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Tuesday, 20 September 2011 11:09

Going green from a transactional perspective

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_sarah-dale-harris.jpgI confess, I have at times struggled to believe the whole “green” movement on the part of big business was anything more than a marketing opportunity for many. Frankly, I’m still not convinced that many companies that claim to be green really are, but there are companies taking big steps forward and interesting projects are afoot that might make being green a lot more than just a publicity stunt. Not that being green doesn’t come with challenges, but my hope is that it will bring awareness and accountability together in a positive way that helps us sustain our most precious resources — well before it is too late.
Monday, 19 September 2011 11:48

Innovate or abdicate

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_stephen-mabey.jpgIn my August 2010 column I included a brief section on innovation. Right up front let me disclose that like a blind pig finds an acorn occasionally, little did I know how important innovation was going to be to law firms in 2011.
Monday, 19 September 2011 11:16

Scientology history could have more punch

Written by
The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion by Hugh B. Urban, pp. 268, Princeton University Press, 2011
The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion by Hugh B. Urban, pp. 268, Princeton University Press, 2011
An academic history of the Church of Scientology might not seem relevant to Canadian Lawyer magazine, unless you’re familiar with the controversial movement’s use of the justice system against its many detractors. Founder L. Ron Hubbard explained his legal philosophy in 1955: “The purpose of the [lawsuit] is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway . . . will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.”
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_sonyanigam.jpgLast Wednesday, Clare Short, a former cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s government, came to the University of Ottawa to present on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, its achievements, challenges, and the way it is moving forward. Short is the chairwoman of the EITI board. She was joined by Mark Pearson, director general of external affairs at Natural Resources Canada; François Meloche, an extra-financial risk manager with Bâtirente inc.; and Ian Smillie, chairman of the board of the Diamond Development Initiative International. Ousmane Dème of Publish What You Pay opened the session. Not only was it a stellar group of experts in the area of mining and development, but there were also members in the audience from the Mining Association of Canada, Goldcorp Inc., and SNC-Lavalin, as well as members from a variety of non-governmental organizations. The room that fit about 60 people was over capacity and no one minded skipping the break in order to have a longer discussion.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_charlesgillis.jpgYears ago the founding partners of a well established Texas law firm were featured on the front page of a prominent legal publication. The five named partners struck a very dignified pose in a large photo above the fold. Although many firms might have celebrated this event as a public relations score, this particular firm felt unsatisfied. The partners looked great in their buttoned-up business suits, however, the photo conveyed a stuffiness that clearly did not exist in this progressive, family-friendly firm.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2011_August_makingrain18.jpgThis month’s episode kicks off the Making Rain Leadership Series, spotlighting key management proficiencies and how to use these skills to be a more successful leader. Executive coach Debra Forman starts the series with tips on sustaining a commanding communication presence.
Monday, 22 August 2011 11:52

I. Am. Canadian

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_tonywilson.jpgMost people take stock of the year on New Year’s Eve. I’ve always taken stock of it at the end of August when the school year is just about to begin; a hangover, I suppose, from entering a new grade in elementary or high school or a new year of university in September. With my kids in high school and university, the school calendar still has meaning at our house — Labour Day being the real New Year’s Day.
Monday, 22 August 2011 10:12

Responding effectively to judges in court

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_wendy-matheson2.jpgWhat should you do when you are on your feet in court and encounter some of the more challenging characteristics of our learned judges? I tread cautiously into this delicate subject to provide some food for thought and some practical suggestions.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_sarah-dale-harris.jpgSeriously, did someone wake up one morning and think to themselves, “I’m going to create a currency today” and subsequently give birth to Bitcoins? Why didn’t I think of that?
Monday, 15 August 2011 12:45

Measuring key performance indicators

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Columnists_stephen-mabey.jpgThis column will deal with some of the key results of the 2011 Canadian KPI Survey conducted by Law Firm KPI, a for-profit company (our intent anyways) co-founded by Karen MacKay of Phoenix Legal Inc., and me in 2010 to specifically undertake surveys of key performance indicators for law firms with up to 100 lawyers. The purpose of the survey is to provide Canadian law firms with industry information in order to benchmark their own performance against the performance of other firms of reasonable comparative size. More information on the annual survey can be found at LawFirmKPI.com.
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