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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Back to (Business) School

Ah, September. The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and most of us feel motivated to learn something new.

Stanford University offers several online learning options for lawyers and legal professionals* interested in sharpening their business skills, especially in the areas of entrepreneurialism and innovation. The videos and podcasts in their Entrepreneurship Corner are professionally produced, available for view at any time and presented by top faculty from several departments. I’ve especially enjoyed the interviews with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Mitch Kapor who talk about lessons learned, developing “people skills” and learning to be comfortable with business risk. . . . [more]

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

Canadian Law Video Site LegalTube.ca Launched

Congratulations to the folks at LawyerLocate.ca Inc., Natalie Waddell and Mark C. Robins, for launching their new Canadian law video distribution site LegalTube.ca.

The website is aimed at the public, giving easy video access on a wide range of law-related topics. The site is made up of video content from lawyers listed on LawyerLocate.ca, with videos originally housed on YouTube or Vimeo, pulling everything together by topic as well as by participant profiles (lawyers and law firms). I found the site very easy to navigate with major law topics across the top. There is also a category . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Be the Messenger (And Don’t Get Shot)

The #1 cause of claims against Ontario lawyers practising in most areas of law is problems with lawyer-client communication.

Considering lawyers’ reputation for verbosity, this statistic seems counterintuitive, at least until you consider that some things are easier and more fun to talk about than others.

Fun to communicate with clients about: success (and our role in it); progress; winning; good news. NOT fun to communicate: failure (and our role in it); setbacks; losing; increase legal costs; bad news.

The risk: Failing to promptly and appropriately communicate bad news (and therefore, failing to take steps to mitigate setbacks) exposes lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Alternative Business Structures and Access to Justice … for Whom?

The Canadian legal profession is currently engaged in a much-needed debate about the future of legal services in general and whether to allow the use of so-called alternative business structures (ABSs) more particularly. Thankfully, the issue of access to justice is figuring prominently in the general debate, as evidenced by the recently released CBA Legal Futures report and the ongoing work of the Action Committee on Access to Justice. Beyond that, the potential for ABSs to improve access to justice is being put forward as a key reason for allowing them, as can be seen in Slaw columns of . . . [more]

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

Misquoted in the Media? Set the Record Straight.

Being interviewed for a news item or feature story on your area of expertise is a great way to build a professional reputation. It looks good in a Google search. It associates your esteem with that of the publication. And you can refer to the coverage in marketing materials without sounding self-aggrandizing.

But what if you’re misquoted?

As reporters rush to meet deadlines and editorial departments dwindle, your erudite articulation might come across as an arcane patois.

Communications expert Marsha D’Angelo has some advice on options to set the record straight. D’Angelo has worked with an impressive list of clients . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

A Step Closer to IBM Watson in the Law?

Are we getting closer to machines in the practice of law? In his blog post “Meet your new lawyer, IBM Watson,” Ron Friedmann describes a meeting between IBM senior management and top-tier law firm CIOs at last week’s ILTA conference. He says:

It sounds like IBM intends Legal Watson to replace junior associates or at least perform much of their work (see also The Future of LawAmerican Lawyer, Aug 2014). Legal Watson’s success depends on the answers to three questions:

  1. What information – and how much – does Watson need to ingest and, to the extent necessary,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Diagramming for Statutory Interpretation

Juana Summers of NPR detailed this week the use of sentence diagramming, a grammar technique once widely used in America,

Burns Florey and other experts trace the origin of diagramming sentences back to 1877 and two professors at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. In their book, Higher Lessons in English,Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg made the case that students would learn better how to structure sentences if they could see them drawn as graphic structures.

After Reed and Kellogg published their book, the practice of diagramming sentences had something of a Golden Age in American schools.

The practice fell into disuse . . . [more]

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

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Experience: A Young Lawyer Carves Her Own Path

When Carli van Maurik shares her practice philosophy with other lawyers, she’s usually met with one of two responses: raised eyebrows or enthusiastic support.

Carli van Maurik

Thankfully, most colleagues fall into the latter category.

Ms. van Maurik is a lawyer with the British Columbia business law firm Whiteboard Law. She’s based in Victoria, where she honed her legal skills at one of the city’s well known firms before branching out to follow her entrepreneurial instincts.

Most lawyers eventually narrow the focus of their practice or notice that clients could be better served by a different approach. But not . . . [more]

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

Habits and Shortcuts

My Dad, a big old gruff softie farmer from central Alberta hates (is terribly afraid of) mice. Squeeks like one when he sees them indoors, the sweetheart. I dislike the mouse that is attached to my computer when I have to take my hands off of the keyboard to use it to engage functions in software. This personality quirk is so well known in my firm that people will send me keyboard shortcuts, bless them.

Josette McEachern, Field Law’s Library Manager sent me this MS Excel tip today:

To insert a row Cntrl Shft =
To delete a row

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Of Snowden’s Call to Encrypt and the Role of Our Law Societies

Slaw Columnist Simon Chester recently tipped us off about another fascinating interview with Edward Snowden. Building on earlier interviews with the enigmatic NSA and CIA rogue, the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, and its intelligence correspondent, Ewen MacAskill, talked to Snowden a little over a year since his defection. The earnest 29 year-old is now an earnest 30 year-old, only seemingly much older and seemingly aging at an accelerated rate. A partway time-lapse to Noam Chomsky.

I’d watch the interview if for no other reason than to hear Snowden’s caution about the challenges facing the legal profession in this era that . . . [more]

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

Litigation Coaching by Judges

We often speak of litigation coaching for clients as a form of unbundled services, as one of the new frontiers for providing cost-effective legal services. But I’ve also identified the challenges that young lawyers have in developing the practical skills in litigation, especially given the strong emphasis in the system to resolve issues outside of the courtroom.

At the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Canadian Legal Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland this weekend, I had the opportunity to speak in greater depth with some vendors and discovered a product of interest.

Taran Virtual Associations, a domestic legal outsourcing company who . . . [more]

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

Final CBA Futures Report Is Now Available

2 years in the making.

7 key findings.

22 recommended actions.

Those are the numbers behind the CBA’s Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada report, released today.

The initiative was established in 2012 to “examine the fundamental changes facing the Canadian legal profession and to help lawyers understand and respond to those changes.”

The 106-page report identifies seven key findings, the result of thousands of hours of work through commissioned research and extensive online and in-person consultations with “a broad cross-section of lawyers, clients, law students, and other legal stakeholders,” and in-depth interviews with selected innovators. . . . [more]

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