Small ideas on legal practice, research and technology

Archive for ‘Practice’

SlawTips Is Moving to

After nearly 11 years, dozens of Tipsters, and more than 1200 tips, we’ve made the decision to transition SlawTips from its own site to being part of our content over at Slaw. Moving forward, you’ll now find new tips occasionally via our “Tips Tuesday” category.

A huge thanks to all the Tipsters who have generously contributed their pearls of wisdom since 2011. Like the main Slaw site, SlawTips would not be possible without the many authors who share their time and writing talent with the legal community here in Canada and abroad.

The SlawTips motto has always …

Posted in: Practice

All the Better to See With: Avoiding Wolves Dressed Up Like Clients

There’s a knot in your belly. Earlier today you received an email from your client asking you to wire the proceeds of a large real estate transaction to an updated account number. You complied, of course. It’s their money after all.

At least, you thought it was your client. It looked like an email from your client. It read like an email from your client. And they knew all the details of the transaction. But now your client is saying they never sent such an email and never received the funds you transferred.

You’re the victim of wire fraud, you’ve …

Posted in: Practice

Change Your Role

For so many busy lawyers it’s almost too easy to go in and do your time day after day, year after year. But at some point you may find yourself wondering if this is really what you still want to be doing.

  • If the answer is yes, great, just keep moving forward.
  • If the answer is no, listen and change your role.

A simple but illuminating exercise to get the ball rolling in the right direction is to write your future biography. Not based on where things are headed today. But based on where your interests lie. A different area …

Posted in: Practice

Putting the “Care” in “Vicarious Trauma”

Those in need of a lawyer are often in one of the most stressful experiences of their lives. Divorce proceedings, criminal accusations, or personal injury claims turn entire lives upside-down, while something as routine as the purchase of a first home can still be overwhelming. What for the client may be a fulcrum holding their future in the balance, for their lawyer may be just a Tuesday—one of perhaps over a dozen files ongoing at any time.

Yet, it is easy for the lawyer to invest themselves in their clients’ causes and fortunes, taking their wins and losses to heart, …

Posted in: Practice

Use Your Words (A 30-Day Challenge!)

It’s so tempting to scroll through your LinkedIn feed and ‘like’ stuff, isn’t it? There is so much pressure to show up and post something. Everyone else seems to be. But is hitting the ‘like’ button really the right response?

Today’s tip isn’t just a tip. It’s a challenge!

For the next 30 days, every time you find yourself reaching for that ‘like’ button, stop yourself. Ask yourself if you can go further. Is there anything you can write that would add value? Convey point of view, experience or insight? Or simply present your personality?

Why is this so important?…

Posted in: Practice

The Dangers of Dopplelawyers

Be careful: There may be another you out there, lurking in the non-SEO-optimized back quarters of the internet. Another website profile with your name, maybe even your firm’s name, but with different contact information.

Lawyer impersonation is a serious problem. Many lawyers have been shocked to discover alternate website or contact information from person(s) purporting to be the lawyer in question, offering legal services. At other times, a potential client will contact a firm to speak to a lawyer they believed they had already been corresponding with, only to find that they had actually been speaking with a fraudster impersonating …

Posted in: Practice

Stay Connected, Remotely

Lawyers are becoming pretty practiced at working remotely. But just because meetings, emails and deadlines are all on track, doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is under control. Despite everyone’s best efforts to normalize life with video conferencing and other remote management tools, there may still be some looming issues.

While our collective online connection is tremendously valuable, these virtual business exchanges can sometimes feel transactional and be ineffective in creating meaningful human connections.

So, today’s tip is to take the time to reach out to the people in your network that may benefit from a more personal interaction. A phone …

Posted in: Practice

Trauma-Informed Lawyering: The Education You Didn’t Know You Needed

What is trauma-informed lawyering?

Myrna McCallum–a former prosecutor and Indian Residential School adjudicator–sees it as a critical competency requirement, yet one that’s missing from law school and bar course curriculums.

Today’s tip is to learn about trauma-informed lawyering through McCallum’s podcast, the Trauma-Informed Lawyer, which she has created in partnership with the Canadian Bar Association.

McCallum sets out to offer some of that education through in-depth conversations with fellow lawyers, judges, academics and others on vicarious trauma, restorative/transformative justice, cultural humility, trauma and diversity, and many more vitally important topics.

From episode 1:

“I created this podcast to educate,

Posted in: Practice

Remembering to Not Forget to Be Ethical

Ethical lapses on the part of lawyers are often due to mistake, rather than known wrongdoing. The problem is not intention, but lack of attention. Taking the time to pause and ask yourself the following ethical questions before embarking on a course of action will help maintain your ethical obligations, your quality of representation, and the benefit you provide to the public.

1.Are you competent in the relevant legal areas?
“Don’t dabble” is an oft-repeated mantra. Lawyers may sometimes feel pressure to expand the scope of their representation to encompass tangential or additional matters brought forward by …

Posted in: Practice

Update the Most Important 120 Characters on Your LinkedIn Profile

When you post content on LinkedIn or even comment on someone else’s post, what part of your profile do your connections see in their feed? Three things. That’s it.

  1. A mini thumbnail of your headshot
  2. Your name
  3. A headline (120 characters or less)

Most lawyers and other professionals use their LinkedIn profile headline for their literal job title. That’s not actually the best way to maximize this line. Job titles all tend to sound the same and they aren’t really that interesting. Imagine seeing a sea of these titles in a search result.


Your headline can convey more than …

Posted in: Practice