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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

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

How to Take Your Law Firm Paperless

Luigi Benetton gives some tips on how to properly go paperless at The Lawyers Weekly,

If a clean desk is a clean mind, what do the papers on your desk say about your mind?

Increasingly, lawyers answer that question by replacing piles of paper with that most prominent of paperless-office machines, the scanner.

While critics argue that you’ll find paperless offices when you find paperless restrooms, the misnomer hasn’t prevented people from reducing the amount of paper they use, nor from sharing their experiences and lessons learned along the way.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Traveling Lawyer and Taking Your Firm Virtual: Presentations From ABA Techshow

I just came back from a very successful ABA Techshow and had the opportunity to present on virtual law firms and technology for the traveling lawyer. Cloud computing received a lot of coverage at the conference, with both supporters and detractors alike.

As a cloud computing supporter, I mentioned that even a couple of years ago, the idea of achieving full in-office productivity over the internet seemed difficult to imagine. The laptop, smartphone, cloud infrastructure, and internet access technologies simply weren’t capable or ubiquitous enough to match in-office facilities and resources. Now, the confluence of advances in these technology areas . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Commercial Documentation Automation Systems Available Soon in Canada

Legal Systematics is in the process of launching a series of practice systems, initially aimed at the Canadian market. The line of products, dubbed SpeedMatters, currently includes systems for accident benefits, small claims and real estate. Systems for estate planning and motor vehicle litigation are in the works, and products for other practice areas will follow. Heritage Law is assisting with the drafting of the estate planning documents.

Web-based versions of these products will be available and integration with Time Matters is also supported. These systems are designed to help lawyers be more efficient in their work, particularly when it . . . [more]

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

SCC’s New Guidance for Lawyers on Withdrawal From Representation

The Supreme Court of Canada this morning told the Canadian legal profession of its obligations to continue to provide services when the money runs out, when it handed down its decision in the Cunningham case.

Jennie Cunningham was a lawyer working for the Yukon Legal Aid Services Society. Her client had been charged with three sexual assault offences against a six-year-old girl. Legal Aid found out that the accused was working but had not reported his income. So they dropped him from coverage. The client couldn’t pay. So Cunningham asked the Territorial Court in charge of the criminal proceedings . . . [more]

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

Labour Mobility and the Legal Profession

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) defines labour mobility as the freedom of workers to practise their occupation wherever opportunities exist. According to HRSDC, every year, approximately 200,000 Canadians relocate to a different province or territory to look for work.

Several Canadian provinces and territories have enacted or are in the process of enacting legislation that will eliminate internal trade barriers and enhance labour mobility to ensure all Canadian workers have the freedom to be able to work in their fields anywhere in Canada. These endeavours stem from the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), signed in 1994 by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law