small and sole practice

  • Reducing the risk of ransomware attacks

    Jul 15, 2019

    The recent and alarming spate of high profile ransomware attacks against government entities and courthouses in the United States, should be a reminder for law firms to maintain vigilance in protecting computer networks and client data.

  • Applying diversity and inclusion to small firms

    Jun 17, 2019

    Diversity and inclusion have been trending for several years and have exploded recently. More than ever, the spotlight is on what law firms are doing to advance diversity and inclusion in the profession.

  • Burnout redefined by the World Health Organization

    Jun 3, 2019

    Burnout, whether your own or your staff's, drains productivity. It reduces efficiency and increases absenteeism and presenteeism (working while sick). One of the problems with burnout is that many of us only have a vague sense of what it is, if we recognize it at all.

  • Balancing non-billable commitments: What juniors should look for and when

    May 27, 2019

    At a recent fireside chat hosted by The Advocates’ Society for young lawyers, I gained an insight at just the right time.

  • Business maintenance 101

    May 13, 2019

    In our personal lives, we maintain cars, a home and our health. Similarly, our law firms also require regular under-the-hood maintenance. Certain set-it-and-forget-it elements of a business require our periodic attention to keep things running smoothly. Some of these include: insurance contracts, security measures, policies and procedures manuals, contingency plans and relationships with third-party service providers.

  • For spring cleaning, cleanse the clutter – but also clear morale-marring negativity

    Apr 22, 2019

    Spring cleaning is something some of us do in our personal lives. It can be a valuable exercise to incorporate into our professional lives too. Clutter detracts from productivity. Even if one functions well in a messy office, there is time lost in searching for needed items, and clutter is a source of distraction.

  • Do benchers even matter to small firms?

    Apr 8, 2019

    Law societies are governed by a board of directors. In many jurisdictions, these directors are called benchers. Some are appointed but many are elected by lawyers across the province. They determine matters relevant to lawyers. They establish law society rules and policies. They also serve as adjudicators in disciplinary hearings. Why then do so many lawyers, especially those in small firms, decline to exercise their right to vote for benchers

  • The importance of friendships with non-lawyers

    Mar 18, 2019

    I have come to learn to keep your legal friends close but your non-legal friends even closer. The rule seems especially sensible for junior sole practitioners, but it’s perhaps a lesson for all lawyers.

  • Takeaways from Clio's legal trends report

    Feb 25, 2019

    Clio, a company that most of us probably recognize, released its third annual Legal Trends Report last fall. While the report is based on data from the U.S. market, there are some interesting insights that Canadian sole and small firms can consider in trying to improve their business.

  • The accelerated investment incentive

    Feb 11, 2019

    With tax season gearing up, now is a good time to be reminded of some recent changes to the tax regime affecting your firm's business planning. In its 2018 Fall Economic Statement, the Department of Finance made some proposals to enhance business confidence and encourage more capital investments. Of the proposals, one that sole and small firms can take advantage of is the Accelerated Investment Incentive.

  • Improving mental health in a small firm

    Jan 21, 2019

    Mental health has been a trending issue in recent years, and for good reason. We have all come across cautionary tales about the importance of mental health and the dangers of depression, burnout, and substance abuse within the profession.

  • Taking on Big Law

    Taking on Big Law

    Jan 14, 2019

    When it comes to examining the business of law, the media often places too much emphasis and focus on Big Law and metrics that apply more to Bay Street or Wall Street than main street.

  • Final goal for 2018: planning for disability or prolonged absence

    Dec 3, 2018

    Having such a plan is a critical obligation to yourself, as well as to your family, employees and clients. As such, getting this done by the end of the year should be a priority.

  • The junior sole practitioner is not a mere blip in the profession

    Dec 3, 2018

    The life of a sole practitioner caught my interest during the first year of my litigation practice on Bay Street. As I came across a range of opposing and co-counsel, many were self-employed, driven, confident, relaxed and they impressed me.

  • Strategic marketing for small firms

    Oct 8, 2018

    Cost-effective client acquisition is critical for small firms that do not have the ability to dump vast sums into a marketing budget.

  • Critical topics facing the legal community

    Critical topics facing the legal community

    Oct 1, 2018

    Throughout 2018, Canadian Lawyer, with research partners RSM Canada and CIBC, invited members of the legal community to provide input on six critical topics facing the legal community.

  • Vanity metrics for lawyers

    Sep 10, 2018

    Periodically, we all fall into productivity and performance ruts or the feeling of career stagnation. One reason for this is our reliance on vanity metrics. While these metrics may make us feel good temporarily, they do little to improve our business and skills as lawyers.

  • The silver lining to losing good employees

    Aug 13, 2018

    Replacing a valued employee can be a difficult transition for small offices. However, it is an opportunity to inject new energy and improve the office environment. Here are some suggestions to smoothly manage the departure of a key staff member.

  • Preparing a small firm for a recession

    Jul 9, 2018

    Many Canadian law firms were affected by the 2008 recession. Firms of all sizes laid off associates and froze hiring. Business dried up as corporate clients went in-house and reduced legal-spending budgets. Even litigation work decreased due to the dim prospects of successfully collecting against parties with no means to pay.

  • What small firms can learn from Jeff Bezos and Amazon

    May 7, 2018

    Businesses must innovate strategically. The challenge for small firms is in navigating the abundance of products and ideas selling new (but not necessarily improved) ways of doing things.