Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Mitch Kowalski, Man to Watch in Tough Legal Times

Last week I met with Mitch Kowalski of the Legal Post. He mentioned our conversation earlier today on the site, which is the kick in the butt I needed to do my own write-up on it during our break from school.

Mitch is an alumn from my school, Western Law, but has chosen a career path unique from most. After practicing for many years on Bay St. he decided to open a writing center, first at Yorkville, and then moving to a more central location on Bloor West.

And just like those television infomercials, Mitch . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Privacy Commissioner to Release Guide on Social Networking at Work

According to their recent blog post, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is expected to soon release guidelines to help employers draft policies for use of social networking sites in the workplace. The Office cites a recent study by Ryerson University that identified a digital divide between young Canadians who use social networks and their employers. The blog post explains:

…researchers found that, by and large, employers currently don’t have policies, guidelines or practices in place that govern the use of social networking sites in the workplace.

However, a small number of employers are starting to. So

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

Après Le Deluge De Data…quoi?

An article in the recent Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), “Got data?: a guide to data preservation in the information age,” makes the case for urgent investment in data cyberinfrastructure — whatever is required to store, manage, catalog and access data.

(Note: that link won’t give you much joy unless you happen to subscribe to the ACM portal. Fortunately, the author, Francine Berman, who is Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, has put up on her website a version of the piece in PDF, “Surviving the Data Deluge.” Such is the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Technology

Meat on the Bone : Comments on the Guidelines for Practicing Ethically With New Information Technologies

The Canadian Bar Association recently published Guidelines for Practicing Ethically with New Information Technologies (the “Guidelines”) as a supplement to its Code of Professional Conduct.

While the Guidelines provide a considerable amount of information concerning the use of technology in a legal practice (even referring to certain software in its annexes), some lawyers may find themselves at a loss as to how to actually implement the guidelines in their practice. This essay identifies certain aspects of the Guidelines that are worthy of additional commentary and refers readers to (mostly free) tools which will prove useful in following the Guidelines. . . . [more]

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

Rate Your Firm’s Professional Service

It’s report card time (in Ontario primary schools at least), so why don’t we talk about some client service report cards for you and your firm.

My SLAW post last week was about the importance of keeping your clients happy, and how a post matter client survey (a sample survey is here) is one of the best ways to collect information about what clients thought about the services you provided.

Building on what I said last week, a look in the mirror can help as well. The Managing a Better Professional Services Firm Booklet I mentioned last week . . . [more]

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

Social Media vs. Knowledge Management: A Generational War

That’s the title of an article worth reading at social computing magazine.com. (And speaking of social media, this article came to my attention via a Twitter post by Mathew Ingram.)

The article says:

KM and SM look very similar on the surface, but are actually radically different at multiple levels, both cultural and technical, and are locked in an undeclared cultural war for the soul of Enterprise 2.0.

And the most hilarious part is that most of the combatants don’t even realize they are in a war. They think they are loosely-aligned and working towards the same ends,

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

Post-Matter Client Services Survey

In tough economic times it is more important than ever to make sure your clients are happy with the work you did for them. A post-matter client survey is one of the best ways to collect information about what clients thought about the services you provided.

Make sure your survey is structured to help you identify specific areas for improvement. Ideally, it should include some open-ended questions.

LAWPRO’s booklet, Managing a Better Professional Services Firm, included a sample post-matter client survey. An electronic copy of this survey that you can adapt for your firm is available at www.practicepro.ca/servicesbooklet. . . . [more]

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

Making Legal SaaS Trustworthy

One of my more recent clients is Clio, a Vancouver-based SaaS (Software as a Service) company built for web-based law practice management.

Clio’s target market is clearly set at solos and small firms, and feature wise they’re incredibly strong. They know who they want to serve, and what they want to deliver. However, like other SaaS companies, and especially within the legal market, the biggest challenge they face is how create an environment of trust.

This concept of trust is extremely important for clients both when establishing a sales proposition, but perhaps more important, in maintaining a strong . . . [more]

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

Fraud: How to Avoid Being a Victim

Over the last several months there has been an epidemic of frauds targeting lawyers, both in Ontario and in other provinces right across Canada. LAWPRO has seen a significant number of very costly fraud related claims. YTD in 2008 we have seen 89 claims that have cost us $5.7 millon. We are also aware of many lawyers that have narrowly avoided being victims. Sometimes due their own diligence, sometimes only by good luck.

No doubt many of you have read about these frauds, and some of you may even have been a victim or intended victim. Firms of all sizes . . . [more]

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