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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Saving on Law Firm Costs Not the Canadian Way

Just when I had given up on major law firms doing something that makes them more efficient and innovative, international law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP relocates 250 of its staff from around the globe (if they choose to move) to Lexington, Kentucky into a former IBM building on the University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus business park.

The firm decided to move its finance, accounting, human resources, information technology, knowledge services, marketing, operations and risk management staff into one location to save costs, improve coordination and become much more efficient.

Certainly the $6.5 million in tax incentives from state and . . . [more]

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

Tenant Who Has Been Evicted From 6 Homes in 7 Years to Face Fraud Charges

Nina Willis has been evicted from 6 homes in the past 7 years. She is probably the perfect example of what Justice Matlow was thinking when he noted the:

growing practice by unscrupulous residential tenants to manipulate the law improperly, and often dishonestly, to enable them to remain in their rented premises for long periods of time without having to pay rent to their landlords.

Justice Matlow called for reform of Ontario’s residential tenancy laws. In the case of Nina Willis, Ontario’s residential tenancy laws were not able to protect the landlords she abused over the past 7 years. However, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Lawyer Confusion

I was recently prepping for a podcast with twitterite, @CharonQC, who unfortunately had to postpone it due to family reasons. So, why let some good thinking go to waste?

One of the matters we were going to discuss was that the legal profession has lost its way. Not in the sense that lawyers are struggling with the conundrum of whether they are a business or a profession. Rather, it is my view that one of the reasons that lawyers have not adapted to better and more efficient styles of legal service delivery is because by using these new styles, they . . . [more]

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

Seeing the Light Through Cloud Computing

The resistance by lawyers over the adoption of cloud computing is a particular grievance for technology evangelists. Not that concerns over confidentiality and security are unwarranted, it’s just that most they often just stem from fear of the unknown.

For those lawyers who still believe the most secure place to store their client information is in their heads, there’s an inexpensive technological device being developed through the University of California and the University of Oxford in Geneva which allows users to hack directly into someone’s brain.

Of course lawyers are far more ready to embrace emerging technology when the risk . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Longing for a New Age in KM

I missed the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference, which wraps up today in Washington D.C. So my thoughts are turning not only to envy, but also to some of my own KM thoughts mixed with those emanating from conference tweets.

Too often Canadian law firms see KM as nothing more than a repository of documents and clauses: Matthew Parson’s so-called “information landfill.” And because KM is seen as nothing more than a landfill site, firms see KM as nothing more than a software solution to assist lawyers sift through the debris.

What a terrible waste!

But, what if . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Risks and Benefits of Legal Technology – Recognized…

♬ It’s been a long time comin’, my dear
It’s been a long time comin’, but now it’s here
And now it’s here..♬

Lyrics, music and recorded by Bruce Springsteen.

My friend Bob Ambrogi noted it first. The American Bar Association amended the commentary to Model Rule 1.1 dealing with competence:

Rule 1.1 Competence

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

The amended commentary is as follows:

Maintaining Competence

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of

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

Almost $80,000 Removed From Toronto Lawyer’s Trust Account by Fake Cheques

A Toronto lawyer has reported to LAWPRO that almost $80,000 was removed from his trust account over the last four days by a series of 10 fake cheques. The fraud was discovered when a bank reconciliation was done this morning (Wednesday). All was fine when a bank reconciliation was done last Friday. The cheques were obvious copies of the firm’s trust cheques (cheque numbers were not in sequence and different). The cheques were used to pay off credit cards and 2 were payable to a specific individual. It is not known how the fraudster obtained information about the lawyer’s trust . . . [more]

Posted in: 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