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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Be Heard: The Ontario Ministry of Labour Wants to Hear From You!

Public consultations commenced in Toronto on June 16th as part of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) implementation of the Changing Workplaces Review, and are expected to continue throughout the summer until mid-September.

The Changing Workplaces Review was announced earlier this year as part of MOL’s mandate to increase protection for workers and create a support environment for businesses to thrive. The review will consist of public consultations in regions across Ontario to address the changing nature of the modern workplace. The consultations will focus on potential amendments to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”) and the Employment . . . [more]

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

Practice Compassion

July 1 and Q3 begin after midnight. I cannot believe that the year is flying by so quickly, again. One strategy that is helping me to maintain focus with my very busy portfolio is to have a theme for the week. These themes are meant as reminders – I guess they are in the spirit of mindfulness – on ways to approach being part of a team/firm/practice/group.

Last month’s theme, it was a good one so it prevailed, was resilience. Picturing Dory from Finding Nemo singing “just keep swimming” was useful and entertaining. As far as resilience goes, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

All the Ways Your Legal Skills Can Be Used

A law degree opens doors. One of those doors is the internal reigns of a company or large corporation, the role we often refer to as general counsel (also known as in-house counsel).

The increased importance of general counsel in the business world is worth emphasizing. The sheer numbers of general counsel between the 60’s and 80’s quadrupled in America, and a moved from a middle management role to one directly involved in strategic management.

Mary Daly suggests that this shift occurred due to rising legal costs, and for this reason, this trend is unlikely to reverse. Lawyers found the . . . [more]

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

“Back to Billing”: My Return to Private Practice

I started my legal career as a summer student in 2008 with what was then known as Ogilvy Renault LLP in Montreal (now known as Norton Rose Fulbright Canada (NRF)). Before discovering the firm, I had not contemplated working at a big firm but I loved the people, the practice area I chose (employment & labour) and the intense intellectual challenge of working with some of the smartest people I had ever met. I wasn’t planning on leaving. I considered myself a “lifer”.

“Life” lasted only a few years. I left the firm in 2012 to lead Employee Relations for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

80 Hours and Counting

I heard recently about a mid-career lawyer who is a partner in a small, boutique litigation firm, and who began her career in a large firm setting. Though now well-established in her career, she still arrives at the office early each morning and rarely leaves before midnight. Those who work with her understand that this is the expectation for them as well. I suspect she’s not at all unusual in these habits and expectations.

That’s never been my approach to work and so I struggle to understand both the motivation for that kind of work-life imbalance and how it benefits . . . [more]

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

ABS v ABS+ for A2J

This post is authored by David Wiseman, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Faculty.

A noteworthy aspect of the Canadian debate on whether to introduce alternative business structures into the legal services sector is the emphasis being given to the potential of ABS to improve access to justice. Instead of just assuming it will happen, I think we need to integrate specific measures into the regulatory framework to make sure that it does. We need to create what I’m calling ABS+.

I have argued that while the middle class may benefit from gains in access to justice . . . [more]

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

Build, Buy or Bury

You are running a business, let’s call it a legal practice, and you have a problem. You are spending too much time dealing with a small irritation. The irritation could be just about anything, but let’s say the issue is that your invoicing system doesn’t connect with your contact management system. “System” may be too strong a word for many. Essentially, when you issue an invoice for your services, the bill doesn’t automatically show up in the file where you keep other details about the same client. As a result, each time you issue a bill, you have to remember . . . [more]

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

The Relevant Lawyer – New Book From ABA Publishing

Later this week the American Bar Association will publish The Relevant Lawyer: Reimagining the Future of the Legal Profession, a collection of essays on the future of the profession. It includes two chapters written by members of Slaw.

Details of how to get the book itself are here. We’ll publish a full review in Slaw shortly.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading, Reading: Recommended

Needs and Nerves: Delegating to Part-Time Employees

I’ve had several recent conversations with senior lawyers who are reluctant to delegate work to part-time administrative staff. They don’t want to be perceived as demanding. They’re afraid of confrontation.

They are actually more open to the concept of flexible work arrangements than most people give them credit for, but they need reassurances that part-time staff are just as committed to quality work as their full-time counterparts.

Unique challenges of delegating to part-time administrative staff
With more and more of us working outside the office or part-time, there is less opportunity for face-to-face communication, which means that it takes longer . . . [more]

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

On Being Prepared

Three things have converged recently that relate to being prepared. Thinking about Slawyers, I am certain that readers of this blog are likely those that support and espouse the notion of preparedness, I decided to write about preparedness from three perspecitives.

1. The unprepared (fly by the seat of your pants and deal with the consequences as they arise)

My youngest daughter is a musician. She recently finished her first year of university and is now looking for employment. Despite her mother and father’s strong (occasionally screechy) suggestions that she begin applying for summer work in March, she put the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Reminder: Mandatory Training on the New Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Quebec Lawyers

On March 26, 2015, the new Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (nouveau Code de déontologie des avocats) for Quebec lawyers came into force. All lawyer members of the Quebec Bar are required to complete a three-hour training session by December 31, 2015. . . . [more]

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

Plot for Thought

I am old enough that I have both observed and given presentations on clear film with an old school overhead projector. I was thinking about time and visualizing time and studying statistical process control and using charts to help with decision making. Suddenly, I had a perfectly clear visual of a stack of overhead film with run chart plots overlaid with each other for comparing data.

Statistical Process Control, specifically Run Charts (a line graph where a measure is plotted over time), are useful tools that allow us to:

  • Display data to make process performance visible
  • Determine if a change
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management