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    Archive for December, 2011
    2012 Tips and Predictions – Part 3
    Saturday, December 31st, 2011

    ♬  Hey, look around it’s all so clear
    Hey, wherever we were going, well we’re here
    Hey, so many things I never thought I’d see
    Happening right in front of me..♬

    Lyrics and music by Chris DuBois and Brad Paisley, recorded by Brad Paisley, “Welcome to the Future”.

    2012 Happy New Year

    2012 Happy New Year

    In this third and final collection of tips and predictions for 2012, we turn first to my good friend and colleague, Steve Gallagher. Steve has been one of those rare individuals who has kept a perspective on where the legal profession is and is going.  Accordingly, I though it was appropriate that we start with his views in this final post of 2011 on what will be happening in 2012:

    Stephen P Gallagher: “Coping with Change”:

    (a)  A Law Practice Management Perspective:

    My primary business these days is coaching Lawyers in Transition, so from my vantage point,  I see large geographic areas throughout Canada and the United States that will have no practicing lawyers within hundreds of miles. At the same time, law school graduates will cluster around metropolitan areas looking for entry-level positions primarily to pay off law school debt. I would like to think that our talented young professionals will start looking for opportunities with baby boomers, particularly in more rural areas of the country to continue the tradition of serving the public.

    (b)  Legal Technology:

    I’ve follow the writing of Sherryl Turkle, a psychologist and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Initiative on Technology and Self.  Professor Turkel is concerned about how we may be losing things that Thoreau thought were essential to discovering an identity. Professor Turkle claims to be teaching the most brilliant students in the world (at MIT). She claims that they have done themselves a disservice by drinking the Kool-Aid and believing that a multitasking learning environment will serve their best purposes.

    I too am concerned about this “multitasking learning environment” for lawyers.

    For a Frontline interview, Digital Nation, Professor Turkle was quoted as saying, “She thinks that we’re living in a culture where we’re really not sure what kind of attention we owe each other. People put their cell phones on the table now. They don’t turn them off.” She goes on to say that, “One of my students talked about the first time he was walking with friends, and they received a cell phone call, and they took the call. And he said: “What was I, on pause?” I felt I was being put on pause.” Sheryl Turkle thinks that we’re socially negotiating what kind of attention we feel we owe each other.”

    This flat out scares me. We owe each other more. (more…)

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, I'm a Mac, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 2 Comments »
    2012 Tips and Predictions – Part 2
    Friday, December 30th, 2011

    ♬ See your heart will lead you where you want to be, but your head will lead you where you ought to be.
    But which will lead you where you’re meant to be? ♬

    Lyrics, music and recorded by K’LA.

    2012 New Years

    2012 New Years

    This is Part 2 in the 2012 Tips and Predictions series where I have asked my good friends and colleagues to contribute their best ideas for the New Year. Accordingly without further ado:

    Dr. Frank Fowlie: “Future Shock” predictions:

    1. Consumers will no longer be forced to call their credit card company  to deal with “unknown” charges.  No more phone tress, no more wait times…You’ll be able to go to your bank’s credit card website and fill in a form online, the bank will handle it from there.
    2. When you buy something online and there’s something wrong with the purchase, you’ll be able to go to a single portal for goods sold in Canada, and start a redress process online, at your convenience.  This is less Future Shock, as the European Union has already created a regulation which makes this possible across Europe.  Like “chip” cards did in the past, the technology will migrate from Europe to Canada.
    3. Small Claims Courts in Canada will move towards Online Dispute Resolution to more effectively and efficiently manage the court processes.  There will be a new wave of computer literate judges who hear and settle cases online.
    4. Courts of equity will look to technology to handle small value claims.  Online Dispute Resolution will replace hearings in matters where the value is the same or lower than the Small Claims Court limit.
    5. Law firms will publish hourly rates on their websites to allow for consumer choices.  Consumers will be able to search out legal services in  the same way they look for other commodities online.
    6. Lawyers will begin to sell “Boutique services” allowing consumers to handle some part of their own legal matters.  Some lawyers will develop practices which simply “guide” lay litigants, as opposed to forcing the lay litigant into court with representation.
    7. Legal Zoom, or some like entity, will set up shop in Canada.  Legal services outsourcing becomes a market drive out of India and Ireland.
    8. The public can make complaints against lawyers using an online platform, perhaps to an independent body.

