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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

The Screen Door Slamming

It is finally summer on the prairies. I am savouring long, sunny days, lush, green lawns and thunderclouds on the horizon at dusk, but my paradise is not free from troubles.

There are pests in my world – ants, flies, wasps, giant hungry mosquitoes and more – and I find myself becoming irritated by their incessant buzzing and humming, until I hear the distinct whack of a screen door slamming. The sound immediately reminds me that my summertime serenity is secure.

This simple device allows the fresh morning breezes and cool night air to pass freely through my home, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Spring (Or Summer) Clean Your Practice

When work gets busy, many of us put certain non-mission-critical tasks on hold. But it’s important to remember that “on hold” should not be allowed to turn into “lost in the mists of time”. Lawyers must develop the discipline of regularly returning to and addressing the non-urgent details of their practice when opportunities present themselves.

You will know best what needs addressing in the course of your spring cleaning, but if you need some inspiration, here are our suggestions:

  • Bill your files, and send reporting letters for matters that you’ve completed.
  • Identify languishing files, and take the next step in
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Getting Started With Legal Knowledge Management

How do you get started with Knowledge Management (KM) in the legal profession?

I get approached on a regular basis with this question by small law firms that want to have the advantages of the larger firms, by lawyers or librarians who want to become part of an existing KM team in a larger firm, or by individuals hired into firms to lead KM initiatives. There are programs specific to Knowledge Management that exist, but there is not a lot of introductory material specific to the legal industry.

I recently sat down with Garry Wise of Wise Law so he . . . [more]

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

How to Run a Productive Project Meeting and Stop Wasting Time

I am usually the first person to start fidgeting in any meeting. I blame it on my short attention span and my impatience. But sometimes I blame it on the meeting leader’s poor facilitation skills.

Apparently, I’m not alone in my frustration. According to a May 2014 Harvard Business Review article:

  • 15% of collective organizational time is spent in meetings. This percentage has only increased since 2008.
  • Executives consider 56% of these meetings to be unproductive
  • 49% of attendees admit to doing other, unrelated work during meetings

Meeting facilitation skills will become increasingly important as firms try to become . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

#Cbafutureschat Recap: Law & Design

What if every law firm and court had a basement lab where developers and designers hung out and built solutions?

That was a question posed by host Margaret Hagan during Tuesday’s CBA Twitterchat on the topic of law and design.

Hagan, who works at Stanford’s d.school and will soon work at the university’s law school, focuses on bringing user-centred design to legal services.

One of the key findings of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative is that the client needs to become the centre of the legal universe if the profession is to maintain its relevance in the face of transformative . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Have You Notified Your Insurer?

Manitoba lawyers recently received a memo from the Law Society’s Insurance Department reminding them that it’s time to pay their 2014/15 liability insurance premium.

That memo also contains the annual reminder to practising, insured lawyers to “Speak now or forever hold your peace” with respect to known or potential claims. The Law Society reminds lawyers that:

Because our Professional Liability Insurance coverage is written on a claims-made basis, if you know of any circumstances which might possibly, at some point in the future, give rise to an insurance claim against you and you want coverage under your Insurance Policy, then

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Are You an “Invisible”?

Do you avoid self-promotion? Do you grimace when others go on and on (and on) about their accomplishments and activities? You might be an “Invisible”.

In his new book, Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion, writer David Zweig explains why some people shun the spotlight while others aggressively compete for centre stage.

Quoted in an interview with Maclean’s Ken MacQueen, Zweig says that “Invisibles” are driven by “a strong sense of responsibility, a meticulous attention to detail and an ambivalence about recognition.” He adds that “they find their reward through work itself” and . . . [more]

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

CBA Futures Chat: Law and Design

I’m excited to be hosting a Twitter Chat next Tuesday with the CBA, chatting about Law & Design.

This month I’m finishing up my year-long fellowship at Stanford d.school, where I’ve gotten the chance to experiment in what it means to take a user-centered, design-driven approach to how legal services are delivered. In the Twitter Chat, I’ll be talking about some of the experiments we ran & the projects I’m launching out of them.

I’m particularly interested in how we can use Design Methodologies — which put an emphasis on quick prototyping, frequent testing, and (above all) a focus on . . . [more]

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

SLA 2014 Awards: Bennett Jones Are Big Winners

This week I am at the SLA (Special Libraries Association) conference being held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This morning at the Bloomberg BNA SLA Legal Division Breakfast & Business Meeting, the following awards were given:

  •  The Bloomberg BNA Outstanding New Member Contribution award is presented to Christine DeLuca of Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto, ON, CA.
  • The Wolters Kluwer Law & Business Innovations in Law Librarianship award is presented to Zena Applebaum of Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto, ON, CA.
  • The Thomson Reuters Westlaw Award for Career Achievement award is presented to Tracy Maleeff of Duane Morris LLP in
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, 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

Law Firm Retreats: They Can Be Small. They Can Be Anywhere.

Though we covered it in our Tips Tuesday roundup post a few days ago, I’d like to call your attention to an exceptional piece by Garry Wise on his upcoming Law Office Backyard Retreat.

What struck me as I was reading was the engrained conceptions many of us have about what a retreat is, and where it must be located. Depending on your own personal experience, you might believe that a firm retreat:

  • must always be ‘a road trip’;
  • is only applicable for larger firms;
  • requires an expensive keynote speaker; or generally,
  • is far too expensive an undertaking for 
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

How to Start a Legal Project Management Initiative in Your Firm: 11 Ideas

Are firms becoming more attuned to the benefits of legal project management (LPM)? Are clients? Judging from a workshop I attended on this topic last month in Chicago, the answer is “yes”.

But many firms – including almost every firm I’ve encountered – still struggle with the question of how to encourage organizational and individual changes required to inculcate wide-spread adoption of LPM.

The panelists who spoke at the “LPM Showcase and Workshop” lead some of the firms that have been the most successful at LPM implementation – Baker & McKenzie, Loeb & Loeb, Foley Hoag . . . [more]

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