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Wise Law Blog: On Change, Planning and Professional Practice

Death, taxes and change.Reputedly, these are among life’s inevitabilities. And while there is probably very little we can do about death and taxes, change is something we truly can manage.A central theme of many of my Practice Tips posts has been the… . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: On Change, Planning and Professional Practice

Wise Law Blog: On Change, Planning and Professional Practice

Death, taxes and change.

Reputedly, these are among life’s inevitabilities. And while there is probably very little we can do about death and taxes, change is something we truly can manage.

A central theme of many of my Practice Tips posts has been the importance of planning for law firms and other professional practices. By occasionally stepping back from the demands of our day-to-day dealings and deadlines, we can gain the benefit of a longer view, think about objectives, and develop strategies and routines to meet our short and longer term goals.

There will be many changes along the way, from the day we first hang a shingle, through to the maturity phase of our practices, and the ultimate decision that may come sooner – or later – than we think to wind down, transition to retirement, plan for succession or otherwise expand or contract our professional horizons.

Throughout our careers, there will probably be more than a few office addresses, important collaborators or partners, key clients, irreplaceable staff members, and memorable cases and projects There will also be revolutions in technology, drastic changes to the substantive law, regular shifts in the economy and continuing evolution of our marketplace and our regulatory environment.

Not to mention, a few curveballs.

Things don’t generally remain static in professional practice. Opportunities, setbacks and new challenges will virtually always come our way.

There will be lessons learned and pages turned, if you will.

It would be naive to believe all of these changes can be planned for. Some changes will be thrown upon us, unexpected, sudden and even unwelcome. That’s life, I suppose.

Nonetheless, much of this inevitable change can be managed and directed, if not wholly controlled. And our professional paths and our career successes may well be defined by how we navigate these changes.

Obviously, the future can’t be fully predicted or controlled, but with careful planning, a professional practice can definitely be guided in the right direction more often than not.

Begin by identifying objectives, challenges and issues. Get input from others. Be concrete about goals. Break objectives down into their components and target small, readily achievable milestones. Speak regularly with your partners, associates, staff, accountants, life partners, practice management experts and any other trusted sounding boards. Make lists, check them twice. Always leave space in your calendar to regularly assess where you are and work on your practice and professional goals.

The topics of discussion will likely change through the phases and life cycle of every practice, but once established, the habit and art of planning can be a major contributor to handling change and moving our career arcs forward.

Inevitably.

(Cross Posted at Slaw Tips)

– Garry J. Wise, Toronto
Visit our website: www.wiselaw.net

. . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: On Change, Planning and Professional Practice

Wise Law Blog: Leadership

What does it mean to be a leader?And what does true leadership in a law firm context really entail?Clearly, there is no “one size fits all” answer to these questions. Every leader’s approach and plan will necessarily vary, depending on circumstan… . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Leadership

Wise Law Blog: When The Press Comes A’Calling

In the course of your work as a legal professional, you may receive the occasional call from the media, seeking your comments or insights on a recent legal development or issue.Handling these enquiries with expertise and grace will always be benef… . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: When The Press Comes A’Calling

Wise Law Blog: Slaw Tips: Use A Screensaver to Protect Client Confidentiality

Legal professionals properly place high priority on securing our computer infrastructures to protect client confidentiality.Our desktop screens, however, are often overlooked, as a source of potential security breaches.Is your computer screen visible t… . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Slaw Tips: Use A Screensaver to Protect Client Confidentiality

Wise Law Blog: Law Firm Marketing: Finding an Online/Offline Balance

There is no shortage of evangelism out there on the importance of the Internet as a platform for marketing law firms. I’ve certainly attempted to be a strong voice on this topic for well over a decade.According to Toronto law firm marketing consultant, Sandra Bekhor, however, the legal marketing landscape has evolved, and the question has now shifted.The . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Law Firm Marketing: Finding an Online/Offline Balance

Wise Law Blog: I Don’t Know

They may be the three most difficult words for certain professionals to utter.The mere temptation to speak them aloud has even been known (among some, it is rumoured), to dredge up sweaty palms, blinding pillars of ego and fortress-thick walls of denial.I don’t know. Or if you prefer, I dunno.Je ne sais pas.Or or as it is said in ancient . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: I Don’t Know

Wise Law Blog: (Random) Tips for September

September has arrived, ushering in a new season, and, after our summer reprieves, the beginning of a new work cycle.Whether you are a sole practitioner, a new lawyer, or the managing partner at a large firm, September is also an optimal time for big-picture reflection, planning and setting new goals.On a smaller scale, however, it occurs to . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: (Random) Tips for September

Wise Law Blog: Health Care Practitioners: Please Don’t Keep Notes About Your Patients’ Discussions With Their Lawyers

