Thursday, October 15, 2009

Expansion is good, but it hurts

So, my little start-up law firm is now three lawyers strong (myself and two associates), as well as various staff. We focus on family law, real estate, wills and estates, corporate law, but also on more esoteric areas such as aboriginal treaty rights, residential school stuff, and water law. It's been a lot of fun adding staff, desks, computers, etc. over the past few months. We're excited at the prospects, even with the current downturn in the economy. There is a lot of potential out there, but it will take some enginuity and diligence to have real staying power.

I have found that customer service is the absolute most important thing towards building a successful legal practice. No advertising, networking, google adwording, schmoozing, brown-nosing, volunteer service, or other thing compares to having a happy and satisfied customer who will come back to you later on, or better yet, will refer a friend to you. A very large part of my personal practice is based on this concept. It creates a very loyal client base, and makes it much easier to keep a steady work-flow, and to keep the stress down.

Business is booming for legal clinic


"Fledgling entrepreneurs and some Queen's University law students can agree on one thing:
Business is booming in Kingston.

The newly established Queen's Business Law Clinic provides legal advice -- free of charge -- to small, start-up and not-for-profit businesses in the city. A four-month pilot project last winter was so successful, the clinic will now be a year-round operation.

'The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Kingston,' said Professor Peter Kissick, director of the law clinic.

'I was surprised by how sophisticated the files are, from software to carpentry businesses. There's a wide variety of things going on.'"

Read the whole article here.

These kinds of clinics are essential, not only for access to justice, but also access to legal information for those who cannot afford a retainer for a lawyer, or who are just starting to do the legwork for their start-up business, or a legal transaction or action. Good stuff! Congratulations on your success so far law clinic law students! We appreciate you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Top Five Canadian Law Schools Rank Same as 2008

Maclean's put out their 2009 Canadian Law School Ranking in September. No changes in the Top 5. Also, very little changes in 12 to 16.

1. Toronto (1)
2. McGill (2)
3. Osgoode (3)
4. UBC (4)
5. Victoria (5)
6. Queen's (8)
7. Dalhousie (6)
8. Ottawa (7)
9. Alberta (9)
10. Western (12)
11. Calgary (10)
12. Saskatchewan (12)
13. Manitoba (10)
13. New Brunswick (12)
15. Windsor (15)
16. Moncton (16)

I don't put a ton of stock in Maclean's ranking, but it is interesting to see the consistency from year to year. Victoria used to be much higher. I am surprised to see UBC so high the last two years, as it didn't use to rank that high. Calgary keeps dipping. Alberta should be ranked higher, especially given all the money that has been thrown at it lately.

Law school alumnus gives back to university

"Frank MacInnis said he experienced a 'brief moment of terror' when his former law professor summoned him to the podium Friday, a startling admission from a man who now presides over a U. S.-based Fortune 500 company.

'Old habits die hard,' MacInnis told a laughing audience at the University of Alberta, recalling his friendly, yet sometimes adversarial relationship with former law dean David Percy.

Of course, there was no reason for argument Friday, when MacInnis and his wife were honoured for a $2.5-million donation to Percy's faculty-- the largest single gift the U of A law school has ever received."

That is a very nice donation from a very nice, and obviously successful alumnus. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. MacInnis!

Think twice about going to law school - firm chairman says

Financial Post

Posted: September 25, 2009, 11:26 AM by Mitch Kowalski
, , , ,

"Every time a friend of mine tells me that her daughter or son is contemplating law school I try to dissuade them. This isn't the 60's - when a law degree was a ticket to the good life. The profession is a brutally difficult way to earn a living for either gender. And it ain't getting better.
Now it seems I have some support for my comments. Peter Kalis, chairman of large, international firm K & L Gates, was interviewd by the Wall Street Journal and said much the same thing. Kalis says that schools are "pouring tens of thousands of young people into a market that I suspect is not going to be able to absorb them at the remuneration levels that would have justified them taking on. . ."

I would like to read more...but they make you register. I hate this form of news where I am forced to pay to read something that I should be able to read for free online. I mean, I shouldn't have to have a subscription just to read an article...

In any case, the comment is a fair one, and is one that more young aspiring law students should think about. Or, as the writer indicates, a thought that more parents of aspiring law students should think about.