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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

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

50 Ways to Become Someone’s Lawyer (Or How to Succeed in Entering Into a Solicitor-Client Relationship Without Really Trying)

There is so much talk these days about the business of law: rainmaking, marketing, business development, etc. All of this in pursuit of landing “clients”. Truth be told, it is actually quite easy to land a client. Many lawyers find to their surprise months or even years later that some casual encounter is actually deemed to constitute a “solicitor-client relationship” or at least the makings of one.

This has huge ramifications for a lawyer in terms of the law of conflicts of interest, the ethical duty of confidentiality and the client’s substantive right of solicitor-client privilege. It can also be . . . [more]

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

Rise of the Gypsy Lawyer?

There was a time when the career path of a lawyer was straighter than an arrow.

You went to law school, articled with a firm that hired you as an associate. You worked hard, made partner, at some point took part in management, then retired.

Or perhaps you shifted your practice to one other firm, but essentially the road in front of you was well-worn and clear.

Yes, I’m talking about life before 1990.

Now the road is strewn with rocks and pebbles, and juts around landslides.

The career path of lawyers is less linear.

As a result, an interesting . . . [more]

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

Real Estate Lawyers: The Buck Stops With You

The following article appears in the May/June 2012 edition of LAWPRO Magazine. It is available at

LAWPRO is seeing far too many real estate claims where the lawyers handling the deals are making or not catching fairly basic errors. Often these mistakes result from errors made by clerks – all or most of which the lawyer could’ve and should’ve caught.

Common mistakes include:

  • Not catching errors in legal descriptions
  • Missing executions
  • Not doing searches
  • Not bringing rights or way or easements to the attention of the client

We also see claims involving ILA. Sometimes there was no recognition . . . [more]

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

LawTechCamp 2012: Law Firm Knowledge Management 101

Others have talked about their contributions to lawTechCamp 2012 held in Toronto in May. I am sharing the slide decks from the presentation I did with fellow consultant Stephanie Barnes and the six minute demo I did the same day.

The first talk here is an introduction to Law Firm Knowledge Management. Included are some images developed by Stephanie, and some we have developed together, as well as content from other sources. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Eulogy for Dewey

As we all give a moment of silence for the sad, preventable destruction of Dewey LeBoeuf it may be time for firms to recall the words of Sylvester Bowen of Bowen, Fong & Chandri:

 When we hire lawyers, we hire those who believe in what we believe.

 We don’t hire lawyers who are technically good and need a job.

 We don’t hire lawyers who are driven by money.

 We hire lawyers who are motivated by our principles of change and innovation.

 We don’t want lawyers who are seduced by the reliability of hours and profits per partner because that . . . [more]

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

Ouch – Legal Publishers Left With Unpaid Debts as Dewey & LeBoeuf Files

Among the top dozen creditors of Dewey & LeBoeuf which filed for bankruptcy yesterday were some familiar names:

Thomson Reuters $2.363 M

Lexis Nexis $1.413 M

Wolters Kluwer $653 K

I find the relative scale of the debts interesting, as well as the fact that the three publishers must have been prepared to continue to extend credit long after the newspapers were spreading word of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s troubles far and wide.

We’ve had scant experience of law firm insolvencies so I don’t know what has traditionally happened to the library when a firm closes its doors. Or in today’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

ABS – the Saviour of Solos and Small Firms?

Recently I spoke at lawTechcamp at the University of Toronto about the future practice of law. The session generated a great deal of discussion with the audience, some of it quite heated – particularly when I raised the question, “Why should we hire students or junior associates?” The point of my question was to force lawyers to question everything we do – not take any process or practice as a given. The players in the legal industry who are able to forget the past and re-invent how legal services are delivered will be wildly successful.

One of the questions from . . . [more]

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

Director of Innovation for Law Firms?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the need for firms to take a stronger look at risk management – in other words, to see risk management as much more than simply compliance with law society and other regulations. I suspect that many firms do not have a formal risk management role within the firm because they don’t believe there is much risk beyond compliance issues or that the role is not robust enough to warrant a special position within the firm.

Both of these viewpoints are incorrect, so let me bulk-up the risk manager’s role to include innovation to . . . [more]

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

Warning – Zombies May Be Cloning Your Law Firm

An extraordinary warning today from the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority that fraudsters in Britain have set up phony law firm websites, sufficiently genuine looking that there’s a real risk of fraud.

Bogus firms: Are you at risk of being cloned? . . . [more]

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