Canada’s online legal magazine.
CBA Futures
LexisNexis Legal Products

Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Lawyers and Their Clients’ Values

A couple of days ago, the New York Times feature “Room for Debate” began commentary (“Attacking Lawyers From the Right and Left“) on a story involving a group called Keep America Safe. (I hate the power we give to “proper nouns,” letting them force us to say words that we’d never otherwise utter. But that’s another story.) This excerpt from their “about” page will give you the flavour:

The United States remains a nation at war. We face a growing threat from rogue regimes that seek or have already obtained nuclear weapons. America’s interests are

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

New Website: Tod Maffin’s Social Media Case Studies Online is a new web site with hundreds of social media marketing case studies, all fully indexed and searchable. The site was created by Tod Maffin, a well-known strategist, consultant, speaker and thought leader based in Vancouver. The site is currently in beta with more case studies being added each day. Maffin also plans on interviewing both thought-leaders in social media marketing and the people in the trenches who are putting these tools into action.

Here’s a short video by Maffin showing how works:

I took the opportunity to interview Tod Maffin over the phone last week to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology

Legal IT 4.0 – April 26 & 27, 2010 in Montreal

This year’s Legal IT conference, Legal IT 4.0, is scheduled for April 26 and 27th. Each year the conference looks at information technology and its impact on the law. I was fortunate to attend last year’s conference, and found the audience and presenters to be a stimulating mix of thought leaders and those new to many of the concepts.

The program has largely been set, and the 50-plus speaker roster is being finalized. The subject areas being covered:

Day 1:

  • Cyber crime
  • IT in courtrooms
  • Tech Showcase – written communications
  • e-Discovery
  • Early adopters
  • Tech Showcase – research and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Technology

PolicyTool: Policy for the Masses

Lawyer, Slawyer, and newspaper columnist David Canton has teamed up with rtraction, an Ontario IT company, to produce PolicyTool. The notion is that businesses need policies in place to govern a variety of employee practices but can’t always afford the services of a lawyer to devise them; PolicyTool invites you to answer a number of questions and feeds the answers into well-drafted “boilerplate,” resulting in a “comprehensive and informed framework for your legal counsel to quickly create a binding policy.” PolicyTool does the initial drafting; and a lawyer engaged by the user will tweak and approve.

At the . . . [more]

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

A Little Something in Writing to Remember It By

Every now and then it is “improving,” as the Victorians used to say, for a lawyer to be caught up in the toils of another profession, in order to recapture the client experience of uncertainty in the face of an opaque problem. I’ve had the fortune, recently — I wouldn’t label it “good” — to be in that situation and it has occurred to me, not for the first time, that there is a way to make the experience better for the lay person, a way that is all too seldom taken. My small suggestion is that professionals who deal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Technology

Online Legal Services: A Critique

I’ve just come across a Ph.D. thesis from 2007 by Christine Vanda Burns called “Online Legal Services — A Revolution that Failed?” [PDF 729pp]. Dr. Burns looked at what we might think of as the first generation of “online legal products which ‘package’ legal knowledge” and supply it to commercial enterprises, governments, and other consumers of law. As you would imagine in a dissertation, she examined the relevant literature and also did some empirical work in Australia, her home.

Interesting, to me, is her conclusion that while there are lots of difficulties surrounding the implementation of such products, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Technology

The Torys LLP iPhone App

Remember Steve MatthewsWeb Law Predictions for 2010?

Mobile Web Becomes Important: The mobile web made some major inroads in 2009, but I expect it to become a priority in 2010. By year’s end, expect to be sick of iPhone application launches from the legal industry – both from vendors and law firms. Also expect an increase in law firms launching mobile versions of their website, mobile friendly extranets, and hopefully in all this – something innovative and useful!

Earlier today Torys LLP launched a free app for iPhones and iPads:

  • get our latest news
  • read our
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Substantive Law, Technology

Immigrant Lawyers Rarely Admitted to Practice

Statistics Canada has released a study of how often immigrants who studied outside Canada for “a regulated occupation” wind up working in that occupation. Of the various regulated professions, law admitted the least number of foreign-trained immigrants. According to the full report of the study, which used 2006 data,

Immigrants who studied law outside Canada had the lowest match rates of all fields of study leading to a regulated occupation. While 69% of the Canadian-born who studied law worked as lawyers, the corresponding figure was 12% for immigrants, making the Canadian-born with law degrees almost 6 times as likely

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Practice of Law

Plaintiff-Side Work Opportunities for Big Law?

The WSJ has an interesting question,

Is more plaintiff-side work on the horizon for BigLaw?

The query stems from an observation of substantial profits by large U.S. firms using alternative billing arrangements for plaintiff-side antitrust cases. They don’t foresee doing personal injury or products liability plaintiff work, but tax and customs cases using contingency fees may arise.

Although the diversity of litigation might make for a more interesting workplace, it would be one heck of a headache for conflicts checks. . . . [more]

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

May Law Blogs Be Ghostwritten?

Controversy has developed in the US about whether it is appropriate for law blogs to be ghostwritten. The ABA Journal has an article on the topic, and many comments that are about evenly divided pro and con.

Some would distinguish between a law firm blog, which sounds more like other publicity material that the firm may generate, and individual blogs that appear to – and thus arguably should – be the product of the individual personally.

Would it matter in either case if the ghostwriting were disclosed? Would disclosure matter if the firm or lawyer in whose name the blog . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet

Keep Your Guard Up: Bad Cheque Scams Targeting Lawyers Are Getting More Sophisticated

Just over two months ago I did posts on SLAW and AvoidAClaim that warned family law lawyers to be aware of bad cheque scams on matters involving the collection of outstanding spousal support. [See either of the earlier posts for the actual text of one of these messages.]

Family lawyers continue to be the targets of fraud attempts – even more so than two months ago. On an almost daily basis I am getting at 2-3 calls and emails from Ontario lawyers who have been approached to act on matters that are clearly frauds. On some occasions it appears dozens . . . [more]

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

The Checklist Manifesto and the Smarter Lawyer

The Checklist Manifesto
by Dr Atul Gawande
published by Metropolitan Books, December 2009
price: $29.50
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9174-8

Gawande shows how using checklists can significantly improve workflows and outcomes at work. The book has real lessons for lawyers and lawfirms

In The Checklist Manifesto, Dr. Atul Gawande examines how the use of checklists can significantly improve workflows and outcomes in the work environment. He focuses primarily on the aviation and construction industries, and analyzes where and how checklists are used. He speaks as well about his experience in a WHO-sponsored initiative bringing checklists to surgical operating theatres around . . . [more]

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