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    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 »
    Owed to the West Wind, er, Blackberry…
    Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

    ♫ Thy magic reunites those
    Whom stern custom has parted;
    All men will become brothers
    Under thy gentle wing…♫

    Lyrics by Friedrich von Schiller; music by L. van Beethoven; Ode to Joy”.

    When my trusty but basic cell phone died, it was time to look for a replacement.  I knew that it was time to stop my resistance as one of the last holdouts against the western phenomenon that has blown thru the business world, namely the Blackberry.  It was a difficult decision but ultimately driven by the need to carry my calendar around with me without carrying a paper printout.  I thought that these tiny black megaliths would soon start to have an influence over my life much as the black megalith slowly but surely changes the primitive ancestors of man in: “2001 A Space Odyssey“.   What I should have realized much sooner is that this influence could be both positive as well as possibly negative.  I also realized that as a self-confessed tecchy, I was failing to drink my own Kool-aid.

    The rest of this blog post can be read at www.slaw.ca

    Posted in Change Management, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Technology, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Something to Twitter About…
    Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

    ♫ Tell me something good
    Tell me that you like it …
    What I got to give will sho nuff do you good.. ♫

    Lyrics and Music by Stevie Wonder, recorded by Rufus and Chaka Khan, “Tell me Something Good“.

    While Simon Chester may be leading the discussion on the application of Twitter for lawyers, there is no question that Twitter has proven its value for legal technology conferences.

    There were many new and exciting aspects about ABA TECHSHOW 2009 including Richard Susskind’s keynote address on the end of lawyers. But to me, in looking back at ABA TECHSHOW, it was the influence and power of Twitter that is leaving the biggest impression.

    You can read the rest of this post on www.slaw.ca “Something to Twitter About“.

    Posted in humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Technology, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »