our challenges are part of larger societal trends which everyone is facing.

In The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the nature of legal services, Richard Susskind explored alternative methods of providing legal services, while pointing to some of the many failings of the existing models of delivery. In Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, he goes further, and describes the types of new jobs . . . [more]

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

Public Speaking: Some People Love It, Some People Hate It, Yet We All Have to Do It

“The most precious things in speech are the pauses.” – Sir Ralph Richardson

No matter the job, all lawyers need to speak well. Below are some helpful pointers for public speaking:

  1. breath deeply using your diaphragm and talk while breathing out;
  2. use lots of air while talking;
  3. do not hold your breath while talking;
  4. start your sentence in a lower tone;
  5. emphasize the end of the sentence (end your sentence in a low pitch);
  6. emphasize the key words in your sentence;
  7. pause for effect;
  8. emphasize points through alliteration;
  9. use inclusive language when drafting your presentation (e.g. we, us, you, I
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Of Conference Debriefs and #ABATECHSHOW 2016 Chicago Travel Tips

A good conference can leave little time to explore a city itself. Hence, I’ve pathetic little Chicago lore to pass on. No Field Museum meditations, no Magnificent Mile shopping tips. Chicago may not best be described as “the appurtenance to the Hilton along Michigan Ave” but honestly, after attending the 2016 ABA TECHSHOW, I am hardly in a position to describe it any better.

The only souvenirs I acquired bleeped in when I disengaged airplane mode on a layover in Minnesota… 95 Twitter notifications from lawyers and startups I engaged with at the conference. Fellow conference attendee, LSUC’s Phil Brown, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Alberta Ransomware Advisory

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has developed guidelines to assist public bodies, health custodians and private organizations with preventing and responding to ransomware cyberattacks. The Advisory published in March 2016 in PDF can be downloaded here.

According to most information technology experts, antivirus vendors and security professionals, “Ransomware” is considered a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system and files until a sum of money is paid within a certain deadline, to an unknown party. The sum of money to be paid varies from as little as $25 to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

TV Cameras in UK Courts

The UK Justice minister has just announced a pilot scheme for the introduction of cameras into criminal courts.

The project will run for 3 months in eight UK cities.

Cameras will film only the judge, and will be confined to sentencing remarks. The purpose is to “.. allow the public to see and hear the judge’s decision in their own words.”

The footage will not be broadcast live.

Leading British barrister Helena Kennedy Q.C. regards cameras in court as a threat to justice, evolving out of base commercial imperatives that are not concerned about justice or the potential impact on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice