Transitioning to lead counsel: How junior lawyers can make the leapThe first few years of legal practice are tough. But once you’ve got a handle on the job, the next step is to transition to more senior roles. This transition can be summarized in two key steps: 1) Build hard skills; and 2) Earn your employer and/or client’s trust to take on lead counsel roles.
Published in Web exclusive content
Of lawyers, law schools, and the keeping of gates“As long as there are lawyers, there is always going to be a need for therapists.”
Published in Latest News
The CBA Futures Report’s vision of Canadian legal educationThe subtitle of the CBA’s Futures Report, “Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada,” reflects the ambitious scope of the report. The subject matter of its 22 recommendations ranges from alternative business structures for the delivery of legal services to the collection of better information about the legal profession and its makeup, the regulation of the legal profession, and the education of Canadian lawyers.
Published in Latest News
During your career, you may be called upon by a friend, cousin, brother, sister, mother-in-law, or others you have known for a long time to swear an affidavit or notarize a document. On many occasions, their requests may not be aligned with the law society rules and other legal or ethical obligations incumbent on us. As lawyers we must follow, without exception, rules incumbent to our integrity in those circumstances — even if doing so might offend the person seeking your assistance. The following are some recommendations to consider when taking an affidavit.
Published in Web exclusive content
Friday, 22 January 2016 09:00

CPD basics for Ontario associates

CPD basics for Ontario associatesAs a junior lawyer, and relatively new to this self-regulating profession, I am a touch sensitive to any communications from the Law Society of Upper Canada. So, when I recently got an e-mail from the law society reminding me I hadn’t entered into the portal any of my continuing professional development time this year, I had a mini-panic..
Published in Web exclusive content
Monday, 05 March 2012 08:00

Be the better person

I’m going to put this out there as a universal truth in the legal profession: at one point, everyone’s been on the other side of the table to another lawyer who’s not been civil. Perhaps it’s been in the courtroom, perhaps just in the hallway, or maybe it was in a letter or a series of letters, or it’s just been during a short phone call. And it seems it doesn’t matter what area of law you practice — civil litigation, corporate-commercial, real estate, family, criminal, immigration law, etc. — there’s always a bad egg out there somewhere. And it’s such a scourge on the profession that law societies, bar associations, and legal academics have tried to tackle the “problem.” But the “problem” really is that rudeness can’t be cured or legislated. “You can’t change an a-hole,” one distinguished member of the bar recently noted at a panel I attended on civility.
While lodging a complaint with the law society against such individuals is an option, the best way to deal with it, according to the above noted panel, is to be the better person. “Don’t be civil because it’s the honourable thing to do, but because it’s strategic.” Too true. The best course is not to engage in a back and forth, be reasonable, be prepared for objections that may come up, and don’t lose your cool.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Healey, who presides in Barrie, Ont., noted that as a judge she sees a tremendous number of lawyers going through the courts, and offered up some invaluable tips on combating incivility and making yourself look good in the process. I will share them because they were good, especially the first one.
• If you’re in court with an a-hole, don’t point it out to the judge. The judge can
pretty much see it for herself.
• Behave well. The more professionalism and integrity you show, the greater
the contrast with the other lawyer.
• Surprise attacks are a bad idea.
• Don’t be dragged down by the combative attitude of the other side.
• Don’t interrupt the judge.
• Don’t talk among yourselves and disregard the judge, you know, who is running
the courtroom.
While her tips above apply to litigators, here are some words of wisdom from Healey that every lawyer should live by: “Arrogance and swagger are not a show
of competence.”
So, as the famous sportswear manufacturer says, “just do it.” Behave well and stay above the fray and both you and your client (not to mention the profession) will benefit.
I’m going to put this out there as a universal truth in the legal profession: at one point, everyone’s been on the other side of the table to another lawyer who’s not been civil. Perhaps it’s been in the courtroom, perhaps just in the hallway, or maybe it was in a letter or a series of letters, or it’s just been during a short phone call. And it seems it doesn’t matter what area of law you practice — civil litigation, corporate-commercial, real estate, family, criminal, immigration law, etc. — there’s always a bad egg out there somewhere. And it’s such a scourge on the profession that law societies, bar associations, and legal academics have tried to tackle the “problem.” But the “problem” really is that rudeness can’t be cured or legislated. “You can’t change an a-hole,” one distinguished member of the bar recently noted at a panel I attended on civility.
Published in Commentary
Monday, 17 October 2011 09:19

It is not always about the money!

It is not always about the money!Aon Hewitt conducts an annual best employer survey that measures engagement as the determinant of whether a participating firm qualifies as a “best employer.” How, might you ask, is this different from many of the other surveys used to confer best employer status? For the most part, the other surveys measure satisfaction and not engagement.
Published in Web exclusive content
Monday, 07 March 2011 14:41

Back to basics

Illustration: Kim Rosen
Illustration: Kim Rosen
Lawyers who work in big firms receive a lot of administrative support. There are entire departments devoted to handling the very basics of conducting business: hiring and firing, billing, collections, paying rent, ordering supplies, not to mention courier and catering services. With all of the basics covered, each lawyer is free to do what is expected of him or her: bring in clients and earn money. The problem with this big-firm model is that when lawyers want to practise on their own or within a small firm or company, they quickly discover their knowledge of how to run a business is as limited as their experience in ordering paperclips — that is, very little.
Published in Features
Be an active participant in your annual performance reviewThinking about annual reviews causes most associates some degree of anxiety. Apart from the fact that receiving constructive feedback is daunting to almost everyone, many associates don’t know what to expect because they haven’t received ongoing feedback. That’s either because they haven’t asked for it at the conclusion of projects or supervising lawyers have failed to give it.
Published in Web exclusive content

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