Archived Posts

Don’t believe the hype

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Filed under: Careers, Law School

Whenever I drop by a law school campus, I’m reminded of one tremendous difference from 10 or 15 years ago: the near omni-presence of the practising bar. Back then, you noticed the profession on Careers Day (no OCIs back then) and maybe when the CBA President came to speak; otherwise, law practice might as well… Read more »

Rage against the machine

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Filed under: Competition, Technology

You’re surely familiar with those lists of famously bad technology predictions that make the rounds by e-mail every so often. One of the most commonly cited is Digital Equipment Chairman Ken Olsen’s 1977 observation: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Amusing, sure, but rarely quoted in the proper context…. Read more »


The purpose-driven lawyer

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Filed under: Law School, Purpose

The myth of the rich lawyer is remarkably widespread. That’s odd, considering the fact that while some lawyers are very well off, many others simply make a decent living, and some sacrifice potential income for a greater purpose. These days, only the independently wealthy emerge from three years of legal education debt-free. Tuition is higher… Read more »

Moving targets

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Filed under: Globalization, Technology

Mobile lawyering, international trade mechanisms, and Asian outsourcing all revolve around twin forces — technology and globalization — that have reduced the significance of physical distance and national borders for legal practice. The four walls of a lawyer’s office no longer contain a practitioner, and the borders and coastlines of our nation no longer impede… Read more »


A to Z: 26 trends for the legal profession

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Filed under: Billing, Clients, Competition, Generations, Globalization, Innovation, Law School, Leadership, New Lawyers, Satisfaction, Technology

This article was co-authored with Mélanie Raymond, then-Senior Editor of National, and appeared as the cover story in the April/May 2006 edition of the magazine. The legal profession is turning upside down, and many of the familiar landmarks are disappearing or bring replaced by brand-new structures. There are so many changes afoot that National’s editorial… Read more »

We mean business

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Filed under: Clients, Competition, Law School

I’ve been in legal journalism for more than ten years now, so I’ve heard pretty much all the clichés about the law (I’m guilty of having used more than a few myself). My current favourite is the lament, “Law isn’t a profession anymore; it’s a business.” Lawyering is at least 400 years old, and I’m… Read more »


China syndrome

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Filed under: Competition, Globalization, Innovation, Technology

China is shaping the world we live in — along with India, Wal-Mart, Google, RSS, Wikipedia, wireless, and the World Wide Web 2.0. It’s not just manufacturing jobs moving to Asia, it’s white-collar professional work, too. And that’s just the start of it. From what I can tell, we’re poised on the edge of great… Read more »

Speed kills

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Filed under: Billing, Satisfaction

In every survey the Canadian Bar Association conducts, we hear lawyers talking about “work-life balance.” I’ve always found this an odd term, actually, because work and life aren’t two sides of the same coin — life is the coin, and work is one side of it. Or better yet, life is a pyramid or a… Read more »


Looking for leaders

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Filed under: Generations, Leadership, New Lawyers

These days, young lawyers are often said to be joining firms and immediately expecting exciting work, handsome paycheques, flexible hours and endless compliments. Their attitude, apparently, is that they can bypass all the hard work put in by their elders and head straight for the reward, while bolting to a higher bidder on a moment’s… Read more »

Try anything once

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Filed under: Law School

One of my more vivid law school memories is a first-year public law class with Sheila McIntyre at Queen’s in 1990. Prof. McIntyre, while teaching the core subject matter with her usual brilliance, was also giving many of us our first exposure to feminist legal criticisms and status-quo-challenging legal theory. The discomfort among many students… Read more »


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