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Archive for ‘Reading: Recommended’

Strategies for the Modern Age: Dealing With the New Reality

We’re halfway through 2014. How’s your practice strategy coming along?

If you’re feeling stuck, you might find inspiration in “The End of Competitive Advantage” by Columbia Business School’s Rita Gunther McGrath. McGrath’s framework makes a lot of sense for firms dealing with rapidly changing environments.

The new “playbook for strategy” outlined in McGrath’s latest research is premised on creating transient advantages versus exploiting business-as-usual to sustain historical performance. Her logic will resonate with anyone preparing firms for new realities:

“The presumption of stability creates all the wrong reflexes. It allows for inertia and power to build up

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Reading: Recommended

Of Cartoons and True Scotsmen

While you can certainly debate whether ubiquitous internet access is a good or a bad thing, I suspect anyone with a weekly blog commitment to SLAW is looking forward to WestJet’s and Air Canada’s plans to roll out wifi on Canadian flights in the very near future. It is, I’ve learned, very near impossible to write a blog without an internet connection.

Yesterday I instead found myself sitting in seat 12E looking wistfully from my mute and helpless laptop to the pillowy white dunes just beyond the wings of flight WS697. “Cloud computing”, it struck me, was an oxymoron—that and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: Recommended

Can a Criminal Conviction Make Your Client Inadmissible for Residency/citizenship?

Where a client charged with a serious crime is a non-citizen of Canada and is hoping to obtain resident status, criminal lawyers should be aware that recent changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) raise special plea and sentencing considerations.

The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
On June 19, 2013, amendments to the IRPA made by Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, came into force. Among other things, the amendments render inadmissible – without right of appeal – permanent residency applicants who have received a six-month custody sentence for an offence with a . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Simultaneously Acting for Members of the Same Family Is More Risky

Many lawyers assume that simultaneously acting for members of the same family and their business or corporate entities is relatively safe from fraud and conflicts issues. After all, the parties all know each other and everyone is on good terms.

Unfortunately, this is just not the case. An analysis of LAWPRO claims files tell us that there is actually a greater likelihood of a fraud or conflicts of interest issue when clients are related to or know each other. Understanding when and why malpractice claims arise when work is done for related clients can help you avoid a claim.

When . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Supervision of Employees: The Buck Stops With You

Delegation involves getting the job done through others. A governing tenet in every firm should be to push work down to the lowest capable level. You are wasting your time and the client’smoney if you or others at your firmare consistently doingtasks that lawyers with a lower hourly rate or staff can complete. Lawyers typically fail to delegate for any number of reasons, none
of which stand up to scrutiny.

  • They don’t want to give up control of the matter or client: This is a bad behaviour often driven by a compensation system that rewards bad behaviours.
  • They think they
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

10 Ways to Build a Better Clientele

The impact of poor client selection and sloppy client service will be magnified in trying economic times. In response, you want to proactively take steps to build and retain a better clientele. Here are some pointers to help you meet that goal. This article orginally appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

  1. Get a retainer up front: The best way to ensure that you get paid in full at the end of a matter is to obtain a retainer at the matter’s start. After you and your client reach a consensus on what work you need
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Giving, Taking and Getting Ahead

Spring has sprung here in Vancouver with its bounty of networking events and opportunities to reconnect with colleagues.

In between fun appointments in my social calendar, I sat down to read “Give and Take” by Wharton business professor Adam Grant. If you’ve ever felt anxious about networking, skeptical about selling your services or burned out from fielding non-stop requests for help, this book is for you.

Most of us have been taught to view networking as a zero-sum game where people act in their own self-interest; I’ll do a favour for you with the expectation that you’ll . . . [more]

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

CBA Releases 6 Legal Health Checks for Members of the Public

As part of the CBA’s Reaching Equal Justice initiative, CBA just released 6 Legal Health Checks for members of the public. Similar to LAWPRO’s Annual Legal Health Check-up, these are intended to ensure people have the information and tools they need to recognize and avoid legal problems in the first place, and/or to prevent small problems from becoming bigger than they might have been.

There are 6 different health checks:

  • 5 steps to legal wellness – speaks to the reasons why smaller legal problems can snowball into much larger and more complex problems, particularly for already vulnerable people
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Student Week on Slaw: What Do Law Firms Look For?

LAWPRO is pleased to take part in Slaw’s Student Week. We’ve made an effort to reach out to students and new lawyers by creating a student issue of LAWPRO Magazine for the law schools, and this week we’ll post some of the articles from those issues. They contain practice management and risk management content aimed at helping students make the transition to becoming a practicing lawyer and getting their careers off on the right foot.

Law students – like all students – are prone to anxiety about their career prospects. High-profile news about the employment challenges faced by new grads . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Reading: Recommended

Don’t Accept Every File That Walks in the Door

This article from February 13, 2014 is by Nora Rock, corporate writer and policy analyst at LAWPRO.

At the risk of sounding like a self-help book designed to help you find Mr. or Ms. Right, we’d like to remind you (the day before Valentine’s Day, no less!) that being selective about the clients you represent is an important claims-prevention strategy.

Depending on your area of law and how established your practice, you may be tempted to dismiss this advice as being valid only for lawyers in the enviable position of having more referrals than time. But turning away clients that . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Frenemy Mine: Building Trust Between Colleagues

I’ve been feeling somewhat guilty about my post last week regarding the Edelman Trust Barometer and perceptions about the legal profession. Several lawyers have since asked if I have any advice on how to build trusting relationships within their own firms, never mind on behalf of the profession. I’ve heard laments bemoaning the loss of collegiality, too.

The real expert in this regard is Robert F. Hurley, a professor at Fordham University in New York. Hurley leads the Consortium for Trustworthy Organizations housed at Fordham’s School of Business and is the author of a bestselling book, “The Decision to . . . [more]

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

What Makes Lawyers Happy?

I came across a new research paper today via SSRN titled, “What Makes Lawyers Happy? Transcending the Anecdotes with Data from 6200 Lawyers“.

The legal profession has done a much better job of addressing (or at least discussing) the issue of lawyer well-being in recent years. And thank-goodness for that! We are all very aware of the unfavourable statistics regarding mental health, substance abuse, and the general unhappiness that can show on some faces. So the idea of quantifying these factors — both positive and negative — cited by practitioners seems like a practical piece of work. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Reading: Recommended