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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Mandatory Retirement of Partners in Law Firms

One of the interesting developments during the summer slowdown we failed to note here on Slaw was the BC Court of Appeal decision in John McCormick’s case against Fasken Martineau. McCormick is an equity partner in Fasken’s Vancouver office who resisted the mandatory retirement at age 65 required by the partnership agreement, arguing that it contravened the BC Human Rights Code’s prohibition on age discrimination with respect to employees. The critical hinge to his action is whether an equity partner in a law firm should be regarded as an “employee” for the purposes of the Code, thus giving the Human . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Only the New Can Change the Profession

The more I discuss change in the legal profession, the more the same question is asked of me: what will drive the change than many in the profession agree is long overdue. And when I say “many in the profession,” I mean young lawyers. The established, older set of partners in charge of many of this country’s firms have no reason to change what they are doing and are simply eyeing the finish line of their careers. Add to that, the fact that large established firms are weighed down with legacy IT systems, as well as an antiquated partnership and . . . [more]

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

Court Dismisses Action Set Down for Trial 15 Years After the Close of Pleadings for Delay

For a variety of reasons, lawsuits tend to drag on for a very long period of time. It is the plaintiff’s obligation to move the lawsuit forward. When acting for a defendant in a case that has dragged on (through no fault of the defendant), I am often asked whether we can ask the Court to have the lawsuit dismissed for delay. I tell my clients that they can bring a motion to dismiss the action for delay (provided one of the enumerated procedural defaults have occurred), but that winning such motions are extremely difficult. The governing principle taken by . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

How Do You Measure Law Firm Diversity?

It’s an ongoing debate in the law firms that actually care. How do you measure your law firm diversity? Is it based on actual lawyers, looking at an associate/partnership ratio, or do you look at diversity and inclusion policies and procedures?

The former approach has become a standard now among American firms, where young recruits routinely scan diversity statistics when considering employers. Many young lawyers and law students review diversity figures even if they are not “diverse” themselves, because they prefer working in a supportive and open environment.

Canadian firms have not been so forthcoming primarily because the base numbers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Separating “essential” From “incidental” in Legal Practice

Next month I begin teaching a course on innovation in legal services at Western University Law School. I’m excited about teaching this new course, but I’m even more interested in the mood and thoughts of today’s law students. How do they perceive the legal marketplace given that 13% of Ontario law school graduates did not find articling positions this year? More importantly what do they think of the profession itself?

Do they feel the same sense of uncertainty about the future that many lawyers feel today? Or do they see themselves on the cusp of a new era with boundless . . . [more]

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

Brilliant Innovation in Municipal in-House Legal Teams

As we legal writers drag ourselves through the dog days of summer, we sometimes hit lulls in finding topics of interest. Lucky for me the United Kingdom continues to provide fodder for those exhorting North Americans to change the way legal services are delivered. And I count myself fortunate to have been able to connect with a number of players who are truly shaking up the legal services industry across the Atlantic.

While the spotlight on innovation is focussed primarily on the private sector, one municipal in-house legal team is starting to cause a sensation.

Geoff Wild has written a . . . [more]

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

The Lost Art of Pricing for Legal Services

As readers are aware, I have been very vocal about the scourge of the billable hour.

Recently a lawyer asked me, if I don’t bill by the hour, then how do I charge for my services? It then struck me that the real reason lawyers bill by the hour is because they don’t know how else to charge for legal services. To a person in any other line of business this would be a bizarre question.

But for lawyers, the art of pricing for legal services has been lost to time.

There are now fewer and fewer lawyers who realize . . . [more]

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

Interesting Insights on Which Legal Technology Products Medium/large Firm Are Using

My friend Mike Seto came a across an interesting survey that lists the main functional technology products that the 200 largest UK firms are using. Many familiar names there – but some news one too.

I am not aware of a survey that specifically lists the technologies used by the the largest North American firms, but (thanks to Catherine Reach), can mention these two surveys that provide global technology use and trend information for North American firms: the ILTA survey (free content) and the Am Law Tech Survey (free and paid content). . . . [more]

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

My Summer Reading List

I’ve seen other summer reading lists lately and thought it would be fun to put together my own list of books currently or recently on my nightstand. There’s quite a range here–management/leadership type titles, geek girl titles, and some challenging fiction. I’m not really one for light reading! And, there’s probably no way I can get through all of these in the summer, but I can certainly try. And of course in putting this list together I found even more new books, so I better get reading.

What is on your summer reading list?

Here is the list (with no . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

North America: The Next Emerging Market for Legal Services

I have been following an interesting blog and twitter feed (@LawSync) prepared by LawSync out of Sheffield Hallam University. LawSync has put the “wow” back into law school and is a project of that university’s Department of Law, Criminology, and Community Justice. According to its website:

The name of this project reflects our desire to see a better synchronisation between law as an academic discipline and professional practice, the expectations both of legal professionals and users of legal services, and regulatory influences. Law schools, law students, and legal professionals need to keep in sync with market needs and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Lower Your Costs, the More You Keep

Let me throw some controversy into your world today.

When I speak to groups about innovation in legal services the topic that always hits a raw nerve is the subject of office space. Next to personnel costs, office space is one of the largest fixed costs of any business, including law firms. However, much like the weather, every lawyer talks about it, but no one does anything about it.

It is a space planning rule of thumb that law firms need between 600 – 1,000 square feet of space per lawyer. Think of the savings if that number could be . . . [more]

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

KM 101: Knowledge Management in a Legal Setting

I was fortunate to have been invited to teach a session in the Canadian Association of Law Library’s New Law Librarians Institute 2012 earlier this month. The focus of the one-week program is substantive law, but my session was of a more practical nature, entitled “Knowledge Management in the Legal Setting.”

This talk was given last year by Ted Tjaden. Since he was kind enough to share his paper from that talk with all of us (which I found immensely helpful), I thought it good to follow his example and do the same with mine. Click the image or link . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology