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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Ontario Benchers Lose Their Extravagant $75,000 Annual Dinner

I received from a friend, Banack Bencher News #114. This newsletter is sent out by Ontario Bencher, Larry Banack. What caught my eye was the following provision:

The Treasurer has cancelled the Law Society’s traditional end of term dinner which had recognized the hard work of Benchers and the sacrifice of our families. This will save about $75,000.00 [emphasis added]. This small step will hopefully be a prelude to more significant savings to reduce the high cost of self-regulation. It is in conjunction with the CEO quest for improvements to achieve operational and cost efficiencies to ensure that the Law . . . [more]

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

10 Tips for Managing Risk in Litigation

Clients sue their lawyers for a variety of reasons, not limited to cases where the lawyer has made an actual error. In a family litigation-based practice, there are a few common scenarios that increase the odds that a client will be dissatisfied with the results and seek to place the blame on legal counsel. While the list that follows is drawn from common claims against family law practitioners, it contains a number of useful lessons for litigators in general.

1. Emotionally invested clients

Clients who are emotionally invested in the issues under litigation are more likely to be dissatisfied . . . [more]

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

Come on In, the Water’s Fine

Is it the future if it’s already here?

The Canadian Bar Association launched its Futures initiative with a view to helping legal practitioners best position themselves to face the challenges ahead, but it also took a look at the legal service providers who have already taken the plunge.

The Futures research has shown that there is no lack of ideas about how to face the future of the legal system, but none of them present a clear, obvious option. Any of them, or any combination of them, could work. Or maybe there’s another silver bullet out there, one creative solution . . . [more]

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

Practicing Courage

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” asked Sheryl Sandberg in her bestseller, Lean In.

And what is it you’re afraid of? There are the common fears that many of us can relate to: heights; falling; spiders; darkness; silence; being alone. In professional life, your fears may include: forgetting something important; making a significant error; not meeting expectations; looking foolish; not having enough work or maybe having too much work.

The concept of courage has been front-of-mind lately. I am reading Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, which focuses on living a whole-hearted life and in that context, . . . [more]

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

Community – It’s Where You Grow

They say it takes a community to raise a child – to watch out for it, to teach and shape him or her, and to give wise counsel.

Could it be that a community is also what it takes to put the legal profession in a position to flourish?

Slaw.ca founder Simon Fodden, in a background paper prepared for the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, suggests that the lack of a communal sensibility could be one of the reasons the profession is such a slow-turning ship.

That lack is both top-down and bottom-up. Inertia is found at the top in the . . . [more]

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

“Keeping Them Honest”

I have a habit of kicking the hornets’ nest when it comes to airing my views on legal services and the legal profession.

So let me give it another go.

I believe that legal services can be delivered in a more efficient, convenient and cost-effective manner than they’re currently being delivered; not only for the benefit of the public but also for the benefit of lawyers.

I’m a practicing member of the legal profession and I know the profession can do much better. So, if my passion to reform the profession offends people, so be it.

The Rules of Professional . . . [more]

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

Better [And/or] Faster [And/or] Cheaper

Western Union. IBM. Kodak. All are examples of well-established, successful businesses that failed to seize perfect opportunities to evolve to meet changing market conditions and paid the price. How much bigger would Western Union have been if it had bought the patent for the telephone when Alexander Graham Bell offered it? IBM’s not a small fish, but think of where it might have gone if its business modelling hadn’t suggested that carbon paper was a better bet than xerography. As for Kodak, the firm focused on film instead of the digital camera – on which it held the first patent. . . . [more]

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

Law by the Numbers

It takes a special kind of mind to love statistics, but only the wilfully obtuse ignore them.

Prior to the 2008 recession the statistics for the legal profession could borrow the Olympic Games’ motto – Faster, Higher, Stronger. Nearly five years later, higher numbers of law grads and rising fees are more problematic. Stronger? That’s a difficult question, and part of the impetus for the CBA Legal Futures Initiative. Phase I looked at the current state of the profession in an attempt to identify where the forces of change will take it so as to position Canada’s lawyers to flourish . . . [more]

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

LSUC’s Pickle

The Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) held its annual general meeting last night. The meeting garnered more attention than it otherwise might have due to the mysterious last minute pulling of a motion that was received on March 28, 2013. This motion dealt with a study to enlarge the paralegal scope of practice. You can read the motion here.

There has not yet been an explanation behind the pulling of this motion–a motion that was proposed well in advance of the meeting.

So we are left to speculate.

It has never made any sense to me as to . . . [more]

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

Six Buzzwords in Search of a Context

Globalization. Technology. Economy. Unbundling. Alternative billing. Offshoring.

A CBA-commissioned survey of the state of the research into the future of the legal profession suggests that while these words come up again and again in the thousands of pages of text devoted to the subject, that is where it ends. While there is a near-consensus on the forces driving change, and how law firms might adapt to the new normal this change will bring, there are few recipes showing how best to implement the ideas, and fewer cases still of them actually being implemented.

The American Bar Association held its first . . . [more]

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

A Response to the CBA Legal Futures Initiative

The Canadian Bar Association is running through its CBA Legal Futures Initiative which ostensibly looks at allowing outside investment into law firms, the so-called, Alternative Business Structure (ABS). This initiative should be of interest to all lawyers, but most particularly to younger lawyers, as it may determine the course of their careers – perhaps for the worst.

Younger lawyers should take note of the behaviour of the CBA and various law societies in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s around Multi-Disciplinary Practices (because of backward-thinking individuals in the CBA and in provincial law societies, MDPs have been regulated into . . . [more]

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

On May Day and Mat Leaves

Happy May Day all! A day for celebrating the labour movement, gathering community, and strengthening the search for greater workers’ rights everywhere.

On May Day, we celebrate and support vulnerable and embattled workers as if they are outside our profession. But we’d like to return yet again to the issue of retaining women in the legal profession, and ask why, as a profession, we are so bad at turning that critical gaze inwards. An April 2013 study commissioned by the Law Society of Upper Canada and authored by Fiona M. Kay, Stacey Alarie, and Jones Adjei of Queen’s University tells . . . [more]

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