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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

The Death of the Billable Hour and the ACC Value Challenge – Essential Reading for Lawyers and Clients Alike

The death of the billable hour has been (allegedly) imminent for at about two decades now. But by most accounts, at least until recently, the billable hour has remained as healthy as Mark Twain was when he responded with his famous quote to the rather incorrect rumours of his passing. (He actually did this twice with two slight different quotes – read more here)

I included the at least until recently above because I am seeing evidence that things are finally changing, at least in the corporate and larger firm worlds (and no doubt it will trickle down to . . . [more]

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

Beware the Dangers of Departing Employees

Most of us tend to look outside our offices for threats or dangers. However, you should also be aware of potential inside dangers. Statistics show that the majority of incidents involving the destruction or loss of data were perpetrated by current, soon-to-be dismissed or recently dismissed employees. Few, if any, know more about your firm’s systems than your employees, and few, if any, are in a better position to cause major damage.

In particular, your IT staff, employees with advanced technology knowledge, and outside technology support people are potentially the greatest threat because they have the greatest knowledge about your . . . [more]

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

Is It OK for Regulators to Make a Mirror Copy of Files?

Lawyers’ Weekly reports that the Law Society of BC is considering whether it should be able to insist on doing a complete copy of a member’s computer in the course of an investigation. Pros and cons are discussed in the article, along with the proposed policy.

Concerns raised have included the lawyer/member’s privacy, and solicitor-client privilege.

Could not however the Law Society have sent in an investigator who would have had physical access to all the same files? Is the concern that once the mirror image is made, it is accessible to more people, with unknown controls?

In Ontario, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Calling All Innovative Lawyers! Now’s Your Chance to Get the Recognition You Deserve

Necessity breeds invention. From Procter & Gamble to IBM to Federal Express, from nylon to photocopiers to the electron microscope — some of the world’s most well-known companies and products were born in past recessions and depressions. The current economic crisis will be no exception — when times are tough, forward-thinking people will find ways to do things better. That applies especially to the practice of law.

Is your law practice or firm one of the profession’s leading lights of innovation? Have you or someone within your firm with vision and courage led a groundbreaking effort to practice law differently? . . . [more]

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

Law Society of Upper Canada Guidelines on Powers of Attorney in Real Estate Transactions

Working with the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate, the Law Society of Upper Canada has prepared guidelines to help lawyers avoid becoming the tool or dupe of unscrupulous persons when dealing with real estate transactions involving powers of attorney. These guidelines are available here.

With the prevalence of real estate fraud, it is important that real estate lawyers implement practices and procedures in their firms to recognize and fight fraud. In recent years, powers of attorney have been used in real estate transactions to perpetrate fraud. Forged powers of attorney have been used to fraudulently mortgage properties . . . [more]

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

This Morning the Earth Stood Still

If you were an early bird like me and on your computer circa 5:30-5:45 a.m. EST this morning, or on the other side of the world when this would be a reasonable time of the day, you too may have participated in the “Great Gmail outage of February 2009.”

Yes, Gmail was down, and mass panic ensued it what became commonly known as Gfail.

The hysteria could probably best be observed first hand on Twitter, where thousands of users, myself included, screamed in protest and paranoia.

@sandersonjones probably said it best,

Google, I know you’re listening.

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

TechShow Is Coming

Slaw is unusual in that three of the four non-American chairs of ABA TECHSHOW are contributors to a collective blog.

For those who haven’t heard, TechShow is the world’s premier legal technology CLE conference & expo. It’s also the longest lasting – since it started in Dallas back in 1984. The three-day CLE conference is attended by more than 1,500 professionals each year and features more than 50 legal technology CLE programmes and training sessions in fifteen topical tracks. . . . [more]

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

Simultaneously Acting for Members of Same Family Is More Risky

Many lawyers assume that simultaneously acting for members of the same family and their business or corporate entities is relatively safe from fraud and conflicts issues. After all, the parties all know each other and everyone is on good terms.

Unfortunately, this is just not the case. An analysis of LAWPRO claims files tells us that there is actually a greater likelihood of a fraud or conflicts of interest issue when clients are related to or know each other.

Understanding when and why malpractice claims arise when work is done for related clients can help you avoid a claim. . . . [more]

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

Collaboration Through Wikis: Law Firm Case Study

The folks at the Toronto law firm Hicks Morley are leaps and bounds ahead of most other firms in their wiki use. They are using the wiki-based platform ThoughtFarmer as their whole intranet. This has had advantages, including being quick to set up and cost effective compared to other intranet or portal platforms.

In October Knowledge Management Specialist Heather Colman made a presentation to both the Toronto and New York Legal KM Groups, and we subsequently invited her to present at Toronto Wiki Tuesdays. These were her slides: . . . [more]

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

Great Advice for Lawyers Who Are (Or Might Be) Looking for a Job

Lawyers that have been laid off or are facing a potential layoff some time this year need to plan for a new future. If you or someone you know is facing a job search, Resolve to Manage Your Job Search by Kathleen Brady is a great article that contains a step by step guide to seeking new employment. It appears in the January issue of the ABA LPM section’s webzine Law Practice Today (www.lawpracticetoday.org). LPT is free to all – subscribe here. . . . [more]

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

When You Go to Heaven, Will Your Practice Go to Hell?

Nobody likes to think about their death or disability, but you’ve got family, employees and clients who rely on you. What will they do if you become disabled or pass away unexpectedly? Put a plan in place now to protect those you may leave behind. My friends and fellow practice management advisors Reid Trautz and Courtney Kennaday discuss these issues in a great article in this month’s ABA LPM Section’s Law Practice Today webzine: When You Go to Heaven, Will Your Practice Go to Hell?

If you want some practical help, notice precedents and checklists, see the Law Society of . . . [more]

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

Avoiding a Malpractice Claim: The 2008 Most Popular practicePRO/LAWPRO Downloads

practicePRO, LAWPRO’s risk management and claims prevention initiative, provides lawyers with tools and resources to help them succeed in the practice of law and avoid a malpractice claim (see this article for information on the most common legal malpractice claims).

As we have completed another year we have updated our most popular downloads list. What are other lawyers looking at? The top 5 downloads were as follows:

1 Peg Duncan’s Canadian focused E-Discovery Reading List
2 Rollie Thompson’s article on the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines
3 A LAWPRO Magazine article on The Dangers of Metadata
4 A sample . . . [more]

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