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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Rethinking Risk Management

Most risk management advice is based on how to avoid bad things through taking proactive and preventative steps. For example, use checklists on every file to avoid missing crucial steps. Document the advice you’ve given, particularly if your client isn’t likely to follow it. Use retainer letters to set clear expectations for your clients.

Other advice is based on avoiding risk through knowing when to leave well enough alone. The best is example is the axiom that a lawyer should never sue for fees because that’s a frequent trigger for a legal malpractice claim or law society misconduct complaint.

But . . . [more]

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

Futures Past, Present and … Yes, Future

The CBA Futures Initiative made a splash last year with its report on the future of legal services, and we’ve been really pleased to be at the centre of the conversation about what today’s changes will mean for the future of the profession in Canada. Since the report was released we’ve been talking the talk AND walking the walk, creating tools and information resources for members.

Some facts and figures:

  • Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, is required reading on a growing number of law school syllabuses;
  • The Futures team has reached nearly 3,000 people with its
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Don’t Let Personal Issues Lead You to Bend the Rules

At least two of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s discipline decisions in the last few months referenced a lawyer’s “loss of moral compass.” Even honest and well-intentioned lawyers have, when under pressure or when suffering from illness, addiction or a personal crisis, succumbed to the belief that it’s perfectly fine to bend the rules “just this once.”

Unfortunately, bending rules and getting away with it has the effect of weakening a lawyer’s scruples over time – especially when the pressures that led to the first transgression persist. Preserving your integrity will help you steer clear of serious threats to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

‘La Bâtonnière’ No More After Settlement With Quebec Bar Association

The Quebec Bar Association and bencher-elect Lu Chan Khuong have released a joint statement, indicating that Khuong has decided to resign her position and duties. The joint press release, dated Tuesday, September 15, 2015, announces a settlement agreement of the legal action opposing the board of directors of the Bar Association and Khuong. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

At this time of year, many firms are welcoming articling students into their offices.

While it’s easy to view these 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 . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Update on the Case of the Quebec Bar Association Suspended Bencher

This is an update regarding the Quebec Bar Association’s controversial suspension of its recently elected bencher, Me Lu Chan Khuong (see our past blog posts here and here). To summarize, the bar association’s board of directors suspended Khuong after it went public that in 2014 she had been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting two pairs of jeans at a Simons store in Laval. Khuong sued the bar for $95,000 in damages and filed a safeguard order to be reinstated to her position as president of the bar.

Additional allegations surface

Now, the bar has countered with its own lawsuit . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The 2015 Pacific Legal Technology Conference

On Friday Oct 2, 2015 in Vancouver, BC, the ninth Pacific Legal Technology Conference will take place. But it can also take place right in your office. This year 13 sessions will be real-time webcast (the keynote will be recorded and made available for viewing after the conference due to logistical issues) allowing both in person and webinar attendees to fully participate in the conference.

28 speakers from Toronto, New York City, Salt Lake City, Alaska and all across BC will speak on such sessions as “Blending Technology with Strong Advocacy Skills”, “Practice Management Tools: There has never been a . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Lawyers Working Well With Others?

At the recent Canadian Bar Association Legal Conference in Calgary, I had the opportunity to join a panel on the subject of lawyers working effectively with those from other professional backgrounds. The panel focused on the benefits of a cross-disciplinary team approach, arising from the recommendation of the CBA Legal Futures report to permit multi-disciplinary practice arrangements. I opened by pointing out why I think this matters (or ought to matter) to lawyers:

  1. So they’ll be better lawyers (which was the theme of the conference) through greater focus, enhanced skills and a broader knowledge base; and
  2. So that clients will
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

When Are Witnesses Allowed to Testify via Video-Conference?

A recent Superior Court decision canvassed the existing law pertaining to permitting witnesses to testify via telephone or video as opposed to in person, and appears to have set out a template of the procedure by which such requests should be made and, if granted, carried out.

A few days before the commencement of trial, the defendants requested that five of their witnesses be permitted to testify via video-conference at the trial. Four of these witnesses live in the U.K. and the other witness lives in the United States. The plaintiff opposed the request which led to argument. The court . . . [more]

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

Five Ways to Make a Fast Decision

Time and money almost always need to be balanced with quality in legal projects. When you’re faced with increasing project constraints, the ability to make good decisions quickly becomes especially important.

Decisiveness requires the type of confidence that comes from taking action, rather than accumulating theoretical knowledge. You might not make the best choice. You might even offend. But you’ll move things forward.

  1. Seek disconfirmation of assumptions. Ask “Is this wrong?” instead of “Am I right? Talk to someone with relevant experience.
  2. If you’re working in a team, understand your role and the decisions you are expected to make.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Independent Legal Advice Checklist

When providing independent legal advice, a checklist provides you with a handy tool to ensure that you are covering all the bases when discussing the underlying transaction and your client’s relationship to that transaction. Using this checklist, created by Phil Epstein Q.C., will allow you to be in a better position to successfully defend a negligence claim in relation to the provision of independent legal advice. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Welcome the Flipped Lawyer

Time and tide wait for no man” (Geoffrey Chaucer). Or for no lawyer [male or female]. 

Change is afoot in the legal profession, and lawyers are trying to figure out how to react to it. But the legal industry isn’t the only profession facing change.

Jonathan Reese of Colorado State University-Pueblo recently wrote about changes in the education sector on The Kernel. He describes the introduction of MOOCs and flipped classrooms as a form of “professional suicide.” The premise behind both of these is the responsibility for learning shifts to the students, who watch video lectures on . . . [more]

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