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Archive for February, 2014

Promoting Internet Security: A Charitable Activity?

The Internal Revenue Service of the United States has recently denied charitable status to an organization that promotes a knowledge of internet security to bloggers and civil society groups, notably those in foreign countries whose freedom of expression may be threatened by state bodies.

As one US commentator wrote:

The IRS denial, in short, hinges on the applicant’s activities looking too much like a for-profit trade or business and also the following not qualifying as “charitable” – (1) preserving the fundamental human rights set forth in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (b/c it is a declaration, not

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet

Making Rain: Business Development Videos

We haven’t mentioned this previously, and I only just discovered it this weekend: “Making Rain“, the business development practice management coaching video column from Canadian Lawyer Magazine, hosted by certified executive coach Debra Forman of Pinstripe Coaching. Started in March 2010, these brief monthly videos give practical advice on business development for lawyers.

In the latest episode, Forman provides twelve resolutions for the coming year (one for each month). This series is a worth a look.

The full series is available from the Canadian Lawyer video listing. . . . [more]

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

Boundaries to Fearlessness

What is the scope of the advocate’s duty to act fearlessly in the conduct of a client’s case?

A hearing was in progress in the UK last week before a Bar Standards Board disciplinary tribunal over the way in which a barrister conducted a criminal defence.

The BSB has charged professional misconduct against the barrister.

Among the five charges is the fact that the barrister cautioned the jury to view the judge’s summing up as they might regard a salesman’s patter.

The defendant was convicted, and appealed on grounds including that his barrister’s conduct at trial was unprofessional and provocative . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Three Things Keeping Alternative Legal Service Arrangements From Reaching Critical Mass… and How You Can Capitalize on Them


Over recent years, there has been much ink spilled about “Alternative Billing Arrangements”. Generally we focus our attention on the mechanics of common structures, such as volume based discounting, contingency arrangements, flat fee billing, success fees or secondments. Intuitively, this approach seems logical and mirrors how such initiatives are often jointly approached by inhouse and external counsel teams, but it is flawed. As a result, we unknowingly restrict ourselves from unlocking the full benefits of such endeavours, and in turn, the use of alternative legal service delivery models has not reached critical mass.

The Challenge

The challenge for inhouse . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Heenan Blaikie May Be Toronto’s Canary

The national law firm of Heenan Blaikie is expected to make a huge announcement this week. We’re not quite sure what the details of the announcement it, but it will likely involve some form of restructuring, merger or dissolution of the firm.

Although we have several Slaw contributors who are this firm I expect they are unable to comment on this publicly. Yet it’s a big enough event that it will invariably lead to further discussions about the legal market in Toronto in years to come.

The rumours started on Thursday with the departure of several partners to other Bay . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Pénal : L'extrême gravité de l'inconduite de la Gendarmerie royale du Canada, qui, afin d'obtenir les services d'un détenu en libération conditionnelle pour en faire un agent civil d'infiltration, a menti aux autorités correctionnelles ainsi qu'à la Commission nationale des libérations conditionnelles, justifie l'arrêt des procédures prononcé dans une série de dossiers.
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Marketing, Public Relations and Reading the Tea Leaves

Behold the legal bombshell: 500-lawyer national firm Heenan Blaikie may be folding, or at the very least re-structuring as early as next week, according to The National Post and The Globe and Mail. It’s like the opening line of Adele’s booming Skyfall theme: “This is the end….” 

At Heenan Blaikie, Initial Public Offering (IPO) work, although lucrative, was down 80 per cent in 2013 from 2012, according to The National Post. The theory was faulty and the assumptions were flawed: firms can grow bigger and take marketshare away from other firms. In marketing, any category (law services, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing