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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Edward Snowden Tells the Legal Profession That Protecting Client Confidentiality Now Requires Encryption

From Saturday’s Guardian – here is the complete transcript.

The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.

Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.

No matter how careful you are from that point on, no matter how sophisticated your source, journalists have to be sure that they make no mistakes at all in the very beginning to the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology: Office Technology

Of Woodsheds and Clients’ Social Media Habits

Here’s another post under the “social media law” umbrella—this time about what intelligible advice, if any, lawyers can bank on when it comes to directing their own clients to “clean up” social media accounts. It’s not the first time this has been canvassed here on Slaw, as John Gregory’s post from earlier this year attests, but since I recently prepared materials for a webinar on social media as evidence, and in the course of that started a trial run of X1 Social Discovery (which is what the Department of Justice, RCMP, and at least two major Canadian law firms are . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

Slaying the Internal Giants to Maximize Your Career

At the heart of ancient Palestine is the region known as the Shephelah, a series of ridges and valleys connecting the Judaean Mountains to the east with the wide, flat expanse of the Mediterranean plain. It is an area of breathtaking beauty, home to vineyards and wheat fields and forests of sycamore and terebinth. It is also of great strategic importance.

This is how Malcolm Gladwell begins his new book, released last fall, David and Goliath.

The Shephelah, Gladwell notes, was where John Hyrcanus of the Maccabees fought the Seleucid Empire (he calls “Syria”), before forcibly converting the inhabitants . . . [more]

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

I’m a Non-Engineer

It happened again yesterday in the CBA Futures Twitterchat – the term “non-lawyer” once again reared its ugly head. Granted, it was a Twitter chat with 140 character limits but even so, there must better ways to describe the vast majority of the population who are not licensed to practice law.

I’ve written here previously on my views of this term; since then, I’ve only become more deeply entrenched in my point of view, to the point where use of the term now grinds in my ears like fingernails on a chalkboard. (Incidentally, does anyone under 30 even know what . . . [more]

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

Having Fun With Nostalgic Marketing

What is it about summer that makes us so nostalgic? I spend a lot of time between June and September wishing I was hanging out with friends or family in Saskatchewan, even though I have a perfectly nice life in Vancouver. I’ll respond positively to almost any marketing message reminding me of long, carefree days when my only concern was how to sneak another piece of Saskatoon berry pie without my mother noticing.

Nostalgia has a special place in marketing and public relations. It appeals to our need for safety and security. It helps us feel connected to each . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

CBA Futures Chat: Lawyers Learning to Play With Others

It’s National’s turn (finally!) to host a Twitter Chat with CBA Futures. The topic: What will it take for lawyers to learn to play with others?

It might strike some as an odd choice of topic. Lawyers are a versatile bunch, capable of representing clients in a variety of industries. They’re good at learning about different businesses and the challenges they face. Inevitably, in practicing their trade, they regularly come into contact with a wide array of professionals.

But that doesn’t mean that they listen to diverse points of view when it comes to running their own affairs.

Part . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Screen Door Slamming

It is finally summer on the prairies. I am savouring long, sunny days, lush, green lawns and thunderclouds on the horizon at dusk, but my paradise is not free from troubles.

There are pests in my world – ants, flies, wasps, giant hungry mosquitoes and more – and I find myself becoming irritated by their incessant buzzing and humming, until I hear the distinct whack of a screen door slamming. The sound immediately reminds me that my summertime serenity is secure.

This simple device allows the fresh morning breezes and cool night air to pass freely through my home, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Strategies for the Modern Age: Dealing With the New Reality

We’re halfway through 2014. How’s your practice strategy coming along?

If you’re feeling stuck, you might find inspiration in “The End of Competitive Advantage” by Columbia Business School’s Rita Gunther McGrath. McGrath’s framework makes a lot of sense for firms dealing with rapidly changing environments.

The new “playbook for strategy” outlined in McGrath’s latest research is premised on creating transient advantages versus exploiting business-as-usual to sustain historical performance. Her logic will resonate with anyone preparing firms for new realities:

“The presumption of stability creates all the wrong reflexes. It allows for inertia and power to build up

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Reading: Recommended

Spring (Or Summer) Clean Your Practice

When work gets busy, many of us put certain non-mission-critical tasks on hold. But it’s important to remember that “on hold” should not be allowed to turn into “lost in the mists of time”. Lawyers must develop the discipline of regularly returning to and addressing the non-urgent details of their practice when opportunities present themselves.

You will know best what needs addressing in the course of your spring cleaning, but if you need some inspiration, here are our suggestions:

  • Bill your files, and send reporting letters for matters that you’ve completed.
  • Identify languishing files, and take the next step in
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Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Summer School Anyone?: Legal Informatics at Stanford

As reported by Robert Richards on the Legal Informatics Research Network, Roland Vogl and Michael Genesereth have released their spring 2014 lectures for the Legal Informatics course at Stanford Law School. The course intends to provide an “overview of how technology is used in today’s legal practice and how it will be changing the landscape of the legal profession and the law more broadly in the foreseeable future.”

The course is organized into three modules with eight video lectures ranging from an hour and a half to two hours in length:

  1. Legal Document Management (including electronic legal research,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Legal Aid Is Funding Separation Agreements

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is funding 10 hours for the negotiation and creation of separation agreements as of July 3, 2014. The move is intended to reduce the number of unrepresented parties in family law, as well as promote non-adversarial dispute resolution.

The advantage of this initiative is that it provides avenues to resolve family disputes without resorting to litigation, which is often the only way that many eligible for legal aid can receive funds. The downside may be that 10 hours may not be nearly enough to cover all the areas of assistance covered by the funding:

  • obtaining and
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Posted in: Practice of Law

Getting Started With Legal Knowledge Management

How do you get started with Knowledge Management (KM) in the legal profession?

I get approached on a regular basis with this question by small law firms that want to have the advantages of the larger firms, by lawyers or librarians who want to become part of an existing KM team in a larger firm, or by individuals hired into firms to lead KM initiatives. There are programs specific to Knowledge Management that exist, but there is not a lot of introductory material specific to the legal industry.

I recently sat down with Garry Wise of Wise Law so he . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Practice Management