    Dr. Frank Fowlie,


    Judge Monty Ahalt ( Ret.): “Warp Speed”:

    As the year closes out and some say the decade there is always a clamour for the folks to know what is in store for the next year. Some will look at last year and make resolutions. My Life now breaks down into three areas:

    1. Court centered ADR and case management as a recalled Circuit Court Judge now counting 30 years.
    2. A Mediator/Arbitrator now counting about 45 years –
    3. Founder and CEO of – leading ODR provider – now counting 10 years –

    Each area has it’s unique challenges and will experience new horizons in 2012. While I do not pretend to be Carnac the Magnificent of Johnny Carson days  there are some new happenings that seem to be clearly presenting themselves for the coming year. (more…)

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, I'm a Mac, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 2 Comments »
    2012 Tips and Predictions – Part 1
    Thursday, December 29th, 2011

    ♬ What’s happenin brothers and sisters?
    Welcome to our time…♬

    Lyrics, music and recorded by NAS.

    Happy New Year 2012

    Happy New Year 2012

    Last year on Dec. 31, 2010 I posted a Top 10 Legal Tech Predictions for 2011.  This year I asked my very good friends and colleagues to contribute their top Tips and Predictions for 2012 thinking that this would be a great way to get some perspective on the New Year. The response has been overwhelming! Accordingly, here is Part 1 of a three-part blog post containing their top advice and predictions for the coming year.  But this isn’t the end – I will add in my own tips and predictions for 2012 at the end of Part 3 (can’t help but go out on a limb as well) and ask that you, good readers, add in your own tips and predictions by way of comments on the three blog posts.

    Accordingly, here are Part 1 of the Tips and Predictions for 2012!

    Karen MacKay:  Change is Neigh…

    There will be more change in Canadian law firms in 2012 than we have seen in the last 3 years. In Canada, we will see more mergers and spinoffs.  Lots of change happened in the USA in 2011 that was forced on them by the economy.  The difference between what happened in the USA and Canada will be: The change in Canada will be created by strategic decisions within firms seeking opportunities rather than the financial change that was forced on the American firms.

    Karen MacKay MBA CHRP, Phoenix Legal Inc., direct 416.657.2997, mobile 416.904.4848, e-mail,


    Mitch Kowalski: 2012 – A Turning Point for the Canadian Legal Profession?

    When I ran for Bencher in Ontario earlier this year (and was utterly thrashed at the polls!) I did so because I believed that the next ten years are critical to the future of the legal profession. Six months later, my view has not changed.

    All over Canada, the legal profession faces challenges it has never faced in the past – and the challenges will only become more numerous. Richard Susskind was right on point when he wrote, “Law does not exist to provide a livelihood for lawyers any more than illness exists to provide a livelihood for doctors. Successful legal business may be a by-product of law . . . but it is not the purpose.”

    As lawyers we must constantly earn our right to retain a monopoly over the practice of law. It should never be assumed that we will always have the exclusive right to give legal advice, prepare legal documents, close transactions or even appear in court. One just has to look to the U.K.’s Legal Services Act which is dramatically transforming that jurisdiction’s legal profession. Or, take a look to Australia with Slater & Gordon being the only publically-traded law firm in the world – a firm that was once based on a strong litigation practice but is now aggressively moving into commercial practice areas.

    Canada cannot remain an island of lawyer-exclusivity for long – particularly if the legal profession shows itself to be incapable of coming up with creative and efficient ways to make legal services better, faster and cheaper. The commercial pressures of the global economy are too great to ignore and lawyers who stick their heads in the sand will become the dodo birds of the 21st century.

