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Archive for ‘Reading: Recommended’

Dealing With a Self-Represented Litigant Who Really Needs Legal Advice

Self-represented litigants are a challenging reality in today’s legal landscape. In addition to the extra time and effort that can make dealing with a self-rep more expensive for your client and more frustrating for you, it seems there is a greater potential for a malpractice claim. This is highlighted by the number of claims LAWPRO is seeing where the opposing party was a self-rep. In 2014, there were 162 such claims, almost double the 86 we saw a decade earlier, in 2004.

As you work to resolve a matter, you may find yourself negotiating directly with a self-represented litigant. In . . . [more]

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

Potential Claims Related to Serving Indigenous Clients

Last week’s post about Providing High Quality Service to Indigenous Clients discussed the breadth and complexity of “Aboriginal law.” To follow that with some strategies to avoid claims in this area of law, here is advice gathered from LAWPRO claims prevention specialists.

To avoid claims, lawyers need to know how they develop. What are the key areas of risk when practising Aboriginal law?

Communication errors:
As noted by all of the lawyers we’ve consulted, Indigenous people often have a perspective on the law that is radically different from that of non-Aboriginals. This creates a “culture gap” that becomes an additional . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Providing High Quality Service to Indigenous Clients

The January 2016 issue of LAWPRO Magazine is devoted to serving Indigenous clients. It features a comprehensive article by LAWPRO’s Nora Rock that provides an overview of the needs, perspectives and expectations of these clients across different areas of law, and examines what is required of lawyers who wish to provide the best service possible.

In Providing high quality service to Indigenous clients Ms. Rock interviewed a number of lawyers of aboriginal background to learn about their experiences and what they recommend to lawyers planning to work in an area that is complex both legally and culturally. Her article provides . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Book Review: Fighting Fair – Legal Ethics for an Adversarial Age

Fighting Fair—Legal Ethics for an Adversarial Age, by Professor Allan C. Hutchinson, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto; publisher, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 125 pages + index.

On December 2, 2015, I attended Professor Hutchinson’s book launch at Osgoode Hall Law School’s downtown Toronto facility. The result is this book review of, Fighting Fair—Legal Ethics for an Adversarial Age.

Professor Hutchinson begins (page 2):

“… . Lawyers have acted in ways that either ignore the public aspect of their professional status or, more cleverly, interpreted that public dimension as being consonant with the business interests of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

A Foot in the Door: A Classroom Resource on Real Estate and Housing Law in Ontario

LAWPRO and the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) have joined forces to create learning material for Ontario secondary schools. The lesson plans address two of the most important skills in life – legal capability and financial literacy.

Entitled A Foot in the Door: A Classroom Resource on Real Estate and Housing Law in Ontario, the six-module resource includes lessons on negotiation, budgeting, rental housing, buying and selling a home, mortgages, and human rights in the housing context. . . . [more]

Posted in: 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]

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