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    How Successful Law Firms Really Work
    Monday, May 16th, 2022

    How Successful Law Firms Really Work

    ♫ Nobody does it better
    Makes me feel sad for the rest
    Nobody does it half as good as you
    Baby, you’re the best…♫

    Lyrics and music by: Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Sager, recorded by Carly Simon.

    I haven’t done a book report in a good long while.  But I am going to make an exception this time.

    A book has come along that every lawyer who wishes to run a firm at its peak should not only have on his/her shelf but it should be well-thumbed, stained from coffee spills, its cover torn from constant use and sitting on the corner of their desk within arm’s reach for quick reference. I am speaking of “How Successful Law Firms Really Work” by David L. Ginsberg and Robert A. Feisee, published by the American Bar Association, Law Practice Division (“HSLFRW”)

    A few books have been written that outline how to run a law firm. “How to Start and Build a Law Practice” by Jay Foonberg, now in its 6th edition, is perhaps the grand-daddy of them all. But Ginsberg and Feisee have taken all the collective wisdom of running a law practice and condensed it into 332 pages of sage advice. Is it the bee-all and end-all of law practice management books?  No – but it is an excellent compilation and overview from a 50,000 foot perch, of the things that you should consider in keeping all the balls of legal management in the air.  From here you would be well-versed into jumping into any number of books that address the specific needs of law firm management for greater in-depth knowledge.

    Who is it aimed at?  HSLFRW focuses on the operation of a small to medium sized law firm. It is designed to aid you in the step-by-step creation of your customized business plan by addressing the issues raised in each successive chapter. But it is more than that. It integrates and builds on each chapter by illuminating and then integrating concepts so that you come out of the process with an appreciation of how each pillar upholds the operation of a law firm works and with its companions.

    The book starts with a chapter “How to Use This Book” which starts a reader off on the right foot in terms of how to make the most of what is set out in the subsequent chapters.  The premise is that lawyers, no matter how brilliant, may lack basic business skills; and it seeks to help lawyers of all levels master and implement proven business strategies.

    The book starts with questions of ownership and how to structure your team for maximum effect. Since all firms rise or fall by their people, human resources comes next. Moving on to training, it deals with issues of how to mold your staff and professionals into an efficient and productive team.

    Managing your time is next, since you will have to be able to schedule management tasks as well as legal work into your daily schedule and keep all pots, so to speak, on a constant simmer.

    With the fundamentals taken care of the book moves to clients:  Who are your ideal clients and how do you market to them and then manage them.  What does your legal product look like and how do you deliver services within a clearly defined scope of work.  What is your role relative to your clients?  Emphasizing that ethics underpins all that you do, a chapter on how to stay out of trouble is next.

    Then we jump to more of the nitty-gritty of running a firm.  Finances, budgeting and managing money is next; followed by technology and systems. Since firms run on procedures, there is a chapter on how to develop procedures customized for your firm.

    Next is your office environment – how does your firm look and how does it operate?  Which one are you – a business or a profession – and the implications of viewing your firm each way and what is your definition of success?

    Strategic Planning – both short and long term – are included as are emergency planning and wellness: how to care for yourself.

    Lastly the book concludes with the statement that you are now ready to run your own firm.

    Whether for lawyers just starting out or for lawyers seeking to make partner or better yet, managing partner and desiring knowledge to take them to the next level, this book is a tour-de-force. At $85 for non-ABA members, $68 for ABA members (all USD) it is a steal. You can order it online from the ABA here.

    This book is so good it makes me sad for the rest.  I have but one regret with regards to it…I wish I had written it.

    © 2022 David J. Bilinsky

    (Concurrently published both on http://slaw.ca and this blog.)

    Posted in Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips | Permalink | No Comments »
    Following the Bold and the Disbarred…
    Monday, April 11th, 2022

    Lady Justice at the Supreme Courts, Vancouver, BC

    ( © 2012 Prov. of BC https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

     

    ♫ I can have it all
    Now I’m dancing for my life…

    – Music and Lyrics by Giorgio Moroder, Lyrics by Keith Forsey and Irene Cara; performed by Cara.

    When it comes to going beyond private practice, a few law graduates have taken things perhaps just a bit further than most.

    Take Mark Ciavarella. He was a President Judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. He pled guilty in 2009 to “federal charges of honest services fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with receiving $2.6 million in kickbacks from Robert Powell (himself an attorney) and Robert Mericle, the co-owner and builder respectively, of two private, for-profit juvenile facilities of PA Child Care” (per Wikipedia). How did he earn these kickbacks, you ask? By sentencing children to stays in juvenile detention for crimes such as “mocking a principal on Myspace, trespassing in a vacant building, and shoplifting DVDs from Walmart.”

    Then there is Minnesota attorney Thomas P. Lowe. Now Thomas isn’t the first lawyer to have sex with his client (and almost certainly not the last). He distinguished himself by taking things one step further and billing his client for his time having sex, characterizing these activities as “drafting memos” and “meetings” (per Business Insider). This earned him a professional misconduct citation, among other things.

    Stealing from clients is bad; stealing from orphaned children is in a class all its own. Yet that is what attorney John Milton Merritt did. He plead guilty to 12 counts of using forged court orders to defraud clients. Among those clients were four orphaned girls whose parents were killed in a 2002 car crash and a boy injured in a 2005 car accident. In total, Mr. Merritt stole just under $450,000 from the children and $1.7 million in total (per Huffpost).

    However, not many lawyers make such an impact as Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by his alias, Lenin. He played a leading role in the October Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks overthrew Russia and the Tsars (per Wikipedia).

    He served as head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration, Russia and then the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party.

    Genocide scholar Adam Jones claims that “there is very little in the record of human experience to match the violence unleashed between 1917, when the Bolsheviks took power, and 1953, when Joseph Stalin died and the Soviet Union moved to adopt a more restrained and largely non-murderous domestic policy” (per Wikipedia). Robert Conquest, in his book, estimates the communist leaders of the Soviet Union were responsible for no fewer than 15 million deaths.

