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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

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

Guidelines to Develop Whistleblowing System

The CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association) with the assistance of the nationally based law firm Grant Thornton LLP has developed a free guide to help organizations develop and maintain a whistleblowing system with the goal to encourage workers to report ethical and safety issues within an established mechanism. Reported issues include suspected tax fraud, accounting fraud, corporate fraud, insider trading, health and safety issues and other serious offenses. . . . [more]

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

Of Legal Futures — Darker or Better

A couple days ago CBA Young Lawyers released the 11th report in the Legal Futures Initiative, Do Law Differently: Futures for Young Lawyers. The report features profiles on 26 pioneers of the #NewLaw movement (one is my colleague Audrey Jun @AudreyyJun), and identifies emerging “new legal careers” along with the skills new lawyers will need to forge a life for themselves beyond the crumbling “old system” of equity partnership track positions, mentorship, associate positions or, well, to put it bluntly… any kind of full-time “lawyer job”. Everything is in flux and much is about to become myth over . . . [more]

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

Dealing With a Self-Represented Litigant Who Really Needs Legal Advice

Self-represented litigants are a challenging reality in today’s legal landscape. In addition to the extra time and effort that can make dealing with a self-rep more expensive for your client and more frustrating for you, it seems there is a greater potential for a malpractice claim. This is highlighted by the number of claims LAWPRO is seeing where the opposing party was a self-rep. In 2014, there were 162 such claims, almost double the 86 we saw a decade earlier, in 2004.

As you work to resolve a matter, you may find yourself negotiating directly with a self-represented litigant. In . . . [more]

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

DIY A2J 4: Unbundle Your Services, Reinvent Your Billing Model

To date, my DIY A2J posts have talked about ways that lawyers can improve access to justice in family law matters by disseminating information about family law and dispute resolution processes on a voluntary, pro bono basis. Pro bono work is all well and good, and arguably a moral imperative of those practising a generally privileged profession, but at the end of the day you have a responsibility to yourself and to your family to put food on the table and keep the lights on.

It seems to me, and apparently to the Canadian Bar Association‘s Futures Committee as . . . [more]

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

The Family Law Malpractice Claims Fact Sheet

With such a large amount of claims prevention information available in LAWPRO Magazine articles and practicePRO resources, we had the idea to create simple fact sheets that CPD providers and others could use in developing their program material for specific areas of law. The latest in our series of “malpractice claims fact sheets” covers family law. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

AODA New January 2017 Compliance Deadlines

Large and small organizations in the private and non-profit sectors have a new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance deadline coming up on January 1, 2017.

1) Large organizations (50+ employees)

Starting January 1, 2016, provincially regulated organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must work to comply with the design for public spaces standards under the built-environment to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities, but not those barriers inside buildings. This task must be completed by January 1, 2017.

This standard covers a variety of public spaces such as exterior . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

An Overview of the Frauds That Targeted Lawyers in 2015

2015 was the fifth year we’ve tracked the fraud-related emails forwarded to fraudinfo@lawpro.ca that allow us to post our warnings to lawyers on LAWPRO’s AvoidaClaim blog. This year we noticed a new trend: the number of emailed reports declined but not the number of actual posts we’ve done. This is likely because while the fraudsters are keeping up their efforts to dupe lawyers, more and more lawyers now recognize the scams and simply delete the emails rather than forwarding them to us. Sadly, not every lawyer sees the frauds for what they are. Last week we heard from a firm . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Year of the Hybrid Cloud

Last year I indicated that there were changes in Ontario which suggested that cloud computing had been implicitly authorized for lawyers. There was no other practical way to implement the new services rules under the amended Rules of Civil Procedure.

Despite these changes, there is still resistance to adopting cloud computing in practice, and sometimes with good reason. Security breaches of online databases have illustrated the enormous risk and problems created in a digital world.

The Ashley Madison hacks had many scurrying in embarrassment, and others concerned because their names had been used by the website without their permission. . . . [more]

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

The Case Against Disruptive Innovation in Large Practice

Change is needed in the legal industry. But change simply for the sake of changing isn’t always a good thing.

There’s plenty of buzz about McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s “radical” transformation, and rightly so. They’re ridding offices for communal work spaces, finally moving away from the billable hour, and slashing redundant support staff. The effort is to be applauded, but the transition is likely to be bumpy.

Although I’ve advocated for importing the Latte Method into legal services, I’m not sure all lawyers want or need to feel like they’re working in a Starbucks. For many small and independent lawyers, . . . [more]

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

Tilt Into 2016: Gaining a Competitive Advantage

Competition is fierce.

As cost pressures from clients intensify, as new service providers emerge, and as new technologies are deployed, it is unwise for any firm to avoid thinking about how it should work differently. (Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers)

In The Globe and Mail article “McCarthy Tetrault’s Tracie Cook leading firm’s radical transformation”, Jeff Gray discusses McCarthy Tetrault’s attempt to modernize. The firm has instituted:

  • new billing practices;
  • open-concept floor plans;
  • reduction in 200 support staff; and
  • has established a client service innovation team.

“The moves have come as the sector grapples with new competition from global players . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management