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Archive for ‘Reading: Recommended’

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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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

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]

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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]

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Communications Breakdown: When a Lawyer Doesn’t Listen

A study for the Law Society of England and Wales by Hilary Sommerlad, quoted in “What Clients Want” by Clark Cunningham, found that 50% of clients polled had worked with lawyers they did not like. The study concluded it was, more often than not, the way lawyers interacted with clients that was the issue. Indeed, the paper describes a true situation “where a specialist lawyer with a ‘big reputation’ had interrupted the client because she believed she had heard enough to ‘get the picture.’”

This had the unintended consequence of leaving the client too frightened to speak up in future . . . [more]

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Communications Breakdowns: When a Lawyer Doesn’t Care

Why, if lawyers are supposed to be good communicators, are the majority of LAWPRO claims related to communication issues? In 2014, for example, the broad category of communications accounted for about almost a third of claims reported and claims costs. In the article “Let’s Get Talking: A Look at Communications Breakdowns“, from LAWPRO Magazine we asked some lawyers to give their opinions on how lawyer-client communications can break down. This excerpt deals with lawyers giving clients the impression they don’t really care:

How can lawyers understand what clients truly want if they don’t listen? And how can lawyers . . . [more]

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