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Archive for ‘Reading’

Too Experienced to Use a Checklist? Quite the Opposite

LAWPRO’s practicePRO program maintains an impressive online collection of law practice management resources, including precedents, sample retainers, business plan templates, and yes – checklists.

Our most popular checklists include:

These tools help lawyers organize, prioritize and track the steps they have taken and the issues they have covered when dealing with a matter, whether it be a client file or an office management task. They are designed to be saved separately for each use, and filled out . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Of JP Boyd’s Prolificity and A2J Burn-Out

The legal profession has many noble archetypes: dedicated advocates pro bono publico, champions of significant (not always popular) causes, and unswerving guardians of the court whose instincts shine bright as a sword against much larger opponents.

John-Paul Boyd broke the mould he was casted in quite early on. He’s not so much a noble archetype as a force of unnatural origins who continues to drop jaws with his superhuman ability to drop knowledge.

To say he is one of a kind, is not enough. The best I can do is describe him like this: 

Hawaiian creation myth relates that

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Justice Issues, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading: Recommended

Conflicts Rules Leave Room for (Careful) Collegiality

Consulting with more experienced colleagues to confirm that you’re on the right track in resolving a problem is natural and commendable in any profession. Working in isolation is inefficient, and leads to preventable errors. Without access to information about others’ experience, we’re forced to make our own mistakes. For this reason, sole practitioners are routinely encouraged to seek out mentors and advisers from among the broader bar.

But what if every time a colleague outside your firm asked for your opinion on a legal issue, you became conflicted out of representing any party whose interests were opposed to those of . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

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

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 tell 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.

When . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Strategies for the Modern Age: Dealing With the New Reality

We’re halfway through 2014. How’s your practice strategy coming along?

If you’re feeling stuck, you might find inspiration in “The End of Competitive Advantage” by Columbia Business School’s Rita Gunther McGrath. McGrath’s framework makes a lot of sense for firms dealing with rapidly changing environments.

The new “playbook for strategy” outlined in McGrath’s latest research is premised on creating transient advantages versus exploiting business-as-usual to sustain historical performance. Her logic will resonate with anyone preparing firms for new realities:

“The presumption of stability creates all the wrong reflexes. It allows for inertia and power to build up

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Reading: Recommended

Of Cartoons and True Scotsmen

While you can certainly debate whether ubiquitous internet access is a good or a bad thing, I suspect anyone with a weekly blog commitment to SLAW is looking forward to WestJet’s and Air Canada’s plans to roll out wifi on Canadian flights in the very near future. It is, I’ve learned, very near impossible to write a blog without an internet connection.

Yesterday I instead found myself sitting in seat 12E looking wistfully from my mute and helpless laptop to the pillowy white dunes just beyond the wings of flight WS697. “Cloud computing”, it struck me, was an oxymoron—that and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: Recommended

Can a Criminal Conviction Make Your Client Inadmissible for Residency/citizenship?

Where a client charged with a serious crime is a non-citizen of Canada and is hoping to obtain resident status, criminal lawyers should be aware that recent changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) raise special plea and sentencing considerations.

The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
On June 19, 2013, amendments to the IRPA made by Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, came into force. Among other things, the amendments render inadmissible – without right of appeal – permanent residency applicants who have received a six-month custody sentence for an offence with a . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Are You an “Invisible”?

Do you avoid self-promotion? Do you grimace when others go on and on (and on) about their accomplishments and activities? You might be an “Invisible”.

In his new book, Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion, writer David Zweig explains why some people shun the spotlight while others aggressively compete for centre stage.

Quoted in an interview with Maclean’s Ken MacQueen, Zweig says that “Invisibles” are driven by “a strong sense of responsibility, a meticulous attention to detail and an ambivalence about recognition.” He adds that “they find their reward through work itself” and . . . [more]

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

Simultaneously Acting for Members of the 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 tell 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.

When . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Supervision of Employees: The Buck Stops With You

Delegation involves getting the job done through others. A governing tenet in every firm should be to push work down to the lowest capable level. You are wasting your time and the client’smoney if you or others at your firmare consistently doingtasks that lawyers with a lower hourly rate or staff can complete. Lawyers typically fail to delegate for any number of reasons, none
of which stand up to scrutiny.

  • They don’t want to give up control of the matter or client: This is a bad behaviour often driven by a compensation system that rewards bad behaviours.
  • They think they
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

10 Ways to Build a Better Clientele

The impact of poor client selection and sloppy client service will be magnified in trying economic times. In response, you want to proactively take steps to build and retain a better clientele. Here are some pointers to help you meet that goal. This article orginally appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

  1. Get a retainer up front: The best way to ensure that you get paid in full at the end of a matter is to obtain a retainer at the matter’s start. After you and your client reach a consensus on what work you need
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended