It is licensed under the MIT License and supports IE 9/10/11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.
Find more information at the Monaco Editor Repo.
Source: Monaco Editor
Your document formatting is all fouled up. And you’re on a tight deadline. Here are three shortcut keys to fix Microsoft Word formatting instantly. You’ll want to keep these handy, like on a sticky note stuck to the side of your monitor.
Related Using Microsoft Word Styles
Just select the offending text with your mouse or keyboard, then pick the appropriate shortcut key. If you’re not used to using shortcut keys, this means holding down either/both the Control key (found in the lower-left and lower-right part of your keyboard) and/or the Shift key (found directly above the Control key), then pressing the letter or other character it’s paired with.
Cut-and-paste causes most common formatting snafus, so learn how to paste text without messing up your document. If it’s too late for that, here are more ways to fix Microsoft Word formatting.
Fix Microsoft Word Formatting Instantly with 3 Shortcut Keys was originally published on Lawyerist.com.
[Necessary disclosure: My company Stem Legal has been working with Loom Analytics for several months now during their beta period. It’s a relationship I’m proud to showcase, but also one we are compensated for.]
Today is an exciting day for Loom Analytics. One of the country’s most interesting legal tech startups has officially closed its beta phase and has opened up registration to legal consumers. Less than 18 months after the Loom team first started working on the idea of a Canadian legal analytics tool, the company (whom you may recall from a Slaw Vendor Quiz earlier this year) is now open and offering a free 30-day trial to anyone interested in testing their wares.
What exactly does Loom do? It complements traditional legal research by mining, classifying and annotating legal data (currently caselaw from Canadian court websites or CanLII) to identify meaningful patterns and generating graphs that display those results in a meaningful way.
To give an example, you can run a search to find all decisions where a plaintiff brought a summary judgment motion in a property damage case and won. Identifying cases that meet those criteria would take days to do manually, but with Loom you can have the results in moments.
Examined another way, it’s like “Moneyball for lawyers” and can be used at the outset of any potential action to help lawyers map out case strategy. According to Loom, feedback has been fantastic, with several senior lawyers confirming that they have successfully won motions in court with the help of Loom’s data.
To show the many ways in which their tool can be used, Loom has shared a number of reports built upon its analytics output, including:
For me, Loom Analytics’ capability and potential are truly exciting! The company is also poised to keep growing as they inch towards national Canadian data coverage. Kudos to the whole Loom team for their remarkable accomplishment!
The following warning was issued by Lawyers Mutual of North Carolina. We haven’t had any reports of this in Ontario yet, but lawyers should always be alert to phishing scams that try to trick them into opening an attachment or clicking a link that could instal malware.
There is a new phishing scam targeting bar members across the country. The fraudulent email pretends to be a communication from the State Bar or Bar Association.
There are several versions of this scam. The most common are: “[state] Bar Complaint,” “[state] Bar Association Past Due Notice,” and “Lawyers and judges may now communicate through this portal.”
In many instances, scammers pull names from State Bar or Bar Association websites to add legitimacy to their scam.
If you receive one of these fraudulent emails:
1.Do not respond or open any attachments.
2.Delete the email immediately. These emails likely contain malicious software or contain links to phony websites.
3.If you think your account has been compromised, change your password immediately.
To learn more about how phishing scams work, see Don’t Take the Bait on a Phishing Scam.
Ruby Receptionists are receptionists for the 21st century. Their virtual receptionists take care of your calls so that you can take care of your law practice.Details
When someone calls your office, first impressions are critical. A potential client does not want to speak to a harried receptionist that has no specific knowledge of your practice or, worse still, get your voicemail. A caller wants to be met with a personable, professional, and cheerful individual who understands that their concerns are important. They also want to talk to someone that sounds like they are right there in your office. When those things happen, the caller feels connected to you and your firm. That personal connection builds trust from the very start.