    On a different scale, take lawyer Brett Hartley of Florida who was disbarred by The Florida Supreme Court. What did he do? He used his lawyer trust account as a business operating account for an adult entertainment business in Jacksonville, Florida called Flash Dancers. He also abandoned his practice, misappropriated client funds, failed to pay back $255,000 from his father in law after two payments, and had a substance abuse problem.

    This all goes to show that if you throw the ethics book out the window, you can seemingly have it all, provided you don’t mind — dancing for your life.

    Resources to assist with personal, drug, alcohol and other issues

    Since many lawyers who get into ethical troubles do so as a result of alcohol or drug dependence, mental health issues, stress, depression, parenting and elder care issues and other challenging life situations, there are a number of resources available to assist lawyers and in many cases, their staff and families deal with these issues before they become overwhelming. Here is an overview of some of the resources available in BC.  There will be similar programs available in other provinces and states – check with your bar association, practice management advisor or ethics counsel.

    Lawyers Assistance Program (“LAP”) (lapbc.com) LAPBC is an independent organization of members of the BC legal community (lawyers, judges, families and support staff) for members of the legal community.

    LAP provides peer support, resources and referral services to help people deal with personal problems — including alcohol and drug dependence, mental health issues, stress and anxiety, relationships issues, including familial issues, professional concerns, depression and other issues. They are available 24/7. Call 604-685-2171 or 1-888-685-2171 or email info@lapbc.com.

    Mood Disorders Society of Canada (mdsc.ca)

    Mental health resources.

    Law Society of BC

    LifeWorks Canada The Law Society funds LifeWorks Canada’s personal counselling and referral services. Services are confidential and available at no cost to individual BC lawyers, articled students and their immediate families. LifeWorks can “help with life’s questions, issues and concerns — handling stress, maintaining relationships, challenges at work, parenting and childcare, managing money, caring for an older relative or health issues.”

    Contact LifeWorks 24/7:

    • Calling the toll-free number: 1-888-307-0590 for a confidential in-person call.
    • Log in to login.lifeworks.com to learn more about the services Lifeworks provides, including website materials and access to a confidential online chat or in-person call:
      • Username: lawsocietybc
      • Password: healthy
    • Download the free app on Android or IOS — simply search for “Lifeworks.” Once downloaded, open the app, click on “log in” and enter your Username and Password: lawsocietybc/healthy

    Maternity Leave Benefits Program The LSBC offers a maternity leave benefit loan program to assist self-employed women lawyers who do not have access to maternity and parental financial benefits other than government programs remain in practice. To be eligible for the loan, you have to meet all of the requirements listed here. The program provides a loan of $2,000 per month for four months to help with overhead costs during a maternity leave.

    Equity Ombudsman Claire Marchant is the Equity Ombudsman at the LSBC. She can assist with resolving concerns about discrimination and discriminatory harassment. Lawyers, articled students, law students and support staff of legal employers are all free to contact the Equity Ombudsperson. The service is voluntary, confidential and free to participants. Contact Claire: equity@lsbc.org or call 604-605-5303.

    Drug and Alcohol Resources

    Watching a spouse, child or other family member deal with drug, alcohol or mental health issues can present you with one of the most challenging life situations you can ever face. There are many resources available to assist you in this journey.

    HealthLinkBC lists many resources, including how to reach out for help for: suicide, mental health, kids help, alcohol and drug resources and other information. It also lists resources such as how to talk to teens, how to talk to adult children and what your health authority can offer by way of assistance. healthlinkbc.ca/substance-use/parenting-articles.

    Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7. Call 1-800-663-1441 or 604-660-9382 in the Lower Mainland.

    Gambling Support Line 1-888-795-6111

    Depression and Mental Health Resources (cmha.bc.ca)

    HeretoHelp.bc.ca lists a number of resources available to help deal with depression, mood disorders and more.

    There are many other resources available in the province, some of which are specific to communities. For example, call or text 211 to access free information and referral to a full range of community, social, and government services, 24/7 in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Squamish-Lillooet and Sunshine Coast Regional Districts.

    (originally published in PracticeTalk and TechTips in the Canadian Bar Association’s BarTalk magazine:

    https://www.cbabc.org/BarTalk/Articles/2020/April/Columns/Going-Where-Few-Have-Gone-Before

    https://www.cbabc.org/BarTalk/Articles/2020/April/Columns/There-are-many-resources-available-to-assist-lawye)

    © 2022 David J. Bilinsky

    Posted in Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Ways to Best Manage Your Time…
    Monday, April 4th, 2022

    Time...

    ♫ But there never seems to be enough time
    To do the things you want to do,
    once you find them… ♫

    — Music, Lyrics and recorded by Jim Croce.

    What is the one thing we all own in equal measure, every day? The answer is simply enough — Time. We all take our daily allotment and spend it on work, pleasure, things we have to do, things we want to do, things we wished we didn’t have to do, things that waste time, and more. How we use it can make us happy, it can make us sad, it can bring about positive change to the world, it can bring a smile to someone’s face, or sadness to another. Two things we can’t do with it is bank it or get more of it. Accordingly, let’s spend a little time to explore how to best manage our time.

    The first step is to write down your goals. These are not just work and career goals but life goals as well. You may want to make partner or launch your own firm. You may wish to do public advocacy work or learn to play a musical instrument or write a play. You may wish to ski more often, run a marathon, or travel. The point is that goals unset are goals unmet. What does success mean to you? Rank your life’s goals, research what has to be done to achieve them and then develop a plan that will take you to your life’s goals.

    Next, write out the tasks that will take you toward your life goals and those that others have set for you. Each task should take you closer to a goal.

    Remember that tasks should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Based.

    • Specific: Goals should be tightly focused and clear so you can foresee the steps that need to be taken for goal achievement.
    • Measurable: What gets measured gets done. Have milestones set that allow you to judge your progress toward goal achievement.
    • Attainable: Do you have what you need to achieve your goal? Or do you have to gain experience, education, skills, or credentials to do this? Perhaps you need to set sub-goals to take you toward your big goal.
    • Relevant: Do your tasks bring you closer to your life’s goals?
    • Time Based: Set a deadline for each task to hold yourself accountable.