Today’s tip is for health care practitioners whose patients are involved in litigation.We recognize that it might be natural, and even good practice, for medical practitioners to ask their patients how their lawsuits are going.Particularly for those practitioners who provide counselling, these discussions may be essential to your work.Lawsuits can weigh heavily upon the psyches of . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Health Care Practitioners: Please Don’t Keep Notes About Your Patients’ Discussions With Their Lawyers

Wise Law Blog: Mindfulness for Lawyers Goes Mainstream

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, had a feature this week on the increasing prevalence – and acceptance – of mindfulness training for lawyers.In Lawyers Go Zen, With Few Objections, writer Jacob Gershman delivers more than just a clever headline.  He focusses on the enhanced listening skills that can be developed through mindfulness techniques.I don’t have much . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Mindfulness for Lawyers Goes Mainstream

Wise Law Blog: Use Siri Dictation Commands to Punctuate Your Life (Or at Very Least, Your Email)

I’ve previously blogged at Slaw Tips on the virtues of using Siri’s dictation functions to draft letters, emails and other documents typically created in day-to-day legal practice.In short, dictation with Siri has increased my productivity, precision  and the overall quality of my work product.For those who are similarly inclined, I wanted to share a great list of Siri commands that . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Use Siri Dictation Commands to Punctuate Your Life (Or at Very Least, Your Email)

Wise Law Blog: Migrating from Windows Live Mail to MS-Outlook

Which email client does your law office use?I raise this question, as the purchase of a new computer for my desktop has necessitated the migration of all my emails – around 20 Gigs worth – to my new machine.Out of habit, if nothing else, we have used Windows Live Mail as my office’s email client of . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Migrating from Windows Live Mail to MS-Outlook

Wise Law Blog: Mobilegeddon: Is Your Law Firm Website Ready to Pass Google’s New Mobile-Friendliness Test?

Some call it Mobilegeddon.Google began to roll out a mobile-friendliness update last Tuesday, April 21, 2015.  With this latest, major algorithmic change, Google will now be boosting search rankings of mobile-friendly web pages on its mobile search results. According to Google: A page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Mobilegeddon: Is Your Law Firm Website Ready to Pass Google’s New Mobile-Friendliness Test?

Wise Law Blog: Late Lawyers (and Other Musings)

New York City’s embattled, progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio, has in rapid order acquired a bit of a reputation for failing to arrive on time. His tardy tendencies have even launched a new cottage industry in the press, the “De Blasio was Late Again” outrage-of-the-day story.

Late the for a St. Patrick’s Day mass. Late . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Late Lawyers (and Other Musings)

Wise Law Blog: Know That Smartphone (And The Data Stored Therein)

What data can be harvested from the typical smartphone? How can litigators utilize forensics to obtain this data for use in legal proceedings?

Two recent articles from Law Pro’s Tim Lemieux and Rob Lekowski of ABA’s Law Technology Today have looked at these questions and offer quite a bit of need-to-know information. The typical mobile device retains . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Know That Smartphone (And The Data Stored Therein)

Wise Law Blog: SlawTips: 5 Tips on Marketing for Law Firms (Video)

The world of marketing remains a bit of a mystery for many legal professionals.  We know enough about it that many of us become do-it-ourselfers for our websites, blogs and even our branding.

Nonetheless, there is much we can learn from true marketing professionals.

To that end, I have the pleasure today of . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: SlawTips: 5 Tips on Marketing for Law Firms (Video)

Wise Law Blog: SlawTips: Use Skype to Strengthen Lawyer-Client Rapport

It crept up on us slowly, but Skype has become an  indispensable technology in the modern law firm’s toolbox. A bit of historical context will set the stage: Launched in 2003, Skype was one of the first mass market freely available forms of internet video conferencing. It took advantage of early developments in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: SlawTips: Use Skype to Strengthen Lawyer-Client Rapport

Wise Law Blog: Tips on Law Blogging

With the 10 year anniversary of Wise Law Blog rapidly approaching  this April, my thoughts have turned recently to the nuts and bolts of law blogging. 

There are numerous articles online about the virtues of law blogging, and all the benefits becoming a blogger can bring to you and your firm.

These positives include increased profile, . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Tips on Law Blogging

Wise Law Blog: Tax-Time Assessment

Today at SlawTips, I suggest a checklist of questions for lawyers to ponder about their firms’ bookkeeping and accounting processes, with a view to making tax-day 2014 a bit more painless.

See today’s post: New (Tax) Year’s Resolutions. – Garry J. Wise, Toronto Visit our Toronto Law Office website: www.wiselaw.net Visit our website: www.wiselaw.net . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Tax-Time Assessment

Wise Law Blog: Thursday’s Practice Tip: Communications with Clients

In our column this week at SlawTips, David Bilinsky and I offer practical solutions to the oft-cited challenge of maintaining good communications with our clients:

Once a practice has matured, no lawyer can do it alone. The solution to the communications conundrum is probably as simple as this – develop good communications systems . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Thursday’s Practice Tip: Communications with Clients