Ruby provides a number of services that help your front-line interactions feel highly personalized and professional. Ruby will answer your calls with your custom greeting and let you know who is on the line before transferring the call. Ruby also understands that different calls go to different people and can route accordingly. Their receptionists also are well-equipped to answer questions about your business such as what type of cases you handle and where your business is located. Ruby will also return calls on your behalf, saving you time and ensuring a potential client is not left feeling that your firm is unresponsive. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Ruby’s intelligent live receptionists are able to distinguish between first-time callers, existing clients, and critical matters, ensuring that each call is treated with the level of urgency it deserves. Thanks to this level of detail, both new and repeat callers will feel connected to and appreciated by your firm.How to Get It
Ruby has subscription plans ranging from $259/month for 100 receptionist minutes and one Ruby voicemail box to $899/month for 500 receptionist minutes and three Ruby voicemail boxes. With a Ruby voicemail box, Ruby will email you your voicemail messages in a .wav file. All plans also include 13 hours of daily receptionist coverage five days a week and bilingual services for Spanish-speaking callers. Ruby has a 21-day money back guarantee. There are no long-term contracts, and you can cancel with 30 days notice.
Ruby Receptionists: Build Trust with Clients through Personal Connections was originally published on Lawyerist.com.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for practice management software to distinguish itself from the myriad other options out there.
At a minimum, practice management software should provide contact storage, matter tracking, time tracking, task lists, and calendaring. PracticePanther provides those features and adds document management, real-time syncing to Box.com, notification options, and for the real legal tech nerds out there, Zapier and API access (more on what that means below).Dashboard
All modern practice management applications should also have a dashboard that gives you a snapshot of your finances, tasks, and upcoming appointments. PracticePanther’s dashboard highlights your financial bottom lines: how much money you have earned in the month, how much you have billed that is still unpaid, and how much you have yet to bill.
The dashboard also gives you a list of your upcoming tasks and your calendar for the week, month, or day—whichever you prefer. Finally, at the far bottom of the dashboard is a running list of all activities you recently performed within the program.
The program will track contacts, matters, tasks, invoices, and payments. You can set up client portals so your clients have access to information and invoicing all in one secure location. Secure portals are critical for communicating with clients. It avoids the security and organizational problems that arise from emailing documents and sensitive information.
PracticePanther prides itself on giving you ways to interact with your team. The program has a built-in chat program so you don’t need to hop over to Google Hangouts or Slack. You can also have PracticePanther notify you when certain client actions are taken, like when they open an invoice or make a payment.Integrations
PracticePanther has a very tight integration with Box so you can store your files in the cloud. If you drag and drop files from your computer into PracticePanther, they’ll get synced to your Box account without any further action from you.
For invoicing, PracticePanther gives you quite a few choices. You can integrate with LawPay, a law practice-specific credit card processor, or you can go with PayPal or Stripe, which are both widely used. It also integrates with Quickbooks Online to sync payments and invoices.
The remaining integrations are ones you’ve come to expect as standard: Gmail, Google calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Exchange, and Office 365.
Related “Zapier Zaps for Lawyers”
For the truly tech-inclined lawyer, you can request access to PracticePanther’s Zapier beta. Zapier lets you link apps together and automate data transfers between those apps using APIs. An API—Application Performance Interface—tells apps how to talk to each other. This feature is useful if you have some mission critical apps that would benefit from a direct link to your practice management software.Pricing
PracticePanther will cost you $39/month per user if billed annually or $49/month per user if billed monthly. They promise zero setup costs, but that’s not entirely accurate if you need to import anything but your contacts, as migrating any other data will cost you $10/hour to have PracticePanther do it. There is also a free trial available. If you agree to watch a demo, you will get 50% off your first two months.Final Thoughts
PracticePanther has the key features attorneys have come to demand from practice management software. It also targets the tech-savvy attorney who wants the opportunity to connect their practice management software to other productivity tools, but it is unclear how large a slice of the market that might be.
At root, PracticePanther feels a bit like an application that is still finding its way. The limited reports and oversimplified contact list may not be robust enough for attorneys managing a practice with a large amount of clients. However, the company is very responsive to feature requests and aggressive about updates.
Perhaps most troubling, you have to get past being somewhat hesitant to say you’re using software inexplicably named after a panther.
First Look: PracticePanther Law Practice Management Software was originally published on Lawyerist.com.
Boring but important fact: law firm clients of all types – sophisticated, unsophisticated, big, small (and everywhere in between) increasingly use the Internet to research, vet, and select their lawyers. This is not news. But what is noteworthy is that online ratings & reviews of lawyers generated by the public are becoming a more predominant part of the overall picture of your firm that prospective clients see when they look you up online. You may want to address that.