    Now, sort out your tasks into four categories:

    • Important and urgent: +I+U
    • Important but not urgent: +I~U
    • Urgent but not important: +U~I
    • Not urgent and not important: ~U~I

    Sorting your tasks starts the process of prioritization:

    • +I+U: Do these tasks right away.
    • +I~U: These are your long-term goals. Set aside time for these in your day!
    • +U~I: Delegate these tasks if possible. If not, schedule them lower in priority.
    • ~U~I: Set these aside to do later, if ever (typically time wasters).

    Create a “To Do” list from your priorities and keep it on your desk. This allows you to keep your priorities in front of you at all times. Organize your desk and remove clutter — those are usually distractions.

    Develop good time management skills and habits. Good time management skills can be learned and nurtured over time and will only increase your value to your firm, to your family, and of course, to yourself. They will allow you to find time to do the things you enjoy.

    Set a time budget and allocate a set time to each task and then block off time in your daily calendar based on your tasks. Once a task time is up — evaluate what has to be done to complete the task, create a new To-Do, sort your To-Dos again, and start the next task.

    Cut out all time-wasting activities. Reward yourself for task accomplishment with a small break and reward. Reinforce how good time management works for you and clears your To-Do list as you work through your day.

    Remember that procrastination is the enemy of goal achievement. Procrastination can be a sign of a fear of success, a fear of failure, that you don’t deserve your life’s goal or find a task overwhelming. When the urge to procrastinate comes on, counter it by immediately working a bit on your goal and a task and experience the relief in having started. Break down a big task into smaller portions and conquer each in turn and watch your progress.

    Plan to deal with obstacles and interruptions. If someone walks into your office and looks to be staying, grab your coffee cup and head off to the coffee machine. They can talk while you get a coffee and — you got them out of your office!

    Resolve to stop multitasking. It may feel like you are accomplishing a lot, but that doesn’t stand up. According to bit.ly/bt0422pt-1:

    “Studies now show that multitasking can actually damage the brain. As the brain can primarily focus on one thing at a time, keeping track of multiple things at once or accepting multiple streams of information can lead to decreased productivity and distraction from the task at hand.”

    Consistently work on your Important but not Urgent: +I~U tasks. These are the ones that will change your life’s path as you desire it to be. Plan your tasks to gradually move yourself into the area(s) of practice in which you desire to be. Measure your progress to stay motivated!

    Set a daily billable time goal and track your progress to it throughout your day. You owe it to your family, your firm, and not the least of all, to yourself to grow into being a more effective and responsible lawyer each and every day. Hold yourself accountable for your progress and reward yourself for achieving your daily billable time goal.

    Track all your time — billable and non-billable. There are many reasons for doing this. By seeing where you are spending your time, you increase accountability to yourself and to others. Tracking all your time increases your focus on your +I+U tasks. It exposes your time wasters, time sinks, and traps. It prevents project creep, by keeping tasks within their allocated time budget. You enhance your personal bottom line, which in turn benefits yourself and your practice. Most importantly, it will gradually transform you into a better lawyer.

    Prevent leaks in your time boat. There are many possible ways to leak billable time. The first is the failure to accurately capture time. Up to 40% of your billable time can be lost if not recorded contemporaneously with task completion. A second is to write off billable time at the time of billing. A third is to reduce an invoice to receive payment. A final one is to write off an entire bill as uncollectible. Plug the leaks in your financial boat by using your time to achieve effective client objectives. Remember client satisfaction ulti-mately drives collections.

    Having an accurate billable and non-billable time record allows you to perform analytics on your time and finances. A “Key Statistics” report will show you the financial health of your practice at a glance with such indicators as: Effective Hourly Rate, Work In Progress, Billings, Billing Turnover, your Billing Realization, your Collection Realization Rate, and many more.

    Accurate time records will also allow you to forecast your future cash flows and track them against your cash flow needs, providing you with feedback on your financial health and providing you with needed information for cash flow management.

    Lastly, pass on your hard-earned knowledge. Teach younger lawyers your time management skills. Act as a time mentor and help grow the next generation of associates into lawyers and partners your firm will value.

    Good time management skills can help us all make the most of this most precious of resources, and thereby find the time to do the things we want to do, once we find them.

    (c) 2022 David J. Bilinsky

    (originally published in PracticeTalk in the Canadian Bar Association’s BarTalk magazine: https://bit.ly/3qSFo04)

    Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Evolving Views on How to View Security
    Monday, March 28th, 2022

    Network Security

    ♫ Further on up the road baby,
    things gonna change… 

    — Music and lyrics by J.L. Hooker, C. Thompson, C. Santana; recorded by Santana.

    The State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct has just issued Formal Opinion No 16-0002. It looked at a lawyer’s ethical obligations with respect to unauthorized access by third persons to electronically stored client confidential information in the lawyer’s possession. In some ways it parallels what is set forth in s. 10-4 Security of Records of the Rules of the Law Society. What is illustrative is that “the Committee adopted an approach that posed questions lawyers should consider in order to comply with the duties of competency and confidentiality. In light of ever-changing technology, the Committee concludes that an on-going engagement with that evolving technology, in the form of security issues to consider and re-consider, was preferable to a “bright line” or “categorical approach.”

    The Committee looked at four scenarios: An attorney’s laptop is stolen; an attorney’s smartphone is left in a restaurant overnight; a firm is infected by Ransomware and a lawyer’s laptop was accessed while the lawyer was using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network. Hypothetically the Committee looked at the factors to consider in each scenario.

    The requirement to make reasonable efforts to protect client information from unauthorized disclosure or destruction was affirmed. California went further, however, and stated that: “Given the obligation to preserve client confidences, secrets and propriety information, it is appropriate to assume that reasonable clients would want to be notified if any of that information was acquired or reasonably suspected of being acquired by unauthorized persons.” In BC, we have an obligation to notify the Executive Director of the Law Society but the Rules and Code are silent on the duty to notify a client if the firm lost control or custody of any of the lawyer’s records [10-4 (a)] or if anyone had improperly accessed or copied any records [10-4 (b)].

