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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

It’s the End of Judges, Not the Lawyers

At yesterday’s inaugeral Law Tech Camp in Toronto, Prof. Daniel Katz of Michigan State University College of Law spoke on “Computing and the Law.” The topic was covered in The Globe earlier this week,

The crucial question for anyone heading into a court battle – whether a mighty corporation or a mere slip-and-fall victim – is the same, every time: “What are my chances?”

Depending on the answer, a client will decide to settle, or to stand and fight. The answer generally comes from across the oak-panelled desk of a lawyer, who draws on wisdom gained from years of

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

Build Your Firm’s Succession Plan With the Help of Law Practice Magazine

Significant numbers of law firm partners are nearing retirement age. Many firms are facing the daunting question of how to smoothly transition their clients and practices to the next generation – and most firms have taken few if any steps to tackle the thorny issues this transition can raise.

Look to the May/June 2011 issue of Law Practice Magazine if you need help with building a succession plan for your firm. It has several articles that will help you with transitioning clients, practices and leadership.

Marcia Pennington Shannon’s A Short Course in Succession Planning article gives you a snapshot of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Change and the Reluctant Minority

Earlier this week, Gartner offered up a press release that identified 5 myths of collaboration. If you have an interest in collaboration, it’s worth reading; but to summarize, those myths are:

  1. The right tools will make us collaborative
  2. Collaboration is inherently a good thing
  3. Collaborating takes extra time
  4. People naturally will/will not collaborate
  5. People instinctively know how to collaborate

The explanation given for #4 was something that particularly caught my interest:

Depending on their level of cynicism, people believe that humans naturally collaborate, or naturally don’t. While there are individuals at each end of the spectrum, most are somewhere

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Legal Project Management: A New Role for Law Librarians?

I had the pleasure last week of presenting at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries / /L’Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit on the topic “Legal Project Management: Is There a Role for Law Librarians?”

My co-speaker was Andrew Terrett, the National Director of Knowledge Management at BLG who provided a great, pragmatic overview of project management in law firms.

Although in my paper I also provided a brief overview of legal project management and what various law firms were doing about it, the focus of my talk was instead on the third part of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

MSBA Trust Accounting Guides for Mainstream Accounting Software Products

In an April 18, 2011 post on the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Practice Blawg, it was announced that the MSBA trust accounting guides are now available to non-MSBA members. In the past these guides were behind a members-only wall.

These guides help lawyers work with trust accounts in the several commercially available mainstream accounting programs. There are 5 guides including:

  • Keeping Client Trust Accounts with GnuCash 2.2.4
  • Keeping Records for Client Trust Accounts Using Microsoft Office Accounting 2006 or 2007
  • Using QuickBooks 6.0 for Lawyers’ Trust Accounting
  • Trust Accounting with QuickBooks 2005 Professional
  • Keeping Clients’ Trust Accounts with QuickBooks
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Increasing Clarity on the Ethics of Cloud Computing

There have been two important and encouraging developments on the ethics of cloud computing over the last month.

First, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has issued an initial set of draft proposals addressing lawyers’ confidentiality-related obligations when using technology. The Commission’s draft report proposes:

  • The development of a centralized, user-friendly website that contains continuously updated and detailed information about confidentiality-related ethics issues arising from lawyer’s use of technology, including the latest data security standards.
  • Amendments to several Model Rules of Professional Conduct and their Comments to offer specific guidance and expectations relating to technology.

The amendments to the Model . . . [more]

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

Is Cost-Effective Westlaw and Lexis Training Possible?

A message on the American Law Libraries – Private Law Libraries SIS Listserv has alerted me to: (i) A new blog by Law Librarian Jean O’Grady called Dewey B Strategic which has the subtitle of “Risk, value, strategy, libraries, knowledge and the legal profession,” and (ii) a recent intriguing post on this new blog called The Myth and the Madness of Cost Effective Lexis and Westlaw Research Training that raises the challenge (if not impossibility) of trying to teach “cost-effective searching” on Westlaw or Lexis to students or associates given the complexity of how these products are priced. Some examples . . . [more]

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

Being Management-Side Labour and Employment Lawyer…

First of all, I’d like to thank Simon Fodden for inviting me to contribute to the site. It really is an honour to be able to contribute to such a well-rounded and popular blog.

Like my colleague Genevieve Lay (who also blogs on the site), I am a labour and employment lawyer at Ogilvy Renault LLP in Montreal. As a firm, we generally only represent employers. In thinking about how to introduce myself to the community with my first post, I thought it best to talk about what I do and why I do it. Part of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

ILTSO Tackles on-Premise, Cloud and Mobile Legal Technology Standards

Standards for on-premise, cloud and mobile technologies used by lawyers have, to-date, been lacking. While an abundance of recommendations, best practices and other guidelines have been issues by Bar Associations and other organizations, there has not been a single, comprehensive document lawyers could look to for clear guidance on what minimal standards should be adhered for on-premise, cloud and mobile technologies.

The International Legal Technology Standards Organization (ILTSO) aims to change that. ILTSO is a non-profit organization consisting of attorneys, bar association representatives, IT professionals, and business leaders with a stated mission of “helping attorneys and clients better understand the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Website 201

As promised, more from the ABA Techshow, and more from Steve Matthews, who presented on website basics for lawyers.

Getting noticed and ranked high by search engines is very important for firms, because most of the traffic to your site will come from searches on Google and the other search engines. So how do you engage in “search engine optimization,” or SEO as it’s called?

Page SEO factors

  1. Use page titles and make them unique and descriptive; it helps search engines understand what you’re about. When you’re browsing, look up at the top of your browser: you’ll see the title
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Website 101

Here on Slaw we pretty much take for granted some of the basics of IT, prime among which might be the value of a website to practicing lawyers. But, of course, it’s just not the case that all lawyers have—and make good use of—websites. So for those of you who fall into that category (or who have a friend who does) here’s a little something.

As it happens, I’m at the ABA Techschow in Chicago listening to Slaw’s Steve Matthews explain the basics with respect to the necessary infrastructure, Website 101: Build and Rebuild.

Domain names
Use short, memorable . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management