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Archive for April, 2014

Six Technology Tools for Improving Client Communication

Technology is becoming an ever greater part of our lives, both personally and professionally.
On a daily basis most of us use a cellphone or smartphone, a desktop computer and the Internet. Many of us will have an iPad or other tablet device and be posting updates on Facebook, Twitter or other social media tools.

Clients expect their lawyers to be technology literate – and there are always new and improved ways for communicating with clients. Here are some newer tools that you can consider using to better serve and communicate with your clients.

1. Help clients find your office . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Three Gleanings From Today’s Web

Here are three rather disparate things of interest that cropped up in my morning stroll through the near web.

1. Internet Explorer has a serious vulnerability

Once again Internet Explorer — every single version of it! — has a vulnerability that “could allow remote code execution” according to Microsoft. Gizmodo has the story. This means that 26% of the browser market is at risk of a “zero day” attack that can corrupt a computer’s data.

Does anyone know what percentage of law firms use (or mandate) IE?

2. New York Times R&D releases Vellum

The New York . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Challenges of Managing Resources in a “Just in Time” World

Over the last few years most law libraries have cancelled loose-leaf and periodical subscriptions as a way of dealing with reduced budgets and the ever increasing cost of materials. As a result, libraries are less likely to buy materials “just in case”. In the days of less constrained budgets, this “just in case” model made sense; lawyers tend to need materials urgently and if the library does not already own these materials, getting them from another library can take too much time.

However, the increased number of materials available electronically, along with the ability to do document delivery online, has . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

With TWU Decisions – Whither the Federation of Law Societies?

There has been much discussion about Trinity Western University (“TWU”) law school and whether or not, students who go to there should be able to practice law in Canada. I have no intention of wading into this very polarizing debate. What is more interesting, is the impact of three very different decisions about TWU, made by three different law societies.

No matter how one feels about TWU, one must consider the impact of any decision.

Decisions cannot, and should not, be made in a vacuum.

So, let’s recap.

The Federation of Law Societies claims to be the national co-ordinating body . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Can the Oil Sands Fuel a Legal Resurgence?

As an educator of undergraduate and post-graduate students who often contemplate a legal career, I still encourage my students to consider law school, despite the tuition burden and uncertain opportunities given changes in the legal profession.

Then I came across something curious – a Canadian Business ranking of the best jobs in Canada, with lawyers topping the list at #1.

The magazine’s methodology lists the following factors for the ranking:

  • employment growth of the past 5 years (25%),
  • median compensation (based on a 40-hour workweek) in 2013 (40%),
  • the change in median compensation from 2007–08 to 2012–13 (10%); and,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

4 Out of 5 Lawyers Will Face a Malpractice Claim: Improve Your Odds

We’ve been happy to take part in Slaw’s Law Student Week. As a final post, here is a sobering fact: LAWPRO stats show that 4 out of 5 lawyers will face a malpractice claim during their careers. Fortunately, there are resources to help the new lawyer mitigate the risks and help LAWPRO (or other E&O insurer outside Ontario) effectively defend you should a claim arise.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Law Student Week

Infinite Monkeys

Today marks the unofficial end of the school year around here with the last exam being written this morning. It has now been several years since we have adopted exam writing via computer and it is a now the standard. With that standard there are a few changes from the traditional scribbled examinations. Firstly, faculty members far prefer marking word processed exams as they no longer have to obtain special qualifications in hieroglyphics in order to mark exams. That alone is enough of a plus in the eyes of most and it is not really necessary to extoll the virtues . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Technology: Office Technology

Does Solicitor-Client Privilege Truly Enhance Public Trust in Lawyers?

The first rule of the privilege is: you do not talk about the privilege. In this way, the legal profession seems quite reminiscent of ‘Fight Club.’ Rather than guarding a recreational fighting ring however, the legal profession chooses to concern itself with protecting the communications of clients and their lawyers. The purpose of this obligation placed on legal professionals is to ensure that clients feel they can actively trust their lawyer, and thus be as candid as possible – which subsequently allows their lawyer to best advise them. Does this obligation truly accomplish the goal, or does it in actuality . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Targeting Lawyer-Mothers: Rethinking the Unavoidable

At a recent talk at the University of Ottawa by Cynthia Petersen, the Law Society of Upper Canada Discrimination and Harassment Counsel, raised the idea that women who go on maternity leave are severely disadvantaged upon their return, unlike their male counterparts who take similarly long leaves for other personal or professional reasons. Are mothers or women who choose to go on maternity leave (“lawyer-mothers”) in consequence, viewed as less valuable lawyers? Like Ms. Petersen, I can readily acknowledge the immense progress in the legal profession towards gender equality. However, without sounding too severe on my own sex, I . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Is This the Job You Want? How to Find the Right Fit – and Then Sell Yourself in the Interview

On the face of it, interviewing should not be all that difficult – particularly for lawyers. As members of a profession who primarily make their living either writing or speaking, the idea that having a conversation about your interests and abilities in your own profession sounds both logical and easy.

But throw the words “job interview” into the mix and a whole new paradigm emerges. With seemingly so much at stake, job interviews take on a new meaning for people who ordinarily would not shy away from talking about the field they have chosen and the background that they bring. . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week