    California also affirmed the American Bar Association formal opinion of 18-483 that holds: “lawyers with managerial authority within a law firm must make a reasonable effort to establish internal policies and procedures designed to protect confidential client information from the risk of inadvertent disclosure and data breaches as the result of technology use, which includes monitoring the use of technology and office resources connected to the Internet and external data sources.”  They also held that a law firm should: “consider preparing a data breach response plan so that all stakeholders know how to respond when a breach occurs.”

    This opinion, I believe, foreshadows what could be eventually adopted in other jurisdictions. Prudent firms may wish to examine the formal opinion with a view to revamping their policies and procedures to reflect this evolving thinking because further up the road, I believe, the thinking is gonna change.

    As a First Step Towards Greater Security

    Check if you have adequate insurance to protect yourself against various losses, including data breaches, cyber-losses, cyber-extortion and social engineering (phishing) fraud scams.

    The Law Society
    has a good breakdown of the coverages that are available that the Law Society insurance does not cover.

    The Sedona Conference Canada
    has prepared a commentary on privacy and information security for legal service providers — Principles and Guidelines (Aug 2020) that is well worth reviewing.

    The Sedona Conference
    has also prepared a Commentary on a Reasonable Security Test (Sept 2020). This Commentary begins with a brief summary of the importance of having a test, the reasoning behind a cost/benefit approach for the test, and what issues the test does not address. Part I sets out the proposed test and the explanation of how it is applied. Part II provides review and analysis of existing resources that offer guidance on how “reasonable security” has been defined and applied to date and explains how they bear upon the test.

    Create a data breach plan
    before you are hit with a breach that will allow you to deal quickly and decisively with any possible data breach. Lawyers Mutual of North Carolina has published a Data Breach Incident Response Plan Toolkit by Tom Widman, founder, president and CEO of Identity Fraud, Inc.

    Inside your data breach plan
    Sharon Nelson, David Ries, and John Simek have written “Be Prepared — Planning for When Your Law Firm Suffers a Data Breach.” This article is a nice compact review of the issues to consider placing inside your data breach plan.

    Protect personal information and data breaches
    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has published “Security Personal Information — A Self-Assessment Tool for Public Bodies and Organizations.” This comprehensive tool is an incredible resource for any organization seeking to examine their systems and procedures to protect personal information and data breaches.

    DLA Piper
    has summarized Canadian privacy statutory data breach obligations.

    The Canadian Bar Association
    has published an article in 2015 written by Jeffrey Kaufman entitled, “Law Firm Privacy Compliance in 10 Steps.

    (c) 2022 David J. Bilinsky.

    (originally published in PracticeTalk and TechTips, in the Canadian Bar Association’s BarTalk magazine:

    https://www.cbabc.org/BarTalk/Articles/2020/December/Columns/Evolving-Views-on-How-to-View-Security

    https://www.cbabc.org/BarTalk/Articles/2020/December/Columns/As-a-First-Step)

    Posted in Change Management, Firm Governance, Fraud and theft, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Digital Transformation: Moving Past the Present
    Monday, March 21st, 2022

    Digital Transformation

    ♫ Oh, then won’t you embrace me?… ♫
    — Music and lyrics by Greg Laswell

    What does it mean for law to move into digital transformation? Let’s take a step back and get a bit of perspective.

    At the beginning of time, law firms and courts kept all records on paper. The first step along this transformative path was to convert to electronic records. “Paving the cowpaths” meant that all records were now kept in electronic folder systems that were the electronic version of the file folder — or in other words, “digitalized.” All files were still kept the same and searched by brute force. Similar to paper, all storage and organizational systems were analogous, albeit on a digital platform. This is only slightly transformative since the same ways of thinking were used to handle digital documents as they did with paper.

    To take the next step toward transformation, new ways of doing things must be chosen. Moving to a digital filing system allows for digital searches across the whole database; and it allows for new ways of working as all files can be shared and accessed from home or a remote office.  Practice management software can integrate with the filing and accounting systems, resulting in lawyers working from a digital desktop. In the court situation, case management software can now be used that integrates scheduling with court files, HR systems and more. It is the bringing together of multiple systems in one package that starts to open up new ways of thinking and with it, new processes.

    Salesforce.com’s publication, “State of the Connected Customer,” states that “technology has significantly changed their expectations of how companies should interact with them.” For example, portals: secure websites, allow clients to gain access to all communications and documents on their file 24/7 and avoid insecure ways of communicating such as email. Furthermore, they can respond and leave instructions without going through voicemail or email jail.

    The next step will be in applying Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and Digital Analytics (“DA”) to law. AI already has revolutionized legal research, legal contract review, as well as litigation case analysis. DA has the promise of providing insights into new services that can be offered to clients by analyzing firm wide data based on client profiles.

    Lastly, we have the transformation of the law via technology. Smart contracts on the Blockchain are an entirely different beast from a traditional contract. “A smart contract is a self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. The code and the agreements contained therein exist across a distributed, decentralized Blockchain network. The code controls the execution, and transactions are trackable and irreversible.

    Smart contracts permit trusted transactions and agreements to be carried out among disparate, anonymous parties without the need for a central authority, legal system, or external enforcement mechanism.” (per Investopedia)

    Disputes over smart contracts can take place via Online Dispute Resolution (“ODR”) built into the Blockchain using virtual juries. The next step with ODR is to allow the software to help resolve disputes as the deciding party.

    The Blockchain can be used to replace traditional ways of doing things. 20 Real-Life Uses for the Blockchain lists such uses as enforcing copyright; replacing land, automobile and other title transfer systems, medical record keeping, wills, equity trading, tracking prescriptions and many others.  With increased use of the Blockchain will come increased use of ODR and less reliance on traditional court systems. This is the transformative power of technology.

    What is the future use of technology in law? Pega.com states: “Leaders are less concerned about using technology to increase profits, with 46% citing cost savings and 43% citing revenue generation as changes they are trying to achieve. Instead, 65% of leaders see it as an avenue to achieving higher quality work. Fifty percent of the leaders surveyed also believe technology will create more reliable work.”

    In order for law firms and justice systems to move forward, I believe it will be essential for organizations to view technology as a way to change not just the way things are done but HOW you can do things differently and WHY. Digital transformation is about new ways of thinking, changing things and moving to the future. I can just hear technology saying to lawyers and judges: “Oh won’t you embrace me?”

    Now – how do you further your firm down the digital transformation path?

    Cybersecurity

    COVID has only increased our working from home with distributed data sets on multiple devices and entry points into the office network. One way to harden your system is to put all your data in a secure cloud service that stores your data in a fully encrypted manner, where only you have the decryption key (a “Zero Knowledge” service). Cloudwards.net has rated the five best zero-knowledge cloud storage services — with Canada’s sync.com coming up on top.

    Advantages of Sync

    Sync is the strongest encryption possible, it demonstrates to your clients that security is important to you. Sync keeps track of all document versions and changes, you can share and collaborate just like you would with Dropbox, but securely, they state that sync.com meets global data privacy compliance (USA-HIPAA, EU, UK, CAN-PIPEDA) and your data remains in Canada.

    Automating and Integrating Systems

    Technology can automate the business side of the practice. By integrating billing, time keeping, general and trust accounting, calendaring, conflict checking, document automation, email and file integration, case management, and file management, you will set the stage for the next round of automation such as data analytics, AI, and process redesign for effectiveness and efficiency.

    People

    You can install the latest, first-rate tech systems but ultimately it may all be for naught unless you can implement change strategies that lead people to adopt the new systems. Part of the magic of digital transformation is the change in thinking that occurs when people use and think about how the new systems rework business processes. Leadership is the magic elixir. Explain why your firm is adopting these new systems. Outline the expected benefits, for not only the organization but also for staff. Be an early adopter and recruit other early adopters. Communicate wins. Acknowledge setbacks and handle criticism positively and early. Keep your eye on the long-term goal(s) and help others do the same.

    (originally published in PracticeTalk and TechTips, in the Canadian Bar Association’s BarTalk magazine:

    https://www.cbabc.org/BarTalk/Articles/2021/February/Columns/Digital-Transformation

    https://www.cbabc.org/BarTalk/Articles/2021/February/Columns/How-can-you-further-your-firm-down-the-digital-tra)

    Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Thoughtful Legal Management Announcement
    Thursday, March 17th, 2022
    Bald Eagle Haidi Gwaii (c) 2017 David J. Bilinsky

    Bald Eagle Haida Gawaii

    “I’ll spread my wings and learn how to fly. I’ll do what it takes ’til I touch the sky. And I’ll make a wish, take a chance, make a change and breakaway.” 

    Lyrics and Music by Matthew Gerrard, Bridget Benenate and Avril Lavigne, recorded by Kelly Clarkson.

    I am proud to announce that Thoughtful Legal Management is now open for business.

    David J. Bilinsky, Barrister & Solicitor, is pleased to provide strategic legal practice management services and innovative technology and law firm finance advisory services for my clients. Building on 17 years in private practice, 20 years of experience at a Practice Management Advisor and ethics lawyer for the Law Society of BC, on top on an MBA focused on the application of legal technology to the practice of law, I have opened the doors to providing legal business, technology and ethics advisory services to lawyers.

    Decades of  writing and presenting papers and articles, organizing and speaking at legal technology conferences, advising and assisting lawyers who have been wrestling with the complex areas of legal technology and practice management has provided unique and practical insights into how law firms must innovate in today’s changing environment.

    My mission in life is to empower lawyers to anticipate the changes, realize the opportunities, face the challenges and embrace the expanding possibilities of the application of practice management concepts to the practice of law in innovative ways that provide service excellence.

    And…I am here to assist those lawyers who wish to break away and learn how to fly.

    Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Toxic Workplaces: Avoiding Burnout while Staying Positive
    Monday, February 10th, 2020

    ♫ And if it’s bad
    Don’t let it get you down, you can take it..
    Hold your head up, oh hold your head high… ♫

    Music and Lyrics by Junod Etienne and Sean Price, recorded by Steppenwolf.

     

    Image result for burnout

    (Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay).

    When one thinks of toxic environments, one doesn’t tend to think of law offices as falling into that category. Yet I get calls from partners, associates and staff alike who are having to cope with working in such situations.  In some offices matters are dire; the stress of working in these environments are taking their toll on the person’s health and well-being, on their careers and certainly on their home life as well as they can’t help but carry the effects home.  After a time some of these people reach the breaking point and leave. Others are not so fortunate and are looking for tips on how to cope with being in such a situation.

    The first thing to remember if you are caught in such an office is that you cannot control other people’s behaviour; you can only control how you respond.  Passive-aggressiveness, destructive and negative comments, conniving politics, terrible leadership, partners that are insensitive to personal boundaries or worse are not things that are a reflection of who you are; you are simply caught in the toxic vortex.  So here is a collection of tips for coping in a toxic environment:

    • You need to stay positive and upbeat. The person you are most able to influence is yourself so don’t allow the toxicity to drag you down.
    • Learn from the experience. Every bad situation allows you to grow as an individual and take home lessons – even if those are about things that you would never repeat. Learn how to apply The Golden Rule – ie how to treat others as you yourself would wish to be treated – as it is a powerful guide to help you grow when you are in such a situation.
    • Do the best that you can do. You want to preserve your integrity and your good name. It is no surprise that word gets around in the legal community and being able to cope in a bad environment only enhances your reputation, your work ethic and your character.
    • Create a ‘thank you’ file. While it may perhaps be the thinnest file in the office, a collection of letters and cards that endorse the value of your work could be the most valuable file in the office. It will grow over time and leafing through the physical embodiment of good wishes and thanks is a personal validation of your own self-worth and assistance to others.
    • Get a supportive network outside of the office. Having someone to talk to about the situation certainly helps and their advice and support can get you through some dark days.

