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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Competence for the Low-Tech Lawyer

Is saying no to technology even an option for lawyers in modern practice? The Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Content defines competence as follows:

3.1-1 1 “Competent lawyer” means a lawyer who has and applies relevant knowledge, skills and attributes in a manner appropriate to each matter undertaken on behalf of a client and the nature and terms of the lawyer’s engagement, including:

(j) pursuing appropriate professional development to maintain and enhance legal knowledge and skills; and (k) otherwise adapting to changing professional requirements, standards, techniques and practices.

If lawyers do not have certain . . . [more]

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

Aligning Employees Behind Firm Strategy: Getting Started

When firm leaders agree on strategic objectives, it’s time to align employees towards achieving them. As with anything with multiple moving parts, adjustments can help the system work at its best.

Last week, I discussed the difference between employee engagement and employee alignment. Engagement is what motivates people to arrive at work each morning. Alignment is what they do when they get there.

Why focus on alignment?

  • It gives everyone a purpose beyond their individual roles
  • It’s an opportunity to break down silos between groups
  • It strengthens your firm’s reputation as performance becomes more consistent and profitable

Signs of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

No Thanks

Ask any lawyer “How are you doing?” and invariably the response includes a comment to the effect of “I’m too busy.”

Being overly busy seems to be a kind of occupational hazard for lawyers. Many of us possess a “can do” kind of attitude that leads us to agree to take on tasks whenever we’re asked to do so. While this makes lawyers desirable as volunteers for many non-profit organizations, it also results in many lawyers feeling overburdened and sometimes, overwhelmed by all that they need to accomplish.

One obvious solution to this problem is to develop and implement a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Employee Engagement vs. Employee Alignment

Have you noticed how many law firms have won awards for their workplace strategy? In the quest to attract and retain talent, many law firms build an “employer brand” through the pursuit of third-party recognition.

This seems like a no-brainer for any organization. What firm wouldn’t want to be known for having satisfied employees? And who wouldn’t want to work for one?

A lot – not all, but a lot – of these rankings measure how engaged your workforce is.

Employee engagement focuses on attitudes. Do people feel good about working for your firm? Are they happy with their . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Wondering Whether Your Practice Structure Could Expose You to Liability for Other Lawyers’ Work?

Lawyers working “in association” need to consider how they may be perceived by clients and the public, since those who hold themselves out as a law firm risk being treated as such by the courts and can expect to be held to the same conflict requirements as a law firm partnership.
That’s according to a recent decision by Justice Stinson, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [2014 ONSC 3411 (CanLII)]

The facts
The defendant brought a motion to remove the plaintiff’s lawyer from the record on the basis that the lawyer worked in association with another lawyer with whom . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

When a Key Partner Leaves: What It Takes to Keep Clients

When a key partner in a large law firm moves to a competitor, do his or her institutional clients tend to leave too? The answer might depend on how much internal conflict there is at the firm left behind.

Michelle Rogan of INSEAD recently published ground-breaking research of the relationships between large, multi-unit advertising agencies and client firms. These relationships are very similar in structure to those between law firms and institutional clients, where services in several areas of professional expertise are provided through personal connections developed over time.

Most of us believe that the more ties between people at . . . [more]

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

#Cbafutureschat Recap: Lawyers Learning to Play With Others

No matter the sport – from soccer to debate club – a team will get nowhere if all its players are specialists in the same position.

But just as there’s no “I” in team, there’s no team in a law firm – not one that can, to stretch that sporting analogy just a little bit further, cover all the bases, so to speak. That is in part due to the regulatory framework under which lawyers work, of course.

Still, there is growing recognition that it might be helpful for lawyers to work in tandem with professionals such as accountants, real . . . [more]

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

Edward Snowden Tells the Legal Profession That Protecting Client Confidentiality Now Requires Encryption

From Saturday’s Guardian – here is the complete transcript.

The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.

Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.

No matter how careful you are from that point on, no matter how sophisticated your source, journalists have to be sure that they make no mistakes at all in the very beginning to the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology: Office Technology

Of Woodsheds and Clients’ Social Media Habits

Here’s another post under the “social media law” umbrella—this time about what intelligible advice, if any, lawyers can bank on when it comes to directing their own clients to “clean up” social media accounts. It’s not the first time this has been canvassed here on Slaw, as John Gregory’s post from earlier this year attests, but since I recently prepared materials for a webinar on social media as evidence, and in the course of that started a trial run of X1 Social Discovery (which is what the Department of Justice, RCMP, and at least two major Canadian law firms are . . . [more]

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

The Screen Door Slamming

It is finally summer on the prairies. I am savouring long, sunny days, lush, green lawns and thunderclouds on the horizon at dusk, but my paradise is not free from troubles.

There are pests in my world – ants, flies, wasps, giant hungry mosquitoes and more – and I find myself becoming irritated by their incessant buzzing and humming, until I hear the distinct whack of a screen door slamming. The sound immediately reminds me that my summertime serenity is secure.

This simple device allows the fresh morning breezes and cool night air to pass freely through my home, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Spring (Or Summer) Clean Your Practice

When work gets busy, many of us put certain non-mission-critical tasks on hold. But it’s important to remember that “on hold” should not be allowed to turn into “lost in the mists of time”. Lawyers must develop the discipline of regularly returning to and addressing the non-urgent details of their practice when opportunities present themselves.

You will know best what needs addressing in the course of your spring cleaning, but if you need some inspiration, here are our suggestions:

  • Bill your files, and send reporting letters for matters that you’ve completed.
  • Identify languishing files, and take the next step in
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Getting Started With Legal Knowledge Management

How do you get started with Knowledge Management (KM) in the legal profession?

I get approached on a regular basis with this question by small law firms that want to have the advantages of the larger firms, by lawyers or librarians who want to become part of an existing KM team in a larger firm, or by individuals hired into firms to lead KM initiatives. There are programs specific to Knowledge Management that exist, but there is not a lot of introductory material specific to the legal industry.

I recently sat down with Garry Wise of Wise Law so he . . . [more]

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