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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

What Kind of Pope Is Your Managing Partner?

Last month, the world was transfixed by the selection of a new pope for the Catholic church. Prior to the selection of Pope Francis, there was a great deal of discussion about what type of pope would the best choice as the church is running through some fairly turbulent times.

There were those who believed that a “no-nonsense CEO” or “tough-guy governor” as the Globe and Mail suggested on March 9, 2013 would be the best pope. The chief argument for such an individual was that the Curia, and other aspects of the church, needed to be reformed to deal . . . [more]

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

Adapting to Change: How Legal Departments Evolve With the Businesses They Serve, a CCCA Keynote

I hope you don’t mind as I continue gradually to post notes from the CCCA National Spring Conference earlier this week. We now jump ahead to yesterday’s closing keynote.

These are notes from a panel discussion by Joe Bradford, Vice-President, Joint Venture and Legal, CNOOC Canada Inc., Riccardo Trecroce, Vice President and General Counsel, North America, Magna International, Inc., and moderator Gary Graham, Partner, Gowlings, Hamilton on April 16, 2013 at the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Spring Conference 2013 in Toronto. Note: these are my selected notes from this session; any inaccuracies or omissions are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Playing to Win: Roger Martin on Strategy for Corporate Counsel, a CCCA Keynote

These are notes from a keynote address by Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto on April 15, 2013 at the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Spring Conference 2013 in Toronto. Note: these are my selected notes from this session; any inaccuracies or omissions are my own and not the speakers’.

Playing to Win
Roger Martin
Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and author of 8 books

Martin has previously done strategy work for law firms. It is important for law, IT and HR departments to understand strategy and add to it in . . . [more]

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

What Law School Omits to Teach You About Opening Your Own Practice

We began our respective legal practices within a year after finishing our articles; we both wanted to be able to express our personal ethics and practice law our way. We had to develop new skills, ranging from file organization to client management, grapple with unforeseen stressors, and learn to congratulate ourselves for victories big and small. Our biggest surprise was that neither law school nor former employers had ever taught us the things we needed most to run our business. So to that end, and in honour of Law Student Week at slaw, here are ten facts you may also . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Equation for a Trusting Relationship

We in Canada have little understanding of the legal services industry in Australia, whether this is due to geography or wilful blindness is unclear. But given our common legal heritage and commonwealth brotherhood (whenever I’m in Asia, Canadians seem to bond easiest with Aussies – in the pubs at least) we should pay much more attention to the land down under. Especially since it’s thinking on legal services delivery is years ahead of our own.

So I count myself fortunate to be able to grow my contacts in Australia.

Aussie management/legal consultant George Beaton has put me onto a post . . . [more]

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

The Rain-Maker Era Coming to a Close?

In the large business arena, we are starting to see some interesting developments that impact the way law firms are selected for work – which in turn is starting to impact the role of rain-makers in firms.

In larger companies, procurement teams are becoming more active and influential in the legal field. General Counsel are being pushed harder to do more with less and C-suite executives are becoming less convinced that selecting law firms is different from selecting property managers or other suppliers.

Procurement brings a more disciplined and rigorous approach to selecting firms that focuses on costs, but also . . . [more]

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

The Ugly Side of Legal Blogs

It is astonishing to me that there are practising lawyers who take time away from helping clients to write (often foul-mouthed) blogs and comments attacking those who advocate different ways to deliver legal services. In the minds of these attackers, we have “666” tattooed to the backs of our heads.

The old saying, “Is this the hill I want to die on?” comes to mind for those with boundless energy to expend trash-talking people who think differently.

It’s as if the attackers don’t follow what’s happening in the world around them (which is also exceptionally poor risk management):

Megan Seto . . . [more]

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

Amending the Professional Code With Respect to Disciplinary Justice

In light of the ongoing revelations at the Commission Charbonneau and recommendations from l'Office des professions et du Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec, on February 13, 2013, the Quebec government tabled Bill 17, An Act to Amend the Professional Code With Respect to Disciplinary Justice to improve the effectiveness of professional disciplinary boards and to reform how they issue disciplinary measures when a complaint against a professional is made.
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

From Full Mobility to Outside Investment?

On February 28, 2013, the Law Society of Upper Canada became the first Canadian law society to ratify the national mobility provisions allowing for full and permanent mobility of lawyers between Ontario and Quebec.

Most Canadians will be forgiven for failing to be as joyful as the Benchers were that day, as the agreement does much to enhance lawyer mobility (and hence fee-earning capability), but does nothing to address access to justice.

The Law Times piece on this matter was done by Yamri Taddese and can be found here.

How much better it would have been if Benchers had . . . [more]

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

Facing Our Vulnerability

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.

– Madeleine L’Engle

The release of Canada’s national mental health strategy Changing Directions, Changing Lives last year served as a reminder that we are all, even lawyers, vulnerable to the effects of mental illness.

In today’s knowledge based workforce, the effects of mental illness are felt not only by individuals and their families, but also the economy. The impacts of mental illness may be further compounded . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

De-Constructing Legal Services

Last Fall, I read an article about the General Counsel for Kia who creates tests for his external legal counsel. The tests have nothing to do with law and everything to do with process. In one test, external counsel should have taken 20 minutes to complete a mundane task using an excel spreadsheet. The average time taken by Kia’s nine outside law firms? Five hours. Simon Fodden also has a great piece on this, here.

There are many takeaways from this, but an important one is that its shows that lawyers are not always the most efficient personnel . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Managing Risk in Family Law

Clients with unrealistic expectations, complaints about legal costs and dissatisfaction with results achieved are just a few of the issues addressed in the recent report from the Legal Ombudsman of the United Kingdom, The Price of Separation: Divorce related legal complaints and their causes. While the concerns raised are not new to most lawyers in family practice, the Ombudsman takes a solution-focused approach that makes this report a valuable manual on client services in family law.  

The report is based upon complaints received by the Legal Ombudsman’s office in 2011-12, of which some 18% related to family law matters. . . . [more]

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