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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Selling Your Home? You and Your Agent Better Be Careful of What You Say… or Don’t Say

Last week the Divisional Court upheld a trial decision in which the purchasers of a home were awarded $25,000 in damages from the seller.

The purchasers entered into an agreement of purchase and sale with the vendor and, smartly, made the deal conditional on the purchasers receiving a Seller Property Information Statement (“SPIS”).

The SPIS is a standard form document that was drafted by the Ontario Real Estate Association. The SPIS will contain information relating to defects, renovations and other pertinent property information based on the seller’s knowledge and experience. You can find a copy of the SPIS here.

Sellers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Growth Is Dead, the Must-Read Series

Adam Smith, Esq. is on a roll. Or at least, Bruce MacEwen, author of the Adam Smith, Esq. blog is. His blog posts, “Growth is Dead” have been an on-going series looking at the changes to “BigLaw” since the economic problems of 2008.

Revenues of firms have significantly dropped since that time. One pressure is coming from clients with respect to pricing. From Part 1 of the blog:

Simply put, clients are pushing back as never before. Among other things, they are:

  • serious, for the first time, about alternative fee arrangements, caps and blended rates, rate freezes, and so on
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

Importing the Latte Method Into Legal Services

There’s a smug feeling in our profession. A sense of entitlement and accomplishment, and inevitably for some, an assumption of superiority.

It’s true, most lawyers have undergone extensive education and training, often in high-stress environments, and presumably have developed some technical skills as it relates to their practice. But despite all of this, a lawyer simply may not be as intelligent as their local barista.

I will pause here for a minute to define intelligence as proposed by Howard Gardner, along various modalities often overlooked in legal practice:

  1. Spatial
  2. Linguistic
  3. Logical-mathematical
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic
  5. Musical
  6. Interpersonal
  7. Intrapersonal
  8. Naturalistic

Arguably some of these . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Fee-Earner/Fee-Burner Divide Widens at McCague Borlack

I’m in Saskatoon today so this is a short blog – but an important one nonetheless.

Today’s Toronto Star breaks the story of Toronto law firm, McCague Borlack (which recently entered into a two-year alliance with British firm DAC Beachcroft which may eventually lead to a merger) and its attempt to stop what name partner Howard Borlack claims is abuse by some clerical or secretarial staff at his firm. The Star quotes Borlack “Some people were abusing the system….We had people taking two to three hours for lunch and we had no way of knowing. . . . Some people . . . [more]

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

Square Comes to Canada

Everyone’s a winner, baby, that’s the truth (yes, the truth) ..

Lyrics and Music by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson, recorded by Hot Chocolate.


Square dongle and iPhone


Back in January 2011 I blogged about the new payment service available in the USA called Square. Unfortunately at that time it was only available in the States. Well, as of Monday Oct 29, 2012 that has changed. Now it is available in Canada.

If you have an iPhone or Android smart phone, you can install the Canadian Square register application and receive the credit card . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Law Firm Merger Mania – Part 2

It was a year ago that I wrote the post “Law Firm Merger Mania“, talking about the trend of law firms merging. Notably, we were seeing international firms merging to build a Canadian presence. It is interesting to check in again to see how/whether this trend is developing.

Canada’s Fasken Martineau expands into South Africa
Today we have news of a Canadian firm merging to build a larger international presence: I noticed the announcement on Twitter this morning that Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has merged with 76 lawyer South African law firm Bell Dewar Inc. based in . . . [more]

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

Legal Research – Clients in the Driver’s Seat

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an intriguing story on legal fees and the changes that a client-driven marketplace has had on the way that firms bill not merely for their professional fees, but also for disbursements.

For example, the article comments on ways in which technology has transformed processes which would previously have resulted in charges to clients:

To be sure, technology has swept some items off law firm bills entirely. Before the advent of email, law firms spent small fortunes on couriers to hustle documents across town or out to the airport. Lawyers now upload digital briefs and memos

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

London Calling – but Are We Listening?

On my recent trip to London, England, it was arranged for me to be part of a panel discussion at Middle Temple Hall, one of the oldest legal buildings in London. Indeed, the room in which I spoke (Parliament Chamber) hosted the very first performance of Twelfth Night in 1602. By way of background, Middle Temple is one of four Inns of Court in London that are able to call men and women to the Bar.

So there I was, at the beating old heart of the common law, criticizing the current model of legal services delivery; suggesting that it . . . [more]

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

New E-Filing Practice Direction in Ontario

Close on the heels of the e-filing changes in B.C., Ontario has released a new Practice Direction effective November 2, 2012 for the filing of electronic documents in civil appeals and judicial reviews in Divisional Court.

The initial release of the Practice Direction is available through the Ontario Bar Association (OBA). Although signed on October 3, 2012, it is still not listed on the Practice Direction website.


  . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

B.C. Court of Appeal Launches E-Filing

The B.C. Court of Appeal formally launched its e-Filing program today. The Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Provincial Court of British Columbia have offered e-filing since June 2007, bringing today’s move up to all three levels of court in the province.

Chief Justice Lance Finch stated in the Press Release:

Court of Appeal e-filing expands access to the court for litigants outside B.C.’s major urban centres by allowing parties to file documents without attending at the court. When a document is e-filed, it also becomes instantaneously available to litigants and the public through the electronic registry, Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Ontario Court System at Risk of Losing Litigants to the Private-Sector Justice System

The Ontario civil justice system is struggling to provide timely, cost-effective and fair access to justice to civil litigants. According to Justice D.M. Brown, if the Judges of the Superior Court are unable to respond to the challenges and stresses confronting the civil litigation system, the public system risks losing litigants to the private-sector justice system in which an ever increasing number of private arbitration centres offer parties dispute-resolution services employing modern technological systems and well-trained arbitrators, who are often retired Superior Court Judges.

Justice Brown used the decision of George Weston Ltd. v. Domtar Inc. to once again sound . . . [more]

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