Departments

b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2014_March_techsupport.jpgI’ve been speaking a lot recently with in-house counsel and clients about some of their pain points relating to e-discovery. While the high cost of e-discovery (which I’ve written about in other columns) remains the primary issue for clients, I’ve developed a list of other concerns that are primarily process-related.
Attention to some or all of these can spare clients headaches, and may also assist in avoiding unnecessary costs.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2014_February_wagging.jpgOur clients, just like clients of any other good or service, are purchasing results not processes, and to this Toby Brown in his July 7, 2013, posting to the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, attributes some of the difficulty with pricing legal services. They want a dispute resolved or a sale of shares completed. They are not interested in paying for X number of depositions or X number of correspondences to opposing counsel.
Monday, 03 February 2014 08:00

Running just as fast as she can . . .

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Photo: Canada Running Series
Photo: Canada Running Series
For most practitioners, a law career is a proud professional end in itself. For Lanni Marchant, it’s merely a back-up plan for when her legs give out.
Monday, 06 January 2014 08:00

Partnership unmasked

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Illustration: Jeremy Bruneel
Illustration: Jeremy Bruneel
Becoming an equity partner represents a commitment of the firm to the lawyer and the lawyer to the firm. It also represents an important stepping-stone for many. But what does the mythical process actually involve? How do you get there? And who has the greater advantage in a partnership arrangement?
Illustration: Mick Coulas
Illustration: Mick Coulas
As technology evolves to more fully service the needs of business, business has become increasingly reliant on technology and all it has to offer. But the relationships between technology, business, and the laws within which they operate have not yet fully evolved. Even though the technology to move further ahead may be in place, the bridge allowing society to transition from the paper world to the digital isn’t yet fully built.
Monday, 07 October 2013 09:00

Legal farm teams

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_October_tech_support.jpgLast spring, the Royal Bank of Canada came under fire for outsourcing some of its technology services. The concerns mostly focused on the loss of Canadian jobs to another jurisdiction. They did not focus on whether technology was an appropriate service to outsource. Outsourcing technology is seemingly an accepted practice, but what about legal services? Despite warnings from numerous industry watchers that some legal services must and will be outsourced to jurisdictions with a cheaper labour pool, Canadian firms have been slower to take up this option than their counterparts in the United Kingdom or America.
Monday, 07 October 2013 09:00

The ‘insidious fog’

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Illustration: Jeremy Bruneel
Illustration: Jeremy Bruneel
Dementia is beginning to creep into the legal profession in the same insidious manner it does in other aspects of people’s lives, sneaking in and leaving hints before constraining regulators and law firms alike to make heart-wrenching decisions. The Barreau du Québec’s disciplinary committee dealt with the issue in the spring when it had to decide the professional fate of a Montreal lawyer with more than 50 years of experience. The lawyer, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago, faced three counts of breaching the Code of Ethics of Advocates and the Professional Code. “Perhaps Alzheimer’s disease explains [his] conduct,” wrote the three-chair disciplinary panel. “It seems clear the Council must take that into account when sanctioning him.” Though found guilty, all charges were stayed. A Law Society of Upper Canada’s hearing panel was put in a similar bind early this year when it allowed a Toronto lawyer afflicted with the mind-robbing disease to surrender his licence to practise law.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_September_techsupport.jpgWe are living in an era of big data. What does this mean for litigation and for its requisite discovery effort? Lots — and the future is intriguing. The rise of big data forces a shift not only in thinking about the point of e-discovery, but also the approach taken to discovery and how it is managed. It may also bring about new skill sets in lawyers.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_August_techsupport-bubbles.jpg“Too many deans are wedded to running their schools as businesses for which U.S. News & World Report rankings supply the definitive means of evaluation. Too many special interests relating to the lending and debt collection industries make a lot of money off the growing lawyer bubble. Too many senior partners in big firms have become accustomed to extraordinary incomes and are unwilling to emphasize long-run values that don’t contribute to the current year’s bottom line.”
Steven J. Harper,
The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 09:00

A win-win career

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Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones during the gold medal game at this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Photo: Reuters/Mark Blinch
Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones during the gold medal game at this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Photo: Reuters/Mark Blinch
Jennifer Jones is a bit of a planner but, at the moment, she’s taking it one day at a time. First it was a career in law. Well, curling actually came first. Then the law degree. Then came more curling, a flexible job in corporate law, more curling, more law. And now a baby along with a life straddling two provinces.
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