Ratings are not new either. I’m old enough to remember when Martindale-Hubbell’s highly coveted AV ratings were doled out in giant-book form. Indeed, Martindale’s own website refers to them as the “gold standard in attorney ratings…for more than a century”. But the Martindale ratings and others of their ilk were (and remain) peer-review systems that reflect recognition from within the profession, and followed fairly strict protocols on who gets input into your firm’s reputation. More recently, ratings and reviews on such un-lawyerly locales as Facebook, Yelp, Google “My Business” pages and elsewhere now form part of the online landscape in which your firm is regularly being evaluated. And in those forums, it is not your law school chums passing judgment on your merits, but rather the public at large.
Lawyers tend to come from the factory with our operational settings pre-programmed to “control freak”. Let’s just say we like to have a hand in. . .well, pretty much everything really. And that sentiment is doubly true if the matter in question has a direct bearing on our professional reputation. But in the open arena that is online reviews, lawyers and firms don’t have total control over what is being said about them. That may in fact be a considerable part of their attraction. At this stage we are all accustomed to seeing consumer reviews included right within the product pages on major consumer websites including everything from iTunes to Best Buy to Home Depot (to name just a few I personally use regularly). They add credibility to the evaluation of the product in question. A 2014 Ipsos survey found that Millennials consider User-Generated Content (aka “UGC”) such as peer reviews (that would be their peers, not yours) 50% more trustworthy than other media sources, including traditional media. (I know, I know, Millennials aren’t your client base. . . yet). As the public comes to ever more regularly rely on such public ratings in other aspects of life, it is only natural that this same approach will be applied to the legal profession.
Of these newer rating/review platforms, the most important in my view is Google “My Business” Pages, which show up in both regular Google searches and Google Map searches. You may not think you are familiar with this Google feature, but you have almost certainly encountered it already. If you Google your law firm’s name, you are likely to see a box in the right hand column of the search results page with a map, possibly some photos, and other summary information about your firm – including reviews already submitted and a place to leave a rating (zero to five stars) and/or a review. This is your Google “My Business” listing in action – for better or worse. (If your firm has not yet taken control of your “My Business” page and filled out your profile, the time to do so is now).
The inevitable result when firms ignore their online profiles is that a disproportionate number of the reviews that do filter in tend to be from those with an axe to grind, legitimately or otherwise. As an example, I just randomly did a Google search on the name of one of the larger blue-chip firms in Western Canada: a pre-eminent firm of 50+ lawyers. The Google reviews? Two results. The first one was a glowing 5-star review from 8 years ago that has the distinctly artificial scent of having been awkwardly written by one of the firm’s own people. (“I highly recommend reviewing their publications that provide a summary outline of legal issues and developments in force at the time of writing.”) Sorry folks, but that’s now how actual humans typically write. The second review is a one-star diatribe from six months ago that starts off with a tirade about the firm forcing kids to be tax shields for their parents contrary to the Income Tax Act and goes downhill from there before asking that someone “take these greedy corporate lawyers down”.
Neither of these reviews accurately reflect the typical client experience of what I know to be a very high quality firm but that’s what’s currently online forming part of the firm’s reputation for those less familiar with the legal market.
Most lawyers and firms I know are not of the chest-thumping type and it is not intuitive to them to ask for a positive online rating or review from their many satisfied clients (especially when they don’t know Google My Business reviews even exist). But asking your satisfied clients to leave you a positive review or rating online is an appropriate and useful step in my opinion to ensure that a more representative picture of your work emerges. The reality is that public online ratings and rankings tools are out there and being used and relied upon with increasing frequency. Encouraging your many satisfied clients to engage with these tools doesn’t provide you control over the results, but does enable you to have what is likely to be a positive influence on your online reputation, and let the quality of your work speak for itself. Let’s hope it speaks volumes.
Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from seventy recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.
Métis law student crowned Miss Universe Canada
A University of Saskatchewan law student is hoping to use her new position as Miss Universe Canada to elevate the discussion around awareness and understanding of indigenous culture. Siera Bearchell, a 23-year-old Métis from Moose Jaw, Sask., won the title in Toronto last weekend, emerging the winner over 64 other finalists. She will represent Canada at the Miss Universe pageant later this fall. …
Dans la décision Droit de la famille – 161206, la Cour supérieure doit décider de la garde de deux enfants d’un couple qui ne s’entendent pas. À l’occasion du procès, Monsieur met en preuve une conversation issue de la page Facebook de Madame. Est-ce que cette preuve peut être acceptée par la cour? Faits: Monsieur et Madame se rencontrent alors qu’ils sont encore adolescents. À 19 ans, en 2005, elle donne naissance à leur premier enfant. …
The September 2012 decision of Meads v Meads, 2012 ABQB 571, established a continuum of litigants, ranging from very commonly encountered self-represented litigants, to infrequently encountered vexatious litigants, through to the highly unusual sub-set of vexatious litigants that Associate Chief Justice J.D. Rooke labelled “organized pseudo-legal commercial argument” or OPCA litigants. For a number of reasons, it can sometimes be easy to conflate these categories. Vexatious and OPCA litigants are almost always also self-represented. …
University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog
Call for Presenters: Pro Bono Presentation Night
Pro bono law is consistently characterized as something that lawyers should do, as well as an important tool for enhancing access to justice, especially for Canadians of limited means. Many lawyers and law students do pro bono, “low bono”, or other law-related public service. But as we toil away on our individual projects, there is seldom an opportunity to think about how we fit into the bigger picture. What are we trying to achieve? What are we doing well and what could we be doing better? What can we learn from each other? …
I gave my annual presentation today to the Toronto computer Lawyers’ Group on “The year in review in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law”. It covered the period from June 2015 to June 2016. The developments included cases from Canada, the U.S. the U.K., and other Commonwealth countries. The developments were organized into the broad topics of: Technology Contracting, Online Agreements, Privacy, Online/Intermediary Liability/Responsibility, Copyright, and Trade-marks and Domain names. …
*Randomness here is created by Random.org and its list randomizing function.
After pushing it through the Senate on Friday morning, the House of Commons finally voted for Bill C-14 on Friday afternoon. The Department of Justice has created a Q&A page on the Bill and some of the related issue.
The Senate attempted to modify Bill C-14 to adjust the issue of reasonable foreseeability, but were unsuccessful in doing so. This issue was especially important in light of a recent decision by the Alberta Court of Appeal, which indicated this criteria was not necessary under the 2015 Carter decision.
The Department of Justice has responded to this concern in an addendum to their legislative background released last week,
The constitutionality of Bill C-14 will not be determined by a simple comparison of the Bill to the Carter decision. Rather, it will involve an assessment of the provisions of the Bill in light of its new and distinct purposes, as compared to the purposes of the total prohibition, and the legislative record.
In other words, they expect that any constitutional challenges will be saved by s. 1. And constitutional challenges there may very well likely be.
It’s a good thing the Bill was passed though, because rather than having another Morgentaler on assisted dying (i.e. the lack of any statutory guidance), we may have had a hodgepodge of common law decisions created by the courts. That’s because two days before the Bill was passed, Justice Perrell ruled that the absence of any legislation in this area would still require guidance and control by the judiciary.
The exemptions which were provided by the Supreme Court of Canada this past January extended the time for government to create law up to June 6, 2016. Nobody was really sure what would happen on June 7, because the the Supreme Court was silent on that issue. Everyone expected the government would have passed the law within that time frame. Justice Perell had to consider an application which fell outside of that.
In O.P. v. Canada (Attorney General),  O.J. No. 3122, Justice Perell stated,
50 The end of the suspension of invalidity that demarcates the commencement of the third phase has created uncertainty about the state of the law about physician-assisted death across the country. Physician-assisted death is a constitutional right, but in the absence of new legislation, there is nothing to ensure compliance with the rule of law and no safeguards against potential risks to vulnerable people. As a further source of uncertainty, while there is no prohibition against physician-assisted death and thus, in theory, no need for constitutional exemptions, nevertheless, as noted above, practically speaking, physicians and healthcare practitioners willing to assist in a physician-assisted death feel that it is too risky to assist without assurance that there is no exposure to civil, criminal, or disciplinary liability. Thus, court orders appear to be a practical necessity.
Justice Perell justified this under Section 24(1) of the Constitution Act 1982, which provides the court the power to grant remedies which are appropriate and just in the circumstances. He interpreted the Carter 2 decision as more than just creating an exemption, but also carving out a Charter remedy to empower courts to provide this relief. At paragraph 53 he concluded, “The parameters of physician-assisted death are not a matter to be left unregulated by the rule of law.”
