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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Five Ways to Make a Fast Decision

Time and money almost always need to be balanced with quality in legal projects. When you’re faced with increasing project constraints, the ability to make good decisions quickly becomes especially important.

Decisiveness requires the type of confidence that comes from taking action, rather than accumulating theoretical knowledge. You might not make the best choice. You might even offend. But you’ll move things forward.

  1. Seek disconfirmation of assumptions. Ask “Is this wrong?” instead of “Am I right? Talk to someone with relevant experience.
  2. If you’re working in a team, understand your role and the decisions you are expected to make.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Independent Legal Advice Checklist

When providing independent legal advice, a checklist provides you with a handy tool to ensure that you are covering all the bases when discussing the underlying transaction and your client’s relationship to that transaction. Using this checklist, created by Phil Epstein Q.C., will allow you to be in a better position to successfully defend a negligence claim in relation to the provision of independent legal advice. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Building a Culture of Wellness

I am always somewhat pessimistic about the response of any group of lawyers to a presentation on the subject of wellness. Though I’ve spoken more than a few times on what lawyers can do to increase their sense of personal wellbeing and maintain a greater sense of balance while doing the work they do, my expectation remains that there will be at least a little eye rolling and more likely, significant disengagement with a topic that both touches on the personal and sometimes tends towards good parental advice.

Last week I joined fellow Slaw-yer Dan Pinnington and lawyer therapist Doron . . . [more]

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

Drama at the Quebec Bar Escalates Into Legal Action

The suspended Bâtonnière of the Quebec Bar Association, Lu Chan Khuong, has filed a lawsuit against the association and its administrators to overturn the suspension and reinstate her until the court determines whether the association’s board of directors had the right to relieve her of her duty. (Find the background here on Slaw.) Khuong is also seeking $95,000 in damages. . . . [more]

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

Motivating Customer Service

Continuous improvement, process improvement, lean, six sigma, kaizen, and all of the other descriptors for changing to be more effective and efficient have the core value of providing the best possible customer service. Customers are external clients and also internal clients, for example users of the network are the clients of the IT department.

In law firms, it is pretty straight forward to be motivated to give excellent customer service to external clients. It may not always easy for everyone to consistently act on the motivation, but that is a separate issue. It is a bit more esoteric to connect . . . [more]

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

Post-Vacation Productivity

Summer vacations give us time to relax, recuperate and reconnect. But eventually we also have to deal with reality.

If you’re back at the office trying to recall what it was like to spend the morning reading a novel instead of an opinion letter, here are a few ways to ease your transition back into work mode.

Before you leave

  • Jot down a to-do list sorted by priority and deadline.
  • Communicate clear expectations about your availability while away. Some lawyers refuse to create vacation alerts, lest clients or colleagues think they’re human. Don’t fall into this trap – you won’t
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Drama at the Quebec Bar Association: Bencher Suspended After Shoplifting Allegations

On July 3, 2015, Quebec lawyers found out that the recently elected (63% of votes) bencher of the Quebec Bar Association, Me Lu Chan Khuong, was suspended with pay from her duties by the board of directors of said association. . . . [more]

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