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    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 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 »
    2012 Tips and Predictions – Part 1
    Thursday, December 29th, 2011

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

    Lyrics, music and recorded by NAS.

    Happy New Year 2012

    Happy New Year 2012

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

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

    Karen MacKay:  Change is Neigh…

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

    Karen MacKay MBA CHRP, Phoenix Legal Inc., direct 416.657.2997, mobile 416.904.4848, e-mail kmackay@phoenix-legal.com, www.phoenix-legal.com.

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Cheap is Good but Free is Better!, Firm Governance, humour, I'm a Mac, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Tips | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    Rocky Horror and Law Practice Today
    Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

    ♬  Don’t dream it – be it…♬

    Music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    I am pleased to announce that my blog post “Rocky Horror as a Management Lesson” has now been reprinted in the American Bar Association’s ezine “Law Practice Today”.

    I would like to say “Thank You” to LAW PRACTICE TODAY’s Editor-In-Chief, John D. Bowers, Saul Ewing, LLP
    their Issue Editor Allison C. Shields, LegalEase Consulting, Inc., and member of the Board of Editors, J. Benjamin Stevens, The Stevens Firm, P.A. – Family Law Center.

    This all goes to show – don’t dream it – be it!

    Posted in Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning | Permalink | No Comments »
    2010 Season’s Greetings!
    Monday, December 6th, 2010

    ♫ O how I wish I could sing like an Angel
    I’d sing carols so high and sweet
    O if I had the voice of an Angel
    I’d be singing that sweet Child asleep…. ♫

    “Christmas Angel”: Music and Lyrics by Corlynn Hanney, performed by the Argyle Alumni Choir.

    2010 Christmas Slide Show from David Bilinsky on Vimeo.

    At this time of year I would like to take a moment and wish each and everyone the Best of the Holiday Season and a Wonderful and Happy New Year.

    To all I hope for Peace, Hope and Happiness. I hope your dreams become goals for the New Year and find good ground and take root.

    As has become my tradition at this time of year, and as my gift to you, I offer a few minutes of solitude and reflection. This slide show combines two of my loves – music and photography.

    I hope this slide show and music (please turn your speakers on full as the recording is a bit faint) brings to you a time of calm, joy and peace. The music is “Christmas Angel’ by Corlynn Hanney and is performed by the Argyle Alumni Choir, Argyle Senior Secondary School, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, copyright Frances Roberts, Director. Used with permission. I hope you enjoy the combination of the music and the photos.

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

    Posted in humour, personal focus and renewal | Permalink | 12 Comments »
    Take a Hard Look
    Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

    ♬ Take a look, take a look
    Take control of yourself
    For a moment realise
    We are thinking today
    Today, Today–
    Take a look…♬

    Lyrics and Music by Andy Sears, recorded by Twelfth Night.

    {cross-post from www.slaw.ca}

    On Nov. 30, 2010, psychologists at the University of Toronto and Tufts University released a study that makes a link between profitability of law firms and college yearbook photos of managing partners.

    They reported that:

    [L]aw firms are more profitable when led by managing partners with powerful looking faces. Further, an individual’s career success can be predicted as much as 30 to 40 years earlier simply by looking at their face.

    It seems that:

    “Appearance matters a great deal when it comes to judging people,” says Professor Nicholas Rule of the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, lead author of a new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. “This includes clothing, posture, and hairstyles, but the real window to judging people is the face. We developed a method to measure facial power and found that it is a strong predictor of law firm profitability.”

    You can read the rest of the post by clicking here.

    Posted in Firm Governance, humour, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips | Permalink | No Comments »
    Rocky Horror as a Management Lesson…
    Friday, November 5th, 2010

    ♬  Don’t dream it – be it…♬

    Music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    Rocky Horror Picture Show Poster

    In watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show this Halloween with a fully-engaged set of friends, it occurred to me that the movie is actually a management lesson in cinematic form. Work with me here!

    The movie starts with Brad and Janet approaching a dark and foreboding castle after their car has a flat. They are, in effect, the new set of eyes having an unexpected first glimpse inside an existing organization. On gaining entry to the castle and seeing its bizarre occupants, they get the distinct impression that they have just done a ‘time warp’ into a new dimension. This is not unlike someone’s first impression on joining a dysfunctional organization. (more…)

    Posted in Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    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 »