Although Bill C-14 may not be perfect in everyone’s minds, it’s still a better alternative than the burgeoning body of common law assisted dying decisions, which over time would have resulted in inconsistent applications across different jurisdictions.
The jurisdictional issue will still be pertinent, as provinces will have the ability to regulate and legislate in the area of assisted dying from a health perspective, with the exception of federal provides of health services.
Provinces can be expected to pass legislation in other areas of assisted dying, including special training where needed, the documentation required, and other implications in insurance law.
Quebec is currently the only province with legislation in place. Bill C-14 goes further than Quebec, and allows for assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia, whereas the province only provides for the latter. The reasonable foreseeability requirement in C-14 is broader than Quebec’s requirement for the treatment to be provided at the end of life.
In other ways, C-14 is more restrictive than Quebec, requiring any intolerable suffering to be caused by the applicant’s medical condition.
Any way you look at it, despite the new legislation, the development of assisted dying law in Canada has a long life ahead of it still.
Let’s talk about Basic Auth:
Here’s the short version of how it works.
Are games fun? This is an important question for people in training because not only animation but now “gamification” is a new trend. But are “games” fun? Winning is fun. Interacting with others with whom you are playing can be fun. Games can be entertaining and sometime they are fun, but when we think about making training more effective, we need to think less about having fun and more about what it means to learn.
$50 million were “stolen” from a project called “The DAO” and now the Ethereum community is deciding how to move forward and recover from…
Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.
ACTION COLLECTIVE (RECOURS COLLECTIF) : L’action collective au nom des personnes qui auraient été privées du statut d’Indien en raison de dispositions discriminatoires énoncées à la Loi sur les Indiens entre 1985 et 2011 est autorisée.
Intitulé : Sarrazin c. Canada (Procureur général), 2016 QCCS 2458
Juridiction : Cour supérieure (C.S.), Montréal, 500-06-000600-128
Décision de : Juge Marie-Anne Paquette
Date : 27 mai 2016
ACTION COLLECTIVE (RECOURS COLLECTIF) — procédure — autorisation — Indiens — reconnaissance du statut d’Indien — État — immunité — dispositions législatives déclarées inconstitutionnelles — recours en réparation — apparence de droit — questions communes — règle de la proportionnalité — représentativité du requérant — scission de l’instance — question préliminaire — saine administration de la justice.
PROCÉDURE CIVILE — nouveau Code de procédure civile.
Demande en autorisation d’exercer une action collective. Accueillie.
La Loi sur les Indiens a été adoptée en vertu de l’autorité législative exclusive du Parlement fédéral relativement aux Indiens et aux terres qui leur sont réservées. Cette loi crée notamment le registre des Indiens et régit l’identification et l’enregistrement de ces derniers. En 1985, en raison de l’avènement de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, des modifications à la Loi sur les Indiens ont été adoptées et sont entrées en vigueur rétroactivement au 17 avril 1985 (Loi modifiant la Loi sur les Indiens (L.C. 1985, c. 27)). Une nouvelle règle a alors été introduite en ce qui concerne la faculté de transmettre le statut d’Indien à la génération suivante, soit la «règle de la coupure à la deuxième génération», laquelle découle de l’effet combiné des articles 6 (1) a) et 6 (1) c) et de l’article 6 (2) de la Loi sur les Indiens tels qu’ils ont été modifiés. Ainsi, l’enfant de la troisième génération n’aura pas le statut d’Indien si sa grand-mère indienne a épousé un non-Indien, alors qu’il l’aurait si son grand-père indien avait épousé une non-Indienne. Le 6 avril 2009, dans McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs), (C.A. (C.-B.), 2009-04-06 (décision rectifiée le 2009-06-03 et le 2009-07-13)), 2009 BCCA 153, SOQUIJ AZ-50548777, la Cour d’appel de la Colombie-Britannique a déclaré que les articles 6 (1) a) et 6 (1) c) de la Loi sur les Indiens tels qu’ils avaient été modifiés en 1985 violaient l’article 15 de la charte et que cette violation ne respectait pas le critère de l’atteinte minimale prévu à l’article 1 de la charte. La Cour a alors suspendu la déclaration d’inconstitutionnalité de ces dispositions de la Loi sur les Indiens afin de permettre au Parlement de modifier la loi, ce qui a été fait le 31 janvier 2011 par l’entrée en vigueur de la Loi sur l’équité entre les sexes relativement à l’inscription au registre des Indiens. Ces modifications comprennent notamment une disposition qui place l’État à l’abri de poursuites qui pourraient découler du fait qu’une personne a été privée du statut d’Indien avant leur entrée en vigueur. En l’espèce, le requérant désire être autorisé à exercer une action collective pour le compte de 45 000 personnes qui auraient été privées du statut d’Indien en raison de dispositions discriminatoires énoncées à la Loi sur les Indiens entre 1985 et 2011.