    Continue to search for a better workplace while keeping your shoulders squared and your spirit up. Keep looking for a more positive situation.  Remember that no matter what, continue to hold your head high.

    What online resources are available if you find yourself in a toxic environment?  Here are a selection:

    Workplace Bullying Institute “WBI is the first and only U.S. organization dedicated to the eradication of workplace bullying that combines help for individuals, research, books, public education, training for professionals-unions-employers, legislative advocacy, and consulting solutions for organizations.”  It was founded by Drs. Gary & Ruth Namie.  They state:

    “Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

    • Verbal abuse
    • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating…”

    This site has wonderful resources for people caught in these situations including an ‘action plan’ which includes the great piece of advice: “Have your escape route planned…

    The World of Psychology Web site in the article “When Your Workplace is Toxic” has this bit of advice regarding having a personal renewal program in place.  They state:

    “We must have a self-care protocol in place that we can employ as a daily guide, while being alert to rationalizations and excuses for not doing it. Not to have such a personal renewal program may court disaster for both our personal and professional lives. It is also, at its core, an act of profound disrespect for the gift of life we have been give.”

    The Future of CIO website: in an article entitled “Five Characteristics of a Toxic Workplace” states:

    “One of the most toxic characteristics of workplace, is that of management making decisions without the consideration of the people.”

    It goes on and states:

    “A lack of real support for employees can be an issue: Who do you go to if there’s a problem with your boss or someone in a senior role? Often, there’s an ‘elephant in the room’ that no-one wants to address until the problem begins to spiral. Unhelpful behavior that leads to general gossip, can very quickly create a toxic environment.” 

    If you are a leader in a firm that is starting to show signs of toxicity, this website has another  good article that speaks about a 4 step methodology for analyzing, assessing, and redesigning the culture of an organization in a consistent manner: Corporate Culture Re-inventing: Is Hybrid Model the Best?

    Lastly, when it comes time to craft your exit strategy from the toxic workplace, Forbes Magazine has an article online entitled “Five Critical Steps to Finding a Job Fast!” It lists such things to consider as fine tuning your LinkedIn profile as well as checking any publicly available information about yourself that may turn up on a Google search.

    (Originally published by the Canadian Bar Association in their publication Bartalk in the columns: PracticeTalk and Dave’s Tech Tips in February 2014.)

    Posted in Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    Time for Change in Legal Regulation
    Friday, October 4th, 2019

    Time for Change in Legal Regulation

     

    ♫ It’s time we stop, hey,
    what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down…

    – Music and lyrics by Stephen Stills,
    recorded by Buffalo Springfield.

    There is something happening here. Traditional lawyer regulation “has not proven to foster innovation” and this in turn is seen as holding back innovations that could increase access to justice. For example, in 2018, The Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California (“Board”) received a Legal Market Landscape Report (bit.ly/bt1019p26-3) suggesting that “some of the rules and laws governing the legal profession may be hindering innovations that could expand the availability of legal services.” As a result, the Board appointed a Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services (“ATILS”) and assigned it to identify possible regulatory changes to remove barriers to innovation in the delivery of legal services by lawyers and others. ATILS was charged with balancing dual goals: consumer protection and increased access to legal services. They came up with 16 concept options for regulatory changes.

    The report (bit.ly/bt1019p26-1) found that: “The slow evolution of the rules governing lawyers, including, but not limited to, lawyer advertising and solicitation, fee sharing/fee splitting, and UPL, are examples of regulatory reforms failing to keep pace with changes in the legal services market, including changes in the market driven by evolving innovation and technology and related consumer behaviour and preferences.”

    But California is not alone.

    Utah and Arizona are also looking at the issue of the regulation of lawyers and its effect on access to justice, in particular the issue of Alternative Business Structures (“ABSs”):

    The Utah group – which was heavily influenced by the experience in England and Wales – said ABSs, backed by a new regulatory regime, would help foster innovation and promote other market forces “so as to increase access to and affordability of legal services.” (bit.ly/bt1019p26-2)

    As of August 28, 2019, the final report of the Arizona task force has yet to be published, but it was reported that minutes of its meetings confirm that it supported the introduction of ABSs along with entity regulation.

    Of course ABSs have been allowed in the UK since 2013.

    Underlying these reports is the message that technology has been the biggest factor of change and innovation over the last while, yet lawyers are failing to realize the benefits of change and innovation that technology offers. Access to justice suffers as a result.

    The Utah Bar, for their part, issued the report “Narrowing the Access-to-Justice Gap by Reimagining Regulation.” (bit.ly/bt1019p26-4)

    Utah stated that eliminating or substantially relaxing the rule allowing lawyers and non-lawyers to share fees was “key to allowing lawyers to fully and comfortably participate in the technological revolution.” (bit.ly/bt1019p26-2)

    Utah felt that they should encourage “non-traditional sources of legal services, including non-lawyers and technology companies, and allow them to test innovative legal service models and delivery systems through the use of a “regulatory sandbox” approach, which permits innovation to happen in designated areas while addressing risk and generating data to inform the regulatory process.” (bit.ly/bt1019p26-2)

    We need to start the process of regulatory reforms to allow these changes to take place here; for without them, as we all know, you step out of line, the man come and take you away.

    What are some of the key recommendations and findings of the California and Utah reports?

    California: Legal Market Landscape Report | Utah: Narrowing the Access-to-Justice Gap by Reimagining Regulation Report

    California

    Legal Market Landscape Report (bit.ly/bt1019p27-1)

    • Narrowing restrictions on the unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”) to allow persons or businesses other than a lawyer or law firm to render legal services, provided they meet appropriate eligibility standards and comply with regulatory requirements;
    • Permitting a nonlawyer to own or have a financial interest in a law practice; and
    • Permitting lawyers to share fees with nonlawyers under certain circumstances and amending other attorney rules regarding advertising, solicitation, and the duty to competently provide legal services.

