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Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns

A Simple Way to Increase Productivity

Lawyers are intelligent, capable human beings who sometimes find it almost impossible to manage their time well. The reason could be that too much is expected of them; that they like to do things very well before moving on and that takes time; that they under-estimated how long an activity will take; that when activities involve dealing with others, time becomes a variable; that they have to spend valuable time cleaning up someone else’s work; that they have other people’s work dumped on them…the list goes on.

These are reasons but not excuses. Productivity is usually tied to efficiency and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing, Practice of Law

Public Interest Regulation: Governance Reform at the Law Society of Ontario

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) has launched a call for comments on potential governance reforms. Reform is long overdue. The governance of the LSO is archaic and in no way approximates the structure of a modern, effective board. To its credit, the LSO appears to recognize the problem and is attempting to move towards modernizing its governance.

There are currently 90 members of “Convocation” – the archaic name for what is supposed to be a Board of Directors at the LSO. These 90 consist of 45 elected licensees (40 lawyers and five paralegals), 8 lay benchers appointed by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Making Your Dream a Reality – Starts Here

This article is for you if you have a dream about your career that you think may not be possible.

Some dreams are worth pursuing, even if they take a while to achieve. I know this for sure because this summer, after more than a decade of step-by-step progress, I am living mine.

I have a home on Salt Spring Island, and my dream has been to live and work from there full time. This summer I am spending two full months on the island working from my home office,

It all began back in November 2003 when my wife . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

How Old Belief Systems Can Cripple a Career

Precedent figures heavily in most law practises, so it’s understandable that lawyers would rely heavily on past experiences and belief systems in the running of their lives. Life experience can create wisdom. It can also lead to our greatest weak spots. In over twenty years of coaching lawyers, my primary goal has been to help them to identify and overcome old belief systems that are no longer working for them but that they continue to use to the detriment of their careers.

For example:

  • A lawyer who is held back from partnership because of a lack of delegation, but can’t
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Marketing, Practice of Law

Consequences to Innovation Canada and IP of a Badly Drafted National Standard of Canada

The federal government’s “Budget 2017,” Innovation Canada project has led to the badly drafted National Standard of Canada, Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence CAN/CGSB-72.34-2017 (“72.34-2017”). It should not be relied upon to conduct any business, government or other transaction based upon the reliability and integrity of electronically-produced records. And so, on July 11, 2018, I, Ken Chasse, notified: (1) the Standards Council of Canada, being the agency that declared it to be a national standard; and, (2) the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. On, July 20, 2018, I received the Standards Council’s reply, and on July . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Simple Measurement of Client Value

If you’ve been grappling with the practical, real-world meaning of “value” in legal services delivery — and many of us have been — then I want to start this post by recommending a recently released paper from Prof. Noel Semple of the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. “Measuring Legal Service Value” is available for download at SSRN. A lengthy except is available here at Slaw (Part 1 and Part 2), and it is worth your time and consideration.

The core of Noel’s article, although by no means the entirety of his thesis, is expressed in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Chief Innovation Officer of a Ministry of Justice

I was in the United Arab Emirates recently to talk to assistant minister of justice Abdulla Al-Majid. He is, as far as I know, the only person of that rank in any ministry of justice who carries the title chief innovation officer. That is a worrying conclusion. Data tells us that justice systems all over the world are underperforming. We also see that they are not solving the problem with more ‘business as usual’. So why aren’t there more of his kind?

As a person Abdulla is hard to equal in terms of vision, drive, and courage. He will . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Blockchain Liability

This is a general and quick review of who should or can be responsible if something goes wrong on blockchain. I am brainstorming, not educating. Don’t take this essay as legal advice.

I can think of two categories of potential defendants in blockchains: developers and users. But first of all, what is liability?

Black’s, tenth edition, defines liability as “The quality, state, or condition of being legally obligated or accountable; legal responsibility to another or to society, enforceable by civil remedy or criminal punishment.” I am interested only in civil liability here.

The key element of liability is that it . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Global Access to Justice Goal

We all need relationships with others to love, to be safe, to earn a living, to learn, to plan, and to be healthy and happy. Because we are human, these relationships can sometimes deteriorate or even break down. That’s when we need a good relationship management system. Which is what a good justice system should be and that’s why access to justice is so terribly important. We must therefore be thankful that 193 heads of government adopted Sustainable Development Target 16.3 in 2015: to ensure equal access to justice for all.

My past lamentations on these pages have been . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

10 Things Thriving Lawyers Do

1. Ask for help

The best time to seek help is as soon as you get stuck. Just like the nose on our face, it is incredibly difficult for us to see the thinking traps and habits that slow us down much less do anything about them. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Going it alone is just going to make your life tougher.

2. Get involved in their communities

The thriving lawyers I know are involved in their communities. This can be such activities as coaching soccer, singing in a choir, or sitting on the board of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Leadership and the Sole Practitioner

I was asked recently to speak (via webinar) to a group of lawyers in Christchurch, New Zealand, as part of the New Zealand Law Society’s “Stepping Up” course. This program, which other legal regulators should emulate, requires any lawyer wishing to practise law as the equity owner of a law practice to learn about business fundamentals, client care, trust accounting, and so forth.

On this particular occasion, the theme of the Stepping Up course was “leadership,” and so I prepared some remarks on that topic. But one thing I was especially asked to think about was how “leadership” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Election Politics, Innovation Canada, IP, and Dependence Upon the Standards Council of Canada

Some in-depth investigative journalism is needed because there has been a further danger-augmenting development in regard to the creation of National Standards of Canada (NSCs) as that behavior relates to the federal government’s high profile, Budget 2017 declaration of the creation of Innovation Canada. Its Fact Sheet, Skills, Innovation and Middle Class Jobs, states inter alia, “Budget 2017’s Innovation and Skills Plan advances an agenda to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation, to help create more good, well-paying jobs, and help strengthen and grow the middle class.”

I say “further development,” because I described that behavior . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law