Quant au premier critère énoncé à l’article 575 du Code de procédure civile (C.P.C.), il est établi que, même si les circonstances varient d’un membre à l’autre, l’action collective pourra être autorisée si certaines questions sont communes. En fait, la seule présence d’une question de droit commune, connexe ou similaire est suffisante pour satisfaire à ce critère si celle-ci n’est pas insignifiante relativement au sort de l’action; elle n’a pas à être déterminante pour la solution de l’ensemble du litige. En l’espèce, la réponse aux questions communes portant sur l’inconstitutionnalité des amendements de 1985 à l’article 6 de la Loi sur les Indiens au regard de la charte et l’immunité de l’État ne dépend pas de la situation précise et personnelle de chacun des membres du groupe. En ce qui concerne le droit des membres du groupe à obtenir des dommages compensatoires, l’examen de cette question requerra une preuve, un débat et une analyse communs, au moins en partie, qui seront ensuite pertinents quant à l’examen des situations individuelles de ces derniers. En outre, il serait contraire au principe de la proportionnalité et à une saine administration de la justice d’exiger que cet examen complet soit refait systématiquement, peut-être par des décideurs différents, dans potentiellement 45 000 recours distincts. Le premier critère d’autorisation est donc rempli. D’autre part, malgré le sérieux de la défense d’immunité qu’invoque l’intimé, le tribunal ne peut conclure ici, sans amorcer l’analyse de la preuve, que les allégations de mauvaise foi, d’abus de droit ou de comportement clairement fautif de l’État sont incontestablement mal fondées. Ainsi, le deuxième critère prévu à l’article 575 C.P.C. est également rempli. Quant au troisième critère, il n’est pas contesté, compte tenu du nombre de personnes qui seraient membres du groupe. Enfin, il a été démontré que le requérant est en mesure d’assurer une représentation adéquate des membres. L’action collective est donc autorisée. Toutefois, pour la saine administration de la justice et dans le respect du principe de la proportionnalité, il est opportun de scinder l’instance afin que la question préliminaire déterminante de l’immunité de l’État soit tranchée dans un premier temps.
Le texte intégral de la décision est disponible ici
Law school employment reporting has typically been a ridiculous mess. Schools self-report their data, and inflated employment statistics have run rampant, with bottom-dwelling law schools like Thomas Jefferson School of Law reporting 92% employment for its graduates. This sham data has resulted in a number of lawsuits, including one that finally went to trial. Thomas Jefferson’s defense in that case was, essentially, saying it was only reporting employment data the way the ABA told it to and therefore they couldn’t be at fault. (It prevailed, by the way.)
Perhaps in response to high-profile terribleness like this, in 2015 the ABA strengthened its requirements for how law schools reporting employment data. The heightened requirements focus on ensuring that schools create a “Graduate Employment File” with verifiable data for each graduate. The requirements also specified what sort of employment data law schools were required to place on their websites and how long that data had to be available. In short, the ABA seemed to be telegraphing that it would hold law schools to more rigorous reporting standards. The ABA also explicitly said it would be conducting random reviews of ten schools to check for compliance. It looks like those audits have started:
The auditors are examining data from 10 randomly selected law schools and from 382 randomly selected students from 156 law schools, Law.com reports. The aim is to make sure schools followed proper procedures in collecting and verifying the employment data, which was released in May.
The ABA is using an external consulting firm to conduct the audits. You might be wondering how it can afford to do so. It turns out the ABA dinged the University of Illinois $250K a few years ago for misreporting statistics, so that fine is funding this third-party audit endeavor.
This all sounds like a great step forward, but over at Outside the Law School Scam, they’ve noted that there is some “fine print” we should all be paying attention to: the ABA’s managing director says that if the audits show that schools are generally behaving, they ABA might flip back to using less intensive audits. This does not inspire confidence. Outside the Law School Scam also points out that the ABA has said it won’t release audit results unless the audit finds something that leads to a public sanction.
