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Archive for ‘Reading: Recommended’

Real Estate Lawyers: The Buck Stops With You

The following article appears in the May/June 2012 edition of LAWPRO Magazine. It is available at www.lawpro.ca/magazinearchives.

LAWPRO is seeing far too many real estate claims where the lawyers handling the deals are making or not catching fairly basic errors. Often these mistakes result from errors made by clerks – all or most of which the lawyer could’ve and should’ve caught.

Common mistakes include:

  • Not catching errors in legal descriptions
  • Missing executions
  • Not doing searches
  • Not bringing rights or way or easements to the attention of the client

We also see claims involving ILA. Sometimes there was no recognition . . . [more]

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

Days of Action for Federal Libraries and Archives

Earlier this month I posted a bit on that week’s news of funding cuts to the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the National Archival Development Program (NADP). This week brings further developments on that issue.

On Monday this week, Canadian archivists led the Archivists’ On to Ottawa Trek Day of Action:

On April 30, 2012, the National Archival Development Program (NADP) was eliminated. Surplus notices were sent to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to ultimately reduce its staff by 20%. Libraries and archives in the Transport, Immigration, and Public Works departments were unilaterally shut down.

On May 28,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Reading: Recommended

Making the Most of Meetings

Meetings are a fact of life for all lawyers as they are a necessary part of dealing with clients and operating a law firm. Unfortunately, meetings are often an unproductive use of time, as too often nothing of substance happens or gets decided. People go to meetings solely because they feel obliged to go, not because they get anything from attending.

Before you call a meeting, ask yourself: Is there really merit in getting all these people together? If the meeting is only for informational purposes – as are many regularly scheduled management or departmental meetings – ask yourself if . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Crime and Cultural Property

Since it’s not sponsored by the regular legal conference outfits, a conference in Toronto next month may have flown under the radar for the Slaw community. The first Symposium on Criminality in the Art and Cultural Property World will be held at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, on June 15-16, 2012. Next month, Toronto will be the centre of the art-legal world.

The conference is co-chaired by Bonnie Czegledi and Mr. Justice Patrick Healy, Court of Quebec, Criminal and Penal Division, Montréal, formerly Professor Healy from McGill, and the speakers are quite literally, the world’s experts: Lawrence . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

The Case That Keeps on Giving

While significant in clarifying the defence of necessity in criminal law, Regina v. Dudley and Stephens has had an even larger cultural influence.

That’s the case of the Mignonette, which capsized on its way to Australia and whose shipwrecked crew faced tough choices in an under-provisioned lifeboat.

The latest NYT Best Seller list features a new book The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan – the author tells that her inspiration came from her husband’s criminal law text.

What hooked me was stumbling on my husband’s old criminal law texts and reading about the cases of sailors who survived shipwrecks and then

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Suggestions on Implementing Appropriate Internal Financial Controls in Your Office

Ideally, your office should have clearly established internal controls for handling and documenting all types of financial transactions. These internal controls are really just policies and procedures that direct what steps should be taken when various financial transactions occur. Although a lack of internal controls does not necessarily constitute a breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct or By-laws, you may consider implementing internal controls to assist your efforts to comply.

The following are some suggested internal controls you may consider implementing
at your office:

Cheque requisitions

When dealing with cheque requisitions for both your general and trust accounts, consider . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

A Systematic Approach to Law Firm Risk Management

Risk is an inevitable reality of law practice. The only way to eliminate risk is to stop practising law – an option most readers of this article are not yet contemplating. A more realistic option is to actively mitigate risk through structured, systematic risk management. This approach is particularly helpful at the law firm level, where risk management can sometimes be seen to be contrary to the perceived self-interest of individual lawyers in the firm. A systematic approach – that begins with a risk analysis and includes strategies to mitigate identified sources of risk – not only helps overcome this . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Post-Matter Client Service Survey

The following is adapted from practicePRO’s Managing a Better Professional Services Firm, and it and the other Managing booklets are available here.

A post-matter client survey is one of the best ways to collect information about what clients thought about the services you provided to them. Make sure your survey is structured to help you identify specific areas for improvement. Ideally, it should include some open-ended questions.

For major or top-billing clients, consider sending a managing partner or other senior person to meet with clients on an annual basis to review and assess how the relationship is going, . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

What Your Will Should Say About Your Digital Assets

Do the wills you are drafting for your clients deal with their digital assets? Does your will deal with your digital assets (personally and for your practice)? I’m guessing that your answers to both these questions is “No.”

My good friend Sharon Nelson did an excellent post on this hot topic on the Ride The Lightning blog. Until recently, lawyers just didn’t think about digital assets. This needs to change as lawyers and clients alike all have significant and growing online presences. It can be very difficult and time consuming for family members and estate trustees to deal with digital . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Five Steps You Can Take to Reduce Stress in Your Life

Today is Observe National Stress Awareness Day. As lawyers, we know stress all too well. Ehow.com has a list of five things you can do to reduce stress in your day-to-day life.

1. Prioritize your life. Our lives are stressful because each day is jam-packed with things to do. The list of things to do never seems to end and only carries over to the next day. People tend to do the least important things on the list first and then feel as if they haven’t accomplished enough in their day.

2. Don’t worry if you don’t get through . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Do Stiff Fines Stop People From Drinking and Driving?

Would the public tolerate giving judges discretion in the sentencing of murderers?

Are online child pornography offenders likely to commit offences involving sexual contact with children?

Are job training programs for people leaving prison useful?

These — and another four — interesting questions get addressed summarily in the current issue [PDF] of Criminological Highlights, a publication of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies. Although criminal law is a specialty practised by relatively few lawyers, given the present federal government’s interest in crime, it might not be a bad idea if more of us educated ourselves . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Reading: Recommended

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Insurance Implications of Lawyer Transfers and Practice Structures

The following is based on an article that appeared in the January 2012 edition of LAWPRO Magazine. While the details of the insurance coverage discussed in the article are specific to LAWPRO insureds, the issues highlighted in the article apply to all lawyers. Lawyers outside Ontario should check with their own insurance providers about what is covered under their policies.

Lawyer mobility is now taken for granted: The days of spending one’s whole career in a single practice setting are long gone. Consider these scenarios:

Scenario one: A lawyer previously in practice elsewhere joins a new firm. A claim . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended