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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

LSBC Clears Up Cloud of Confusion

Last Monday, I asked if the LSBC has just killed cloud computing for lawyers in BC. My question was prompted by statements made by the LSBC’s President, Jan Lindsay, that led me and others to believe that the LSBC had come down against non-BC-based cloud computing providers.

Ms. Lindsay has published a response to this question on the LSBC President’s Blog, and clarifies that non-BC-based providers are permitted, with the caveat that lawyers acting for clients that are prohibited from out-of-jurisdiction data storage must act accordingly.

David Bilinsky, also of the LSBC, posted a helpful response on Slaw with . . . [more]

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

Part-Time Lawyer, Full-Time Juggler

Later this week, I’ll be talking with articling students in the Law Society of Manitoba’s CPLED program as part of their practice management curriculum. My assigned topic is stress management, and includes the sub-topic of work/life balance.

I’m certainly no expert on work/life balance though I do write about it from time to time and practice it daily. In fact, I struggle constantly with keeping some sort of balance to my own life. As a part-time freelance lawyer, frequent volunteer and full-time mother, I know what it is to juggle conflicting priorities, responsibilities and obligations while trying to do it . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Big Data, Small Data

Sole practitioners often struggle to find and interpret meaningful practice data that points business-building efforts in the right direction.

New practice management software with great reporting features helps many lawyers find personalized information in an instant. But old habits – such as not bothering to look at the data on a regular basis or do anything about it – can be difficult to overcome.

Obviously, it’s necessary to be aware of your financial performance. Regular conversations with your accountant highlight cash flow, operating costs and, hopefully, profitability.

But there’s more to it.

I have a client who asks herself a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Did the LSBC Just Kill Cloud Computing for Lawyers in BC?

As a frequent public speaker, I’ve seldom found myself speechless on stage, however, last week I stood in front of an audience of over 200 lawyers in stunned silence for the first time in recent memory. I did so after the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) President, Jan Lindsay, boldly pronounced that, in no uncertain terms, BC lawyers are prohibited from using US-based cloud computing providers.

To set the stage, let me rewind to Friday, November 14. I was invited to talk at the CBABC Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. My topic, “The Security and Ethics of Cloud Computing,” . . . [more]

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

Legal Innovation in Canada: Does It Need to Be Seen to Be Believed?

Here at the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, we’ve sought to demonstrate to the Canadian legal profession that great opportunities await those who embrace change; opportunities to put clients at the centre of our work, to better serve Canadians, to provide new kinds of services, to open up new models of legal service delivery, to work in conjunction with others, and most importantly, to creatively re-imagine what it means to “be a lawyer” in the future.

We launched our flagship report, Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, in August of this year. Contained within the report are . . . [more]

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

Time for a CASL Check Up

Some of the dust kicked up during the stampede to comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has settled. In October, Ipsos released survey results showing that most Canadians are aware of the legislation and that they are taking advantage of it.

David Canton has published excellent commentary and practical advice regarding the legislation, which came into effect on July 1, 2014. Judging from discussions with clients and colleagues post-implementation, most compliance campaigns helped firms clean up their databases and wrangle administrative procedures. Although, some in-house marketers and administrative staff might still be recovering from the process….

Ipsos conducted the survey . . . [more]

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

Simple Questions in Complex Situations

How many lawyers consistently use a checklist of questions to ask clients at the beginning of a personal legal matter? Many customize the checklists published by provincial Law Societies for a particular practice area, client service style or matter management process. The focus is often on quality assurance, risk mitigation and scope of work. Is there a way to include the human element too?

I attended a lecture by Atul Gawande in New York a few weeks ago. Gawande is a surgeon who teaches at Harvard Medical School, writes for The New Yorker and leads two health care organizations. He . . . [more]

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

When Waiving a Search Comes Back to Haunt You

How a client perceives a lawyer’s role in a transaction often depends on the client’s experience. At one end of the spectrum, a new homebuyer may believe that the lawyer will not only navigate the process, but will also personally shield the client from all risks. At the other extreme, a sophisticated businessperson may urge a lawyer to “rubber stamp” a deal the client has brokered. The wise lawyer will, however, refuse to be either insurer or pawn.

When it comes to doing due diligence − and specifically, making decisions about searches − the safest approach is follow the client’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Trust Imperative: Part II

Last week, I published the first half of an interview with Aneil Mishra, Ph.D.. Mishra is a respected author and business school professor who studies the link between trustworthiness, leadership and organizational performance. He discussed the four main qualities of trustworthy leaders – reliability, openness, competence and compassion – and his latest research regarding which of these qualities might matter most in the current economy.

The interview concludes this week with a discussion of how law firm leaders can build trust within their organizations and how this can create competitive advantage in an era when trust in leadership seems to . . . [more]

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

The Trouble With Kerning and Spacing

Writing clearly and concisely is a goal that often eludes lawyers, especially when writing factums.

Justice Barbier of the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana ruled on a motion on Sept. 15, 2014 in the complex litigation surrounding the BP oil spill, In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010.

Although denying the motion, Justice Barbier commented on the response by BP, in particular in their formatting:

…the Court must address the format of BP’s opposition memorandum.

The briefing order allowed BP’s counsel to file a

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

The Trust Imperative: Part I

Do you trust the leaders in your organization to make decisions in the best interest of the entire firm? Do you trust them to proactively deal with important issues or prevent crises? Studies such as the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer would indicate that your answer is likely “no”.

Some of the current notions regarding trust are based on the times in which we live – a legal market that is changing as well as shrinking, record numbers of unemployed law school graduates saddled with record amounts of student debt, daily news of trust violations between business, government and society.

Some . . . [more]

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

Doing Nothing Is Not an Option

It has been estimated that a staggering 1.4 million Canadians will have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by 2031. Lawyers of course are not immune to the effects of aging. Whether presented with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment or dementia, law firm managers need to be alert to the changes that may occur as firm members age.

Diminishing cognitive ability is something that comes naturally with aging. Normal age-related cognitive decline means that each of us will, over time:

  • Rely more on prior knowledge in decision making and less on analytical thinking;
  • Learn more slowly and need more repetition to acquire
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management