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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Key Partner Risk – the Elephant in the Room

By this time of year most law firms have will have prepared their strategic plan for 2014, which should flow from their existing 5- or 10-year overall strategic plan.

Most firms will have also done a risk scan of the environment to determine what factors can adversely impact their strategy and use that information to adjust their plans accordingly.

Most firms will identify compliance-type issues as risk factors.

Others will consider the economic environment and how that will impact revenue and use that to determine hiring practices.

The more thoughtful will analyze where their revenue comes from to determine if . . . [more]

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

Legal Incubators for Innovation and Access to Justice

Last August I mentioned the CBA’s summary report on access to justice, Reaching Equal Justice: An Invitation to Envision and Act. This past week the Access to Justice Committee released the final report.

The report traverses many topics on the reasons why change is needed, including the growth of pro bono and unrepresented litigants, increase in poverty and legal illiteracy and increasing complexity of the legal system. The report also investigates several solutions to the problems, such as innovation in the courts, unbundled services and relying on technology.

There’s one idea in particular which has attracted my attention . . . [more]

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

Bare Minimum Tech Standards for Lawyers

I am dealing with an older lawyer who told me that he won’t be able to review my 3 page agreement until January 6, 2014 because his staff will be gone for the holidays and he needs staff to help him with technology – in this case, with blacklining my agreement, which would be tough since I sent the agreement to him in pdf format. I suggested that he make his comments in pen on the document and then fax it back to me. He did manage to do that.

This is not the first time that I have come . . . [more]

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

CryptoLocker Malware Warning

The Law Society of British Columbia has published a warning to members concerning a species of malware known as CryptoLocker Ransomware. The malware, thought to originate in Eastern Europe or Russia, infects your machine in the usual way, e.g. when you open a dodgy email attachment or other file; but then it proceeds to encrypt most of the files on your computer, eventually denying you access. The malware operators then contact you with an offer to decrypt your files if you pay a certain amount of ransom—often demanded in untraceable Bitcoin. Payment can result in the release of your encrypted . . . [more]

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

Draft Practice Standards on Timekeeping and Law Firm Data: Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is currently seeking input from lawyers on two proposed new practice standards. The draft standards, proposed by the Law Office Management Committee, relate to lawyers’ responsibilities in the areas of timekeeping and data maintenance:

1. A lawyer’s accounts must be fair, reasonable and lawful.

a) The assessment and reasonableness of a lawyer’s account will depend on many factors, of one which is the time and effort “required and spent”.


Lawyers must ensure there is a system in place for the maintenance, backup, and access of all electronic data.

. . . [more]

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

Oz Leads the Way in Open Office Concept Law Firms

They laughed at me when I suggested that law firms should move to open concept offices for all lawyers with fun amenities like rooftop terraces.

Not possible! they yelled.

We could never get any work done! they sneered.

We need our offices! they pompously carolled.

We’re not techies working for Google! they laughed.

Now Australian law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, with offices across Australia employing over 500 lawyers has proven them all wrong.

Walking into Corrs’ new Sydney office at state-of-the-art new office tower, 8 Chifley Place was like walking into a dream.

No private offices. None. Nada.

All . . . [more]

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

Australia Points the Way Toward a Bright Future for Legal IT Professionals

Having spent the last 3 weeks in Australia and Hong Kong, I will be using Slaw to discuss some of the ideas and the firms that I met while out in the Wild East. *** Listen for the audible sigh of relief from everyone at the Law Society of Upper Canada as they learn that I won’t be throwing any more daggers at them – this year ***.

Australia is a beautiful country with a legal market not that dissimilar to Canada. Although with a population of about 20 million people and about 37 law schools, Australia is ripe for . . . [more]

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

Quebec Government Tables Bill to Give Regulatory Bodies Power to Suspend Members Facing Criminal Charges

Quebec’s Charbonneau commission into corruption in the construction industry has revealed numerous failings in the province’s regulatory regime, which the government is attempting to address with new laws. For instance, professional regulatory bodies have found they have little or no power to discipline members (e.g., engineers, lawyers) who have been charged with or have confessed to corruption in relation to construction projects in Quebec. These regulatory bodies have to wait until a disciplinary board (syndic) investigates and the disciplinary committee decides the individuals should be punished . . . [more]

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

Court Reform by Stealth?

For those of you who have colleagues who do any estate or trust litigation in Toronto, the estate court has essentially been merged with the commercial list effective November 18. Unfortunately, no formal communication about this has been made and it does not appear that any such communication will be forthcoming.

The court must assume that everyone who should know, will know.

There are different forms, procedures and timelines to follow now. Also, all estate matters will now be heard at 330 University (and not 393 University). Adjust your schedules.

The executive committee of the OBA’s Trusts and Estates . . . [more]

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

What Legal Consumers Want

Legal Futures this week posted on the results of the third annual survey of what clients want from their legal service provider, conducted by legal technology service provider Peppermint Technology in the United Kingdom.

The post included two points that caught my eye. First, the survey found that clients are concerned about whether their legal advisor is able to provide online accessibility:

“There is now a significant body of businesspeople for whom online access has become a necessity of their working life,” the report said. “If their legal advisers are not perceived to be up to speed with this development,

. . . [more]

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

A Checklist for Avoiding Conflicts on Lateral Lawyer Transfers

Lateral hiring of partners or associates occurs at firms of every size, and is becoming far more common. In addition to reviewing the transferring lawyer’s credentials and suitability, the transferring lawyer and firm will need to identify and deal with potential conflicts of interest that may arise with respect to clients at the transferring lawyer’s previous firm, and in particular, clients for whom the transferring lawyer worked.

This critical task is not as easy as it might seem on first thought. The hiring firm must have sufficient information to complete an internal conflicts check, while at the same time making . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Another Innovative Juxtaposition Emerges From a US Legal Market in Distress

The announcement yesterday of the newly minted LeClairRyan Legal Solutions Center should provide another shockwave to an American legal profession that is already in distress.

National law firm of LeClairRyan (22 offices and 350 attorneys) and LPO UnitedLex (1,100 attorneys engineers and consultants), will now collaborate to provide “a wide range of support services and incorporate best-in-class technology and quality control processes which will be uniquely integrated into the law firm’s litigation and transactional practice areas….[allowing clients to obtain]….more comprehensive, value-based services at a lower and more predictable cost.

“The LeClairRyan Legal Solutions Center is an important part of our . . . [more]

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