This seems like an odd approach for the ABA to take. It has all the rigor of random third-party audits, but none of the reporting transparency you would expect to be the logical product of those rigorous audits. Shouldn’t consumers—a/k/a prospective law students—know if a school has been audited and passed with flying colors? Wouldn’t that be something that might affect decision-making about where to attend? And about the idea that if things go well, the ABA will just drop back to not being so tough?
It’s hard not to see this move as lip service designed to produce results that permit a devoid-of-detail “Law Schools Doing Great in Reporting” article later this summer. And it will be truly meaningless in preventing the nonsense of the past if the ABA changes to a “less intensive” (read: what it was in 2008) auditing system after a few exercises in confirmation bias.
Here’s the takeaway: prospective students do not just have a right—they have a full-fledged need—to know how successful graduates of a given school are at landing a job. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, that past performance is all students have to go on when making choices about what school to attend. Law schools—and the ABA—owe those students a duty of maximum transparency. Here, it looks like they are taking baby transparency steps. It’s a start, but it’s not enough.
The ABA Has Begun Randomly Auditing Law School Employment Data was originally published on Lawyerist.com.
Even though lawyers have embraced Office on mobile devices and in the cloud for some time, document management has struggled to catch up. Most document management software is still built for the desktop (and I’m including practice management software with document management features, like Smokeball, LEAP, AbacusLaw, and so on). That means documents can leak out of the document management system and live only on employees’ mobile devices and Office Online.
With NetDocuments’s latest update, the cloud-based document management system begins to plug that leak. Now, you can open documents from the Office apps. In Word, for example, tap Open, then … More, and select the NetDocuments folder to see your documents. This is a start, and what comes next will be an even bigger deal.
Soon, NetDocuments will release a direct connection like you can currently do only with OneDrive, Dropbox, SharePoint sites, and a few other providers. NetDocument will become fully integrated so you can open your documents in all the Office apps—on your computer, on your mobile device, and even in the Office Online web apps.
This should make it a lot more convenient to use a document management system, and it should help alleviate firms’ fear of losing control of information. Well, firms that use NetDocuments, at least.
NetDocuments Paves the Way for Office Integration on Mobile and in the Cloud was originally published on Lawyerist.com.
Lawyers have a lot of meetings. To make your meetings effective and avoid wasting time, follow these steps.Determine Your Purpose
First, decide the purpose and goal for your meeting. Once you know what you are trying to accomplish, you can decide on the meeting structure by answering this questions:
The meeting’s purpose will also drive the attendance. Attendance can make or break your meeting: inviting too many people can unnecessarily complicate it, but inviting too few (or the wrong people) can hinder progress.Set the Agenda and Communicate in Advance
Create an agenda for the meeting with topics to be discussed and persons responsible. Show that you respect the time of all involved and set limits for discussion, with a concrete beginning and ending time for the meeting.
Advise attendees of the date and time of the meeting. Communicate the purpose of the meeting, goals, and agenda to all participants in advance of your meeting so they can prepare. Request that participants confirm his or her attendance. Send out a meeting reminder the day before the meeting to confirm.The Optimal Meeting
Start on time and stick to your agenda. Begin by repeating the goal of the meeting. If unrelated issues arise that must be discussed during the meeting, request agreement of the participants to continue the meeting. Clearly establish that only those individuals involved in that particular project or issue be required to stay. If non-urgent issues arise, table them for a meeting specifically for that purpose at another time.
Designate one person to be the meeting facilitator to stay on point and on time. You can also assign a time-keeper to keep an eye on the clock and remind the facilitator.
To obtain maximum participation, make the meeting a “safe place” for people to express their opinions without judgment or ridicule. Allow each person the opportunity to speak, but don’t let one person take over the meeting. Obtain different perspectives by asking open-ended questions.
When controversy arises, look for points of agreement.
Before concluding the meeting, develop an action plan and next steps. Set deadlines for the tasks identified and assign responsibility for those tasks to specific groups or individuals.Post-Meeting Actions
Even if you don’t take minutes of the meeting, make sure that the main goals, decisions, deadlines, and responsibilities determined during the meeting are communicated afterwards to make follow up and future meetings more productive — even for those who were unable to attend. Follow up individually with those who have action steps to complete.Updates
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