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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee?

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]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Law Firm Retreats: They Can Be Small. They Can Be Anywhere.

Though we covered it in our Tips Tuesday roundup post a few days ago, I’d like to call your attention to an exceptional piece by Garry Wise on his upcoming Law Office Backyard Retreat.

What struck me as I was reading was the engrained conceptions many of us have about what a retreat is, and where it must be located. Depending on your own personal experience, you might believe that a firm retreat:

  • must always be ‘a road trip';
  • is only applicable for larger firms;
  • requires an expensive keynote speaker; or generally,
  • is far too expensive an undertaking for 
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

How to Start a Legal Project Management Initiative in Your Firm: 11 Ideas

Are firms becoming more attuned to the benefits of legal project management (LPM)? Are clients? Judging from a workshop I attended on this topic last month in Chicago, the answer is “yes”.

But many firms – including almost every firm I’ve encountered – still struggle with the question of how to encourage organizational and individual changes required to inculcate wide-spread adoption of LPM.

The panelists who spoke at the “LPM Showcase and Workshop” lead some of the firms that have been the most successful at LPM implementation – Baker & McKenzie, Loeb & Loeb, Foley Hoag . . . [more]

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

The Nature of Partnership

By some weird synchronicity, the Supreme Courts in both the United Kingdom and Canada in the last 24 hours have considered the nature of partnerships and the extent to which employment law protections also applied to partners.

Yesterday’s decision in Clyde & Co LLP and another (Respondents) v Bates van Winklehof (Appellant) [2014] UKSC 32 held that a junior partner (unhelpfully called an Equity Partner) in a London firm was protected by the whistle-blowing protections of the Employment Rights Act 1996. She had been involved in a rather dubious file in Tanzania and reported to the firm’s money laundering reporting . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Taking Leave – a Risk Management Perspective

Manitoba lawyer Donna Seale has a great blog focused on human rights issues in workplaces. In fact Human Rights in the Workplace is so good that in 2010, the blog won a CLawBie award. In her post, It’s time to take time, Donna recently announced she’s taking an indefinite leave from her practice and her blogging to focus on renewing her own health.

As a Manitoba lawyer with an interest in human rights issues, I’m disappointed that her voice won’t be heard on the topic for the next while. As a a former colleague of hers at the Manitoba . . . [more]

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

A New Generation Requires New Structures for Law Firms

The early articling hire-back numbers look dismal for a number of firms in Toronto, and this, coupled with the lengthening number of years that it takes associates to make partner – if they ever do – and the merry-go-round of serial lateral partners, should make all lawyers stop and think about how this environment is shaping the next generation of Canadian lawyers, and in turn, the structure of legal services providers.

My friend, consultant, John Chisholm was recently quoted in Australia’s, Lawyers Weekly. “I hear from senior associates who have had to wear the fact that their partnership prospects . . . [more]

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

Giving, Taking and Getting Ahead

Spring has sprung here in Vancouver with its bounty of networking events and opportunities to reconnect with colleagues.

In between fun appointments in my social calendar, I sat down to read “Give and Take” by Wharton business professor Adam Grant. If you’ve ever felt anxious about networking, skeptical about selling your services or burned out from fielding non-stop requests for help, this book is for you.

Most of us have been taught to view networking as a zero-sum game where people act in their own self-interest; I’ll do a favour for you with the expectation that you’ll . . . [more]

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

Limiting Missed Limitation Claims

I’m wearing my risk management hat this week, while attending the American Bar Association’s conference on legal malpractice. Though one might argue if I did my job well, there’d be no need for it, the unfortunate reality is that legal malpractice claims continue to be filed across Canada. In keeping with the theme of my week, following is a repost of a recent article I wrote for the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association Loss Prevention Bulletin on a consistent source of claims against lawyers – the missed limitation date.

Two years ago, just after Christmas, there was a small fire in . . . [more]

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

Extraordinary Video Dramatizing a Discovery Transcript

Today’s New York Times has started a new feature, taking the more outrageous elements of the US litigation system and dramatizing them.

This is quite wonderful – stick until the end.

They take verbatim (word for word) legal transcripts into dramatic, and often comedic, performances. Here you will find re-creations of actual events from the halls of law and government. You, our readers, can help us find material for future episodes. Have you come across court trials, depositions or government hearings that you think are surprising, bizarre or baffling — and lend themselves to performance?

Hat tip to Stan Freedman . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Office Technology

The Role of Conflicts Information Specialist

Researching conflicts for law firms has been a function that has been around for many years now and lives in different departments depending on the law firm. But I only recently heard of Conflicts Information Specialist as being a full-time position. I am therefore thankful that Amanda Brooks has kindly shared her experiences as a Conflicts Information Specialist in a Canadian law firm over on the INALJ (“I need a library job”) website in the blog post A Day in the Life of a Conflicts Information Specialist.

Brooks discusses the role of the Conflicts Information Specialist:

The purpose of

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

When I Stopped Vomiting, I Learned to Hate Teraview

Technology, particularly legal technology is supposed to make the delivery of legal services more convenient. However, sometimes lawyers get in the way and muck things up. Teraview is a perfect example.

Back in the day, anyone could walk into the local registry office and register any document they wanted. Since the mid-1980s registration documents were not witnessed, nor were signatures checked. The system was one of openness and accessibility.

Then along came Teraview – which allowed registration from anywhere in Canada via the internet. A seemingly great idea that would make real estate transactions faster and smoother. However, everyone forgot . . . [more]

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

Solving the High Cost of the “Review” Stage of Electronic Discovery

This article provides more details on the following comment that I posted (April 10th) to Dan Pinnington’s article of April 8th, “Ontario Judge Strongly Pushes for Greater Use of Technology in Courts and Orders E-Trial”:

My Comment, excerpted:
Make the preparation work of a lawyer making production comparable to that of an accountant. The client doesn’t give the accountant 100,000+ records and say, ‘here, you make up our financial records and then do the audit.’ The litigation lawyer should be able to work the same way, by combining the searching and reviewing into

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology