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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Numbers and Stats: Evaluation and the Legal Profession

Many people in the legal sector are working toward making the legal profession, and society as a whole, more equitable, which has led to calls to increase diversity in the legal profession. Employers and educators have tried to achieve more impartiality by integrating quantitative metrics, such as LSAT scores, grades, and litigation statistics, into their selection processes.

This is better than selecting candidates based primarily on criteria like family legacy, but these processes still aren’t perfect. The selection of athletes a a good comparison. Elite athletes are a group of people with well-defined and generally available statistics going back to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law: Practice Management

AWOL Court Clerk Justly Suspended

Written by Daniel Standing, LL.B., Content Editor, First Reference Inc.

A decision of the Ontario Grievance Settlement Board, 2023 CanLII 115148 (ON GSB), confirms that dishonesty, attempts to shift blame and a lack of remorse are not a winning combination of factors for an employee seeking to overturn a disciplinary measure. In this case, the employee went AWOL for personal reasons, giving the employer a clear path to just cause for imposing discipline. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Tips Tuesday: Smile File

Ever have those days where you need a smile? Allow me to introduce you to the Smile File. Throughout our careers we may receive letters of encouragement from peers or mentors; well wishes from clients or appreciation about a job well done; experience career milestones; or receive other electronic or written communications that make us smile. Take these communications, letters, well wishes, and milestones and put them into a file folder that you keep – either electronically or in a drawer – and pull them out on those days that you need a smile. On those days, you’ll be able . . . [more]

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

Tips Tuesday: Random Memory or Central Database?

As lawyers we write a copious amount of memos and opinions. If you’re like me, you often go back to prior memos and opinions when you’re writing new ones. Perhaps it’s to borrow wording or refresh yourself on that particular area of the law, but no matter what you find yourself looking for and relying upon them.

There tends to be two general organizational systems that I’ve come across with respect to referencing these at a later date. One is the “random memory” approach – which functions like it sounds. It involves relying on your memory to think of what . . . [more]

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

Tips Tuesday: Creating an “Unread” E-Mail Folder

Are you someone who uses e-mail filters to try and keep some semblance of organization in your inbox? Ever filtered too well and ended up missing an important e-mail because it skipped the inbox and got stuck in a sub-folder?

This tip will help you to filter your e-mails with confidence knowing that you will never miss an unread e-mail again. Let me introduce you to the “Unread” folder. This is a folder that you can create that can crawl all of your e-mail folders for unread e-mail messages and pull them into one common folder for you to view . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

Lawyer-Client Bond Broken: The Unwritten Rule

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Faced with a unique set of facts, an Ontario court in 2022 ONSC 5890 (CanLII) let two in-house lawyers off the hook when their former client sued them following the breakdown of their employment relationship. Would-be litigants in situations like the plaintiff’s would do well to remember that things aren’t always as they at first seem. It should almost go without saying: litigants had better have the evidence to prove it if they allege a breach of contractual or fiduciary duties. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Immigration Litigation: Current Issues, Part 1

There is a small army of immigration lawyers who battle in the Federal Court of Canada. Most practitioners have the sense to dedicate themselves to the solicitor side of this practice. In Part 1, I will focus on issues with the current system based on my experiences with the Court over the past 10+ years. I will be posting subsequent parts based on recent (creative) approaches that address, or get around, some of the issues below. This is not a review of substantive law or decisions from the Court. This critique is focused on the system as a whole. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Practice Management

How Successful Law Firms Really Work

A book has come along that every lawyer who wishes to run a firm at its peak should not only have on his/her shelf but it should be well-thumbed, stained from coffee spills, its cover torn from constant use and sits on the corner of their desk within arm's reach for quick reference. I am speaking of "How Successful Law Firms Really Work" by David L. Ginsberg and Robert A. Feisee, published by the American Bar Association, Law Practice Division
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Alberta Law Firm Discriminated Against Employee

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, published by First Reference Inc.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but in reading the decision Smorhay v Goodfellow Law, 2021 AHRC 170 (CanLII), one wonders how the employer did not foresee serious problems on the horizon. Corinne Smorhay was a legal assistant. She had worked in law offices before but had no construction law experience. Despite this, a headhunter recommended her to Goodfellow Law, a construction law firm that needed a secretary who could hit the ground running. When she was the only applicant who showed up for the interview, she got the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Could Capping Billables Force Work-Life Balance?

Before the pandemic, many lawyers may have longed for more flexible time, and the ability to work more from home.

The past year and a half may have challenged those professed goals, especially for those who have other responsibilities or distractions in the home. Working from home does not necessarily mean more personal time, and it does not necessarily mean that there will be less work.

As lawyers slowly make their way back to the office, they’re also revisiting the perpetual struggle to find enough time for self-care and care of others. One of the ideas that has started to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Legislation

Civil Procedure and Practice in Ontario: A New, Comprehensive and Free Guide

Noel Semple, General Editor

The free access to law movement has made impressive strides in 30 years. It is now taken for granted that all primary law and most reasons for decision are freely available online. In Canada, CanLII has been at the forefront of this movement. Funded by Canadian lawyers, CanLII first developed a thorough and free database of statutes, regulations, and decisions. More recently it has expanded into the realm of legal commentary.

Plenty of lawyers are willing to write first-rate content for free — as Slaw has proved. Assuming that the resources necessary for editing and . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law: Practice Management

A Specialized Lawyer Does Not Need to Be Certified

Lawyers are distinct from other professionals like medicine in that the license provided is inherently broad, and limited only by the restrictions the lawyer places upon themselves.

For example, the Model Code states at 3.1-1 that a competent lawyer “means a lawyer who has and applies relevant knowledge, skills and attributes in a manner appropriate to each matter undertaken on behalf of a client and the nature and terms of the lawyer’s engagement…” Those knowledge, skills, and attributes can be defined or applied in many different ways, especially where a lawyer is working with other lawyers who have different or . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions