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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee?

You’ve tried clarification, reminders, warnings, patience and tolerance, maybe even retraining. But it isn’t working, and you both know it. Firing employees is not likely a task you took into consideration when you thought about becoming a lawyer; but here you are, an employer, in the position of having to fire an employee.

It will never be pleasant; but there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to lawsuits, reputational damage, maybe even stolen clients or breaches of confidentiality. The right way can lead to the same things, of course; but the odds are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Delegation Communication: Questions Lawyers (Sometimes) Forget to Ask

If you’ve worked in a law firm long enough, you’ve probably been assigned work in a way that left you confused (if not annoyed). When it’s time to delegate your own work, it can be a mistake to default to the delegation style that you’ve become used to, assuming that it’s effective.

That assumption might be wrong if you’re working with new people, clients and/or matters. Try asking the following questions when you need to enlist help with a task. They involve people in taking responsibility for their work and they show respect for others’ expertise.

  1. What is the best
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Impact of Litigation on Your Client’s Health

Despite the interdisciplinary nature of law, lawyers rarely turn to medicine to look for the intersection between the two fields.

The exceptions to this would be the endless debate about work-life balance. For example, The CBA Futures report makes several references to health and wellness for lawyers as part of a sustainable practice.

Another intersection would be the recent focus by the Ontario Bar Association’s initiative, Opening Remarks, to promote conversations about mental health in the profession. This is an initiative led by the OBA President, Orlando Da Silva, based on his own experiences with depression.

Occasionally there are . . . [more]

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

Good Intentions

By March, those of us who create personal practice development goals usually know what we need to accomplish by year-end (usually). We also know how easily the best intentions can derail as the year progresses.

There are as many excuses to stop working towards long-term goals as there are distractions. Busy-work makes us feel productive. As Leigh Buchanan points out in a recent article in Inc. magazine, it’s also a trap.

Proven techniques help the dispirited stay on track. Why not try a few and see if they would help?

Prioritize
What matters most to your practice? Your practice . . . [more]

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

20 Tips to Improve the Finances of Your Practice

The demands of individual files can make it a challenge to give your practice’s finances the time and attention they need. From the new issue of LAWPRO Magazine, here are 20 ways you can make or save more money in your day-to-day work. Most are relatively simple and can be implemented at little or no cost. Some are new habits you develop when dealing with clients and billing, and some are new technologies you can incorporate into your practice. While not every item on the list will apply to every practice, we expect you will find at least a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Report on the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act Review

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure released the 79-page report on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act review to the public on February 13, 2015. Overall, the report indicates that although the government and public and private sectors have shown strong support and commitment to accessibility, the slow implementation of the AODA has resulted in rather modest improvements for persons with disabilities in the areas of jobs and access to goods or services.
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Some Ground Rules for a Constructive ABS Discussion

As is apparent from the OTLA, and the many comments on my previous post, the upcoming Bencher elections in Ontario finally have an issue that has grabbed the attention of lawyers across the province: Alternative Business Structures.

While this issue may drive better voter participation in the April election, it has also greatly divided the profession in this province.

One can already see the huge generational rift among lawyers; those at the twilight of their careers fighting to retain a 19th Century business model, while younger lawyers want to move the profession into the 21st Century so as . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Anti-ABS Arguments Continue to Be Based on Emotion – Not Fact

I’m tired.

Tired of ABS fear-mongering.

Tired of disingenuous and protectionist arguments made by those who know very little about ABS – yet are fiercely opposed to it.

And tired of the misinformation being floated by ABS opponents.

Now I know what it was like in the McCarthy-era.

Lawyers (particularly trial lawyers) are trained to argue a position based on logic and evidence – not hyperbole and emotion.

OTLA’s recent pronouncements in the Law Times on December 29, 2014, are particularly troubling:

“We have studied ABS from the time it was first raised by the law society in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Work and Rework

I’m a fan of Basecamp, a web-based project management tool. It has just the right number of features, it’s simply structured, and, most importantly it’s effective. The same can be said of Rework, a book written by the creators of Basecamp, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

We could learn something from these guys
Fried and Hansson founded a small, Chicago-based web design company called 37signals in 1999. The team soon noticed the need for an online tool that would help people “get work done” without heavy investments in commitments, resources or time. Basecamp became that tool. . . . [more]

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

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