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Archive for ‘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

Why the 2015 LSUC Bencher Election Deserves Your Attention

I recently spoke with Henry J. Chang, one of the Toronto candidates in this year’s Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) bencher election. I asked him why members should pay particular attention to the elections this year and what issues are most important to voters. A summary of our conversation appears below. . . . [more]

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

Tax Season Reveals Opportunities for Improvement

Tax season often illuminates financial management philosophies we could – and should – revisit. For me, reviewing revenue and expenses has illustrated a year’s worth of daily activities that really added up. Here are some considerations to check on a regular basis.

Start with structure
Many professionals still practice without a clear financial goal for the year. My wise accountant once distilled the goal-setting process down to these questions:

  1. How much revenue do you want to earn and why?
  2. What percentage of that revenue will you invest in your practice and why?
  3. How much money do you need to manage
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, 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