    The potential benefits of these recommendations were listed as follows:

    • Improving the ability of new providers to enter the legal services market;
    • Creating incentives for innovators to collaborate with lawyers to develop technology-driven solutions;
    • Expanding options for entities and individuals other than lawyers to support and participate in these developments through business ownership and capital investment.
    • Limiting the new UPL exceptions to only those providers who meet eligibility qualifications and become regulated;
    • Requiring the establishment of ethical standards comparable to those imposed on lawyers and law firms;
    • Conditioning the new system on the establishment of equivalent protections afforded by the attorney-client privilege and a lawyer’s ethical duty of confidentiality; and
    • Including in the revised fee-splitting rule a provision prohibiting interference with a lawyer’s independent professional judgment.
    Utah

    Narrowing the Access-to-Justice Gap by Reimagining Regulation Report (bit.ly/bt1019p27-2)

    “Certain rules of professional conduct have been viewed by lawyers as impeding their ability to increase business and survive in the online world. Restrictions on lawyer advertising, fee sharing, and ownership of and investment in law firms by non-lawyers are concepts that need serious amendment if we are to improve competition and successfully close the access-to-justice gap.”

    In a July 11 meeting, the Arizona task force voted “to amend the state’s ethical rules to allow lawyers and non-lawyers to form new legal services businesses known as ‘alternative business structures.’” They stated that they believed the Arizona approach had much to offer. Indeed, they viewed the elimination or substantial relaxation of Rule 5.4 as key to allowing lawyers to fully and comfortably participate in the technological revolution. They felt without such a change, lawyers will be at risk of not being able to engage with entrepreneurs across a wide swath of platforms.

    (Published by the Canadian Bar Association in their publication Bartalk in the columns: PracticeTalk and Dave’s Tech Tips in October 2019.)

    Posted in Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Recognizing Different Strengths
    Monday, June 24th, 2019

    ♫ You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
    You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
    I am strong when I am on your shoulders
    You raise me up to more than I can be…♫

    Music and Lyrics by B. Graham, R. Lovland, recorded by Martin Hurkens.

    What does it take to practice law successfully? That list of abilities would be as diverse as the spectrum of lawyers out in practice today. Many of us would wish for a photographic memory combined with an intellect that allows that large amount of data to be assimilated and processed. That is exactly what Haley Moss, a lawyer in Florida, does. Joseph Zumpano, the co-founder of the law firm Zumpano Patricios, that employs Haley Moss, said he believes Moss is the first “openly autistic” lawyer to be admitted to the Florida Bar. Moss gives his business an edge in complex areas of law, Zumpano says, because of her “extraordinary” capacity for analysis and information processing .

    Of course, not every person with autism possesses a photographic memory or has a capacity for deep analysis. People with autism have a range of abilities and  challenges. Employers such as SAP, JPMorgan Chase, EY, Microsoft and others  recognize this diversity and are part of the Autism at Work program, which  seeks to take this range of abilities by employing over 160 colleagues in 13 countries.(https://www.sap.com/corporate/en/company/diversity/differently-abled.html)

    According to StatsCan, 22% of Canadians have at least one disability, which represents 6.2 million people (2017). That is a huge pool of people that could play a role for many employers, law firms included, from being lawyers to acting in other careers.

    There are more attorneys with autism than people realize, according to Shain Neumeier, an autistic lawyer from Massachusetts as reported in the ABA Journal.

    The ABA Journal continues: “I think people are becoming more willing to be out of the closet because some of the stigma is gone. It’s not just a bunch of people who are sitting in corners banging their heads; we are fully functioning,” says Michael Gilberg, a special education and disability rights attorney in New York, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was 18. He graduated from Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2007 and is admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut.

    The goal would be for all individuals to be recognized for their strengths and abilities that they bring to a workplace, not just for how they are challenged.

    “I want to see us being meaningfully included and have opportunities that are aligned with our skills,” Haley Moss stated, “as well as what we’re capable of.”

    Employers, particularly law firms, who have a deep role to play by advocating for the rights of those with differing abilities and challenges, can also play a leading role in recognizing and employing individuals who have amazing attributes and strengths to build meaningful careers and help raise them up to be more than they could be…

    The Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation in 2005 reported on a study that found that 92% of consumers felt more favourable toward those employers that hire individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, the study showed that people also had strong positive beliefs about the value and benefits of hiring people with disabilities, with 87% specifically agreeing that they would prefer to give their business to companies that hire individuals with disabilities.

    AtWork outlines further benefits of hiring people with disabilities.  These include:

    Improved productivity: Effective job matching fits the employee’s abilities to the employers’ needs. The right person in the right job makes everyone more productive.

    Reduced turnover: Having trouble finding good employees? Many repetitive or entry-level positions are well suited to people with disabilities.

    Improved morale: People with disabilities want to work and contribute. They are motivated and reliable coworkers who add value to any team. Their enthusiasm and positive attitudes are contagious – and great for morale.

    Higher retention: People with disabilities are reliable and dependable workers, with some of the highest rates of retention of any employee group.

    Low investment, high return: There is no additional cost to you, other than the employee’s wages.

    Win-win situation for all: Hiring people with disabilities benefits the workers, the community and your company.

    What resources are out there to assist you in employing people with disabilities?

    CASE: The Canadian Association for Supported Employment, established in 1999, was initially an informal network of service providers and stakeholders committed to the full participation of persons with disabilities in the Canadian labour force. CASE is a national association of community-based service providers and stakeholders working towards the Employment Inclusion of people with disabilities. This association strives to promote full citizenship and personal capacity for persons with disabilities through the facilitation of increased labour market participation and outcomes. Through such workforce participation, CASE also promotes social inclusion for Canadians with disabilities.  Joining CASE signifies your organization’s role in being part of the national voice for employment inclusion.

    CASE lists a number of supportive organizations that can assist in the role of employment inclusion in BC:

    Family Works BC

    AspectBC

    Community Living BC

    The Provincial Networking Group Inc.

    Work BC 

    Inclusion BC

    There are real and tangible benefits to hiring those people with differing abilities and challenges. As lawyers we are justly concerned with rights and freedoms; I trust we are equally concerned with opportunities being equally available to all.

    (originally published in BarTalk, a publication of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association.)

    Posted in Adding Value, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, personal focus and renewal, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Reducing Your Exposure to Internal Fraud
    Monday, February 11th, 2019

     Attribution: Chantal Pare.

    Everybody thinks you’re the lamest
    We all know you’re a fraud
    Life can be so frustrating
    I’m so glad you got caught
    …♫

                                                                                Music, Lyrics and recorded by: Hawk Nelson.

    Fraud in the workplace cost Canadian businesses $3.2 billion, reported the CBC in 2011 (the last date I could find statistics). While lawyers have been aware of, and taken steps to prevent, fraud attempts by outsiders on their trust accounts for some time now, there is a largely unacknowledged vulnerability of fraud committed against law firms by employees. The sad truth about internal fraud is that people deny that there is a fraud problem in the first place or only react after a fraud is discovered.

    Consider these internal fraud facts:

    • “On the basis of the evidence it is likely that losses in any organisation and any area of expenditure will be at least 3%, probably near to 6% and possibly more than 10%” (PFK.com “The Financial Cost of Fraud, 2015).
    • “25% of internal fraud cases result in losses of a million dollars on average” (Langlois Advocates – Lawyers, “Theft or Fraud by an Employee: Management Rights and Legal Action.”
    • “Previous research suggests that fraud, like many crimes, is under-reported” (Statistics Canada, 2006; PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2005; Smith, 1999).
    • “The more steps businesses take to control and uncover fraud, the greater their chances of detecting fraudulent activities and the better their ability to assess the effectiveness of their anti-fraud strat Thus, strategies for detecting and preventing fraud are key mechanisms in keeping the costs, direct and indirect, of fraud down” (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2007).
    • “The prospects of recovery of the proceeds of fraud are dim, with 65% of victim companies recovering 25% or less of the stolen funds. And many recover nothing.” (The True Cost of Fraud: Direct Costs, Tracy Coene in Insurance & Risk Management).
    • ACFE in their 2018 Report to the Nations (A global study on occupational Fraud and Abuse being the largest global study on occupational fraud) looked at 2,690 real cases of occupational fraud from 125 countries over 23 major industry categories. They found:
      • The mean, or average, loss due to the frauds in their study was $2.75 million, which is an enormous amount when considering how much damage such a loss represents to most organizations.
      • The median loss for all cases in their study was $130,000. While 55% caused less than $200,000 in financial damage, more than one-fifth resulted in a loss of at least $1 million.

    What are the steps you can take to reduce fraud?

    Trust, but Verify: Trust your employees to do their jobs properly, but take steps to verify that this is in fact the case.

    Establish Hiring Procedures: Check references of your final candidates. Let your candidates know that you will be doing this.

    Set up Internal Controls: There are a number of well-established policies and procedures you can put into place now to reduce the opportunity for someone to commit a fraud.

    Dual Signatures: While trust accounts require the signature of a practising lawyer, there is nothing that prevents you from adding a second signatory to both your general and trust accounts. Two sets of eye balls looking at a cheque is better than one.

    Train Employees in Fraud Prevention: By having regular training on how to prevent and detect fraud, your law firm is sending the message on what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Anti-fraud examiners state that employees are the “best possible fraud detectors.”

    Conduct Regular Audits: “Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting  activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.” (Wikipedia)

    Monitor Vacation Absences (or lack thereof): “Two classic fraud prevention techniques are mandatory vacations and periodic job rotations. Mandatory vacations of one week or more (consecutively) are helpful, because the employee cannot continuously monitor a fraud scheme while away. Job rotations are also effective at disrupting these schemes especially when the employees are not given advance notice” (Essentials of Corporate Fraud).

    Hire Experts: Periodically hire an expert in detecting fraud to examine your policies and procedures and assist in your antifraud steps.

    Check your bank statement for unusual activity and signatures. If someone has forged your signature, you must detect this and report this to your bank quickly.

    There are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that you do not become a victim of internal fraud. However, if the worst should happen, then at least you can take some solace in the fact that you have established systems and procedures that should detect the fraud and ensure that the perpetrator is eventually caught.

    Internal Fraud Resources:

    The Association of Canadian Anti-Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has a Fraud Prevention Check Up in PDF format in both English and French. It recommends that you perform this check up in conjunction with an Anti-Fraud Examiner but the list provides a good overview of the steps you can take now to reduce fraud.

    The Law Society of BC published “The Trust Accounting Handbook” that encapsulates the procedures and rules for operating a trust account. It also publishes a list of the Fraud Alerts to the profession.

    PracticePro has an excellent resource that addresses several types of fraud.

    RubinBrown LLP has a list of 30 internal control considerations in an article entitled “Focus on Law Firms: Managing Law Firm Fraud Risks – An Internal Control Checklist” (June, 2016).

    The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc.,in an article entitled “Designing an Effective Anti-Fraud Training Program,” sets out the topics to cover in designing employee training to counter fraud.

    The Canadian BankingAssociation,in an article entitled “Protecting Yourself from Cheque Fraud,” advises “Review your monthly bank statement or regularly check your transactions through online or telephone banking. If you see transactions you didn’t do, notify your bank immediately and they will investigate.”

    Dave Slovin,in an article entitled “Blowing the whistle: a well-designed, accessible whistleblower hotline can be a powerful tool in the fight against fraud,” quotes Warren E. Buffett chairman of the board of Berkshire Hathaway, a global investment firm with 180,000 employees, who said after their recently installed hotline, “Berkshire would be more valuable today if I had put in a whistleblower line decades ago.” The issues raise dare usually not of a type discoverable by audit, but relate instead to personnel and business practices.

    ((originally published in BarTalk, a publication of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. This article has been updated for the purposes of republishing).

    Posted in Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Fraud and theft, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »




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