    I hope that 2012 will be a watershed year in which meaningful change will finally commence to surface throughout Canada’s legal profession. The following are eight predictions of what can (and should) occur over the next 12 months. (more…)

    Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Cheap is Good but Free is Better!, Firm Governance, humour, I'm a Mac, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Tips | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    2011 ClawBie Nominations
    Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

    ♬ There’s a few people spinning gold…♬

    Lyrics, music and recorded by Blind Melon.


    Time to finally post my 2011 ClawBie nominations! There have been so many great blogs springing up in Canada that this year that it is becoming even harder to choose only three!

    Of course, the #1 legal blog in Canada, in my humble opinion, is and remains, Simon Fodden and the rest of the group (which grows ever wider) is really defining the standard for legal blogs – not just in Canada but across the world. In the same way Jordan Furlong’s Law21 blog constantly reflects ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking regarding the legal marketplace, trends and undercurrents. Slaw has been nominated by many (which I totally endorse!) and as such I won’t follow on their nominations. I understand that Jordan’s blog is not in the running, since he is one of the judges.

    So I am going to pick three that I think are more than deserving of a Clawbie award. For my nominations, I am staying in BC:

    #1: Eric Magraken’s BC Injury Law blog. Eric is a great example of how a lawyer can lever social media to great effectiveness. All of us have seen buttons linking to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn ..but savvy Eric has a Media Requests link! Eric has previously won ClawBie awards, for good reason. He is setting the bar for a client-centric personal injury blog.

    #2: Susanna Jani’s Distance Family Mediation Blog. BC is moving forward in the application of different mediation methods to resolve disputes in BC (including my interest, Online Dispute Resolution) and Susanna is a careful, thoughtful proponent of and researcher into how these different methods can be used to end conflicts. As she states: “A key goal of the service is to make family mediation affordable and available to all British Columbians, regardless of their income or location.” Susanna is shining a light into how technology can be used to increase access to justice by lowering costs, speeding up resolutions and allowing people to get on with their lives.

    #3: The ClickLaw blog. ClickLaw is doing great things with regard to trying to help ordinary people solve legal problems. This nomination is not so much for the blog but rather all the great work they are doing at ClickLaw. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I used to teach for The People’s Law School, but I have a warm spot in my heart for organizations that are genuinely trying to help those who who don’t have the resources to hire a lawyer and who are looking for some information and education. ClickLaw is doing great things in helping people interact with the government, with courts and other tribunals, particularly teens, immigrants and aboriginal peoples. Good work always deserves recognition. Besides, I love the name “ClickLaw!”

    These are three nominations from all of those who are out there spinning gold…

    Posted in Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Trends | Permalink | 3 Comments »
    2011 Christmas Greeting
    Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

    ♬ Here we are as in olden days,
    Happy golden days of yore.
    Faithful friends who are dear to us
    Gather near to us once more…♬

    Music composed by Hugh Martin, lyrics by Ralph Blane, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

    At is my tradition at this time of year, I would like to take a moment and wish each and everyone the Best of the Holiday Season and a Wonderful and Happy New Year. We are living in difficult and challenging times and I think it is more important that ever to keep our friends and those dear to us close and remind them how they bring meaning to our lives.

    To all I hope for Peace, Hope and Happiness. I hope your dreams become goals and your goals become realities in the New Year.

    As my gift to you, I offer a few minutes of music and images, a time of solitude and reflection. This slide show combines two of my loves – music and photography. All images have all been taken during the last 12 months and on a variety of cameras, including an iPad2.

    I hope this slide show and music (please turn your speakers on) brings to you a time of calm, joy and peace. The music is: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”; music by Hugh Martin, lyrics by Ralph Blane, and is performed by the Argyle Alumni Choir, Argyle Senior Secondary School, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, copyright Frances Roberts, Director. Used with permission. I hope you enjoy the combination of the music and the images. If you have difficulty playing the video, you can always click here and go to the video on

    Best wishes for a safe holiday filled with warmth, comfort, friendship and good cheer!

    (For those interested, the slide show was created originally in PowerPoint then turned into a video file using Camtasia 2 on a MacBook, then uploaded to

    Posted in Adding Value, personal focus and renewal | Permalink | 9 Comments »
    Look for the Gifts in Your Adversity
    Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

    ♬  Take this silver lining
    Keep it in your own sweet head
    Shine it when the night is burning red
    Shine it in the twilight
    Shine it on the cold cold ground
    Shine it till these walls come
    Tumbling down…♬

    Lyrics, music and recorded by David Gray.

    Whiskey Jack

    Whiskey Jack

    This is another “Leadership Moments” guest post by Beth Flynn of the Ohio Leadership Center.

    Your own personal history of overcoming obstacles and taking advantage of the lessons learned is one short chapter in a continuing human story.  Nurture your life’s story with pride.  As an optimist, you, too, can persevere in reframing difficulties and obstacles into new opportunities by taking advantage of Norman Vincent Peale’s advice: “Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities – always see them, for they’re always there.”

    Don’t run from hardships; face them!  Cultivate positive beliefs and thoughts about what you are capable of doing.  Nurture an expectation of success in overcoming what life throws in your path – through good thinking and applied effort.  Even in the tough times, look for silver linings (Paulson, p.100).

    From: Paulson, T. L. (2010).  The optimism advantage: 50 truths to transform your attitudes and actions into results.  Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    The Optimism Advantage is available from the OSU Leadership Center.  Click here to borrow this resource or any other resource. Once you are on their website, click on the Spectrum

    Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world. To begin receiving Leadership Moments please click on the OSLC’s Join Our Mailing List button.

    Thanks Beth for another great leadership post on how we can change our perspectives, look up and see the possibilities!

    Posted in Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Life Is a One Way Street
    Monday, December 12th, 2011

    Looking back on when I
    Was a little nappy headed boy
    Then my only worry
    Was for Christmas what would be my toy
    Even though we sometimes
    Would not get a thing
    We were happy with the
    Joy the day would bring..

    Lyrics, music and recorded by Stevie Wonder [Songs in the Key of Life]


    Rocking Chair

    This is another guest post by Drago Adam, taken from his Monday Morning Motivator Newsletter:

    This week renowned author and leadership expert, John Maxwell asks us the question, “What are you doing with this gift of life”?

    When you are 80 years old, sitting in your porch rocking chair and reflecting on life, questions such as Did I live a useful life? will cross your mind. There’s no doubt this question will be important to you at 80, so it really should be important to you now. Unfortunately, a lot of people make a habit of postponing life. They think that somehow, some way, somewhere at some time, life will get better. This rather poignant saying helps illustrate my point:

    First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. Then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could return to work. Then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying and suddenly realize I forgot to live.

    Isabel Moore said, “Life is a one-way street. No matter how many detours you take, none of them leads back. And once you know and accept that, life becomes much simpler.” (more…)

    Posted in Issues facing Law Firms, personal focus and renewal, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Pwned List – Have You been Compromised?
    Monday, December 5th, 2011

    ♫ You have stolen
    You have stolen
    You have stolen my heart…♫

    Lyrics and music by: Chris Carrabba, recorded by: Dashboard Confessional.

    Pwned List

    There are many news stories about identities and personal information being compromised on the web, but in many cases there are not many ways to verify if your online identity has been breached. For example a friend of mine had several charges appear monthly on her iTunes account that were not hers – it seemed that someone has compromised the account and was charging small amounts every month…small enough that most times, it wouldn’t be noticed…

    Fortunately there is Pwned List (, a free way to check if your user name or email address matches one that is on Pwned’s list of compromised accounts.

    What is the story behind Pwned?

    The site started out as small research project with a rather simple premise. To discover how many compromised accounts can be harvested programatically in just a couple of hours. Well, needless to say, the results were astonishing. In just under 2 hours we had close to 30,000 accounts, complete with logins and passwords. The truly scary part, however, was the quality of data we were able to collect in such a short amount of time. The accounts we were able to retrieve consisted of email services, social media sites, merchants and even financial institutions. It was clear that something had to be done. (more…)

    Posted in Issues facing Law Firms, Make it Work!, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »