You are running a business, let’s call it a legal practice, and you have a problem. You are spending too much time dealing with a small irritation. The irritation could be just about anything, but let’s say the issue is that your invoicing system doesn’t connect with your contact management system. “System” may be too strong a word for many. Essentially, when you issue an invoice for your services, the bill doesn’t automatically show up in the file where you keep other details about the same client. As a result, each time you issue a bill, you have to remember . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’
Later this week the American Bar Association will publish The Relevant Lawyer: Reimagining the Future of the Legal Profession, a collection of essays on the future of the profession. It includes two chapters written by members of Slaw.
Details of how to get the book itself are here. We’ll publish a full review in Slaw shortly.
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I’ve had several recent conversations with senior lawyers who are reluctant to delegate work to part-time administrative staff. They don’t want to be perceived as demanding. They’re afraid of confrontation.
They are actually more open to the concept of flexible work arrangements than most people give them credit for, but they need reassurances that part-time staff are just as committed to quality work as their full-time counterparts.
Unique challenges of delegating to part-time administrative staff
With more and more of us working outside the office or part-time, there is less opportunity for face-to-face communication, which means that it takes longer . . . [more]
Three things have converged recently that relate to being prepared. Thinking about Slawyers, I am certain that readers of this blog are likely those that support and espouse the notion of preparedness, I decided to write about preparedness from three perspecitives.
1. The unprepared (fly by the seat of your pants and deal with the consequences as they arise)
My youngest daughter is a musician. She recently finished her first year of university and is now looking for employment. Despite her mother and father’s strong (occasionally screechy) suggestions that she begin applying for summer work in March, she put the . . . [more]
On March 26, 2015, the new Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (nouveau Code de déontologie des avocats) for Quebec lawyers came into force. All lawyer members of the Quebec Bar are required to complete a three-hour training session by December 31, 2015. . . . [more]
I am old enough that I have both observed and given presentations on clear film with an old school overhead projector. I was thinking about time and visualizing time and studying statistical process control and using charts to help with decision making. Suddenly, I had a perfectly clear visual of a stack of overhead film with run chart plots overlaid with each other for comparing data.
Statistical Process Control, specifically Run Charts (a line graph where a measure is plotted over time), are useful tools that allow us to:
- Display data to make process performance visible
- Determine if a change
I recently spoke with Henry J. Chang, one of the Toronto candidates in this year’s Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) bencher election. I asked him why members should pay particular attention to the elections this year and what issues are most important to voters. A summary of our conversation appears below. . . . [more]
Tax season often illuminates financial management philosophies we could – and should – revisit. For me, reviewing revenue and expenses has illustrated a year’s worth of daily activities that really added up. Here are some considerations to check on a regular basis.
Start with structure
Many professionals still practice without a clear financial goal for the year. My wise accountant once distilled the goal-setting process down to these questions:
- How much revenue do you want to earn and why?
- What percentage of that revenue will you invest in your practice and why?
- How much money do you need to manage
You’ve tried clarification, reminders, warnings, patience and tolerance, maybe even retraining. But it isn’t working, and you both know it. Firing employees is not likely a task you took into consideration when you thought about becoming a lawyer; but here you are, an employer, in the position of having to fire an employee.
It will never be pleasant; but there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to lawsuits, reputational damage, maybe even stolen clients or breaches of confidentiality. The right way can lead to the same things, of course; but the odds are . . . [more]
If you’ve worked in a law firm long enough, you’ve probably been assigned work in a way that left you confused (if not annoyed). When it’s time to delegate your own work, it can be a mistake to default to the delegation style that you’ve become used to, assuming that it’s effective.
That assumption might be wrong if you’re working with new people, clients and/or matters. Try asking the following questions when you need to enlist help with a task. They involve people in taking responsibility for their work and they show respect for others’ expertise.
- What is the best
Despite the interdisciplinary nature of law, lawyers rarely turn to medicine to look for the intersection between the two fields.
The exceptions to this would be the endless debate about work-life balance. For example, The CBA Futures report makes several references to health and wellness for lawyers as part of a sustainable practice.
Another intersection would be the recent focus by the Ontario Bar Association’s initiative, Opening Remarks, to promote conversations about mental health in the profession. This is an initiative led by the OBA President, Orlando Da Silva, based on his own experiences with depression.
Occasionally there are . . . [more]
By March, those of us who create personal practice development goals usually know what we need to accomplish by year-end (usually). We also know how easily the best intentions can derail as the year progresses.
There are as many excuses to stop working towards long-term goals as there are distractions. Busy-work makes us feel productive. As Leigh Buchanan points out in a recent article in Inc. magazine, it’s also a trap.
Proven techniques help the dispirited stay on track. Why not try a few and see if they would help?
What matters most to your practice? Your practice . . . [more]