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Archive for ‘Reading: Recommended’

Avoiding Communications Claims in Litigation

No matter what the area of practice, the number one source of claims at LAWPRO is a breakdown in communication between the lawyer and client.

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly 4,600 communications claims – an average of 762 a year – have been reported to LAWPRO. The total cost of these claims to date is about $158 million – and likely to rise as more recent years’ claims are resolved.

In the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine we asked LAWPRO claims counsel with expertise in the various areas of law to provide insights into the communications mistakes they see . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Avoiding Communciations Claims in Real Estate

No matter what the area of practice, the number one source of claims at LAWPRO is a breakdown in communication between the lawyer and client.

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly 4,600 communications claims – an average of 762 a year – have been reported to LAWPRO. The total cost of these claims to date is about $158 million – and likely to rise as more recent years’ claims are resolved.

In the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine we asked LAWPRO claims counsel with expertise in the various areas of law to provide insights into the communications mistakes they see . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Work and Rework

I’m a fan of Basecamp, a web-based project management tool. It has just the right number of features, it’s simply structured, and, most importantly it’s effective. The same can be said of Rework, a book written by the creators of Basecamp, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

We could learn something from these guys
Fried and Hansson founded a small, Chicago-based web design company called 37signals in 1999. The team soon noticed the need for an online tool that would help people “get work done” without heavy investments in commitments, resources or time. Basecamp became that tool. . . . [more]

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

What Keeps Family Lawyers Up at Night? Providing Effective Service While Managing Expectations

Like many areas of practice, family law is going through a period of change. Both clients and their lawyers are questioning traditional modes of practice. Economic woes both cause legal problems, and leave clients with limited resources with which to resolve them. Stress – for both families in crisis and for their lawyers – is a constant reality. Still, within this challenging climate, family lawyers are expected to work diligently and professionally in the service of their clients’ interests.

To understand how the bar is coping with the demands of modern family law practice, LAWPRO invited a sampling of lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Simple Questions in Complex Situations

How many lawyers consistently use a checklist of questions to ask clients at the beginning of a personal legal matter? Many customize the checklists published by provincial Law Societies for a particular practice area, client service style or matter management process. The focus is often on quality assurance, risk mitigation and scope of work. Is there a way to include the human element too?

I attended a lecture by Atul Gawande in New York a few weeks ago. Gawande is a surgeon who teaches at Harvard Medical School, writes for The New Yorker and leads two health care organizations. He . . . [more]

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

Paths to Success: As Varied as the Lawyers Who Follow Them

“Diversity” describes the characteristics of a group. When we examine how diversity influences the profession as a whole, it’s easy to lose sight of the experience of being an individual lawyer, with specific identity characteristics, practising law in Ontario. While cultural sensitivity benefits all lawyers, what is it like to practice law when, at least with respect to some aspect of your identity, you are in the minority?

We posed that question to the four lawyers profiled in the in the newest issue of LAWPRO Magazine. While their stories are very different, all four agreed that success depends on . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Cultural Competence: An Essential Skill in an Increasingly Diverse World

With each passing day, the legal profession becomes ever more diverse. That diversity brings challenges and opportunities. LAWPRO turned to diversity specialist Ritu Bhasin, Founder and President of bhasin consulting inc., for practical advice about the steps that lawyers and firms can take to welcome lawyers regardless of their personal and cultural identity characteristics, and to foster productive and creative collaboration.

What is cultural competence?
Bhasin defines cultural competence as “how we connect with people who are different from us.” Cultural competence is the ability to relate to others comfortably, respectfully and productively. Being able to effectively connect with people . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

LPM Initiatives at Large Law Firms: The Road Ahead

Many large law firms in Canada and the U.S. have begun to implement legal project management initiatives, albeit with varying degrees of success.

Jim Hassett’s latest book – Client Value and Law Firm Profitability – provides new insights into why some firms have had much more success than others. Over the last eighteen months, Jim conducted confidential interviews with law firm leaders from 50 AmLaw 200 firms. Forty-two percent were chairs or managing partners, and the balance were senior partners and executives.

Study participants were promised that they would not be quoted by name, which led to some unusually frank . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Reading: Recommended

The Trust Imperative: Part I

Do you trust the leaders in your organization to make decisions in the best interest of the entire firm? Do you trust them to proactively deal with important issues or prevent crises? Studies such as the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer would indicate that your answer is likely “no”.

Some of the current notions regarding trust are based on the times in which we live – a legal market that is changing as well as shrinking, record numbers of unemployed law school graduates saddled with record amounts of student debt, daily news of trust violations between business, government and society.

Some . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

Ten Specific Strategies for Avoiding Communication-Based Claims

Problems with lawyer-client communication are the number-one cause of claims reported to LAWPRO. The way to prevent these claims sounds simple enough: Remind lawyers to communicate better with their clients.

However, appeals to “communicate better” can seem vague − or even a little “touchy-feely”. Need specifics? Consider the following list of practical strategies. These ten tips were chosen from Tim Lemieux’s article “Is anyone listening? Preventing communications claims” which appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

To communicate better:

  1. Meet with the client yourself (don’t just rely on a clerk’s intake meeting notes).
  2. Remember that the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

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