Tagged lawyer mentorship

Is belief in law logical?

Many years ago, I agreed to act for an elder of the Celestial Church of Christ, a religious order based in Nigeria.  A member of his congregation had asked him to be a “character reference” on a bank loan.  It turned out to be a guarantee on a sub-prime mortgage.  To make a long story short, my client ended up on the hook for an amount equivalent to twice his annual gross family income, and he had an aggressive creditor after the mortgage company sold the debt on.  By the time he arrived in my office, the congregant had defaulted,…

Mentoring diverse professionals: Let history be the teacher

The most difficult part of mentorship is convincing the new members of our profession that they belong.  The reason why anyone belongs anywhere is a question of history.  Whose grandfather took the train to Toronto?  Whose parents were rescued from a refugee camp?  Whose ancestors were brought here against their will?  How you arrived in the Canadian legal profession concludes with your degree in law and a place among our nation’s lawyers.  It is a story you need to tell yourself, or have someone take an interest in having you tell it. In the October article in the Canadian Lawyer’s Accidental…

Avoir le dernier mot, qu’importe? ~ Does getting in the last word matter?

French Presidential Candidate Ségolène Royal tries too hard to hang on to the last word.  La candidate Ségolène Royal essaie trop fort d’avoir le dernier mot. (Watch how many times during the segment 1:50-3:00 she points her finger at him.  Durant le segment 1:50-3:00, combien de fois lui montre-t-elle son doigt?) Les avocats et les avocates se luttent d’avoir le dernier mot, que ce soit une dispute, ou même une collaboration.  Mais voilà le piège: le dernier mot semble être l’opportunité ultime de persuader, et ce peut ouvrir à une contre-attaque pure et élégante.  De toute façon, la qualité du…

Beyond First Principles in Arbitration Practice

For many lawyers, barristers and solicitors, and corporate clients, commercial arbitration may seem like a parallel or alternate universe.  Not quite there.  Maybe not quite legal.  Certainly difficult to get past the initial ‘Take me to your leader’ moment with the denizens of the other world.  As a club of senior practitioners, the arbitral practice has some of the hallmarks of commercial litigation circa 1950.  It need not be that way. The truth about commercial arbitration is that, for the most part, we make it up as we go along.  New lawyers are probably better suited to navigate the various domestic…

Managing “wasted time” – Dealing with non-lawyer adversaries

Few experiences in a lawyer’s work are as infuriating as having your time wasted by a lay adversary. But it is easy to allow frustration to steer you off the path to a desired outcome, or to a good result in litigation. The sooner you realize the futility of convincing someone incapable of understanding why you are right, the faster you will reach the best result for your client. In my April Canadian Lawyer column, you will find that interacting with non-lawyers still requires you to think strategically. ~   ~   ~ Peu d’expériences dans le travail d’un avocat sont aussi exaspérants…