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Monday, 18 June 2012 09:29

Keeping staff in a small law firm

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One of the many challenges facing the small firm is attracting and keeping quality staff. For a small firm the challenge can be significant and costly. Replacing staff is time-consuming — significant time typically goes into training new assistants. Replacing staff can also be expensive as it means less billable time being spent on your files. The purpose of this article is to share some tips I have employed or know other small firms have used to achieve this goal and protect their investment.
Monday, 11 June 2012 09:43

Reincarnation for the legal bully-savant

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Lawyer incivility, both in the office and in the courts, is the lead in our pipes.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_margaret-waddell.jpgIn August 2007, Grenville Christian College, a private boarding school near Brockville, Ont., closed its doors, citing changing demographics, declining enrolment and rising costs for the closure. At the same time, allegations of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, including cult-like practices at the school, were gaining publicity. Indeed, by September 2007, the chairman of the board of the school had issued a personal apology to the students, and advised that the board was considering a more formal apology and possible financial compensation for the victims. No such compensation was forthcoming. Instead, a class action lawsuit — Cavanaugh v. Grenville Christian College — was commenced naming the local Anglican diocese, the school, and two senior school administrators and their wives.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_jennifer_r_nees_2012.jpgAs a business immigration lawyer, my days and nights are spent discussing and strategizing around the world of global migration. Getting person X from country A to country B quickly and efficiently in order to meet a business’ goals is a large focus of much of my work. While the big news in immigration this year has dealt with somewhat draconian changes the government is making to the refugee system, big changes are coming for the economic programs as well.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_May_making_rain_27.jpgIn this month’s business development and practice management coaching column, executive coach Debra Forman discusses the importance of closing the circle on your networking efforts so you don't leave money on the table.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_lisa_borsook.jpgMy firm in downtown Toronto has about 100 lawyers, evenly divided between litigators and business lawyers. As the managing partner, I am keeping a lot of balls in the air at the same time — managing my firm (or herding cats as they say), while simultaneously managing my clients and their expectations. That’s a lot of management. In addition to the lawyers at WeirFoulds LLP, there are numerous paralegals, clerks, and an administrative staff that keeps everything running smoothly.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_kirk_baert.jpgThis month, Ontario Superior Court Justice George Strathy denied a defendant’s motions for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s proposed class proceeding, holding that where an issue is capable of resolution on a class-wide basis, the nature of class proceedings militates against the use of summary judgment. Rather than addressing the proposed representative plaintiff’s limitation period issue individually on summary judgment, the court held that issues capable of being resolved on a class-wide basis may be best addressed after certification.
Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law, by Allan C. Hutchinson, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 328, Cdn$30.95
Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law, by Allan C. Hutchinson, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 328, Cdn$30.95
Most judges are competent, thoughtful, and professional. A few, who shall remain nameless, arguably have no business sweeping up the courtroom, much less presiding over it. And an even smaller number achieve true greatness on the bench.
Monday, 21 May 2012 09:00

Get out of your den of shame

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_lindsay_scott.jpgI had dinner with three friends from law school this past week. One of my friends was in a bit of a rut, as she had made a mistake on an important file the night before. Her superiors were very understanding and the error was quickly rectified, but she worried that she could have handled the whole situation better.
Monday, 21 May 2012 09:00

Getting the work done right

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_stephen-mabey.jpg“If you’re making the customer do any extra amount of work, no matter what industry you call home, you’re now a target for disruption. It’s all about reducing choices and unnecessary steps, narrowing clutter, and adding a touch of class to boot.” — Aaron Levie, CEO and co-founder of Box, Fast Company, May 2012, Expert Blog section
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