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Archive for ‘Reading’

Protecting the Team – a Firm’s Most Valuable Asset – by Reducing Stress

While the primary responsibility for wellness rests with the individual, nothing is more important to a law practice than its lawyers and staff. The “firm” – Big Law or a solo practice – can do nothing without people; the better those people feel, the more productive they will be, and the more profitable the firm will be. It follows that a firm has an interest in helping its people be healthy and well. How can a firm help?

Reduce Stress: Some stress is inherent and necessary in a law practice. Reducing unnecessary stress, however, will have a positive impact on . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Your Workplace: Being Happier Where You Are, or Getting to a Better Place.

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

Lawyering is stressful. Lawyers expect to handle the pressures of solving individuals’ high-stakes, emotionally charged problems.

What lawyers don’t necessarily anticipate is that they may suffer stress from being stuck in a work situation that is not their first choice. Competition for jobs may mean that a lawyer needs to accept work outside his or her preferred area of practice, work for a difficult boss, or work in a high pressure, long-hours environment.

The ultimate cure for this kind of stress is to find another career that . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Stresses & Challenges of Being a Lawyer: When Technology Doesn’t Help

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO Counsel at LAWPRO

In addition to all the pressures lawyers face described in the article The Day to Day Stresses & Challenges of Being a Lawyer, technology has increased the pace of practice. While increasing efficiency, the constant flow of new products and applications can create just as much anxiety. The key is to use technology – don’t let it use you.

Here are a few examples of how technology has complicated legal practice, and what you can do to cope: . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

How Unhealthy Lawyers Affect Client Service

Almost all lawyers experience stress, but unless it becomes toxic, there is little risk to the client. Occasionally things get truly out of control. That’s when important deadlines are missed, communication with the client diminishes (or ends), and files languish. In extreme cases, the lawyer ‘pretends’ to practice by misrepresenting to the client that work has been done when it hasn’t been.
Valerie Edwards, experienced LAWPRO defence counsel, Torkin Manes LLP

With proper treatment and effective management, lawyers with mental or physical issues can and do thrive in legal practice. But left unchecked, unhealthy lawyers can put client files at . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Day-to-Day Stresses and Challenges of Being a Lawyer

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

A sole practitioner and single mom is locked in a room in her house. Her young autistic son, outside the room, has put a chair up against the door to prevent it from opening. There is a lot of yelling and screaming. She calls 911 and the police arrive. One of the constables happens to be her client – adding to her embarrassment. He talks to her through the window from outside and, eventually, the dust settles. But like any other day, she still has to go . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Acting on the Ridiculous

An eBook published by the American Society for Quality in 2010 and written by Matthew Maio came my way recently. It has the engaging title Quality Improvement Made Simple…and Fast!”. The book is all of 46 pdf pages and is a fast read. It is also an engaging primer of the Plan – Do – Study – Act model for understanding what customers (clients – internal or external) want and need and making simple and quick improvements that align with those needs.

Wondering if you should read this book? The answer is captured in the first paragraph of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Informed, Documented Plea Instructions Protect You From Claims

Though the rate of malpractice claims flowing from criminal cases is lower than in other areas of law, the number of claims in this area is on the rise of late, and for many of the same reasons we see in other areas. The most important cause? Issues with lawyer-client communication.

An area of particular vulnerability to error is the plea conversation. Consider the lawyer’s and the client’s different perspectives on the client’s account of the facts: . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Communications Breakdown: When a Lawyer Uses Jargon

“We’re [McLeish , Orlando LLP] in the process of retaining an ad agency for some of our marketing,” says Dale Orlando. “And it’s really frustrating when they use acronyms we don’t understand. You don’t want to ask because it seems like everybody else in the room knows what that means, so maybe I should.

“One agency came in to talk about a service agreement, and they were trying to explain to us the services they were going to provide. After listening for 30 minutes I still had no clue what they were going to be doing.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Communications Breakdown: When a Lawyer Has No Sense of Time

A few years ago, Judith Huddart, collaborative family lawyer at Dranoff and Huddart, Barristers and Solicitors had to visit the doctor.

She checked in, provided her health card and settled in with a book. Patients who came in after her came and went.

“I suddenly realized there was no one left in the waiting room. An hour had gone by and I was still sitting there. When I got up and looked around – which I probably should have done earlier – I realized there was no one around at all,” she says. The doctor had left and when she . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading

Chatting in Secret

The Intercept has an article entitled Chatting in Secret While We’re All Being Watched that’s a good read for anyone interested in how to keep communications private. It was written by Micah Lee, who works with Glenn Greenwald to ensure their communications with Edward Snowden are private.

Even if you don’t want to read the detailed technical instructions on how to go about it, at least read the first part of the article that explains at a high level how communications can be intercepted, and the steps needed to stop that risk.

Communicating in secret is not easy. It takes . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading, Technology

What Do Title Insurers Expect From Lawyers?

This article first appeared in LAWPRO’s July 2015 real estate webzine “Bringing critical thinking to real estate deals.”

Still relatively new in Canada, title insurance is not fully understood by many consumers. Even certain less-sophisticated lenders lack detailed knowledge of the product. The responsibility for explaining title insurance to those who purchase it – and for supporting insureds in obtaining coverage that suits their needs – falls squarely on lawyers’ shoulders.

Lawyers are also responsible for communicating accurately with the proposed insurer about the details of a real estate transaction, the property to be purchased, and the expectations and needs . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Communications Breakdown: When a Lawyer Doesn’t Share

After getting some work done on his cottage, Dale Orlando, partner at McLeish, Orlando LLP in Toronto, had a dispute with the contractor over fees.

“He was doing work that needed to be done but without clearing it with me first,” Orlando says. As a result the project went over budget. “I should have been communicated with before the work was done, not afterwards.”

Imagine going for surgery without the doctor telling you where they will be cutting. That would be unthinkable. Similarly, why should the client allow the lawyer to proceed without knowing what was being done?

Clients need . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended