Canada’s online legal magazine.

Law Firm Managers Need Training in Organizational Behaviour

We often hear that lawyers are trained in the law, not in how to operate a business. One of the most basic management skill lacking though can be found in the field of organizational behaviour (OB).

Dr. Larry Richard recently gave a talk at the CBA conference in Ottawa, where he presented “breakthrough ideas to boost your engagement.” The need for employee engagement is even more important during turbulent economic times, when law firms are facing considerably more instability than in the past. Much of what he had to offer corresponded with the OB skills deficit.

Dr. Richard noted that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Le juge refuse d’appliquer l’article 7 (2) b) (iii) de la Loi réglementant certaines drogues et autres substances, qui prévoit une peine minimale de un an dans le cas de l’accusé, reconnu coupable de production de marijuana pour avoir tenu le rôle de jardinier dans l’affaire. . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Can You Stop Networking?

It is not an understatement to say that in professional services, networking is one of the most important parts of our job. Connections are critical, projects cannot be completed without people. There are lots of different ways to network and finding what works for you is essential. Recently, I connected with someone that defies conventional wisdom. He doesn’t care about first impressions, considers nearly all networking a waste of time and believes the key to networking is to stop networking.

What he realized is that people are not interested in networking conversation, they want real conversations and real relationships. And . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Access to Private Standards Incorporated Into Law

From time to time governments make law by referring to non-governmental rules. These are often technical matters on which standards are developed by outside experts. For example, a regulation might require manufacturers to comply with a safety standard of the Canadian General Standards Board or the International Standards Organization.

When this happens, should the government have to ensure that the outside standards be accessible to those affected by them? Many standards bodies finance their operation at least in part through the sale of their standards. In other words, access to the text of the standards is not free. Is that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

HeinOnline and LLMC-Digital: Friends When We Need Them

I’ve written often about the preservation of and access to Canada’s print legal heritage, most recently last December here, and bemoaned the fact that we in Canada are doing so little – in fact, as good as nothing – to advance the matter. Fortunately, we have friends who are stepping up to the plate to do something about it for us, even without our having to ask. At the recent annual conferences of CALL (Canadian Association of Law Libraries, in Vancouver last May) and AALL (American Association of Law Libraries, in Chicago last July), there . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. The Estate of Henry Goldentuler v Crosbie et al, 2016 ONSC 5071

[40] I agree with the plaintiffs that the case law supports the proposition that, notwithstanding there was no written agreement between the plaintiff and the defendants, the defendants breached their duties of loyalty, good faith and avoidance of conflict of interests and self-interest while working in the plaintiff’s employ. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Advice to New Law Students

September marks the changing of the seasons, from summer to fall, from hot to cold, from break to school. And this year is no exception. Starting this September, thousands of new students will enter law school from across this country. These students will buckle down, meet new friends, and confront new concepts.

It is with this in mind that I provide the following advice:

(i) Before starting law school, read about the history of our legal system and read about the legal principles underlying our common law. Look to Professor Adam Dodek’s superb reading list to get started – http://bit.ly/1MtnuHu . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

Keep a List of Frequently Asked Questions
Susannah Tredwell

Certain questions come up time and time again. You can save time by keeping a list of the most frequently asked questions and their answers; each time one of the questions on the list gets asked you can just cut and paste the answer. …

Practice

On Change, Planning and Professional Practice
Garry Wise

Death, taxes . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Ontario Firm Narrowly Avoids $500,000 Email & Phone Hack Attempt

An Ontario lawyer called LAWPRO inform us of what appears to be an email hack attempt (similar to what is described here) against his firm and one of his clients, with the goal of diverting closing funds from a transaction into a different bank account. An email to the client appeared to come from this lawyer, and a follow-up phone call was made to the client which displayed the lawyer’s firm number.

Below we have reproduced the steps of the incident and his response, with some edits to remove the firm and client information.

Here is the fraudulent email . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

An OASIS Open Repository for Legal XML Documents

Robert Richards reported yesterday on the Legal Informatics Research Network group that OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) has established a new open repository on Github.* The repository has been created to support the work of the OASIS LegalDocumentML (LegalDocML) Technical Committee a group dedicated to “advancing worldwide best practices for the use of XML in legal documents.”

The repository will contain “schema files, examples, exemplificative implementations and libraries, and documents related to developing a specification for Akoma Ntoso” and they are intending this collection of documents to be “as useful as possible for people . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from seventy recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Labour Pains  2. The Factum 3. National Blog  4. Rule of Law  5. Social Media for Law Firms

Labour Pains
Is Protection from Workplace Harassment Only for Employees and Not Management?

In my last post, Employers Responsible for Protecting Employees from Harassment on Twitter, I looked at a recent . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Plus Ça Change, ….

Incremental change, disruption, new approaches, … we’ve talked about these issues for a long time. A long time! I plunged into the legal KM “pool” at the turn of the century, and it seems that, 16 years on, we’re still talking about many of the same issues. Granted, there are differences now, one of the most notable being that there were no legal-specific search engines available at the time. But although such search engines are available, their high all-in cost is such that, even now, only the larger firms and in-house departments have them available.

Recently, I attended a meeting . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology