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Archive for ‘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

10 Tips for Safe Pro Bono

Access to justice is an ongoing problem across Canada and the call is out for lawyers to contribute to the solution.

Late last fall, the Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Access to Justice issued a final report, Envisioning Equal Justice. The Task Force set targets to bridge the growing gap between those who can afford legal services and those who are eligible for publically funded legal services (i.e. legal aid). One of those targets is that by 2020, all lawyers will volunteer legal services at some point in their career.

Around the same time, the Action Committee on . . . [more]

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

Red Bean Buns and Law

I was in my wife’s favourite Chinese bakery the other day searching for red bean buns. The décor is nothing special, but the baked goods are exceptionally well done and insanely fresh! It’s no wonder then that we’re willing to travel a little bit out of our way to go there. And judging by the line-ups, many others feel the same way.

There are other places we can go to in Chinatown for baked goods, but we choose this one because of the quality of their goods. And they can compete against other bakers on quality because none of the . . . [more]

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

Identifying and Addressing Reputational Risk in a Law Firm

How well do most law firms understand and address reputational risks? Last week, I referenced the extreme example of Dewey & LeBoeuf, a bankrupt global firm that ignored reputational risk to the point where it now serves as the profession’s poster child for what-not-to-do.

This week, I’ll be more constructive.

Why pay attention to reputational risk?
It’s said that we’re now operating in a reputation economy where “who you are” matters more than “what you sell”. Research shows that across all sectors of society, transparency is now valued more than tradition, sharing more than showmanship and security more than . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management