Clio has just announced a $1 million COVID-19 legal relief initiative in order “to help create business continuity and peace of mind for you, your law firm or your legal organization. Open to the entire legal industry, funding can be used towards financial assistance for legal technology, getting educational support from industry leaders, and onboarding support as you move to the cloud.”
Like fashion, communication methods evolve, change, and sometimes come back again. During the twentieth century, telephones became ubiquitous, largely replacing the need for written telegrams and letters. Today, that trend has reversed, with text messages and e-mail the dominant and preferred method of communication in many contexts, especially with younger generations.
But effective telephone communication is a skill that can atrophy as we use it less in our daily lives. As such, here are six things to consider before picking up that antiquated telephone contraption.
1. Prepare Preparing for a call ensures that key points and issues will be discussed and will keep the conversation on track. Preparing might mean thinking about the call for a couple minutes, jotting down an outline, or thinking of specific language for sensitive topics.
2. Protect Before taking a confidential call on your cell phone, find a private place to have the conversation or, if possible, wait until returning to the office.
3. Listen Active listening cues, such as vocal acknowledgements or positive affirmations of understanding, can help keep conversations positive and effective.
4. Control Excessive volume (see: yelling) is always a potential problem when contentious matters are at issue. If the other side lets their passions inform their volume, it’s okay to calmly inform them that they are yelling and ask them to stop (especially if it’s not a client).
5. Articulate If your call is sent to voicemail, it’s a good idea to hang-up, compose the message you want to leave, and then call back. Clearly state the reason for the call, whether you will call back, give and spell your name, and provide a number at which you can be reached (and then repeat it for good measure).
6. Memorialize Always make a written record of a phone conversation with clients or opposing counsel, either in a personal memo or follow-up email. Habitually doing so can prevent serious headaches and malpractice claims down the road.
Shawn Erker (@ShawnErker) is Legal Writer & Content Manager at LAWPRO.
have you been on LinkedIn? A few years? More? Have you added or changed anything
since that time? Your headshot? Your profile? The type of content you post?
been more than a few years and not much has changed, now is the time to do just
that! Even if you start with a single, small step.
How about updating
your headshot, so that it is current and engaging?
Simpler? You can
change your title, so it’s not just accurate… it’s interesting.
Too much? Simply install
the LinkedIn app on your smart phone and check your feed once a week. You can
read what your connections post and jump into a conversation when you see something
that matters to you.
will take more than this first step to become a LinkedIn warrior. But once you
start seeing the results of your efforts, you may find that you are surprised
at just how motivated you are to keep going!
For more related reading, see these
past articles on Slaw:
CPLED is now hosting a Student Resume Directory on its website to assist students who are seeking articles. Students can create profiles here, indicating the type of position they are looking for, the location where they would like to work (Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan), and upload a copy of their resume. Employers can browse the student profiles and reach out to suitable candidates for opportunities in their organization using the Contact Form with each student’s profile. The Directory is free and available to law students seeking summer or articling positions.
[This tip originally appeared on the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library’s Legal Sourcery Blog.]
provide lawyers with constant availability and the convenience of responding to
queries and communications from any location at any time. But our devices can
also be a source of distraction and addiction that discourage productivity and
negatively impact our mental health.
A recent survey by Deloitte found that the average person
checks their smartphone 52 times a day, while another study found the average person spends more than 3 hours on
their phone daily. My own phone tells me that I receive an average of 78
notifications each day, causing a daily average of 73 “pickups”—each one
interrupting workflow and concentration.
active effort to reinforce self-control and limit our smartphone use can go a
long way to ensuring we control our devices and our devices don’t control us.
Dr. Gabrielle Golding, a lecturer with the University of Adelaide Law School,
recommends lawyers pursue “digital detox” by scheduling predictable time away
from smartphones and computers each week, slowly acclimatizing oneself to
feeling “disconnected”, refraining from using any digital devices in bed, and
taking up a non-technological hobby.
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with applications such as iPhone’s Screen Time and Android’s Digital Wellbeing functions, which allow users to set limits on when and how they use their smartphone. Blocks of phone-free time can be set in advance, or limits can be placed on certain applications. These applications also provide daily summaries of just how much time a user spends on individual applications—the results of which may surprise you.
Shawn Erker (@ShawnErker) is Legal Writer & Content Manager at LAWPRO.
Administrator’s note: thanks to Erin Cowling for this week’s tip.
We all know that taking a real vacation makes us less stressed, more focused, and in return, better lawyers, better employees, and better bosses. Even though I love my job, I still need a break from it. I need to unplug and unwind. I need to think about something other than the law. When I do, I return to my practice with more energy and commitment.
worked for someone else, I always took all my allotted vacation. I felt I
was working hard and I rightly deserved the time off. Now that I have
my own practice and business and can, in theory, take as much vacation
time that I want, I take even less. I need to change that.
So, here is what I have learned, and what may help to ensure that you and I take our important vacations:
Book the vacation time into your calendar in advance. Block off your 2020 vacation days now. Not nailing down the time off makes it easier to push back that much needed break.
Take at least two weeks off. For me, one week is not enough to get the “law” out of my system and to unwind.
Plan financially, especially for those of us who are sole practitioners or have our own businesses. If we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Factor your vacation time into your financial plan for the year. (In other words, don’t let money be an excuse to not take time off).
Have someone cover your practice so you aren’t working on your vacation.
Fiercely protect your time. Practice saying “No”. Say “No” to that meeting they want to schedule on your day off. Say “No” to that “quick” conference call while you are on vacation. And then provide an alternative date for when you are back in the office, relaxed and ready to work!
The bottom line: We need to give ourselves permission to take a break and forget about law for a while. We will be better lawyers if we do. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Today’s practice tip is to get more mileage from your writing with CanLII Connects.
If you write commentary on caselaw for a personal or firm blog, client publications, or any other publication, you can upload it to CanLII Connects, where it can be discovered by anyone who searches for that particular case, both on CanLII Connects AND on CanLII.org.
CanLII cases that have corresponding CanLII Connects commentary will display this info just under the case name:
Not only is CanLII Connects commentary discoverable via individual cases, the full-text is integrated in search results within CanLII, too. Per the recent announcement on the CanLII Blog:
“When you conduct a search on CanLII, you are now able to get results of content from CanLII Connects. For example, doing a document search for “promise doctrine” will provide results that link to CanLII Connects entries. Clicking on the title of the entry will direct you to the full document on CanLII Connects.”
Setting up a profile and adding your legal commentary to CanLII Connects is a simple way to increase your online footprint and the reach of your work.