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The Friday Fillip: Rain

“For the rain it raineth every day”

I like rain.

I’ve figured out that it allows me to escape the parental injunction to go outside and play when all I really want to do is curl up in a chair with my nose in a book. Funny how these things stick around from childhood. But they do, and for me a rainy day drops the curtain on the infinite horizon and snugs things up cosily, whether I’m out in the wet complaining about it or inside and dry.

We get plenty of rain here in Canada — though it’s not . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Marketing Begins at Home: Improving Internal Communications in Law Firms

If a client asked you what else your firm is good at besides the services you provide, would you know what to say? If they had a legal problem outside of your expertise, would you know who in your firm could help them? If your answer is “Of course!”—put it to the test.

At a recent law firm retreat that I facilitated, we did an exercise where the lawyers had to tell the rest of the group something about themselves (professional, not personal). The most common reaction was, “I didn’t know that!” The conversation in the break afterwards was electric: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Access to Justice Commissions: Learning to Work Collaboratively on Difficult Justice Problems

Two weeks ago, the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters released the Colloquium Report. This document captures the action-oriented strategies, reforms and innovations from leaders in the access to justice field in response to the recommendations made by the Action Committee in their final report, A Roadmap for Change (see a SLAW summary here).

One of the institutional and structural goals discussed in the Colloquium Report was to “Create Local and National Access to Justice Implementation Mechanisms”, such as the recently-formed Access to Justice Co-ordinating Committee in Nova Scotia. The report looked to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Access to Justice Fatigue

I hope JP Boyd was right when he recently suggested there is a growing fatigue with the subject of access to justice in Canada. Boyd has recently launched a blog on the subject (lauded here on Slaw) that focuses on concrete steps lawyers and other stakeholders can take to increase access to justice in small but significant ways.

If there is growing weariness, I expect some of that is generated by those on the frontlines who continue to slog forward while waiting for those in governments and courts to finish “exploring initiatives” and start funding and implementing initiatives that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Russian Hackers Amass 1.2 Billion Username/password Combinations

A New York Times story says that: “A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses…”. This was discovered by a company called Hold Security, that so far has not named the sites. I’m a bit skeptical of the news, however, when Hold Security has a paid service to find out if your site is affected by this.

This emphasizes yet again the importance of using proper passwords and taking advantage of multi-factor authentication wherever it is offered.

Since the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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. R. v. Hart, 2014 SCC 52

[1] When conventional investigations fail to solve serious crimes, police forces in Canada have sometimes used the “Mr. Big” technique. A Mr. Big operation begins with undercover officers luring their suspect into a fictitious criminal organization of their own making. Over the next several weeks or months, the suspect is befriended by the undercover officers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

World Wide Injunction Orders Editing of Google Search Results

What is a Court to do when faced with repeated breaches of Court orders by a virtual entity? In the case, Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, 2014 BCSC 1063, the decision of the BC Supreme Court was to order an innocent third party, Google Inc., to remove the wrongdoer’s website from further search results – anywhere.

The case has far reaching implications on the ability to enforce injunctions on wrongdoers in cyberspace, on the role of innocent third parties such as Google, and on the possibility of the Court process being used as an avenue for censorship. The decision has . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Aligning Employees Behind Firm Strategy: Getting Started

When firm leaders agree on strategic objectives, it’s time to align employees towards achieving them. As with anything with multiple moving parts, adjustments can help the system work at its best.

Last week, I discussed the difference between employee engagement and employee alignment. Engagement is what motivates people to arrive at work each morning. Alignment is what they do when they get there.

Why focus on alignment?

  • It gives everyone a purpose beyond their individual roles
  • It’s an opportunity to break down silos between groups
  • It strengthens your firm’s reputation as performance becomes more consistent and profitable

Signs of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Appellate Lawyers Take Heed

Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp, 2014 SCC 53

will change existing practice (necessarily outside of Quebec civil law cases: I leave the effect on civil law to others) where the central appellate issue is the meaning of the contract.

From the headnote:

The historical approach according to which determining the legal rights and obligations of the parties under a written contract was considered a question of law should be abandoned. Contractual interpretation involves issues of mixed fact and law as it is an exercise in which the principles of contractual interpretation are applied to the words of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Do You Analyze Win-Loss?

A post on the Strategic Librarians LinkedIn Group led me to the Cooperative Intelligence blog where Ellen Naylor (CEO of The Business Intelligence Source, Inc.) posted about templates for win loss analysis.

As more and more legal work filters to law firms through procurement groups, RFPs, and RFIs, I wonder about the use of sales methods in law firms. As a librarian, I worked with legal information suppliers selling information to my organization. I also sold the services of the library department to my internal clients. In my new role of process improvement, I will likely use techniques . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Marketing

CBA Futures Chat: Spotlight on Innovation

Next week, the CBA will release Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, our report on the future of legal practice in Canada. Over the past two years we have heard from the legal community in Canada –and abroad – and the clients we serve. Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada sets out our vision for how we might educate and regulate the profession differently. Our objective: to ensure that Canadians benefit from a vibrant and relevant legal profession. Our recommendation: innovation.

The report calls for some significant change. We hope that the CBA . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice