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    2014 Predictions!
    Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

    ♫  Let’s tell the future
    Let’s see how it’s been done
    By numbers, by mirrors, by water
    By dots made at random on paper…♫

    Lyrics, Music and recorded by Susan Vega.

    2014

    (images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fire_craker.jpg and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:San_Diego_Fireworks.jpg – creative commons licence)

    The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create it” has been variously attributed to many authors, particularly Dennis Gabor.

    Accordingly this is a call for all gentle readers to contribute their tips and predictions for 2014!  Last year we heard from Stephanie Kimbro, Nate Russell, Tom Spraggs, Richard Granat, Jean Francois De Rico, Mitch Kowalski, John Zeleznikow, Andrew Clark, Colin Rule, Robert Denney, Ross Fishman, Noric Dilanchian, Steve Matthews and of course, Jordan Furlong.

    I think that this is the most interested series of posts in the year and so I invite everyone to submit a post and we all can see what everyone thinks the future of law and legal practice will be like!

    Let’s tell the future!

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Fraud and theft, 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 | 4 Comments »
    What’s Hot: Strategic Planning
    Monday, June 17th, 2013

    ♫  Make a list baby, of the things I’ll do for you…♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by Ambrosia.

    STRATEGIC PLANNING IS AGAIN HIGH ON FIRMS’ AGENDAS

    chess

    This is another guest post from my friend Bob Denney.  It is of particular interest since my MBA was in the area of the strategic application of technology to the practice of law.  So to see a renewed growing interest in the area of strategic planning is a gratifying one – and one that I truly endorse.

    So without further ado – here are Bob’s insights into this area:

    Several recently published surveys confirm that a large percentage of firms, regardless of size, have put many of the same issues high on their agendas for this year. In no particular order, these are some of them:

    • The need to grow in order to survive
    • Seeking a merger if they can’t grow
    • Clients insistence on receiving value for their legal spend
    • The need to obtain regular client feedback
    • Dealing with under-performing partners
    • Succession planning
    • Continued lateral hiring in lieu of associate recruiting
    • Decreasing leverage because of fewer associates
    • Practice group organization and management
    • Increased competition from online sources and alternative legal service providers
    • Strategic Planning

    None of these issues are surprising but the return of Strategic Planning to firms’ agendas is a healthy sign because many firms had abandoned planning during the recession, Yet, as most businesses and organizations have long recognized, it is essential. Now law firms are recognizing it is more essential than ever because of the many changes in the legal profession.

    Integrated Strategic Planning, as we define it, has always been one of our largest areas of practice and now the number of these projects we are working on has increased over 300% in the past six months. For firms that have not yet put Strategic Planning on their agendas, we attach a discussion of the benefits, misconceptions and application of the process.

    Robert Denney Associates Inc. provides strategic management and marketing counsel to law firms, companies and non-profit organizations throughout the United States. Previous Communiques as well as information about our services may be viewed on our web site. P.O. Box 551, Wayne, PA 19087-0551 • 610-644-7020 • fax: 610-296-8726 email: bob@robertdenney.com • web site: www.robertdenney.com

    Thanks Bob for highlighting how strategic planning and its components should be high on the list of things that management should be doing in law firms!

    Posted in Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    2013 Tips and Predictions – Part Two!
    Sunday, December 30th, 2012

    ♫ But I see your eyes at night
    And you know what’s wrong
    And you know what’s right.

    The future…♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by The Drums.

    Further to my prior post, here is Part Two of the tips and predictions from around the world for 2013!!

     

    Richard Granat is a lawyer and a recognized expert on the delivery of legal services over the Internet.  He is also the Founder of Granat Legal Services, P.C., in Washington, D.C., one of the first virtual law firms in the United States. Richard also serves as Co-Chair of the ELawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association and serves on the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services of the ABA.

    In 2009, the ABA Journal recognized Richard as one of 50 Legal Rebels  throughout the Unites States – individuals who are engaged in changing the legal profession. In 2010, Richard received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Bar Association in recognition of his innovations in the delivery of legal services,

    Richard has been involved in developing innovative legal services delivery systems for over 30 years, first as part of the initial working group that created the National Legal Services Program, and then later as Director of the Center for Legal Studies at Antioch Law School in Washington, D.C., the nation’s first clinical law school, and later President and Dean of the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training, the nation’s first paralegal school. He is an Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.

    Richard’s involvement in the emerging area of e-lawyering is indicative of where his predictions lie:

    • We will see more venture capital flowing into legal start-ups and more launches of new companies in the legal industry. Watch for http://www.judicata.com , http://www.ravellaw.comhttp://www.lawpal.com , and http://www.lawgives.com to launch and have an impact on various sectors of the legal industry.
    • Watch for more online dispute resolution web sites.
    • LegalZoom will settle their law suit against RocketLawyer.
    • Watch for the emergence of branded networks of law firms such as http://www.legalforce.com and Jacoby & Meyers serving consumers.
    • Watch for disruptive web sites like http://www.attorneyfee.com to offer outcome-based evaluations of individual law firms leading toward more transparency in lawyer selection.

     

    Jean-François De Rico  is a member of the board of directors of Langlois Kronstrom Desjardins, one of the largest law firms in Quebec, with nearly 100 professionals working in its offices in Montréal and Québec City. He works with the other members of Lexing, the first international network of lawyers dedicated to technology law. He is a member of the steering committee of Sedona Canada, and of the executive committee of the Law Practice Management and Technology Section of the Canadian Bar Association He frequently speaks at conferences on the legal framework of information technology, and on issues related to e-discovery, social media and their impacts on the practice of law.

    Jean-François’ prédictions lie in the area of privacy and the law:

    • Data breach notification obligation will be enacted (PIPEDA modification bill);
    • Creative lawyers will introduce intrusion upon seclusion cases in other provinces;
    • B.C. Courts will clarify what media should be accredited for tweeting in the Courtroom;
    • Cybersecurity will yield even more discussions….
    • And on a more personal note, I will finally decide which tablet is right for me…
    • RIM’ blackberry 10 will [I really don’t know anymore]….
    • And in the no kidding category : The Canadian Anti Spam act will come into force;
    • There will be provincial elections for the second year in a row in Quebec;

     

    Mitch Kowalski is an innovative thinker, writer, speaker and lawyer from Toronto, Ontario. He is the author of the critically acclaimed, ABA best-seller, Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century. He speaks regularly on legal service innovation as well as blogging on legal matters for the National Post’s blog, The Legal Post and on innovation in legal services for Slaw.ca. Mitch’s print articles have appeared in Lexpert MagazineThe NationalThe AdvocateThe Hong Kong Law JournalThe Globe and Mail, and the National Post. He teaches innovation in law at Western University Law School and at the University of Ottawa Law School. Mitch is one of the co-founders of lawTechcamp Toronto, a co-ordinator of LawSync and was selected as one of the Fastcase Top 50 Global Legal Innovators in 2012.

    2013 – Change is Hard:

    Last year I made 8 predictions of which 4 came true: another large firm merger; many law societies looking at Alternative Business Structures; more aggressive GCs; and a law school (kind-of, sort-of, maybe) looking at a type of practical training element to its classes.

    Unfortunately, I see 2013 as a flat year in terms of legal innovation and so I have limited my predictions to 5.

    Prediction #1

    The articling crisis in Ontario will continue to worsen. Ontario’s Law Practice Program run by a third party won’t come into force until 2014, but 2013 will see a number of players step-up to offer to run the program, including at least one law school. My long term prediction is that one of these players will eventually make the LPP so much better than articling (which, quite frankly, would not be that hard to do), that articling will eventually die a natural death. And twenty years from now, lawyers will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

    Prediction #2

    This is perhaps the most obvious prediction for 2013 – another major Canadian/UK law firm merger will occur. With the recent formation of Dentons and yet another Norton Rose merger, Canadian law firms outside of the Seven Sisters will be furiously searching for a dance partner before the music stops. The key however will be integration. Merging is easy – making it all work is the hard part. And the last thing the Canadian legal industry needs is “two or three rocks tied together in an effort to make themselves float.”

    Prediction #3

    Some national firm will finally wake up to the benefits of putting on-shoring services in a low cost centre within Canada; for example creating such a centre in St John or Moncton, cities well-suited for bilingual work. I understand that McCarthys has created, or is creating a Legal Process Outsourcer within its hugely expensive downtown Toronto office space – a move which, if true, demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of what on-shoring is all about.

    Prediction #4

    One or two large Canadian law firms will, in an effort to appear innovative to their clients, create a Director of Innovation role, but that person will not be given the resources or top down buy-in/support necessary to effect change. Yes, I took my angry pills today.

    Prediction # 5

    Now for the pie-in-the-sky moment which I daily pray will come true. Saskatchewan will become the Delaware of Canada by being the first province to permit Alternative Business Structures that are controlled by non-lawyers. The rush of Canadian and international firms to take advantage of this structure will not only generate additional income for that province’s law society, but make it the envy of the country.

     

    John Zeleznikow, Professor of Information Systems, Laboratory of Decision Support and Dispute Management, School of Management and Information Systems, Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University.Professor Zeleznikow is an internationally recognised expert, with over 30 years research experience including the last 15 years working on negotiation decision support and machine learning in law.  His publications include three books, 50 refereed journal articles (including the Harvard Negotiation Law Review) and 150 refereed conference articles.Professor Zeleznikow has worked in the university sector for 38 years, with extended experience in USA, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Poland and Israel.  He has also worked with Victoria Legal Aid, Relationships Australia, the New Zealand government and the Victorian Institute of Sport.He has appeared on: ABC Radio and TV, A Current Affair, Economist,  Boston Globe, London Daily Telegraph,Times of London, CNN, The Age, Australian Financial Review and El Periodico in Barcelona:
    John’s prediction from an academic viewpoint:
    • My guess is within the next decade, Canadian and US law schools will require their full-time staff to have PhDs.  Definitely less important for sessional staff. (Editor:  Whew !  As a sessional lecturer I can continue to lecture without a PHD!)

    We will continue to look to the future and see what is right in the third and final post in this series!

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    2013 Tips and Predictions – Part One!
    Saturday, December 29th, 2012

    ♫ Tomorrow’s what we’re on about
    Tomorrow’s what we’re on about
    Not yesterday
    It’s up to man to understand
    To have success upon this land…♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by Steel Pulse.

     

    (This is a revised blog post: My apologies to both Steven Matthews and Noric Dilanchian – I inadvertently placed some of Steve’s predictions under Noric’s name. My apologies to both! I have corrected these errors in this version)

    Two years ago I posted Tips and Predictions for 2011.  Last year I invited colleagues, friends and readers to contribute their tips and predictions for 2012.  I had so much fun reading their predictions (and jumping in with a few of my own) that I thought I would repeat the exercise again this year.  So without further ado here are the tips and predictions for 2013!

    Andrew Clark, Project Director, BC Court Services, Independent IT consultant in Victoria, BC with Willowtree Consulting, Inc.  and associated with the School of Business at Royal Roads University:

    Well – here are my thoughts on 2013 (specific to BC):

    • we will see more judges using technology!!!  In all 3 courts (appeal, supreme, provincial).
    • we will still see very little use of the technology in the courtroom though – just a few true eTrials but they will be the exception.
    • as a result of the election in BC, there will be delays in funding and little will get done in terms of new initiatives or projects with government and the Courts.
    • as a result, we will see more innovation coming from individuals (judges, court staff, lawyers) – bottom up initiatives rather than top down.  The key for leaders will be to let that innovation foster and gather momentum – and not shut it down.

     

     

    Colin Rule, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Modria Inc., of San Jose, California and the Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at UMass-Amherst and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School:

    Here is my prediction for 2013:

    • UNCITRAL will release guidelines for a global ODR system in 2013, and the EU will pass the regulation requiring ODR in all member states by 2015, which will spark a huge upswell in European interest in ODR (“Online Dispute Resolution”).

     

     

    Robert Denney, the founder of Robert Denney Associates, Inc., of Wayne, Pennsylvania, a firm that has specialized in providing management, marketing and strategic planning expertise to professional firms, companies and non-profit organizations.  Rob is also a member of the American Bar Association and also a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management, Bob is a past Director of the Legal Marketing Association and was elected to the LMA’s Hall of Fame.

    Bob is famous for his ‘What’s Hot and What’s Not” publications, so it is not surprising that his prediction is a hot one:

    • Non-lawyer ownership of or at least investment in U.S. Law firms will become a Red Hot issue.  It will eventually be approved but not until 2014 or 2015.

     

     

    Ross Fishman, the Chief Executive Officer of Fishman Marketing, Chicago, Illinois, a former litigator, marketing director, and marketing partner, Ross has written more than 250 articles and received dozens of marketing awards, including the Legal Marketing Association’s “Best of Show” grand prize five times. A Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, Ross was the very first marketer inducted into the LMA’s Hall of Fame.

    Ross is an expert on legal marketing so it isn’t too surprising that his predictions off insight in the future of legal marketing:

    • I think 2013 will mark the first major move away from the proprietary website software platforms that law firms have historically used in favor of open-source platforms like WordPress and Drupal.
    • When law firms were first getting online in the mid-90s, the earliest sites were handmade from scratch.  There was no ready-made software and little precedent.  I laid out our first website in 1994 or 1995 when I was Marketing Partner at Coffield Ungaretti & Harris, and I remember trying to figure out what information visitors to a law firm website would want to see, and how to structure the internal organization and navigation for ease of use.
    • We got a lot of things right, and an equal number of things wrong.  (Remember “Helpful Links” sections?)
    • In the mid- and late-90s, some smart IT professionals saw the opportunity and built software companies to develop law firm websites.  These created more competitors, and the field is now full of private law firm website developers, each with their own proprietary software.  Open-source software like WordPress has become so powerful and easy to use, that it no longer makes sense to get locked into any particular company’s proprietary software.
    • We’ve largely stopped working with those outside companies and have built the last couple dozen websites we’ve developed using WordPress.  The CMS is simple and powerful and requires very little training.  Smaller firms have been increasingly using WordPress, and we are having equal success with 100-lawyer and larger firms.
    • The recession’s tight marketing dollars have meant that many law firms haven’t updated their websites recently, and there are countless firms with 3-7 year old websites that are in desperate need of an update, upgrade, or overhaul.  As the economy continues gaining steam and more dollars are freed up this next year, I think 2013 will be the year that larger law and other professional-service firms realize the value of open-source platforms and will increasingly use them in their next-generation websites.
    • So, with a technologically level playing field, it means that great design and a strong brand will be important.   That is, if everyone is using the same technology, the differentiator will have to be the message and how it’s conveyed.

     

    Noric Dilanchian, Managing Partner, DILANCHIAN, Lawyers & Consultants – Intellectual Property & Innovation Professionals, Sydney Australia. Noric is a former president of AIMIA – the Australian national industry association for e-commerce, internet, and interactive media developers. Since 2000 he has served as a member of the Business Law Committee of the Law Society of New South Wales, chairing its Intellectual Property Sub-committee.

    Noric’s background in intellectual property and e-commerce highlight his predictions in the area of mobility and the practice of law:

    • In 2013 it will be more apparent as to what’s needed to reform on the job training and tools for business lawyers and people in business who do legal or related work. Two decades and more of R&D will jell. More specifically, insights will grow about disparate experiments and ventures for online - practical post-graduation legal courses, template agreements and related documents, and legal Q&A forums. They will accelerate reform of on the job training, whether you include or associate that topic with business and commercial know-how, continuing professional education or, more narrowly, continuing legal education. Critically, understanding will grow about the user interfaces and look and feel helpful for individual or collaborative computing for legal services on networks.

    Steve Matthews is the President and Founder of Stem Legal Web Enterprises, a web development, publishing and strategy company for the legal profession in Vancouver, BC. Steve is recognized as one of the leading authorities on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for lawyers and law firms. Steve has been an editorial board member for the ABA’s Law Practice magazine, co-founded the award-winning group blog Slaw, and is frequently quoted throughout North America on topics and trends related to legal web technology. In 2011, Steve was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.

    Steve’s predictions lie towards the true application of  knowledge management…or rather knowledge application..within law firms:

    • The multi-device law firm employee.  I have little doubt that we will look back on 2013 as the year we mobilized legal information. Firms will bring in more iPads and Android tablets and will work feverishly to make consumable content available to lawyers and employees outside the office. I expect firms to go beyond the provision of basic IT support for tablets, and move into the realm of purchasing and providing dedicated mobile work devices. Implementations will be optimized to limit data exposure, and effectively rebuff the concept of BYOD.
    • Why? Because the cost of tablets isn’t all that prohibitive, and because mobile security will be a huge topic of discussion in 2013. The rise of private enterprise apps, and even enterprise app stores, will only push firms to further control the mobile environment they provide.
    • Firms know how important local search is and will obviously need to keep on fighting through this. But in 2013, I hope and expect that Google will get its local search services fixed. My prediction is for a universal company dashboard that would centralize control over brand information across all Google services. Many smaller firms and solos are terribly confused by how these services are currently operating, and would be grateful if Google could deliver a clearer picture going forward.

     

    Jordan Furlong, of Ottawa, Ontario is a partner with the global consulting firm Edge International and a senior consultant with legal web development company Stem Legal Web Enterprises. Jordan has been the award-winning editor of three top Canadian legal periodicals: the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s CCCA Magazine, and The Lawyers Weekly newspaper.

    Jordan is also an Honourary Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and served as editor of its 2006 Innovaction e-zine on innovation in law practice and is the Past Chair of the College’s InnovAction Awards, which recognize and reward creativity and innovation in legal services delivery. In 2012, I was named one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

    Jordan’s blog: Law21: Dispatches from a Legal Profession on the Brink, has been named four straight years by the ABA Journal as one of the 100 best law blogs in North America.

    Jordan provides us with insights as to what will be happening structurally in the Canadian legal market:

    • Two more midsize or large Canadian firms will join global law firm groups, either through merger or Swiss Verein hookup.
    • Ontario’s introduction of a Law Practice Program to supplement (and perhaps eventually replace) articling will lead at least two other law societies to commission task forces to consider similar measures in their own jurisdictions.
    • The first signs of a serious slowdown in the Canadian economy will mark the beginning of retrenchment efforts by the existing partnerships of midsize and large Canadian firms: fewer associates made partner, more current partners asked to leave.
    • Similarly, Canadian firms will accelerate their lateral hiring efforts, seeking quick fixes to revenue slowdowns by acquiring established “free agent” partners — just as this same trend starts to wind down in the US and UK as delivering too few results with too many risks.
    • And my long shot: Quality Solicitors will expand its operations from the UK to Canada, offering franchise business support to solo and small-firm lawyers and beginning the transformation of the Canadian consumer law sector.

    There you have the first batch of predictions for 2013.  Tomorrow we are on about the next batch of predictions!

     

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 2 Comments »
    Consider the Little Ones
    Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

    Now’s the time that we need to share
    So find yourself, we’re on our way back home…

    Lyrics and music by: Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson; recorded by Supertramp.

     

    Lauren Bilinsky's Team in Training Campaign

    Lauren Bilinsky's Team in Training Campaign

     

    At the present time, there are large corporate fund raising events going on to benefit large united charitable institutions and programs.  These fundraising programs have large and well-organized marketing and corporate donation programs and volunteer events being undertaken by generous and well-meaning people in all sorts of corporations and businesses.

    Not to take away from the efforts of these big united programs, there are many other much smaller-scale fundraising programs being undertaken by no less well-meaning people, from smaller groups to individuals.

    These can range from community hockey and sports teams, educational fundraising efforts to individual medical fundraising campaigns such at the Team in Training for Leukemia and Lymphoma.

    I urge lawyers to consider matching their charity program(s) to the size of their practice.  Remember what it was like to start up your small firm?  Imagine those individuals in smaller fundraising campaigns who are facing uphill fundraising hurdles.  These smaller fundraisers would appreciate a bit of help from those out there who have faced similar hurdles when setting up in practice.  The big united programs benefit from the big downtown corporate programs.  Now is the time we need to share – please keep these little fundraisers in your own home community in mind when it comes to allocating your charity dollars. You can help make their day.

    Posted in Budgeting, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 3 Comments »
    Sandy Confirmed the Need for Emergency Plans
    Thursday, November 8th, 2012

    ♫ Without a warning, you’re outta control.
    The ground shakes and the oceans roll-
    This is the big one, there’s no way to run…♫

    Lyrics and music by: Gerry HouseDevon O’Day, recorded by George Strait.

     

    This is a wonderful guest post from Robert Denney.  While the east coast was being hammered by Sandy, the west coast was experiencing earthquakes (fortunately the impact was minor and there were no tsunamis). In either case, these events only brought to the forefront the need for a disaster plan in each law office.  Here is Bob’s advice in this regard:

    In addition to wreaking havoc and even tragedy in the lives of millions of people and disrupting the operations of countless law firms and businesses, Hurricane Sandy also confirmed the need for firms and businesses to have emergency or disaster plans. Unfortunately some did not and others, including even the New York Stock Exchange, learned their plans were inadequate.

    There are two types of disasters that require emergency planning:

    • impending disasters such as a major storm or flood which can usually be predicted and prepared for
    • other disasters such as fires and explosions which occur without warning. (more…)
    Posted in Budgeting, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    2013 Predictions
    Friday, October 19th, 2012

    ♫ I can see the future
    Step into tomorrow
    I can see the future
    Journey to forever

    Movin’ on
    And we’re movin’ on…♫

    Music and Lyrics by Graham Donald Harvey, Jean-Paul Maunik and Randy  Hope-Taylor, recorded by Incognito.

     

    John F. Kennedy once said “Change is law of life.  And those who look  only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

    In this blog in December 2012, we are going to look at the life in change in law – particularly in trying to predict the changes that will occur in 2013. For the last couple of years I have been pulling together predictions and pulling them into articles in late December that contain these predictions.

    Last year we heard from:

    Steve Gallagher, Tom Spraggs, Darin Thompson, Anatoly Dvorkin, Barney Christianson QC, Steph Kimbro, Simon Chester, Robert Denney, Nicole Garton-Jones, Donna Neff, Colin Rule, Dr. Frank Fowlie, Judge Monty Ahalt (retired), Richard Granat, Terrance Hudson, Jared Correia, Andy Adkins, Colleen Cowan, Debbie Foster, Karen MacKay, Mitch Kowalski, Steve Matthews, Jordan Furlong and Buzz Bruggerman.

    We heard on legal technology, legal documents online, cloud-based litigation support, coping with change and going outside your comfort zone, unbundled legal services, innovation, sharing knowledge and ideas, branding, new breakthroughs, security and privacy and much much more.

    Accordingly, this is a general call for our gentle readers to send in your predictions (to daveb@thoughtfullaw.com) of what lies ahead in 2013 and help all of us step into the future!

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    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, www.internetombudsman.biz.

     

    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 – www.montyahalt.com.
    3. Founder and CEO of VirtualCourthouse.com – leading ODR provider – now counting 10 years -   www.VirtualCourthouse.com

    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 »
    Can One be Too Frugal?
    Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

    ♬ Your a mean one, Mr. Grinch
    You really are a heel
    Your as cuddly as a cactus
    Your as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch…♬

    Lyrics by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, music by Albert Hague, performed by Thurl Ravenscroft.

    Mr. Grinch by Dr. Seuss

    Mr. Grinch by Dr. Seuss

    Anyone who runs a business knows that it is profitable only if you have funds left over after paying all the bills. This enforces a common-sense mentality in ensuring that your costs don’t get out of control. However, in some offices the principle of saving money is taken to such an extreme that their frugality is actually costing them money. Here are some examples (drawn from the collective experiences of my fellow Practice Management Advisors and myself): (more…)

    Posted in Budgeting, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »