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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Barreau Du Quebec Position on Hourly Billing Report Long Overdue

On March 24, 2016, the Barreau du Quebec (Quebec Bar Association) released a report « La tarification horaire à l’heure de la réflexion » (in French only and translated to say Hourly Billing: A Time for Reflection) calling for an end to hourly billing by lawyers and law firms in the hope of improving access to justice for the public and a better work-life balance for lawyers. . . . [more]

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

Lawyers and Audits – the New Joint Policy Statement Effective December 1, 2016

Shareholders, investors, lenders and others have a vital interest in proper financial disclosure by entities in which they have an economic interest. Making sensible business decisions is often difficult. It is impossible without proper information. Audited financial statements play a central role in financial disclosure.

Disclosure is a good thing and a bad thing

Some assets and liabilities are simply reflected in financial statements. Some are not so simple. Contingent assets and liabilities can be tricky. The contingency may or may not arise. Assuming the contingency, the value of the contingent asset or liability is often uncertain. The uncertainties may . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Ontario Introducing New ORPP Legislation

On April 14, 2016, the Ontario government introduced new legislation to launch the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) legislation. Bill 186, Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act (Strengthening Retirement Security for Ontarians), 2016 will ensure that if the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is not enhanced, Ontario can proceed with the ORPP. However, the Ontario government says it remains committed to working with the federal government to enhance the CPP. . . . [more]

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

Mental Health Is a Professionalism Issue

Michele Hollins, former President of the Canadian Bar Association said “Studies have shown that lawyers may have the highest rates of depression among various occupational categories…many in our profession think that it makes good business sense to keep concerns to themselves.”

About 20% of the legal profession suffers from clinically significant levels of substance abuse, depression, anxiety or some other form of psychopathy. Lawyers suffer from major depressive disorders at a rate 3.6 times higher than non-lawyers who share key socioeconomic traits. In 2010, the Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program reported that 42% of their calls were related to mental health . . . [more]

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

Sabbaticals for the Self-Employed

This mountain gorilla really knows how to take a break.

Many law firms and organizations now offer sabbatical programs as a workplace benefit. As long as employees meet defined criteria and plan carefully, they’re able to take a few months off without much risk.

But given that I’m self-employed and that I work alone most of the time, I didn’t think that a sabbatical was really an option for me. A carefully cultivated – or lucky – opportunity could come knocking at any moment. What if I wasn’t around to answer the door? When you’re self-employed, you need to . . . [more]

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

LAWPRO Student Magazine: What Do Law Firms Look For?

Law students – like all students – are prone to anxiety about their career prospects. High-profile news about the employment challenges faced by new grads in the U.S. and changes in the articling requirements for Ontario have combined to create a climate of worry.

But worrying about trends and generalizations can obscure the fact that the employment relationship is, in essence, an interpersonal relationship. Each successful employer/employee match happens because an individual firm takes a chance on an individual lawyer for reasons that are not only unique, but also personal, and sometimes instinctive.

We spoke with law firms across the . . . [more]

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

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

While it’s easy to view articling students as a source of extra help, the primary purpose of articling is to provide a valuable apprenticeship to the student, not simply to lighten the lawyer’s load. Today’s law school curriculum has a strongly theoretical focus. Students spend a great deal of time learning to research the law and to “think like lawyers”, and limited time learning about how to operate a law practice.

That’s where articling comes in. As an articling principal, you are charged with teaching students about . . . [more]

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

Training in the Business of the Law

Two and a half years ago, I embarked upon the exciting adventure of starting up a new firm in Ottawa, McBride Bond Christian LPP. Though I had been in private practice for well over ten years at the time, I learned a lot about starting a new business ‘‘sur le terrain’’. None of my law school courses included training in business development, marketing or management. Luckily, I was fortunate to benefit from the guidance and advice of my colleagues throughout this process and we are proud to say that our firm has now blossomed into a mid-sized firm which . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

What Do We Do With All This Data?

It is said that we measure what we value and that we value what we measure. If the adage holds true, law firms’ emphasis on measurement of billable hours points ultimately to their focus on making a profit. This is hardly surprising.

Heather Douglas’ post Metrics: Beyond the Billable Hour, suggests that law firms should measure more than just billable hours and could make use of the valuable data gleaned or already in their possession. Those are good ideas that could support the profit motivation, but may require a different approach to measurement and data gathering, relying on research methodologies . . . [more]

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

Alberta Ransomware Advisory

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has developed guidelines to assist public bodies, health custodians and private organizations with preventing and responding to ransomware cyberattacks. The Advisory published in March 2016 in PDF can be downloaded here.

According to most information technology experts, antivirus vendors and security professionals, “Ransomware” is considered a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system and files until a sum of money is paid within a certain deadline, to an unknown party. The sum of money to be paid varies from as little as $25 to . . . [more]

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

Protection Against Sexual Harassment Now Covered Under OHSA

On March 8, 2016, the Ontario government gave royal assent to the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Bill 132) to amend various statutes with respect to sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence and other forms of abuse. The Act aims to make workplaces, campuses and communities safer and more responsive to the needs of survivors and to complaints about sexual violence and harassment. . . . [more]

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

The Final Say

Tomorrow I am speaking with law students at Robson Hall as part of a Do Law Differently launch event hosted by the MLSA and Canadian Bar Association. I’ve been invited to talk about my own career path, about lessons I’ve learned and what I look for when hiring.

I’ve prepared my 20 minute talk and can tell you it is full of optimism and hope for a new kind of legal profession that holds to old-school values like integrity and honour and generosity while boldly facing a new economic order that mostly values faster, better, cheaper.

Frankly, I’m not feeling . . . [more]

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