Monday, 10 July 2017 09:00

Leveraging the small firm advantage

Leveraging the small firm advantageClient communication is more than just a client understanding your legal advice. It also entails the client understanding the value they are getting in hiring you. There are countless articles selling the benefits of working in small firms, but do your clients and the community around you know why they should be hiring a lawyer there?          
Published in Web exclusive content
Monday, 10 April 2017 09:00

Federal budget could cripple small firms

Federal budget could cripple small firmsLast year, the federal government’s budget took aim at small businesses by clamping down on ways to maximize the small business deduction. This affected incorporated lawyers operating in a partnership. This year, the budget, tabled on March 22, takes aim at long-standing tax deferral opportunities afforded to certain professionals, including lawyers, accountants, dentists, medical doctors, veterinarians and chiropractors.    
Published in Web exclusive content
Monday, 18 June 2012 09:29

Keeping staff in a small law firm

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.
Published in Web exclusive content
‘We want students whose heart is in rural Canada,’ says Lakehead’s founding law dean Lee Stuesser.
‘We want students whose heart is in rural Canada,’ says Lakehead’s founding law dean Lee Stuesser.
With the first law school in northern Ontario set to open next year, it seems fitting that the founding dean is from a small community himself.
Published in Latest News
Monday, 27 February 2012 08:04

Articling how-to

As law societies grapple with a crisis that could change articling forever, students are still looking for their own ways to clear the final hurdle to a career in law. Staff writer Michael McKiernan asked articling students past and present for their advice on setting up articles away from the mainstream and at smaller firms.
As law societies grapple with a crisis that could change articling forever, students are still looking for their own ways to clear the final hurdle to a career in law. Staff writer Michael McKiernan asked articling students past and present for their advice on setting up articles away from the mainstream and at smaller firms.
Published in Issue Archive
Lawyers, particularly those new to the practice, often wonder whether they should be charging an initial consultation fee. The dilemma is obvious: lawyers want to get new clients in the door but, at the same time, also want to be paid for their services.
Published in Web exclusive content
While most of us now use computers to generate our documents, not everyone uses document management software or has a system in place for organizing the files on their computers. For those who do not, much time (lawyer and staff) is often wasted searching for data and files that are sitting on the very computer or network we are using. The primary purpose of a file management system is to ensure you can quickly find what you are looking for when you need it, whether it be a case on point, a letter, a pleading, or a document painstakingly prepared on another file but required now on a new matter.
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
Friday, 18 February 2011 13:26

Minimizing your firm’s receivables

One of the biggest challenges I have had to face as the proprietor of a small firm is how best to minimize the firm’s account receivables. I am not alone in this challenge. For many, the firm’s receivables add up to thousands of dollars. Often, if appropriate steps haven’t been taken to secure payment, they end up going unpaid. While avoiding receivables altogether may not be possible, there are steps that can be taken to limit them.
Published in Web exclusive content
Succession planning is a topic rarely discussed by many of us in small practices. In fact, many lawyers don’t even think about an exit strategy until they have made the decision to leave the practice. By that time, while the lawyer may be keen to leave the practice, the many ethical and practical responsibilities associated with closing or transferring it make the departure particularly burdensome and can significantly delay the member’s desire to move on.
Published in Web exclusive content
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