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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

The Year of the Hybrid Cloud

Last year I indicated that there were changes in Ontario which suggested that cloud computing had been implicitly authorized for lawyers. There was no other practical way to implement the new services rules under the amended Rules of Civil Procedure.

Despite these changes, there is still resistance to adopting cloud computing in practice, and sometimes with good reason. Security breaches of online databases have illustrated the enormous risk and problems created in a digital world.

The Ashley Madison hacks had many scurrying in embarrassment, and others concerned because their names had been used by the website without their permission. . . . [more]

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

The Case Against Disruptive Innovation in Large Practice

Change is needed in the legal industry. But change simply for the sake of changing isn’t always a good thing.

There’s plenty of buzz about McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s “radical” transformation, and rightly so. They’re ridding offices for communal work spaces, finally moving away from the billable hour, and slashing redundant support staff. The effort is to be applauded, but the transition is likely to be bumpy.

Although I’ve advocated for importing the Latte Method into legal services, I’m not sure all lawyers want or need to feel like they’re working in a Starbucks. For many small and independent lawyers, . . . [more]

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

Tilt Into 2016: Gaining a Competitive Advantage

Competition is fierce.

As cost pressures from clients intensify, as new service providers emerge, and as new technologies are deployed, it is unwise for any firm to avoid thinking about how it should work differently. (Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers)

In The Globe and Mail article “McCarthy Tetrault’s Tracie Cook leading firm’s radical transformation”, Jeff Gray discusses McCarthy Tetrault’s attempt to modernize. The firm has instituted:

  • new billing practices;
  • open-concept floor plans;
  • reduction in 200 support staff; and
  • has established a client service innovation team.

“The moves have come as the sector grapples with new competition from global players . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Protecting the Team – a Firm’s Most Valuable Asset – by Nudging Your People to Health and Wellness

While the primary responsibility for wellness rests with the individual, nothing is more important to a law practice than its lawyers and staff. The “firm” – Big Law or a solo practice – can do nothing without people; the better those people feel, the more productive they will be, and the more profitable the firm will be. It follows that a firm has an interest in helping its people be healthy and well. How can a firm help?

Wikipedia defines the Nudge theory as “a concept in behaviour science, political theory and economics which argues that positive reinforcement and indirect . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Drafting a Non-Engagement Letter

Phantom clients, those who believe they are represented by you, though the individual has not formally hired or retained you, can lead to a potential claim down the road. If you decline an engagement for legal services or the client chooses not to retain you, the non-engagement should immediately be confirmed in writing by way of a non-engagment letter. Here are three resources to help you draft one: . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Proposed Ontario Changes to Accessibility Regulations

The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure has proposed changes to the Customer Service Standard and Integrated Accessibility Standards regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If approved, the changes will be enacted on July 1, 2016, and take immediate effect.

This proposal includes incorporating the Customer Service Standard into the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation and making changes to requirements of the Customer Service Standard (see details below). . . . [more]

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

Win Clients With This Simple Question

This post is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO

I vividly remember losing one of my first potential clients. He was shopping for lawyers and had whittled his list down to three or four. I had dealt with legal issues exactly like his before and resolved them successfully. I felt I knew the law as well as anyone. I would help him and impress him with my knowledge and experience. I put on my best suit and tie. As I walked down to meet him I figured I had the advantage.

During the meeting I gushed . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Lawyers Need Less Face, More Time

Are you tired of being tired at work, sitting at your desk simply because there are more senior lawyers still burning the midnight oil? Not only could you be costing your firm in lost productivity, but you could be costing yourself you health as well.

The Swedish city of Gothenberg is attempting an experiment with public sector employees by reducing their workday to six hours.

The city is also maintaining a control group at regular hours and the same pay. They hope the experimental employees will demonstrate indicators such as higher productivity and lower absenteeism, and preliminary results appear promising. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

The News of ABS’s “Aliveness” Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

My previous Slaw post has generated, among other things, an unprofessional (and since deleted) comment and criticism that ABS is not dead as I suggested, because the Working Group has only determined that “majority control” by non-legally trained people is dead.

It’s true from a purely technical point of view that ABS can exist with minority ownership by non-legally trained people.

It’s also true that a comatose person whose body is functioning only with the support of a machine, is not dead.

I see remarkable similarities between the ABS debate and those surrounding MDPs at the turn of the century . . . [more]

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

Rethinking Risk Management

Most risk management advice is based on how to avoid bad things through taking proactive and preventative steps. For example, use checklists on every file to avoid missing crucial steps. Document the advice you’ve given, particularly if your client isn’t likely to follow it. Use retainer letters to set clear expectations for your clients.

Other advice is based on avoiding risk through knowing when to leave well enough alone. The best is example is the axiom that a lawyer should never sue for fees because that’s a frequent trigger for a legal malpractice claim or law society misconduct complaint.

But . . . [more]

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

Don’t Let Personal Issues Lead You to Bend the Rules

At least two of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s discipline decisions in the last few months referenced a lawyer’s “loss of moral compass.” Even honest and well-intentioned lawyers have, when under pressure or when suffering from illness, addiction or a personal crisis, succumbed to the belief that it’s perfectly fine to bend the rules “just this once.”

Unfortunately, bending rules and getting away with it has the effect of weakening a lawyer’s scruples over time – especially when the pressures that led to the first transgression persist. Preserving your integrity will help you steer clear of serious threats to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

‘La Bâtonnière’ No More After Settlement With Quebec Bar Association

The Quebec Bar Association and bencher-elect Lu Chan Khuong have released a joint statement, indicating that Khuong has decided to resign her position and duties. The joint press release, dated Tuesday, September 15, 2015, announces a settlement agreement of the legal action opposing the board of directors of the Bar Association and Khuong. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions