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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

The Rain-Maker Era Coming to a Close?

In the large business arena, we are starting to see some interesting developments that impact the way law firms are selected for work – which in turn is starting to impact the role of rain-makers in firms.

In larger companies, procurement teams are becoming more active and influential in the legal field. General Counsel are being pushed harder to do more with less and C-suite executives are becoming less convinced that selecting law firms is different from selecting property managers or other suppliers.

Procurement brings a more disciplined and rigorous approach to selecting firms that focuses on costs, but also . . . [more]

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

The Ugly Side of Legal Blogs

It is astonishing to me that there are practising lawyers who take time away from helping clients to write (often foul-mouthed) blogs and comments attacking those who advocate different ways to deliver legal services. In the minds of these attackers, we have “666” tattooed to the backs of our heads.

The old saying, “Is this the hill I want to die on?” comes to mind for those with boundless energy to expend trash-talking people who think differently.

It’s as if the attackers don’t follow what’s happening in the world around them (which is also exceptionally poor risk management):

Megan Seto . . . [more]

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

Amending the Professional Code With Respect to Disciplinary Justice

In light of the ongoing revelations at the Commission Charbonneau and recommendations from l'Office des professions et du Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec, on February 13, 2013, the Quebec government tabled Bill 17, An Act to Amend the Professional Code With Respect to Disciplinary Justice to improve the effectiveness of professional disciplinary boards and to reform how they issue disciplinary measures when a complaint against a professional is made.
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

From Full Mobility to Outside Investment?

On February 28, 2013, the Law Society of Upper Canada became the first Canadian law society to ratify the national mobility provisions allowing for full and permanent mobility of lawyers between Ontario and Quebec.

Most Canadians will be forgiven for failing to be as joyful as the Benchers were that day, as the agreement does much to enhance lawyer mobility (and hence fee-earning capability), but does nothing to address access to justice.

The Law Times piece on this matter was done by Yamri Taddese and can be found here.

How much better it would have been if Benchers had . . . [more]

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

Facing Our Vulnerability

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.

– Madeleine L’Engle

The release of Canada’s national mental health strategy Changing Directions, Changing Lives last year served as a reminder that we are all, even lawyers, vulnerable to the effects of mental illness.

In today’s knowledge based workforce, the effects of mental illness are felt not only by individuals and their families, but also the economy. The impacts of mental illness may be further compounded . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

De-Constructing Legal Services

Last Fall, I read an article about the General Counsel for Kia who creates tests for his external legal counsel. The tests have nothing to do with law and everything to do with process. In one test, external counsel should have taken 20 minutes to complete a mundane task using an excel spreadsheet. The average time taken by Kia’s nine outside law firms? Five hours. Simon Fodden also has a great piece on this, here.

There are many takeaways from this, but an important one is that its shows that lawyers are not always the most efficient personnel . . . [more]

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

Managing Risk in Family Law

Clients with unrealistic expectations, complaints about legal costs and dissatisfaction with results achieved are just a few of the issues addressed in the recent report from the Legal Ombudsman of the United Kingdom, The Price of Separation: Divorce related legal complaints and their causes. While the concerns raised are not new to most lawyers in family practice, the Ombudsman takes a solution-focused approach that makes this report a valuable manual on client services in family law.  

The report is based upon complaints received by the Legal Ombudsman’s office in 2011-12, of which some 18% related to family law matters. . . . [more]

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

Violence and Threats Against Lawyers Is a Growing Concern in Canada

I never considered the practice of law a dangerous occupation. I simply never thought of the potential dangers associated with practising law. But a blog post written by David Hyde, one of our authors on First Reference Talks, brought the whole issue to light and gave me an understanding of the nature and extent of the problem of violence and threats in the legal profession. I thought his insights into the problem would be of interest to the legal community, and decided to republish it here on Slaw.
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

ABS – the Fear in Canada Is Palpable

The ABS debate continues among many Canadian provinces. The Law Society of British Columbia has already made the same mistake as the American Bar Association recently made by declining to allow outside investment in law firms. One of LSBC’s reasons was that local lawyers didn’t feel a need for it; this reminds me of a comment made by a lawyer in the UK and likely echoed by some in Canada, “We’re smart people. If there was a better way to do things we would have already figured it out.” Or to more bluntly put it, LSBC’s rationale is like asking . . . [more]

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

Lawyers for Literacy

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

February is I Love to Read month in Manitoba and this week, a number of Manitoba lawyers are practicing reading aloud while collecting pledges and gathering books to donate as part of Lawyers for Literacy.

The 3rd annual Lawyers for Literacy event on February 23 is sponsored by the Law Society of Manitoba, in support of the work of West Broadway Youth Outreach. WBYO is a small non-profit operating in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood to provide after school and evening recreational opportunities to local . . . [more]

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

Binaries, Triplets and the Use of Gender Neutral Language

How do we assess the social and cultural significance the words we choose? And what is the impact of using gender-neutral language in our communications?

These questions were the subject of a spirited panel discussion at last week’s Manitoba Bar Association Midwinter Conference in Winnipeg. Dr. Jila Ghomeshi, syntactician and author of Grammar Matters and Sandra Petersson, Research Manager of the Alberta Law Reform Institute participated in the discussion moderated by Patricia Lane on how lawyers can reflect gender neutrality in their use of language.

Ms Lane referred to the business and practical reasons for using gender neutral . . . [more]

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

Time for a Canadian-Based Think Tank on Legal Innovation and Competitiveness

I have been thinking for some time on the need for a legal innovation and competitiveness think-tank in Canada; so when a few of my students at University of Ottawa Law School independently suggested that Canada needs something like that, I decided that I was not completely crazy.

Surprisingly no Canadian business school, Rotman is the first to come to mind, has picked up on this obvious green field and neither has something like the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity.

What I mean by a legal innovation and competitiveness think-tank is a body that would take a serious look . . . [more]

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