Tagged mentor

Writing the valuable client letter

In modern practice, clients want lawyers’ advice to help them make their own decisions, not to have lawyers make the decisions for them. Making the client feel empowered by legal services drives up the value of your letter. In contrast, the “legal masterpiece” can disengage clients and makes your legal opinion appear just an expensive “cost of doing business.” February’s Canadian Lawyer monthly column, The Accidental Mentor, serves up comic fare about a most serious topic: Writing the valuable client letter.

French – best learnt before your Supreme Court nomination

Witness this month’s exchange in the press between Justice Marshall Rothstein and NDP MP Joe Comartin (Judge rebukes NDP MPs for claiming he broke vow to learn French), as well as Justice Moldaver’s vow to try to get his French into hearing-ready form (Supreme Court nominee vows to improve French skills).  However these two stories run their course, and whatever may be the fairness to the nominees, what can be the effect of cornering judges into making these impossible promises before they take high office?  Can any good come out of this, for judicial independence and the rule of law?…

Write about law, like a pro

(la version française suit) In her mind, the request will kill two birds with one stone: clients will know the firm’s members are current about the latest developments in the law, and it’ll be a good opportunity to see if you have what it takes to write reports directly to clients.  Let’s face it, young lawyers are not known for their writing prowess.  Senior lawyers have told me incessantly that new lawyers cannot spell, let alone string two sentences together.  “This is a test!” you have to say to yourself.  And it is.  This is your chance to get noticed…

Dealing with judgitis

Understand the job descriptions (la version française suit) As a lawyer appearing before the court, you are being paid to plead the case and present evidence. As in the BBC radio game, Just a minute, you must do so without “hesitation, deviation or repetition.” Provided you do this, the judge’s job is to listen. Or, in a jury trial, the judge’s job is to direct traffic, and the jury’s job is to listen. As with any occupational setting, conflicts are best resolved by clear lines between areas of responsibility. A courtroom is a place of work. It does not belong…

A mentorship site for new lawyers?

Welcome to Canada’s first blog devoted to mentoring new lawyers. (la version française suit) It’s French label, « SQP jeunes avocats, » captures the reality for many lawyers starting out.  (Sauve qui peut! meaning ‘everyone for himself.’) The site intentionally plays the words ‘jeune’ and ‘new’ off each other, because a life in law has always been measured from one’s year of Call to the Bar.  Increasingly, ‘new’ can also mean ‘different.’  Men and women from different socioeconomic backgrounds, demographic origins, hopes and dreams wonder how they might fit in, or whether integration comes at too high a price. To the…