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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Better Productivity for Lawyers? Try the Pomodoro Technique


Like most office workers, lawyers and their support staff are increasingly struggling with information overload. Lawyering often requires deep thinking, thorough research and precise drafting, among other tasks. This time intensive work can easily get high jacked with constant distractions such as email, internet browsing, blog feeds, instant messaging, snail mail, meetings, phone calls and “twittering”.

The amount of information we receive on a daily basis has grown dramatically, but the amount of control we have over that information seems to have decreased exponentially. The Pomodoro Technique may be a good filter from internal and external distractions to keep you . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

iPads for Lawyers: New Blog – iPad4Legal

Colleague and fellow blogger Patrick DiDomenico has started a blog called iPad4Legal that is further whetting my appetite for an iPad. He describes his new blog in these terms:

iPad4Legal is a blog about iPads as they pertain to lawyers, law firms, and the legal profession. We may occasionally stray and discuss iPhones or other Apple products since the technologies often overlap.

Another colleague described iPad as good for content consumers (which I am) but perhaps less so for content creators (which would be perhaps disappointing but something I suspect Apple would improve upon). The obvious interest will be in . . . [more]

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

Distracted Lawyering

A couple of waves aligned in my universe today:

Ernie’s article (I will address him by first name since frequently reading his good stuff makes me feel like we are close friends) mentioned his experience with a class of law students he was presenting information to:

Almost all of them had a laptop in front of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Legislation

The New Ontario Rules Call for Systematic Discovery Planning and Management

There’s been a good deal of hoopla about project management and the legal profession lately. I banged the drum last November and we’ve had a Slaw book review about project management by Andrew Terrett and another on work procedures by John Gilles. Canadian Lawyer Magazine recently validated our Slawyerly interest in the way we work by deeming project management a “buzz” for 2010. In contrast to my market-related argument from last November, I write this post to make the simple point that the discovery-related amendments to the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure are a practice-related reason to engage in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

SaaS Holds Promise – but You Still Need a Desktop, Right?

It’s easy to forget that the first and often the last interaction most of us have each day with our legal technology involves logging into – or out of – our trusty desktop machine. And that makes a lot of sense, because it’s typically the nexus of practically all that we do each day, from e-mail to web research to practice management and beyond. And yet the legal technology press is abuzz about how to ‘get into the cloud’ or ‘the perils of entering the cloud’ or the latest SaaS application that enables practice management for the price of a . . . [more]

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

Legal Aid Ontario Cutting Funding in Civil Cases

About 600 legal aid certificates are typically given out a year for civil cases in Ontario, a practice that appears to have ended.

The Toronto Star reports that starting April 1 coverage was eliminated for a number of claims including, “lawsuits seeking damages for abuse, claims for reinstatement of disability insurance, malicious prosecution, assault or wrongful detention, mortgage actions and personal injury claims…”

Kristian Justesen, a spokesperson for Legal Aid Ontario, has indicated that contingency fee arrangements in the province allow lawyers to take on these cases as an alternative to legal aid, and that funding was often . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Stem Legal’s New Media Strategy Service

Our friends over at Stem Legal have rolled out a new Media Strategy service for law firms. The aim is to develop with the client “a customized strategic plan for using the media (including social media) as a business development tool.” What makes this particularly interesting is that it’s headed up by the estimable Jordan Furlong. I can easily imagine how relieved some firms will be to have Jordan guide them through the fun-house halls of Twitter, Facebook, and the rest. I wish Stem every success in this venture.

[Disclosure: Stem Legal’s principal is Steve Matthews, who is a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

The Five Dysfunctions of a Law Firm?

I just finished reading the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, which is written as a “leadership fable” – a story of a struggling technology start up company.

The central premise of the book is that creating a strong team is one of the few remaining competitive advantages available to organizations. Functional teams make better decisions and accomplish more in less time. Talented people are less likely to leave organizations where they are part of a cohesive team.

Politics is defined as when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

The Blind Side

I have to admit, when I started a recent series of trips to make presentations in the U.S. and Canada, I’d been questioning whether my recent assessments of and predictions for the legal profession had maybe become too radical. Having now returned from speaking with and listening to some of the sharpest and most engaged minds in the business, I’m coming to think I haven’t been radical enough.

Certainly, there was encouraging news. Delivering serious and perhaps discomfiting messages to state bar leaders in Chicago and law society executives in Toronto, I was heartened by the openness to these ideas . . . [more]

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

Plan for Success With a Law Firm Business Plan Precedent and Sample Budget

It was great to be quoted on the benefits for law firms of having a business plan in the April 2, 2010 Lawyers Weekly

There is great advice in this article. Unfortunately, it fails to mention that practicePRO also provides lawyers a sample law firm business plan (in Word) and a law firm budget template (an Excel spreadsheet). PDFs of both documents are also available, and all can be found on our Precedent Documents and Retainers page.

New and established lawyers alike can use these documents to plan for a more successful future.

Cross posted on Avoid A . . . [more]

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

Please Deposit My Bogus Cheque So I Can Give the Money to an Orphanage

I continue to get daily emails and phone calls from Ontario lawyers that are finding themselves the targets of attempted frauds. The fraud attempts I am seeing are definitely getting more polished and sophisticated. In this post I want to highlight some of the changes in tactics the fraudsters are using so lawyers can better recognize the red flags of a problem deal.

A good example comes from call I got early last week from an Ontario lawyer that was in the middle of dealing with a matter that was clearly an attempt to dupe him with a bad cheque. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Lord Justice Jackson’s Final Report on Civil Costs

♫ Strike with the strongest hand
Search from the sharpest eye
Pull from the greater
Side of your mind
Tear down the wall that’s stuck
In between soul and mind
Watch as the worlds collide…♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by Broken Iris.

The forward of Lord Justice Jackson’s final report on his Review of Civil Litigation Costs in the UK states as follows:

In some areas of civil litigation costs are disproportionate and impede access to
justice. I therefore propose a coherent package of interlocking reforms, designed to control costs and promote access to justice.

So begins a comprehensive . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management