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    Archive for August, 2008
    CBA Presentations – Quebec City
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

      Two o’clock in the mornin’,
    I’m sleepin’
    and something wakes me but I don’t know what it is.
    [Computer goes:] “You’ve got mail.”… ♫

    Words and music by J. Shin.

    In Quebec City at the Canadian Bar Association’s  Canadian Legal Conference, I had the opportunity to present on two sessions:

    The PowerPoints, in Adobe Acrobat format, can be downloaded by following the links above.  My thanks to Dan and my co-presenters for making the presentations effortless and to the audience who not only came to listen, but became active participants in the presentations.  As a result I very much enjoyed the entire experience as well as the time in Quebec City.

    Hopefully we provided many tips to assist in running a law practice better and dealing with the avalanche of emails that we all seem to get these days! And hopefully we have learned to turn off that beep that says ‘You’ve Got Mail!”

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Fraud and theft, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Trends | Permalink | 3 Comments »
    Tracing Lost Items….
    Sunday, August 24th, 2008

      Rikki Don’t Lose That Number
    You don’t wanna call nobody else
    Send it off in a letter to yourself…♫

    Words and music by Walter Becker and  Donald Fagen, recorded by Steely Dan.

    Just having returned from presenting at the American Bar Association’s Annual meeting in NYC and the Canadian Bar Association’s annual meeting in Quebec City, it occurred to me that I had been carrying around cameras, a computer, cell phone etc with no record of any serial numbers in the event that any one of them ‘disappeared’.

    The thought came  to me that I could capture all these serial numbers and place them in a email that I emailed to my GoogleMail account. If I needed to reference any of these, it would be a fairly simple matter to find an internet cafe and pull up the proper serial number for the police (and also pull up the insurer’s telephone number) if any of them became lost.

    For that matter, an email could contain other important information as well…that could be handy when you are miles and miles from home…if your wallet was lost or stolen.  Health care numbers, credit card contact numbers etc….sort of an emergency checklist….who to contact and how….

    After all, you don’t want to lose those numbers….and the last thing you want to do is start calling people at home trying to find them.  Send them off in an email to yourself!

    Posted in Fraud and theft, Law Firm Strategy, Technology, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    90 Tips in 90 Minutes – Best of ABA TECHSHOW
    Saturday, August 9th, 2008

    The Best of ABA TECHSHOW: Law Practice Management & Technology Tips – CLE presentation from the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City, August 8, 2008.

     You’ll see it’s all a show
    Keep ’em laughing as you go
    Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
    And always look on the bright side of life.. ♫

    Music and lyrics by  Eric Idle and John Du Prez, from Spamalot.

    My colleagues Sharon Nelson, Dan Pinnington, Reid Trautz and I had the pleasure of presenting the session: Best of ABA TECHSHOW: Law Practice Management & Technology Tips in New York City on Friday, August 8, 2008.  The session was packed with great tips and information and we had a great audience that also contributed wonderful tips as well.

    The PowerPoint from the presentation can be downloaded *here*.

    We had a great time in giving the presentation and tried to keep the audience informed and entertained, as highlighted by the final two tips: first: the best tip is the one that you implement today and second (which we did sing in unison!): “Always look on the bright side of life”.

    Posted in Adding Value, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Technology, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    Real Estate Fraud…
    Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

    Avoiding being trapped…

    ♫ A bit too late, to try to turn back now
    Make things right, now, lights shine on me..♫

    Words and Music by Angels and Airwaves.

    Ron Usher (click on the link to see Ron on YouTube defeating a real estate fraud), a real estate lawyer and one who successfully stopped a real estate fraud with the assistance of the police, has passed along these tips to avoid being caught in a real estate fraud as a lawyer:

    Characteristics of the Fraudulent Transaction:

    1.    The deal is a private sale using BCREA (British Columbia Real Estate Association) forms, but no real estate agent is involved.

    2.    The target property is owned by a single owner with clear title (i.e. no mortgages to discharge)

    3.    The Vendor – Client is not known to you. They state that they found your firm via the Internet.

    4.     A 3rd Party (perhaps the vendor’s  “son”) calls on behalf of the Vendor and makes all arrangements.

    5.     The Vendor insists that the proceeds of sale resulting to the Vendor be paid to a 3rd party (usually a company), accompanied by a story that this on the advice of an accountant.

    6.     The client is vague with regard to the details of the transaction.

    7.     The transaction involves a large deposit which has allegedly been paid directly between the parties, which may not be in line with the terms of the agreement.

    8.      It may be stated that the property is a “Rental property” but there are no adjustments for rent and deposit, as would be typical of such a transaction.

    9.      The address stated for the purchaser may not match the civic address of the actual

    10.    The caller ID displayed on the office phone on phone calls from the Vendor does not match the Vendor’s name.

    11.     If you look up the phone number of the Vendor (using or the phone book, for example) there is confusion when you call and ask for the client and state that you are acting for them on the sale of their property.

    12.     The ID presented by the purported client (a driver’s licence or Social Insurance Card) is brand new despite the fact that it was “issued” years before.

    So how can you best protect yourself?

    First, look up the Vendor in the phone book or in Canada411 when a deal comes into the office – and call the name directly *(not using the telephone number listed on the contract of purchase and sale)*.  Verify the instructions to act on the sale.

    Scan the ID and compare the information with the actual address information in the phone book and/or Canada411.

    Insist on the proceeds of sale being made payable to the Vendor and not a third party. Vendors have bank accounts and are perfectly capable of depositing a lawyer’s trust cheque and cutting a cheque payable to whomever if they desire.  There should be no need to have the lawyer’s office act as a bank and enable a fraudster to pay the funds to a third party.

    Attune your antenna to pick up on vibes that just don’t ‘feel right’.  If the transaction appears questionable, then either refuse to act or start asking questions.  If you do think you have a fraudulent transaction, contact the Financial Crimes section of the RCMP or the Financial Crimes Section of the Vancouver Police Department.  Lawyers in BC  have no ethical duty to impostors and indeed, have a positive duty not to act in such a situation.   This is in s. 6 of Chapter 4 of the Professional Conduct Handbook:

    Dishonesty, crime or fraud of client

    6. A lawyer must not engage in any activity that the lawyer knows or ought to know assists in or encourages any dishonesty, crime or fraud, including a fraudulent conveyance, preference or settlement.

    [heading and rule amended 03/05; heading amended 05/05]

    After all, after the fraud has gone through it is a bit too late to try to turn back and make things right, especially with the all the light being cast on the transaction.

    Posted in Fraud and theft, Issues facing Law Firms, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »