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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Clouded Thinking: Will Regulator Fear Turn Canada Into a Cloud Computing Ghetto?

Last week Nicole Garton Jones, a BC-based lawyer and fellow Slaw contributor, provided some thought-provoking commentary on the position of the Law Society of British Columbia on the topic of Virtual Law Firms, as discussed in the latest edition of the organization’s Bencher’s Bulletin. In the bulletin, and subsequent response to Ms. Garton-Jones’ post, the LSBC identifies several key concerns relating to cloud computing for BC-based law firms, namely:

  • LSBC trust accounting rules (specifically, Rule 3-68) require lawyers to store records at their chief place of practice in British Columbia.
  • The USA PATRIOT Act poses a data privacy
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Thoughts on the Law Society of BC Bencher Bulletin Feature Article: The Real World of Virtual Law Firms

I read with interest an article out today in the Law Society of BC Bencher Bulletin about virtual law firms.

Some quotes caught my particular attention. Specifically, a Practice Advisor at the Law Society of BC is quoted as follows:

Some lawyers are so keen on the technology and reducing overhead by having a ‘virtual law firm’ that they are not putting their minds to the professional responsibility issues regarding confidentiality, conflicts, client identification and verification, determining mental capacity of the client to instruct, undue influence over the client and so on.

There are currently very few law firms that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Google Docs Revises Revisions

When it comes to word processors lawyers will almost universally use either MS Word or WordPerfect. These giant applications contain hundreds of features that are capable of meeting just about any imaginable need when it comes to document creation (except proper typesetting). And, in the case of Word, it integrates more or less smoothly with the rest of the Office suite of applications. Powerful stuff.

This muscularity comes with a price, though. There’s the literal price, of course. Then there’s the need to have a decent-sized pack animal around to port the app along with you on your travels. As . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet

Ethical Obligation to Wipe Your Old Computers – and Other Media

It remains a continuing problem as to how to destroy digital data. In some instances one may have to destroy the storage medium itself.

Lately the Florida State Bar published a proposed advisory ethics opinion to the effect that lawyers have an obligation to ensure that confidential data — personal information but also client data generally — must be effectively erased from any storage medium before that medium is disposed of. This extends beyond computer drives to cell phones, digital fax machines and copiers (which have memories that keep the data), and even to third-party service providers’ equipment. The opinion . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Being Up Front and Blunt About Setting and Controlling Client Expectations

My good friend Jim Calloway, practice management advisor for the Oklahoma State Bar Association, just added a fantastic post on his Law Practice Tips Blog.

Jim’s post, One Firm’s View of Client Expectations is about a South Carolina law firm that has decided to use its web site to make certain their potential clients have clear and realistic expectations about the firm before they even schedule an appointment. Check out the Client Expectations (Realistic or Unrealistic) section of their web page.

This page has statements I have never seen on a law firm’s website before: “We do not work . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Legal Project Management – Do Litigators “scrum”?

Legal Project Management has certainly become flavour of the month. I will be co-chairing a full one-day conference on the topic (on November 1st, 2010 in Toronto). This is the first Canadian event of its kind and the fact that the conference is organized by the Canadian Bar Association and has both law firm and in-house counsel speakers suggests that the idea of applying project management principles to legal services has broad support and interest across the profession.

But while the topic resonates for many lawyers (with its prospect for increased budgetary certainty and potentially better outcomes), my experience . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Running a Virtual Law Office

On Monday, November 15, 2010 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EST, I am presenting a teleseminar along with Hermie Abraham of Abraham Law, David Anber of David Anber’s Law Office and Phil Brown of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Prof Development & Competence on:

* Choosing the right technology to stay connected
* Collaborating with clients on the Web
* Addressing all considerations before going virtual
* Finding the simplest tools to make it work seamlessly
* Upholding confidentiality in the virtual office

Link to program page: http://ecom.lsuc.on.ca/cpd/product.jsp?id=CLE10-0110301
Link to printable program brochure: http://ecom.lsuc.on.ca/cpd/flyer.jsp?id=CLE10-0110301

Please join us! . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

“My Legal Briefcase” Offers Help Re Small Claims Court

With Small Claims Court in Ontario now able to deal with claims of up to $25,000, the actions aren’t so “small” anymore. And the increase in the number of people affected by the generous cut-off has spawned a variety of self-help websites and businesses.

For an example of a pro bono self-help site, check out the series of seven videos on the Small Claims Court by lawyer James Morton, part of an initiative by the Advancement of Legal Education and Research Trust (ALERT), the charitable arm of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA).

My Legal Briefcase is a brand new . . . [more]

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

The Precedent a-List: New Site for Lawyer Announcements and Career Postings

Further kudos to Melissa Kluger and her staff at Precedent: The New Rules of Law and Style. I remain impressed with the ongoing quality and content of her magazine (note of disclosure: I know Melissa from when she was a law-school student and I believe my firm also advertises in the magazine).

It seems they have also now launched The Precedent A-List, a site for lawyer announcements and career postings.

As stated in their news release:

The site will be devoted to career announcements — such as who has made a move, made partner or gone in-house —

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law

ABA Commission Looking at Impact of Technology on Client Confidentiality and Business Development

The ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission is holding hearings to explore the impact of technology on client confidences and lawyers’ use of the internet to develop business. The Commission invites interested persons to register now to testify at an Oct. 14 public hearing in Chicago. You may also make written submissions. See below for details on registering or making written submissions.

The commission has issued two issues papers identifying areas it expects to explore in oral testimony or written comment. One explores implications for client confidentiality raised by lawyers’ use of such technological tools as cloud computing, while the other raises . . . [more]

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